PRIMETIME PILOT PANIC: Screening Edition
PILOT SEASON: How Many Orders Is Each Broadcast Network Eyeing This Year
It’s pilot screening week, with the networks’ executives huddled in rooms watching the fruits of their development teams’ labor. The networks are still going through the process, with testing results just starting to pour in, but here is the latest pilot buzz I’ve compiled from various sources around town.
NBC had the breakout new drama of last fall, Revolution, and now the network has what could be the strongest drama pilot this season with Blacklist. I hear Blacklist and Crisis (aka untitled Rand Ravich) are considered front-runners on the drama side at NBC, buoyed by very strong testing. In fact Blacklist might be the highest-testing drama pilot at NBC in about a decade, and I also hear the male lead played by James Spader is one of the highest-testing characters ever for producing studio Sony TV. Also in the running are the J.J. Abrams-produced Believe; TV star vehicles Ironside, with Blair Underwood, and I Am Victor, with John Stamos; as well as medical drama Night Shift (aka After Hours). Also possibilities are late deliveries The Sixth Gun and the Chicago Fire spinoff.
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On the comedy side, About A Boy, Welcome To The Family, Family Guide (aka DJ Nash), Assistance, the Sean Hayes/Victor Fresco project, and the Bill Lawrence-produced Undateable all appear very strong candidates to join the already-ordered Michael J. Fox series, which I hear has been well received. NBC’s comedy bench is pretty deep, with the untitled John Mulaney and Craig Robinson as dark horses.
No major changes in the comedy pilot standings at Fox. Guy police/Army comedies Goor/Schur and Enlisted are going strong, along with romantic comedy Friends And Family and workplace Assistants, with I Suck At Girls, which has not screened, as a wild card as I hear star Chris Meloni is testing well. I hear Fox might pick up as many as five new comedies. The network already has the straight-to-series Dads, whose reworked pilot with Giovanni Ribisi has gotten thumbs-up. Rake, Gang Related, Sleepy Hollow and the Abrams-produced Human seem to be the strongest contenders on the drama side, where the network is rumored to be picking up about three new series.