ABC Pilots Update: ‘Triage’, ‘National Parks’ & ‘Dark Horse’ Not Going Forward; ‘Epic’ & ‘Promised Land’ Remain In Contention

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ABC has made decisions on three of its five outstanding drama pilots, passing on Triage, Dark Horse and the Kevin Costner-executive produced National Parks Investigation. Meanwhile, Epic and Promised Land, whose final cuts are still being locked in, remain in consideration for midseason. They come from ABC Signature, has options on the casts until September I hear.

Dark Horse, which was not produced, and National Parks Investigation will be shopped by their lead studios, Universal Television and A+E Studios, respectively. Triage, from 20th Century TV, also may be shopped.

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Second-cycle medical drama pilot Triage had a rollercoaster ride. The project, told in three different time frames, did not fare well with the first cut, did significantly better with the second cut, which had promising testing results, then cooled off during screenings but had enough of a momentum to be kept in contention back in May.

2021 ABC Pilots & Series Orders

National Parks Investigation, formally greenlighted earlier this year, was able to deliver a cut just before the upfronts but ABC brass felt they needed more time to make a decision on the crime drama starring Billy Campbell. A+E Studios had success with another drama pilot originally from the 2020 season, CBS The Lincoln Lawyer, which was picked up to series by Netflix after getting a pass by the broadcast network.

Meanwhile, three other 2021 ABC drama pilots, Epic, Promised Land and Dark Horse, had been put on a different track and were shoot after the traditional pilot season production window for post-upfront consideration.

Dark Horse, based on an Australian format, was the only greenlighted ABC in- and off-cycle pilot this year not to be filmed. Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, is shopping the pilot script, written by William Jehu Garroutte, with Jessica Goldberg attached as executive producer and showrunner on the project, which has an Indigenous woman as the central character.

The fairytale-themed Epic, executive produced by Once Upon a Time creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, and the sprawling multi-generational Latinx family drama Promised Land have been receiving encouraging early feedback.

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