Though their lineups for next fall are up in the air, proposed pilots for new network shows are flying all over the place.
‘Tis the season for TV pilots, and news is trickling out about the projects the networks have cleared for takeoff.
That means they’ve either said yes to paying for some of the proposed pilots to be produced or, in the case of pilots that are already produced, it means the networks have told the producers their shows are high on their lists of potential series.
“Pilots” are the first episodes of prospective series, and networks agree to produce them so they can better decide if the shows have the potential to become full series worthy of ordering.
Some of the shows will turn up on the new fall lineups the networks will announce in May. Others will become summer series or midseason replacements next winter. Still others won’t get past the pilot stage at all.
This week comes word from Hollywood about a handful of pilots the networks say they’ll go ahead and produce — including a proposed CBS summer series from Steven Spielberg and Stephen King, an ABC drama project from Brad Pitt (as producer) and a Fox drama starring Greg Kinnear.
Here’s a rundown of what we know so far, according to various reports:
CBS: The project from Spielberg and King is called “Under the Dome,” and it’s a proposed 13-episode summer series, according to this story on Deadline.com. It’s a sci-fi drama based on a 2009 King novel of the same name. Deadline says CBS has picked up seven comedy pilots and six dramas, including “Dome.” The comedies include an untitled sitcom starring comedian Jim Gaffigan, and a sitcom from producer Chuck Lorre called “Mom,” starring Anna Faris as a mother who’s a recovering alcoholic living in California’s wine country. One of the dramas is “Beverly Hills Cop,” based on the old Eddie Murphy movie series (with Murphy as a producer on the TV show). (Full list of CBS pilots HERE.)
ABC: Brad Pitt is the big name “attached” to one of the ABC drama pilots — the one titled “The Returned,” on which Pitt’s production company — Plan B — is listed as a co-producer (though heaven knows if Pitt will do any actual work on the pilot). “The Returned” is about a community where people who were long dead suddenly return home, and they haven’t aged a bit. The show is one of four dramas and five comedy pilots ABC has OK’d. Among the comedies: “Super Fun Night,” about three nerdy young women, from Conan O’Brien; and two sitcoms from the writing team who wrote the Cameron Diaz movie “Bad Teacher” — Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky. ABC’s dramas also include a show called “Venice,” named for the southern California beach community of the same name. “Venice” is described as a “Romeo & Juliet” story with two rival families. (Full list of ABC pilots HERE.)
Fox: Among Fox’s four drama pilots and six comedy pilots is a one-hour legal drama called “Rake,” starring Greg Kinnear as an “unfiltered” (uncontrollably outspoken) attorney (the show is being described by some as “House” in a courtroom). Fox’s comedies include an untitled show about two men in their 30s whose lives change when their fathers move in with them. One of the producers on this show is Seth MacFarlane, which is notable because it is not an animated series. Another comedy, also unnamed, stars Andy Samberg as a member of an NYPD detective squad working out of a precinct on the edge of the city. (Full list of Fox pilots HERE.)
NBC: The Peacock Network seems to have the longest pilot list of all the networks, with 12 comedy and seven drama pilots. The comedies include untitled shows starring Michael J. Fox, Jessica Simpson and Sean Hayes, who played Larry in the “Three Stooges” movie. The dramas include one called “The Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives” about murder and secrecy in the suburbs. It’s from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who makes so many shows for CBS (the three “CSIs,” for example. (Full list of NBC pilots HERE.)