Month: February 2016

2016 PILOT CHARTS

Click to the read the previews

rate rate rate rate rate

No pilot yet.

rate rate rate rate

BRAINDEAD (CBS)

PURE GENIUS (CBS)

CHARITY CASE (FOX)

CHUNK AND BEAN (ABC)

CRUEL INTENTIONS (NBC)

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR (ABC)

DOWNWARD DOG (ABC)

DREAM TEAM (ABC)

DUMB PRINCE (NBC)

IMAGINARY FRIEND (NBC)

MIRANDA’S RIGHTS (NBC)

NO TOMORROW (The CW)

PEARL (ABC)

PITCH (FOX)

POWERLESS (NBC)

PRESENCE (ABC)

RIVERDALE (The CW)

SPEECHLESS (ABC)

SUNSET PPL (NBC)

THE JURY (ABC)

THE MARS PROJECT (The CW)

AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE (ABC)

TIME AFTER TIME (ABC)

THIS IS US (NBC)

WHITE SHEEP (NBC)

rate rate rate

APB (FOX)

BROKEN (ABC)

CHAD: AN AMERICAN BOY (FOX)

CONVICTION (ABC)

CRUNCH TIME (NBC)

DOUBT (CBS)

FREQUENCY (The CW)

FOUR STARS (CBS)

GOOD FORTUNE (NBC)

HAIL MARY (ABC)

HR (FOX)

LETHAL WEAPON (FOX)

IMAGINARY MARY (ABC)

RANDALL & HILDA ARE NOT A COUPLE (ABC)

MARLON (NBC)

ME AND MEAN MARGARET (NBC)

MIDNIGHT, TEXAS (NBC)

MODEL WOMAN (ABC)

MY TIME / YOUR TIME (CBS)

NOTORIOUS (ABC)

RECON (FOX)

REAL GOOD PEOPLE (CBS)

SHOTS FIRED (FOX)

SQUARE ROOTS (ABC)

SPARK (ABC)

STAR (FOX)

STILL STAR-CROSSED (ABC)

SUPERIOR DONUTS (CBS)

THE DEATH OF EVA SOFIA VALDEZ (ABC)

THE ENFORCERS (FOX)

THE KICKER (CBS)

THE MICK (FOX)

TIME (NBC)

TOAST (ABC)

TRAINING DAY (CBS)

WINNING UGLY (FOX)

rate rate

AMERICAN GOTHIC (CBS)

BULL (CBS)

DREW (CBS)

FURST BORN (CBS)

GHOST (The CW)

MACGYVER (CBS)

I’M NOT YOUR FRIEND (CBS)

SEBASTIAN (NBC)

THE EXORCIST (FOX)

THE FLUFFY SHOP (ABC)

THE GREAT INDOORS (CBS)

TRANSYLVANIA (The CW)

URBAN COWBOY (FOX)

BRONX TALE (NBC)

ZOOBIQUITY (FOX)

rate

KEVIN CAN WAIT (CBS)

#PilotSeason 2016 by the numbers, the genres, the genders, the studios & other thoughts

BY THE NUMBERS


ALL DRAMA & COMEDY PILOTS ORDERED BY NETWORKS IN 2016

4


ALL DRAMA PILOTS & STRAIGHT-TO SERIES ORDERED BY YEARS

6

ALL ORDERS BY YEARS & BY NETWORKS       DRAMA & COMEDY PILOTS ORDERED BY YEARS

23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, the overall number of pilots ordered for both dramas and comedies is on par with last year. ABC, NBC & CBS ordered less but that’s compensated with FOX, where they had to order more because of the ending of American Idol; and The CW, even though they don’t really need more, except if they want to schedule shows during the summer and launch more midseason newbies.


ALL DRAMA & COMEDY STRAIGHT-TO SERIES ORDERED BY NETWORKS & YEARS

5

The straight-to-series model is less popular this year, with only one or two at every network. It’s the result of multiple failures with such projects like Heroes Reborn, which was a flop, or the Coach sequel, whose order was cancelled. It’s way more popular at cable or streaming platforms (Netflix only works this way).

 

BY THE GENRES

7

There is only one real trend this year: the legal drama is back! The networks probably realized The Good Wife needed a successor, even before it was officially cancelled by CBS a few days ago. 7 legal pilots were ordered : 3 at ABC, 2 at NBC & 2 at CBS. We can expect at least 3 going to series.

Last year, every network was looking for the next great medical drama but among the pilots ordered few went to series. Now, Code Black disappoints at CBS, Chicago Med does good at NBC and Heartbeat has yet to premiere. Among the medical pilots ordered this year, two are based at CBS again: Bunker Hill & Sensory. The other one is for FOX : Zoobiquity. The detective genre is declining again with only 7 orders but most of the action/thriller pilots have a police element though. The most surprising and diversified slate goes to NBC with a sci-fi drama, a supernatural drama, a legal soap, a soap, a family drama, a medical and an action thriller.

 

COMEDY PILOTS ORDERED BY GENRES & BY NETWORKS              COMEDY PILOTS ORDERED BY GENRES & BY YEARS

8  9

CBS has finally realized they have to focus on multicamera comedies and stop hoping for a success in the single-camera genre. On the contrary, ABC has only one multicamera project this year, probably because Last Man Standing & Dr Ken are doing OK. NBC has a mix of multicamera & single-cam. With The Carmichael Show and Superstore giving them hope for the future, they need to find the perfect companion shows for both of them, in their respective genre. FOX has no multicamera project. Hybrids are still a thing apparently. We’ll see if some them get a series order this time around…

 

BY THE STUDIOS

10

With networks ordering almost exclusively pilots produced in-house now, Warner Bros. Television & Sony Pictures Television have a harder time getting picks-up but hopefully they’re stronger than ever on the cable side. NBC is the only network that gives a better chance to outside-produced projects while ABC has pushed a lot to co-produce the projects not originally based in-house. For their first year in the running, TriStar has landed two co-productions: Model Woman (ABC) & Sensory (CBS).

11

 

BY THE GENDERS

13

It’s the first year that so many projects are centered around women. ABC is always the one ordering most of them but what changed is that CBS & FOX are now interested too. For the record, last year every single FOX drama pilot was male-led. Every single one! This season, 3 are female-led (and 4 comedies). Of course, a vast majority of orders went to duo & ensemble projects.

 

12 V2 (Modif Bunker Hill)

Yes, most of the projects are once again created by men but there’s an improvement, at least with FOX, CBS & The CW. Nothing really changes for ABC & NBC, who always did better. Please not the numbers for female and male directors are not yet available but we’re heading towards an improvement too.

 

OTHER THOUGHTS

 

  • Everybody wants to be ABC!

Before this season’s bad results among the newbies, ABC was very strong on the 18/49 demo last year (and still is) and it inspired the other networks for their developments, especially CBS. Recently gone CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler even revealed to The Hollywood Reporter her dream was to work with Shonda Rhimes. The eye network is trying to be young and beautiful: more feminine, more demo-friendly and more serialized with their orders, despite Supergirl mixed results. The second version of legal drama pilot Doubt, this time with Katherine Heigl, comes from Grey’s Anatomy ex-writers Joan Rater & Tony Philan and could totally have ended up on ABC. The Nancy Drew new version CBS is preparing, with a diverse lead, also looks like a police procedural that ABC could have tried and it also comes from Joan Rater & Tony Philan! Can they get two series order? Summer show American Gothic is a mystery drama in the vein of How To Get Away With Murder, without the Shondaland expertise obviously (Read the preview).

At NBC, Miranda’s Rights totally looks like a legal version of Grey’s Anatomy (something ABC already tried by the way) from the title to the pitch. NBC has yet to premiere Heartbeat, yet another very Shondal-esque medical drama, years after Mercy.

At FOX, female-led dramas are very rare but this season they have multiples ones, among them: Recon from The Vampire Diaries‘ team that resembles Quantico since it’s about a rookie FBI agent who embeds herself in a suspected terrorist family.

Finally, while trying to figure out what’s the next step for comedies on network television, CBS, NBC & FOX bet heavily on family this year, following ABC’s tremendous success in this department. CBS has already tried to replicate Modern Family‘s success with Life In Pieces but the answer was not that good, despite a Big Bang Theory lead-in. Seems like it’s not that easy being ABC.

 

  • No real Empire-effect (yet)

Despite a huge amount of soap projects developed after Empire became a surprise hit for FOX, networks were very shy in ordering any of them to pilot. In fact, only two got their tickets outside of ABC: musical soap Star… from Empire‘s Lee Daniels at FOX; and NBC’s Cruel Intentions sequel. ABC didn’t wait for Empire to develop and order soaps. They do every year. 2016 is no exception with Spark, Notorious, Model Woman, The Death of Eva Sofia Valdez and Still Star-Crossed from Shondaland.

The real Empire effect -but before Empire, ABC paved the way- concerns the casting part with many many shows betting on black or latino leads, especially at FOX. Just remember just 5 years ago, Scandal was the first drama lead by an african-american woman. You got Pitch about a black female pitcher; Shots Fired about a racially-charged murder; Lethal Weapon; APB; Zoobiquity & of course 24: Legacy, with Corey Hawkins playing the “new Jack Bauer”. ABC’s Presence from John Ridley is diverse too; as well as Archie Panjabi in The Jury; Daniel Sunjata in Notorious; and of course the “Eva Sofia Valdez”. CBS is, like always, the black sheep in this matter with only Nancy Drew as of now; plus Jermaine Fowler in Superior Donuts on the comedy side. It’s also through their comedies NBC shows a big push in diversity, after the relative success of Superstore with America Ferrera. They have Marlon, starring Marlon Wayans; Vanessa Hudgens leadind DC’s Powerless; White Sheep about an interracial couple; and mutlicamera comedies Vlad (dominican family) & Sebastian (italian family).

 

  • Kevin Williamson never gives up

Despite Stalker‘s flop in 2014/2015, Kevin Williamson is back stronger than ever with three pick-ups through Warner Bros. Television: ABC’s Time After Time and The Untitled Paranormal Project for The CW, both written by him; and Recon at FOX as an executive producer. And one thing you should know: until now, there’s not a single pilot he wrote and/or produced that wasn’t ordered to series. Not all of them worked (remember Wasteland, Glory Days, Hidden Palms, The Secret Circle…) but it’s still an impressive track record!

 

  • .Greg Berlanti is taking some time off (sort of)

Greg Berlanti, who started his career in Dawson and rised to the top through the years, is with Dick Wolf the buzziest producer out there with an incredible number of shows on the air: Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, The Mysteries of Laura & Blindspot. Last season, he was THE overarchiever of pilot season. This year, not so much. He only has Riverdale at The CW (a pilot script rejected by FOX in 2015) and that’s it! He developed several new projects though, for every network, but none were ordered to pilot. He just became a dad. Maybe it’s time to slow down a little.

 

COMING SOON: PILOT SEASON 2016 BY THE CITIES

SCOOP: Ryan Murphy’s working on yet another show called “Feud”

Ryan Murphy of “The Normal Heart” accept the award for outstanding television movie at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)

 

On top of American Horror Story, American Crime Story, Scream Queens -all three of them renewed for another round- always buzzy Ryan Murphy is expected to add another series to his plate named Feud, which totally sounds like a Murphy show indeed…

Possibly envisioned as an anthology series with a new “feud” at the center of every season, the period drama is the result of a new collaboration between Ryan Murphy Productions (based at 20th Century FOX Television where Murphy is under an overall deal) and Bratt Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment, after HBO Emmy winning movie The Normal Heart in 2014. The first season revolves around the true story of the infamous career-long battle between screen legends Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, focusing on the on-set experience of the only film they ever made together : Whatever happened to Baby Jane.

Plan B’s Dede Gardner is producing alongside Murphy and Murphy’s frequent collaborator Alexis Martin Woodall, with a pilot script written by playwright Michael Zam & comedian Jaffe Cohen, who are also penning together the movie Kate, about Katherine Hepburn as a young actress trying to make her way in Hollywood. No cable/streaming platform is attached to the shopped-around project at this point but pre-production has already started for a July start. And something tells me it wouldn’t be far-fetched to imagine Jessica Lange in one of the roles…

Pitch (FOX) pilot preview: Empire, sports edition

KULIE

Created by Dan Fogelman (GalavantThe Neighbors, Crazy Stupid Love, Tangled) & Rick Singer (Younger, American Dad!, Suddenly Susan).Directed by Paris Barclay (Sons of Anarchy, In Treatment, Cold Case, NYPD Blue). Executive produced by Dan Fogelman, Paris Barclay, Tony Bill (Flyboys), Helen Bartlett & Rick Singer. For FOX, 20th Century FOX Television & Rhode Island Ave. Productions. 60 pages.

Description: The incredible story of Ginny Bakera young female pitcher who defies the odds when she becomes the first woman to play in the major baseball leagues. She now has to deal with celebrity-every little girl in America want to be her growing up- and her teammates, who are not happy having a woman on the field…

With Kylie Bunbury (Twisted, Under The Dome), Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Franklin & Bash, NYPD Blue, Saved by the Bell), Ali Larter (Heroes), Mark Consuelos (Kingdom, All My ChildrenMo McRae (Wild, The Butler, Sons of Anarchy), Meagan Holder, Tim Jo (The Neighbors)…

rate rate rate rate

Here’s a tip for aspiring writers out there: read at least once a script written by Dan Fogelman, whether it’s for his movies or series. You’ll learn a lot. This man has something special that’s always great on the page. And most of the time, it turns into something great on the screen too. Funny, emotional, offbeat: those are the three words that describe his work best. This pilot season, he got two orders: one for dramedy Thirty-Six at NBC (Read the preview) and one for baseball drama Pitch at FOX, he co-wrote with Rick Singer. Don’t know what’s gonna happen if both are picked-up to series, but it would be great news for us, viewers. For the networks, it’s another story.

So far, his series were critically acclaimed (not instantly for The Neighbors, quickly for Galavant) but didn’t become hits. And that’s because he’s hugely talented that he’s still there. Clearly. You don’t get that many chances when you’re not. With Pitch he is onto something. FOX surely hopes it could become a big hit like Empire. Like an “Empire: Sports Edition”. It seems like it was conceived as such. They definitely share something. Did they ask him to create a show around baseball when he signed an exclusive deal with 20th Century FOX Television? Wouldn’t be far-fetched actually. If Pitch and Empire are paired on the schedule, then magic could happen! And if FOX uses the Baseball World Series to launch it, chances are getting bigger and bigger for it to become huge. It all makes sense in a purely strategic perspective. But if the show’s not good, then nothing’s gonna happen.

I’m not a sports person and certainly not a baseball person. However, I found this pilot about a female pitcher really interesting. Probably because it’s written by him. Somebody else would probably treat the same subject with way too much seriousness. It’s not what he did. He’s funny, so the script is funny. He’s sensitive, so the script is sensitive. And well, maybe it’s not as offbeat as his previous comedies but a few characters are a bit weird though. So if you like what he did before, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t enjoy Pitch. And honestly, it’s hard not to fall in love with our heroin, Ginny Baker, like America did in the story. She has a life story that will make you whimper a little. And she’s admirable for who she is and what she represents: a woman breaking the glass ceiling in the male dominated world of baseball. Will male viewers accept her best than her teammates? That’s the only real question. Sexism is a powerful force…

Fogelman describes her as “Hillary Clinton with sex appeal”, “a Kardashian with a skill set”. I thought you should know. And she’s black. I have to point it because of my Empire comparison. The cast is meant to be diverse with a focus on afro-americans, which is logical because of the context of the show. That’s one common point. The other one being the treatment of the subject of fame. She’s not a celebrity, she’s a star, whether she likes it or not, and she has now a whole team around her, following her every step, to make sure she doesn’t make any mistakes publicly. Amelia Slater (Ali Larter) is her PR guru/protector and she’s funny as hell; Eliot Berger works with her and helps to manage Ginny’s social media accounts, and he’s cool. Then you have her brother, her mother, and her teammates/haters, one of whom being a player she admired a lot…before she met him. They all form an interesting group of characters we don’t get to see much on scripted television since series about sports are rare.

Network executives tend to think TV series about sports are too “niche” to please a huge crowd (Friday Night Lights was, it’s true). Which doesn’t really make sense since live sports get the biggest ratings on television! Pitch is here to prove the genre is not doomed. With the right angle and the right writers, everything is possible!  Baseball fans AND non-baseball fans could enjoy the show so much… FOX’s better bet on it and defy the odds!

Charity Case (FOX) pilot preview: Barbie Town with Courteney Cox

court

Created by Robert Padnick (The Office, Man Seeking Woman). Directed by James Griffiths (Episodes, Cooper Barrett’s Guide, Blackish). Executive produced by Robert Padnick & Courteney Cox. For FOX, 20th Century FOX Television & ABC Studios. 38 pages.

Description: When Hailey inherits her late billionaire husband’s charity, the Waller Foundation, she quickly finds that changing the world is far less glamorous than she had imagined. With her team of assistants/nannies, she tries to become a good person…

With Courteney Cox (Friends, Cougar Town, Scream), Kyle Bornheimer (Worst Week, Angel From Hell), Dan Gill (Paranormal Activity 5, The Wedding Ringer), Isiah Whitlock Jr. (The Wire, Veep)…

rate rate rate rate

In case Courteney Cox happens to read this preview -you never know! she can google her name- I won’t talk about her multiple surgeries and her sad clown/dead Michael Jackson/Scream‘s Ghostface face. It would be mean. Good news though: the role of Hailey in Charity Case goes perfectly with her new look since she’s playing a very selfish and materialistic rich woman, nicknamed “Philanthropist Barbie” by her son-in-law (of the same age)/new boss, who hates her. After neurotic Monica in Friends and cray-cray Jules in Cougar Town, it feels like an interesting new playing field for the actress, even though I fear it doesn’t last long enough. But you never know. Who would have thought Cougar Town could stay on the air for 6 seasons?

I really enjoyed reading the script of Charity Case -the opening scene is hilarious, many lines made me laugh, secondary characters are more than okay, a number of situations still light up my face when I think about it- but I’m confused about the longtime perspective of such a project, especially on FOX. The thing is, it’s a bit like The Office meets Bad Judge/Bad Teacher. The marriage between an ensemble show that was a success for years with this kind of comedy centered around one prominent character looking for redemption that never works. You got this really promising set of characters with an efficient dynamics – the new idealistic assistant; the cynical colleague; the cold-capitalist boss; the high-stressed communications director- and this woman, played by a well-known and loved actress, who takes the whole space and leaves nothing much to the others. It’s a bit of a waste.

The best thing that could happen to Charity Case would be taking the Cougar Town route by becoming more of a real ensemble with every character treated equally. Because, once again, there’s potential here but not if it’s all about Hailey vs. her stooges. Plus, the charity world has not been at the center of anything on scripted TV so far, it’s interesting to explore it with a hint of cynicism like it’s the case here.

Charity Case is not a lost cause. Actually, it looks like a pretty good case to give a chance to. It’s a solid vehicle for Courteney Cox -and we only wish her the best, really, but maybe it’s soon to come back though- but it’s probably not the big broad comedy FOX is desperately looking for…

 

READ MATT LE BLANC’S PILOT PREVIEW

I’m Not Your Friend (CBS) pilot preview: Say hello (and goodbye) to Daddy Le Blanc!

MATTLE

Created by JeffJackie Filgo (That ’70s Show, Old Christine). Directed by James Burrows (2 Broke Girls, Friends, Will & Grace, Frasier, Cheers). Produced by Matt LeBlanc, Michael Rotenberg (Silicon ValleyIt’s always sunny in Philadelphia, Everybody hates Chris), Troy Zien, Jeff & Jackie Filgo. For CBS, CBS Television Studios & 3 Arts Entertainment. 48 pages.

Description: a contractor learns that raising his kids is more challenging than expected when his wife goes back to work and he has to take care of the little monsters by himself all day long…

With Matt Le Blanc (Friends, Joey, Episodes), Jenna Fischer (The Office, You Me and the Apocalypse)…

rate rate

If you’ve never seen an episode of Episodes, then you haven’t seen what Matt LeBlanc is capable of. Unfortunately, it’s not in I’m Not Your Friend you’ll see him doing something new or innovative. Except it could be weird for a few minutes to watch him in a multicamera sitcom again, in front of a live audience, not as plain stupid Joey Tribiani but as a dad. A dad like many others on TV: “masculine” and “old school”. Yep, that’s the way his character is described in the script. So original. And for the record, the wife is “smart” and “adorable”. And younger than him. Even if the “stay-at-home” dad part can be seen as progress -from 10 years ago- it doesn’t sound like this sitcom will bring anything new to the table. One good news though: with more or less the same pitch, it’s better than Kevin James’ direct-to-series terrible comedy Kevin Can Wait, also for CBS (Read the preview). And it says a lot about the state of sitcoms on the channel…

See, my main problem with this project is that in the BBC/Showtime show, Matt Le Blanc played a reckless version of himself and he was fun, showing another side of his talent. It turned out he was not the one trick pony we all thought he was. He was able to make fun of himself with dignity, even if this Matt Le Blanc had none. He got my respect for that. But now, doing this crappy sitcom is a huge step back! I know he has to make money and take care of his family but I really feel like he took the first pilot he was asked for. More patience wouldn’t have hurt. CBS is said to be high on the project (giving Le Blanc a series commitment for 13 episodes). What did they and he see in it I didn’t? Still searching…

Maybe I’m too harsh, maybe that’s the kind of comforting sitcom you’re happy to watch with your family on the couch. But compared to Modern Family or The Goldbergs or Fresh Off The Boat or The Middle or Blackish, well any comedy on ABC, it’s totally outdated. It could appeal somehow to old people, nostalgic of Everybody Loves Raymond, but it’s not even as good as these old sitcoms were! And last time I checked, the goal of CBS was to rejuvenate their offer. Do I sound angry? I am. I don’t know what to tell you about the story or the characters. It’s what you expect from this kind of same old pitch: daddy stays at home and discovers it’s hard to take care of children and it’s not rewarding being the bad cop; while mommy is very happy to get her job back, and the kisses and the hugs at the end of the day. Yes, you can do 100 tired episodes of this but few people will want to watch them. There are a few good jokes, especially when Adam is at his children’s school, but that’s it. At least, if Matt Le Blanc is good in it and has a good chemistry with his partners, then it could be okay-ish.

I’m Not Your Friend is a bad vehicle for Matt Le Blanc returning to network comedy. He deserved better after 5 years of the excellent Episodes. Clearly, he’s not our friend Joey anymore.

 

READ COURTENEY COX’S PILOT PREVIEW