The 10 TV Pilots You're Most Likely to See Next Fall
The current TV season is far from over, but Hollywood is already hard at work on next season. Right now, the TV industry is abuzz with the annual tradition known as "pilot season," as production companies cast and film dozens of pilots that are hoping to become one of the new TV shows you'll be watching this fall.
Of course, just a small fraction of these pilots will actually make it on the air. (CBS, for instance, has ordered a whopping 26 pilots this year, but only has about three or four slots to fill next season.) But looking at the talent involved and each network's individual needs, we have a pretty good idea which pilots have the best chance at scoring a pickup. Here are ten we're expecting to see on this fall's primetime schedule.
Untitled Michael J. Fox comedy (NBC)
Get ready for a dose of NBC nostalgia: This much-anticipated comeback vehicle for TV icon Michael J. Fox has already been picked up for a full 22-episode season. (Although that might say more about NBC's desperation than the show itself.) The former Alex P. Keaton returns to the Peacock Network with this semi-autobiographical sitcom, playing a TV news reporter suffering from Parkinson's disease who returns to work once he has the condition under control. NBC is obviously hoping to recreate some of that old "Must-See TV" magic, so don't be surprised to see Fox right back in his old stomping grounds on Thursday nights. Now all this show needs is a title. (Please, not "Crazy Like a Fox.")
"Beverly Hills Cop" (CBS)
Somebody cue "Axel F." CBS is also reaching back to the '80s to resurrect Eddie Murphy's hit action comedy for the small screen. And while we're not big on reboots, they're doing this one the right way, with "The Shield" creator Shawn Ryan at the helm and Murphy himself onboard to reprise his role as cop Axel Foley. But Murphy's role here is just a cameo; Brandon T. Jackson from "Tropic Thunder" stars as Axel's son, who follows in his dad's footsteps as a street-smart detective solving crimes in swanky Beverly Hills. We're not sure this one feels like a CBS show, but the star power and brand recognition here should be enough to earn it a spot on the fall schedule.
ABC has no problem cranking out female-driven hits like "Once Upon a Time" and "Revenge," but has struggled to find a drama that appeals to male viewers; last fall's macho submarine thriller "Last Resort" sank without a trace. But they look to have a guaranteed dude magnet with this spinoff of the big-screen megahit "The Avengers," produced by "Avengers" director Joss Whedon. Clark Gregg is back in his "Avengers" role as Agent Coulson, who leads a team of highly trained peacekeeping agents. You can't go wrong with Marvel superheroes these days… but will the tight budgets of TV allow for the slam-bang comic-book action we're used to seeing? (And might we see Cobie Smulders take a break from "How I Met Your Mother" to reprise her role as Maria Hill?)
Clark Gregg and Cobie Smulders talk about playing S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in "The Avengers":
Untitled "NCIS" spinoff (CBS)
The "NCIS" franchise is still going very strong for CBS: "NCIS" pulls in 20 million viewers a week in its tenth (!) season, and "NCIS: Los Angeles" is performing admirably right behind it. So it's no surprise that CBS is looking to cash in with yet another spinoff this fall. This one stars "Sex and the City's" John Corbett and "Grey's Anatomy's" Kim Raver as part of a team of mobile agents that travels the country solving crimes; the characters will debut in an "NCIS: LA" episode later this season. CBS can't air all three "NCIS"s on Tuesday nights (or can they?), so picking this one up will call for a little schedule shuffling. But they also run the risk of stretching a beloved franchise too thin. (Remember what happened to "Law & Order"?)