CBS today kicked off the next stage in the pilot season ritual — the network screenings, where a large pool of network executives weigh in on this year’s crop of pilots. The rest of the broadcast networks will follow suit next week when we will start getting a better picture of how the contenders for a spot on the schedule for next season stack up. For now, here is what I have been hearing on the various pilots based on early reactions:
The only mystery surrounding the UNTITLED KEVIN WILLIAMSON project at Fox seems to be where it will land on the Fox schedule and whether it would launch in the fall or midseason. The other four drama contenders seem to have formed pairs. The two female CIA operative pilots, UNTITLED KARYN USHER and THE ASSET, have been jockeying for a slot, with Karyn Usher starting ahead, then The Asset catching up, and now Karyn Usher possibly getting an edge again. Then there are GUILTY and the UNTITLED BERMAN/WRIGHT mob doctor drama, which both tested well at their studios with high marks for their stars Cuba Gooding Jr and Jordana Spiro, respectively. Both have a real shot, with Berman/Wright probably a bit stronger at the moment. Its chances were helped by the fact that Fox veteran House is ending its run, leaving the network without a medical franchise for next season. On the comedy side, the UNTITLED MINDY KALING female doctor half-hour appears to be headed to Fox’s comedy block as a possible companion to New Girl. BEN FOX IS MY MANNY, a late delivery after it replaced its lead after the table read, reportedly got thumbs-up from Fox brass after they just saw it for the first time. The stronger than expected showing for the pilot, about a guy working as manny for his sister, shakes up the sibling comedy race at Fox, which includes early standout LITTLE BROTHER, which has lost some momentum but remains solid, and GOODWIN GAMES, which also came out OK. Of the others, REBOUNDING and EL JEFE are still in serious contention, while buzz has been just OK on PRODIGY/BULLY, mixed on LET IT GO and not so good on LIKE FATHER and LIVING LOADED.