L.A. Screenings: The Upfronts At a Glance
20TH CENTURY FOX TV
Robin Williams’ biggest commitment to series television since the days of “Mork & Mindy” highlights a 20th TV slate that is deep, even if not necessarily brimming with international star appeal.
Williams is teaming with another recognizable face, Sarah Michelle Gellar, in the single-cam, father-daughter workplace comedy “The Crazy Ones,” from the pen of a scribe with no small amount of global cachet himself: David E. Kelley.
Kelley’s star Stateside hasn’t shined quite as brightly of late — “Harry’s Law” (NBC) lasted only two seasons, while “Monday Mornings” (TNT) didn’t make it past one, and half-hour isn’t exactly where the “Picket Fences” and “Ally McBeal” creator made his bones, but a series starring Williams in an accessible setting is filled with worldwide potential.
A slam dunk for interest is the limited-series return of Kiefer Sutherland in “24: Live Another Day.” The condensed format of 12 episodes and far-off premiere date should hardly discourage buyers.
“Beyond Crazy” and “24,” 20th’s offerings generally depend at least as much on conceit as star power. “Crisis,” starring Gillian Anderson and Dermot Mulroney, features an extended kidnapping saga in Washington, D.C., with international overtones. Los Angeles-set cop drama “Gang Related” could easily translate overseas, as could the high-concept “Sleepy Hollow,” which exports the Ichabod Crane saga 250 years into the future.
Among comedies, it will be interesting to see the reception for “Enlisted,” set at a domestic U.S. Army base that won’t exactly call to mind Guantanamo Bay. There will be a not-insignificant amount of eye candy to go with the laughs, thanks to male starring trio Geoff Stults (“The Finder”), Chris Lowell (“Private Practice”) and Parker Young (“Suburgatory”).
— Jon Weisman
CBS STUDIOS INTL.
With CBS Television Studios involved in a number of co-productions whose international sales will be handled elsewhere, CBS Studios Intl. will have a more focused slate to take to L.A. Screenings shoppers.
Though not part of the fall sked, it’s worth noting CBS will screen ballyhooed summer series “Under the Dome,” a 13-parter based on the post-apocalyptic Stephen King novel. But what’s potentially fascinating is that among drama offerings from the new fall skeins, the most attractive globally might be a CW show, “Reign,” which brings a demo-friendly sensibility to the historical story of Mary, Queen of Scots. Another CW series, Star-Crossed, (co-starring Aimee Teegarden of “Friday Night Lights”) translates the “Romeo and Juliet” saga into futuristic alien-human terms.
Fans of “Mad Men” might recognize Anna Wood, who played scheming Hare Krishna follower Lakshmi, and her onscreen pseudo-beau Michael Gladis when they reappear in Reckless. Wood plays a south-side-of-Chicago-bred lawyer clashing with handsome southern city attorney (Cam Gigandet) over a police sex scandal in Charleston, S.C.; Gladis plays the local deputy police chief. Shawn Hatosy (“Southland”), Gregory Harrison and Kim Wayans are among the co-stars in the Ian Sandler-Kim Moses-Dana Stevens-Corey Miller project, whose pilot was directed by fellow exec producer Catherine Hardwicke (“Twilight”).
In addition, CBS will look to drum up interest in two comedies: “The Millers” and “We Are Men.” Millers, from Greg Garcia, offers the sprightly cast of Will Arnett, Margo Martindale, J.B. Smoove and Beau Bridges and is so highly thought of that CBS placed it after hit “The Big Bang Theory” on its Thursday schedule. “We Are Men,” starring Tony Shalhoub, Kal Penn and Jerry O’Connell, could be buoyed by its focus on the perils of dating.
— Jon Weisman
Disney/ABC Intl. heads into the L.A. Screenings armed with powerful selling points for most of its seven new drama series. But it’ll be a tougher climb in international markets for its two new comedies.