Month: January 2015

ABC orders 11 pilots at once! “Boom”, “Kingmakers”, “The Brainy Bunch”…

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ABC went crazy last night with a total of 11 pilot orders for both dramas and comedies. Here’s the list! Brass yourself.

First is a medical/legal hybrid drama called The Advocate, from Warner Bros. Television. It tells the story of a tough, resourceful, type-A business woman at the top of her game who has a medical scare, only to be dangerously misdiagnosed, and experiences firsthand the hazards of our healthcare system. Shocking her friends and family, she leaves her career behind, becoming instead a brilliant and relentless advocate for anyone caught in the chaotic and ever-changing maze that is modern medicine.

Then you have… Boom! An old drama project developped at ABC several seasons ago, which went to USA Network before coming back to ABC, produced by ABC Studios. Written by Surface creator Josh Pate, it tells the epic pilgrimage of a young, ambitious couple to the oil fields of the Bakken seeking their fortune and a better life. As we follow their trials and tribulations in a modern day “Wild West”, they negotiate a colorful ensemble of roughnecks, grifters, oil barons, criminals and fellow prospectors against a stark and beautiful backdrop.

Third one is The Adversaries from David Zabel, who worked on ER before offering many flops to ABC such as Detroit 1-8-7, Betrayal and Lucky 7.  Not sure why he’s always given a chance… This time, it centers on the patriarch of a New York legal dynasty who becomes embroiled in a trial of his own, and his federal prosecutor daughter must decide which side she will fight on. A soap legal drama that doesn’t sound very original.

Fourth one, maybe the most exciting, is called  Kingmakers, from Revenge producer Sallie Patrick for ABC Studios. It centers on a young man whose sister is found dead during her freshman year at an elite Ivy League university. He adopts a new identity to infiltrate the school and its century-old secret society – consisting of privileged students, ambitious faculty, and high-profile alums – in order to investigate her death. Sounds a bit How To Get Away With Murder-y.

On the comedy side, family is still an important subgenre with The Brainy Bunch, from 20th Century FOX Television. It tells the real story of Kip and Mona Lisa Mitchell who, through a combination of genetics and dynamic home schooling, find themselves raising extraordinarily intelligent kids. When Kip returns home from the military to be a stay-at-home dad, he experiences firsthand the challenges of parenting kids who have genius IQs but limited life and social skills. Not very different, an Untitled Judah Miller Project, from 20th Century FOX Television too, centers on a Tony Award-winning mother and a risk-averse, cerebral father who are blessed with a son who is a natural born competitive athlete. They are forced outside their parental comfort zones and into the high-octane world of youth sports. Much different, The Untitled Johnny Knoxville Project based on the real youth of the Jackass star follows the exploits of 12-year-old Johnny navigating the “outlaw culture” of his family and small hometown of Knoxville, TN, and documents the childhood experiences that inspired him to become one of the greatest pranksters of a generation. It is written by Victor Fresco, an expert about white trash family because he was a producer on My Name is Earl.

ABC also bets on “Odd Couple” comedies, with Dolores & Jermaine, a multicamera comedy with comedian Jermaine Fowler, based on his life,  about a millennial with big ideas, but very little drive, who moves in with his estranged grandmother, a strict, football-loving, former DC cop who needs his youthful enthusiasm in her life as much as he needs her old-school parenting. There’s also an Untitled NBA Comedy, produced by Dan Fogelman (The Neighbors, Galavant), which is a top priority for ABC & ABC Studios. Set in the world of the NBA, it’s about a rookie who doesn’t speak English and a translator who doesn’t speak basketball. The hunt for leading men has already started even before the order. Dan Fogelman also produces The King of 7B, a single-camera ensemble comedy about an agoraphobic recluse who ventures outside for the first time in 20 years when he spies what could be his soulmate moving into the building across the street. Prentiss Porter will embark on an incredible journey of discovery right outside his front door.

Last comedy order goes to single-camera comedy The 46 Percenters, described as “anti-romantic” (which sounds good since romantic comedies like Manhattan Love Story, Marry Me, Selfie and A to Z didn’t work this year).  It’s bout the 46 percent of the population who choose to stay married, told through the point of view of three couples.

SEE ALL ABC ORDERS SO FAR 

CBS adds two candidates to the medical drama pilot frenzy

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CBS’s President Nina Tassler was vocal about it at the TCAs: she wants a medical drama on the air next year! Two candidates are now ordered to pilots, with a third one still possible.

First project is Code Black, co-produced by ABC Studios & CBS Television Studios, about the busiest and most notorious ER in the nation – LA County Hospital – the extraordinary staff confronts a broken system in order to protect their ideals and the patients who need them the most. It is written by Michael Seitzman, an expert at pilots not ordered to series, except for horrible Intelligence last year.

Second project is LFE, a CBS Studios Television production, written by 29 year-old writer Paul Downs Collaizo. It is described as a “high-octane procedural” that focuses on residents trying to reconcile god complexes with their humanity at New York City’s top hospital.

Both look strong contenders, with another one with a hefty commitment pending, Austen’s Razor, as reported here a few days ago. The Untitled Silicon Valley medical drama project developped by Parenthood‘s team Jason Katims & Sarah Watson for CBS is rolled to next year, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

At NBC, medical soap Heart Matters has been ordered to pilot, while ABC has a red hot one called The Advocate, soon to be ordererd.

Quickie: NBC goes “Cuckoo” while FOX orders DC Comics’ “Lucifer” to pilot

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It is not official yet but I can confirm NBC is ordering a single-camera comedy pilot adapted from british show Cuckoo. It tells the story of a middle-class family’s daughter who comes back from a summer abroad married to a charming but infuriating hippie moron – a guy called Cuckoo…Developed by Lionsgate for CBS, with the original creators Kieron Quirke & Robin French writing, it is now set up at NBC where it is honestly a better fit. Of course, this time the show won’t feature Andy Samberg, the original Cuckoo, replaced in season 2 by Taylor Lautner because of its commiment with Brookyn Nine-Nine.

At FOX, what may be the last drama pilot order for this season goes to Lucifer, an adaptation from DC Comics, written by Californication creator (and ex Dawson’s Creek producer)  Tom Kapinos. It centers on bored and unhappy Lucifer, the Lord of Hell, who resign his throne and abandons his kingdom for the gorgeous, shimmering insanity of Los Angeles, where he opens an exclusive piano bar called Lux…Well, maybe he will meet Hank Moody there!

CBS bets on “Limitless” and “Rush Hour” TV adaptations, plus family comedies

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CBS don’t usually bet on existing properties -except if it’s a spin-off of an already established series- but this year they follow the same trend as the other networks. After Supergirl, here are Rush Hour and Limitless

It was expected since the commitment was a big one: CBS decided to go a little further with Rush Hour,  an adaptation from the comedy movies franchise, ordering a pilot written by Bill Lawrence, creator of Scrubs & Cougar Town, and Black McCormick. The hourlong comedy will also center on a stoic, by-the-book Hong Kong police officer assigned to a case in Los Angeles, where he’s forced to work with a cocky black LAPD officer who has no interest in a partner. Brett Ratner is producing, with Warner Bros. Television.

The Limitless adaptation was also a safe bet. Of course, star Bradley Cooper won’t be in it but he managed to get an executive producer credit. The sequel also centers on Brian Sinclair, an agent who discovers the power of the mysterious drug NZT and is coerced into using his newfound drug-enhanced abilities to solve weekly cases for the FBI. CBS officially has a police procedural drama pilot in the can now! This version is written by Craig Sweeny (Medium, Elementary), produced by Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman, and the original director Neil Burger will helm the pilot.

On the comedy side, CBS ordered a bunch of family comedies centered on strong father figures like Joe Time & The Half Of It, after Taxi-22 and the Untitled Tommy Johnagin project. They also have friends comedy Angel From Hell and Untitled Michael O’Shannon Project and a re-imagined version of 2013 pilot Super Clyde by Greg Garcia. CBS definely wants to try single-camera again…

SEE ALL CBS PILOT ORDERED SO FAR

“Scream” (MTV) preview: Do you like scary movies turned into TV Series?

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Pilot written by Jill Blotevogel (Harper’s Island, Ravenswood), based on a script by Jay Beattie (Revenge, Criminal Minds) & Dan Dworkin (Revenge, Criminal Minds). Produced by Wes Craven (Scream, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Last House on the Left), Bob & Harvey Weinstein… Directed by Jamie Travis (Faking It, Finding Carter). For MTV & Dimension TV. 53 pages. 04/23/14 version.

Description: 25 years after the town of Lakewood was shaken by a wave of brutal murders, what starts as a YouTube video going viral showing two teenage girls hooking up soon leads to a new series of mysterious deaths who may or may not be connected to the town’s troubled past…

With Willa Fitzgerald (Royal Pains, Alpha House), Bex Taylor-Klaus (The Killing US, Arrow), Joel Gretsch (The 4400, V), Connor Weil (Sharknado), Tracy Middendorf (Boardwalk Empire), John Karna, Carlson Young, Amadeus Serafini, Bobby Campo… and a special guest appareance from Bella Thorne (Shake it up!, Big Love).

NEXT SUMMER ON MTV.

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As a boy who grew up up in the 90s, the Scream movie franchise has no secrets for me. I saw the first three a bunch of times, and the fourth only once, for nostalgia and for fun. And as a boy who grew up in the 90s IN a little town, I can assure you it was hard to wander alone at night without imagining Ghostface coming out of the dark to kill me. It lasted a few years until I became a grown-ass man. I’m not scared anymore. And I’m totally over slasher movies too. As today’s teenagers are… unless they have never been into it in the first place because the genre doesn’t really exist anymore. Yeah, I sound old. And that scares the shit out of me. Anyway. Even if it seems like it’s the worst time to launch a TV series based on Scream, MTV doesn’t feel the same way. It took time -the development was so hard the first writers were politely thanked before a new one was hired to repair the damage- but now there it is. Scream, the TV series. Believe me or not, it’s not as bad as it might sound.

This is not a sequel, since there is no direct link between what happened in the movies and what’s happening here. It doesn’t even take place in the same town. We can call it a reboot. The story is pretty much the same, but updated with new technologies. Of course, these teenagers do selfies, chat on Facebook, communicate on Twitter and send Snapchats to each other. And it’s pretty convenient ! It gives the serial killer many more ways to toy with them. It doubles up the fun! This way, they can revisit some of the most popular scenes just by changing a few details. That’s what happens with the cult opening scene with Drew Barrymore, spiced up here with a webcam and Snapchat instead of the good ol’ phone. And also a severed head, but it has nothing to do with technology. I’m guessing The Walking Dead is to blame. All of this doesn’t make it scarier but it works somehow. What they also kept is the very special tone of the dialogues, where teenagers constantly refer to pop culture, other horror movies and TV series, to show they won’t let a little copycat killer outsmart them. They think they know all the tricks, they act like they saw it all but of course, they’re wrong. Sadly, it’s not as sharply written as the movies were -Kevin Williamson is not involved, that’s why- and it’s not original anymore.

I’m not a big fan of the characters for now, especially the male parts. They all sound the same, easy on the eye but dumb. And there’s the nerdy one of course (who’s not that ugly). It’s typical MTV characters. The girls are a little more interesting, outside of the usual bitches. Emma, our heroine, is the cool chick you want to hang out with. Audrey, her ex-best friend is different. She’s dark, some would say she’s a tomboy. She clearly doesn’t know who she really is yet, and not only sexually speaking. I really like her. Like in Teen Wolf, the parents play an active role in the story, and of course one of them works at the sheriff department. At some point, a character says “it’s a not whodunnit show” but “a whydunnit”. And he may be right. But is it really what we’re looking for?

You can’t do a slasher movie into a TV show. Slasher movies burn bright and fast. TV needs to stretch things out.” Here is what the writer says through the voice of the character of Noah. Does he believe in Scream? He’d better be and he’d better prove to everyone that yes, it’s possible. But he knows what he’s talking about at the same time: he was a writer on truly shitty Harpers’s Island… Me, I’m not totally sold for now but it’s not that different from Teen Wolf so I guess it could work and I wanna watch. One last thing: why o why did they decide to trade the iconic mask inspired by Munch for a “mask made of flesh“? Outrageous!

Latest ABC drama pilot orders, first comedy ones (Shonda is involved!)

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ABC finally starts ordering comedy pilots when their drama plate is already almost full! Here comes Shonda Rhimes again…

A pilot season without a Shonda Rhimes show in competition is definitely not worth living. Last year, How To Get Away With Murder was ordered first and it became quicky a sure bet for a series order. We had to wait a little bit more this time around but here it is: The Catch, a new thriller drama produced by Shondaland, is in the works. Written by Jennifer Schurr (Hannibal), it follows a woman who’s about to get married and also about to get conned. Unbeknownst to her slippery fiancé, our heroine — who investigates fraud for a living — is not all she claims to be. And when the fiancé’s expertly planned con collides with her perfectly constructed lies, they plunge into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. This doesn’t sound as exciting as a Shonda Rhimes show should, but we’ll learn more soon enough…

The other drama pilot order, the 7th, goes to Broad Squad a period detective drama produced by Josh Schwartz (The OC, Gossip Girl, Chuck) set in 1978. It is a fictionalized account of the graduating class of Boston’s first female patrol officers. Dubbed “The Broad Squad” by the local press, they arrived at a tumultuous time in Boston’s history, marked by corruption within the police force and a heightened organized crime presence in the city. Navigating rival neighborhoods as well as the conflicting attitudes toward them from everyone, they find themselves tested both on and off duty. A tough sell, but an interesting one…

On the comedy side, first two pilots orders are family ones, as expected. After his controversial exit from Community, Chevy Chase is back at a network with a project he co-produces and stars in with Beverly d’Angelo, his co-star in classical movie National Lampoon’s Vacation. Chev & Bev tells the adventures of two baby boomers who are fun, relevant and living a selfish retirement when their world is turned upside down and they are suddenly left to raise their grandchildren. Both funny and emotional? Second one is a single-camera comedy too, written by famous LGBT activist Dan Savage. It centers on a picture-perfect family that is turned upside down when the youngest son comes out of the closet. What seems like the end of their idyllic life turns out to be the beginning of a bright new chapter when everyone stops pretending to be perfect and actually starts being real.

Expect ABC to order anytime soon around 8 comedy pilots and at least 3 drama ones.

SEE ALL PILOTS ORDERED BY ABC SO FAR