10 TV Pilots Likely to Score Series Pickups
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As broadcast network executives sit behind closed doors pouring over focus group testing results on nearly 100 pilots, scores of showrunners, writers, producers and actors are on stand-by as the decisions on which comedies and dramas will land slots on the 2014-15 schedules are expected to come in the coming weeks.
The Hollywood Reporter dialed up industry insiders and has compiled 10 of the thrillers, soapy procedurals, comic adaptations and family and workplace comedies that stand the best shot of earning series pickups. Of course, these are in addition to several dramas and comedies that have already landed series orders. Those include Vince Gilligan and David Shore's Battle Creek, Fox's Last Man on Earth and NBC's Ellie Kemper comedy from the producers of 30 Rock, among others.
This year, many sources have noted that there are not as many clear front-runners on the comedy side beyond CBS' How I Met Your Mother spinoff as many of the half-hour pilots tend to have a similar premise, with some competing with each other for the same slots. (See CBS' The Odd Couple and Cuz-Bros and ABC's Anthony Anderson and Kevin Hart vehicles.)
Here's a look at the pilots most likely to land series orders:
1. Keep It Together (aka the untitled Kevin Hart comedy) (ABC)
The multicamera comedy based on Hart's life and stand-up act starring Romany Malco skyrocketed to the top of ABC's pilots following a screening with executives and has the edge over the network's Anthony Anderson entry about a middle-class black man struggling to raise his children that's based on the life of showrunner Kenya Barris (The Game) as the network looks to schedule an African-American-leading comedy following the breakout success of Kerry Washington drama Scandal. The network will hope Hart, one of the most bankable stars around, will translate to TV and bring his more than 10 million-plus Twitter followers along for the ride.
2. How to Get Away With Murder (ABC)
Speaking of Scandal, exec producer Shonda Rhimes may be back to having three series on the network. Murder, a sexy and suspense-driven legal thriller starring Viola Davis as a brilliant and mysterious criminal defense professor who becomes entangled in a murder plot, is among the buzziest dramas this season. A series pickup for Murder would give the Grey's Anatomy producer three shows on the air for the second time following the end of Private Practice. Rhimes has tremendous clout at the network -- she rarely, if ever, receives notes on Scandal -- and is incredibly valuable to ABC. Among ABC's other drama pilots, alien invasion entry The Visitors, John Ridley's American Crime and supernatural effort Clementine are also tracking well, with at least one series order expected to go to an hourlong from an outside studio. Meanwhile, Marvel's Captain America spinoff Agent Carter -- which has yet to film a pilot -- may also get a straight-to-series pickup for a short order for a potential midsesaon slot.
3. Gotham (Fox)