Tag: cbs

The Get (CBS) pilot preview: This is not fake News!

Written and produced by Bridget Carpenter (11.22.63, Westworld, Friday Night Lights, Parenthood). Directed by James Strong (Broadchurch, Doctor Who). For CBS Television Studios. 60 pages. Clean Draft.

Description: A team of tireless Internet journalists from the website The Get pursue and expose stories of injustice using their unconventional investigative techniques in today’s anything-goes world of reporting…

With Amy Brenneman (The Leftovers, Reign, Private Practice, Amy), Brad Garrett (Fargo, ‘Til Death, Everybody Loves Raymond), Emayatzy Corinealdi (Hand of God, Roots), Jeananne Goossen (The Night Shift, The Following), Alex Fitzalan, Michael Rady (UnREAL, Jane The Virgin, Swingtown), Claire Forlani (Meet Joe Black, Rock, Camelot)…

   

You’ll like it if you already like: The Newsroom, The Good Wife…

Likely timeslot: Sunday at 9, Wednesday at 10


When CBS picked-up The Get a few weeks ago, I breathe a huge sigh of relief. I’m hoping for a network drama about journalism for years. There were a few projects in the past–among them two produced by Shonda Rhimes, Correspondents & Inside the Box– but none of them ever went to series. And of course there was HBO’s The Newsroom written by Aaron Sorkin, which was half-baked but mostly good. It’s a head-scratcher quite frankly. It’s such a perfect workplace to make a great drama (or a great soap)! What are the producers waiting for exactly? Since journalism is in danger these days (a serious study said recently that newspaper reporter is the “worst job”), more than ever in this new political environment, it’d be important to have such a show on the air. The Get may not be the ideal version of it, it’s not exactly what I had in mind, but it’s definitely something I’d watch on a weekly basis, though obviously a series order looks like a long shot.

The Get is the title of the show, but it also refers to the website inside the show. Three of the most important journalists of the team are women, which looks like a real statement from the writer, Bridget Carpenter. Meet first the steeled and determined Ellen (played by the excellent Amy Brenneman), who has been known to push boundaries in order to find the truth. She has a backstory about her father, who works for the LAPD. Then there’s Noelle, a fearless journalist who never backs down from a story she cares about. In the pilot, she works on a case of a woman who fakes pregnancies in order to get money from desperate couples who are looking to adopt a baby. Finally, there’s Isa, the senior producer at The Get and a tech-savvy researcher. They are joined by a fresh face, Alex, a young man who was a discreet and observant intern until he found THE story that got him a regular job; and their boss, Bill (played by Brad Garrett), a hardworking reporter who has spent his life working up to the position of executive producer.

It’s a really promising and functional group on paper. They are instantly likable without playing it nice all the time. Plus, they have more than their The Get’s stories to tell, things more personal that will help serialize the show a little bit if it’s ordered to series. Until then, the pilot is mostly procedural, with two cases tackled with energy and fearlessness. It’s efficient, captivating and inspirational. They often operate undercover with hidden cameras, which could give a different atmosphere to the series visually. Think Person of Interest for example. But let’s be real: in the end, it works exactly like a cop show with detectives replaced by journalists. They help solve a case AND make a great story of their own. I feel like they could become more ambitious later, add layers, maybe with more serialized cases over multiple episodes, but in order to convince CBS, they’d better start straight and simple. They clearly have more cards to play over time. 

The Get is not exactly an innovative offer from CBS since it works like many of their cop shows but without cops. That being said it’s different and timely enough to warrant a series order. It gives a little bit of hope and a sense of justice that we desperately need. Plus, it shows that journalism can be important, IS important when it’s more than rumors, gossips and fake news. 

Perfect Citizen (CBS) pilot preview: The Good Whistleblower

Written and executive produced by Craig Turk (The Good Wife, Boston Legal, Private Practice). Directed by Paris Barclay (Sons of Anarchy, Pitch, NYPD Blue, Cold Case). For CBS Television Studios & Thinking Hat Productions. 65 pages. Second Network Draft. 01/17/17.

Description:  After his involvement as a whistleblower in an international scandal, Deck Parsons, the former general counsel for the NSA embarks on a new career at a storied law firm in Boston where his daughter works. Once there, he must face the reality that half the country thinks he’s our greatest patriot, the other half thinks he’s a traitor and so do his colleagues and clients…

With Noah Wyle (ER, Falling Skies, The Librarian), Kristin Chenoweth (The West Wing, Glee, Pushing Daisies), Brian Stokes Mitchell (Mr Robot, Glee), Lenny Platt (How to Get Away With Murder, Quantico), Adrienne Warren, Stephanie Szostack (Satisfaction), Shanley Caswell (NCIS New Orleans)…

   

You’ll like if you already like: The Good Wife, The Good Fight, Damages

Likely timeslot: Sunday at 9

 

Quick résumé of Craig Turk, a writer you may not know: he’s a former attorney, he got hist first writer job at Boston Legal, then worked with Shonda Rhimes on Private Practive, and he joined The Good Wife in 2012, originally as a consulting producer and later as an executive producer. He even emerged as a trusted number 2 and heir apparent to creators Robert and Michelle King, tipped to succeed them as showrunner should the series had continued beyond seven seasons. Which thankfully didn’t happen. He could have joined the spin–off The Good Fight but he prefered creating his own stuff for CBS Television Studios where he is under an overall deal. And here we are. Perfect Citizen looks like a solid legal drama, which is not surprising; but the more I read the pilot script the more I was under the impression it was a carbon copy of The Good Wife. Take it as both a compliment and a warning.

The Good Wife is undoubtedly one of the greatest legal dramas ever made. Period. It was really strong for a longtime and even though I’m not a big supporter of the last two more political seasons, it was still incredible. 5-6 episodes in, The Good Fight is also a strong and even important show. Do we need another series in the same vein right now? It may be too soon. Perfect Citizen is not a lesser The Good Wife. It has a ton of potential. And The Good Wife was not the greatest from the get go. They needed a few episodes to get their groove on. With The Good Wife paving the way, Perfect Citizen starts big using the same plot devices in a similar environment with different characters but characters who would have fit perfectly at Lockhart/Gardner. Since it’s written the same way, the only person that may give the show a distinctive feel is the director. Paris Barclay never worked on The Good Wife or any other legal drama. He’s mostly known for his directing on Sons of Anarchy, a very different series obviously. I’m hopeful he will add something, his own thing, to the mix.

I don’t want to sound obsessed by The Good Wife -though I might be- but I just want to tell you how much Perfect Citizen is the same kind of beast. Of course, there’s the fact that they chose an ex-ER alumn to play the lead in both cases. It also starts with a scandal -of a different nature- and put the principal character, Deck Parsons, in the spotlight. Alicia Florrick was not responsible for what happened to her. Deck is. Not entirely, but still. Like her, he has to go back to work as a lawyer in a firm where he has ties. Will Gardner was Alicia’s old friend since law school and a powerful man in Chicago. Here, Paul, one of the partners, is Deck’s best friend since law school, a powerful ally and Boston power broker. And then there’s Jessica Hellsbury played by the brilliant Kristin Chenoweth. She’s the heartbeat of the firm and got her name on the door by outworking and out thinking the Ivy Leaguers. She’s different from Diane Lockhart if you look at the details but she has the same kind of personality and she gets the same respect from her colleagues. Honestly, I could go on and on. Deck has an assistant, Ingrid, who’s his Kalinda. There’s Felix Reyes, the self-proclaimed “Alpha Associate” at the firm. As charming, brilliant, ambitious and pretentious as a certain Cary Agos. And there’s a strong family element to the show since Deck’s daughter is part of the firm while his brother “Buddy” is in the picture too. It may lacks a clear love interest but there are possibilities.

The case of the first episode -there’s only one- is very much a tell of nowadays with a telecom giant named TwoTwig which doesn’t want to give the personal informations they have on the whereabouts and communications of a missing 18 year-old girl to the lawyers. It’s efficient and absorbing. The courtroom scenes are captivating. That’s what the show is aiming for: stories that are political, controversial, that say a lot about the society we’re living in, about our governments, about the lack of privacy due to new technologies, but that never forget they’re about people, living and breathing men and women like you and me. Deck Parsons is the “perfect” Edward Snowden-like character to vehicle those big ideas and views about the world. Of course, the show itself is political and there’s one villain introduced in the very first minutes: Attorney General Fran Davids. She was a good friend of Deck until he commited what she considers as treason. Now they’re bitter enemies. That’s the main serialized story we’re offered for now. And it’s exciting.

Perfect Citizen could have been called The Good Whistleblower. It’s following the steps of The Good Wife with an impressing precision and an indeniable talent. It’s not a game-changer legal drama and it doesn’t sound like a future mega-hit for CBS but critics will love it and people who love high-end television series will have a ball.

Wisdom of the Crowd (CBS) pilot preview: Wisdom would have been not picking it up!

Written and produced by Ted Humphrey (The Unit, The Good Wife, Incorporated). Executive produced by Alon Shtruzman (DIG), Peter Traugott (Samantha Who?), Rachel Kaplan (Manhattan Love Story, Do No Harm), Avi Nir (Homeland, Tyrant), Dror Mishani,  & Shira Hadad. Directed by Adam Davidson (Fear the Walking Dead, Hell On Wheels, Community). For CBS Television Studios, Universal Television & Keshet Studios. 63 pages. Network Draft. 01/23/17.

Description: Jeffrey Tanner, a successful tech innovator from Silicon Valley, creates a cutting edge crowd-sourcing hub named CrowdSolver to solve his own daughter’s murder, as well as revolutionizing crime solving in San Francisco. Tommy Cavanaugh, a tough cop for 16 years, reluctantly accepts to run the place…

With Jeremy Piven (Entourage, Mr Selfridge), Richard T. Jones (Judging Amy, Santa Clarita Diet, The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Blake Lee (Mixology), Monica Potter (Parenthood, Boston Legal)…

 

You’ll like if you already like: The Mentalist, Bull, APB, Pure Genius

Likely timeslot: Anywhere on CBS quite frankly.

 

I have a feeling you’re not interested in this script preview. Well guess what? Me neither. So I’m gonna keep it short and direct (and thank you for reading it anyway). It’s one of those CBS procedurals that give you so much of a “déjà vu” impression that even if it’s effective and moving at an appropriate pace, it still feels tired, unnecessary and boring. So I won’t bore you with too many details. How many more white handsome rich guys with exceptional skills and a deep dark wound -which is always a dead relative, here a daughter- will we have to endure? Now that the initial charm has worn off, isn’t it time to put it to rest for like… forever? Police procedurals need to reinvent themselves and as recent flops like CSI:CyberAPB (or Pure Genius in the medical area) suggest, using high-tech isn’t the solution. It certainly helps giving a modern feel to the projects, but it never make them special.

This season, CBS provided us with Bull. The legal drama is starring Michael Weatherly and is protected in the timeslot that immediately follows NCIS, where the actor spent 13 years of this career. Very smart scheduling obviously. So of course, it’s doing okay numbers. But not great numbers, not exactly what the network expected I guess. Same for MacGyver. It does a decent job for friday nights but it’s not a hit. To me, it proves this concept has been overused and is progressively dying. CBS only ordered two of these this pilot season, meaning they more or less took into account the rejection. The other one is Instinct with Alan Cumming that I already wrote about (HERE) and which is better. Funnier. And more distinctive.

The thing is Wisdom of the Crowd is an Israeli concept that has been sold to CBS and it shows. It doesn’t sound like a script that comes from the mind of its writer, it doesn’t sound like something personal or something that has been thoughtfully prepared for weeks or even months. It’s just a product he’s trying to sell us, carefully following what he has been asked. It’s just a job he’s paid for. There’s no life or passion between those lines. It leaves you unimpressed.

The main investigation checks the usual boxes meticulously, without surprising us a bit. Yes, it’s easy to read and probably comfortable to watch but it never challenges the viewer. I’d like to think we’re smarter than that. The main character also checks the usual boxes, except he’s not even fun. I have to admit I’m not a big Jeremy Piven fan. It doesn’t help imagining him in the role, but I guess he fits right in the part and he looks like the traditional CBS leading man. Secondary characters are non-existent and there’s a fuzzy political storyline regarding Jeffrey’s ex-wife that is unpromising.

Wisdom of the Crowd is yet another uninspired CBS police procedural script that’d be better left in a drawer or thrown in a trash can. It would have been a convincing option 5 or 6 years ago but we’ve been there too many times since then. 

Instinct (CBS) pilot preview: Crime drama lovers, your next obsession is “Cumming”

Written and produced by Michael Raunch (Royal Pains, Life is Wild). Based on James Patterson‘s novel. Also produced by Alan Cumming, Alex Kurtzman (Scorpion, Hawaii 5-0, Limitless, Fringe, Alias), Bill Robinson (Zoo, Pasadena), Leopoldo Gout (Zoo) & Heather Kadin (Scorpion, Sleepy Hollow, Limitless). Directed by Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man, 500 Days of Summer, Limitless). For CBS Television Studios, Secret Hideout & Patterson Entertainment. 65 pages. January 14, 2017 Draft.

Description: Dylan Reinhart, a former CIA operative who has since built a “normal” life as a gifted professor, writer and husband, is pulled back into his old life when the NYPD needs his help to stop a serial killer on the loose. He teams up now with foxy Detective Lizzie Needham, who needs a solid partner since she lost the one who also was her fiancée, and she certainly could use a friend too…

With Alan Cumming (The Good Wife, Web Therapy, Spy Kids), Bojana Novakovic (Satisfaction Rake, Shameless US), Naveen Andrews (Lost, Sense8,), Daniel Ings (Lovesick, Psychoville), Khandi Alexander (Scandal, Treme, CSI Miami, ER), Sarita Choudhoury (Homeland, Blindspot, Hunger Games), Whoopi Goldberg as recurring, Casey Cott (Riverdale) as guest…

  

You’ll like it if you already like: CastleThe Mentalist, Elementary, Bones…

Likely timeslot: Sunday at 9 or Thursday at 10

 

Is this the year when CBS will finally go out of their comfort zone to explore new territory and maybe attract a younger crowd? From what I’ve read so far, the answer is no. You’ve read the description above: Instinct, as the title suggests, is nowhere near something fresh and original. It looks like the same ol’ crime drama we’ve seen on CBS (and anywhere else) a thousand times before. It checks the boxes one by one, meticulously. There’s only one thing that makes it different. One important thing. But let me check the boxes with you first. Let’s see…

A male lead: check. ‘cos yes, 90% of CBS dramas AND comedies are led by a man. They were particularly criticized for it last year but they apparently still don’t give a fuck. A WHITE male lead: check. ‘cos let’s not forget CBS doesn’t seem to be too keen on the diversity trend that television is experiencing right now. Are they racists? Probably not. Do they think their viewers are racist? It’s likely. The good point though is that Alan Cumming, who’s playing the hero here may be a white man, he’s not your typical CBS leading man. Those who have seen him on stage or on The Good Wife as the hilarious and unforgettable Eli Gold, already know that.

A white male lead who’s playing a brilliant, gifted and know-it-all character: check. Dylan Reinhart is exactly like Richard Castle -he happens to be a writer too- or Patrick Jane, or Sherlock “Elementary” Holmes, or Jason Bull. He has these incredible skills that help him see what everyone else doesn’t see. And it makes him act like a pretentious douchebag most of the time. Yeah but he can be sweet too. And the poor baby suffered in his life. So everything’s okay at the end of the day. A white male lead who’s playing a brilliant, gifted and know-it-all character WITH A WRY SENSE OF HUMOR: check! Of course he’s funny. Of course he cracks jokes every other line. That’s what makes such a standart show watchable and even enjoyable. I have no doubt about the fact that a comedian like Alan Cumming is talented enough and special enough to turn a basic procedural into a not-to-be-missed TV appointment. At least for those who like crime dramas and who want more.

And then there’s the female partner. Who’s a bad ass that never takes no as an answer. Who’s fearless. Who’s so strong on the outside and so damaged and lonely on the inside… We already know her story even before she tells it. It’s lazy writing at best. What else can I say about her? She has a great chemistry with Dylan on paper, their newfound relationship starts on the wrong foot but quickly turns into something promising that is both entertaining and heartwarming to watch. And that’s where it finally differs from Castle, Bones and other crime dramas that came before Killer Instinct: there never will be a “Will they? Won’t they? situation” between the leads. Because Dylan is gay (Cumming is bisexual). Yeah! The white male lead who’s playing a brilliant, gifted and know-it-all character with a wry sense of humor is GAY. On CBS. That’s a first! And he’s into a relationship. He’s even married, we meet his husband and they’re determined to have a baby. Finally something progressist on this network (if it’s ordered to series). Oh and I didn’t talk about the investigation part. Let’s just say it’s effective, nothing more, nothing less.

Instinct follows the rules of what a crime drama is supposed to be on network television, which will we please those who are fans of the genre, with little space to add something distinctive. They took this space though and gave it to Alan Cumming, hoping he will make it his own. That remains to be seen but there’s a good chance the show becomes a little more interesting than your typical CBS procedural thanks to his personality and indeniable talent. But is he popular enough to make it a hit? That’s a question CBS will have to deal with at some point and the answer might seal the deal…

PILOT WHISPERER: New edition #PilotSeason

First published on December, 07

2017 pilot season officially started yesterday when ABC ordered political comedy pilot Libby & Malcolm starring Felicity Huffman and Courtney B. Vance as we reported 3 weeks ago. Other comedies are nearing pilot orders while deals are being worked out.

 

At ABC, the next one on the list is Rapper Mayor / Untitled City Mayor Project, that could be descrided as a comedic version of hit Designated Survivor. It is about Courtney Rose, a talented but struggling hip-hop artist, who runs for mayor to promote his mixtape – and wins. The guy is a quitenssential optimistic, a dreamer through and through. He’s the coolest, most fun dude in town, and if you don’t believe it, just ask him and he’ll tell you… It’s created by Jeremy Bronson, writer and producer on The Mindy Project and Speechless, and produced by Jamie Tarses (Happy Endings) for ABC Studios. The casting for the leading man is underway. PICKED-UP

The multicamera comedy project Documenting Love, sort of a Mad About You new generation has a pilot production commitment, as well as thriller drama Doomsday from Sony Pictures Television about a secret think tank featuring the most creative minds in science and entertainment that is tasked with dreaming up man-made disaster scenarios and their possible solutions. PICKED-UP  DTLA, about a celebrity choreographer who must fight to protect her status, family, business and secrets, is heating up. The Untitled Marc Cherry drama with Reba McEntire is already ordered to pilot.

Comedy Start Up starring Zach Braff is inching closer to a pick-up PICKED-UP, as well as Splitting Up Together produced by Ellen De Generes  PICKED-UP and Charlie Foxtrot from Aaron Kaplan PICKED-UP. A not-yet-announced project starring basketball player Jalen Rose, Jalen vs Everybody, and written by Nahnatchka Khan, is heating up. PICKED-UP

 

At CBS, the Untitled Chris Distefano Hybrid Comedy Project is heating up. Written and produced by How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays & Craig Thomas. Inspired by comedian Chris Distefano’s life story, the hybrid project is centered on Izzy and Chris, two 20-somethings who are raising their newborn daughter and merging their loud families – one Puerto Rican, one Italian… PICKED-UP

Me, Myself and I is also on the map. The single-camera comedy which examines one man’s life over a 50-year span, somewhat in the vein of movie Boyhood, has a put pilot. PICKED-UP And of course, the order for The Big Bang Theory spin-off Sheldon is just a formality. UPDATE: World Wide Webbs, a comedy about a family who became rich and famous thank to their daily video blogs, is on tracks for an order.

On the drama side, quirky cop show Magnolia Springs about a sheriff and his teenage son solving crimes in a small city is gearing up towards a pick-up, casting is underway. Firewall, a new procedural from Mentalist creator, is also hot. Luc Besson’s Hunch, about a LAPD detective who begrudgingly teams up with a celebrity psychic who, unfortunately, is also his ex-wife, should get the nod soon; as well as Justin Lin’s SWAT,  a reboot of the 1970s series billed as an intense, action-packed procedural following an African-American SWAT lieutenant torn between loyalty to the streets and duty to his fellow officers. PICKED-UP

 

At NBC, while Amy Poehler’s off-cyle pilot The Baby starring Seann William Scott will shoot in a few days, the Untitled Kourtney Kang Comedy produced by Fresh Off The Boat creator Nahnatchka Khan is red hot. It explores what it’s like to grow up as the only girl in the only mixed race family in the suburbs of Philadelphia, dealing with real-world issues like race and gender while never losing focus of her life goal… to become a Laker Girl like her idol, Paula Abdul. PICKED-UP

In the drama department, the peacock has medical drama Salvation directed by Paul Haggis awaiting green light. It is billed as the first real-time hospital “extreme event” show, capturing the life-and-death choices nurses, PA’s and other front-line caregivers make as they struggle to provide care and triage. PICKED-UP Legal drama Blood Defense, based on Marcia Clark’s book about a relentless criminal attorney, is red hot for a pick-up, as well as Family Honor, from Matt Reeves, a police procedural told through the eyes of four diverse foster sisters. The Last Policeman is close to a pick-up. It follows a detective in New Hampshire during the final years of civilization as a catastrophe-level asteroid hurtles toward the planet. Heavy serialized legal drama Flight Risk from John Wells is also considered. Drama High, an high-school drama with musical elements written and produced by Jason Katims (Parenthood) with Hamilton producers Jeffrey Seller & Flody Suarez is red hot. PICKED-UP Last drama pilot order at NBC should go to Redliners, adapted from Charlaine Harris’ short stories, that mixes romance and espionnage about a pair of former spies living in suburbia who are reactivated when a failed hit on one of them leaves the assassin dead. PICKED-UP

 

At FOX, DC’s Black Lightning is almost a done deal PICKED-UP AT THE CW, as is Matt Nix’s untitled family superhero drama at Marvel in the X-Men Universe PICKED-UP. The network is just waiting for the final pilot script. Dr House creator David Shore could be back at FOX with an untitled project about a professional spy who teams up with an enterprising civilian to solve cases here and abroad. Control, by Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joyce, is heating up.

Comedy Thin Ice from New Girl creator is already ordered to pilot. Other comedy heating up is Turned On, directed by Paul Feig, about a brilliant but awkward engineer who creates an android who spirals out of control… The Untitled Wresting Comedy produced by Dwayne Johnson, Will Ferrell & Adam McKay, is also very much on the map.

 

At The CW the Charmed reboot seems to be a priority. Searchers pilot from The 100 creator Jason Rothenberg & Greg Berlanti is a sure thing, with a shooting expected to take place in South Africa. PICKED-UP Transience produced by Ian Somerhalder, is heating up, as well as LA Demonic for Warner Bros.

 

More to come…

CBS’s 20 most exciting projects for 2017/2018 pilot season

 

The following article is based on descriptions mixed wih talents attached ONLY. None of the scripts have been read at this point. 


CBS’s needs for next season

  • More diversity at every level: in their casts with more people of colour, more women at the center, more gay/bi/transgender characters with stories of their own. Avoid the same old white man temptation they’re always falling for. That’s the best way to be relevant again and attract the millenials before old people die and no one watch the network anymore. Okay, there’s still time but still.
  • Finding the next great legal drama now The Good Wife is gone.
  • Cancelling Code Black, which is definitely not working, and maybe giving the medical genre some rest for now.
  • Stop messing around with their comedies. They should treat reliable players (2 Broke Girls, Mom) a bit better.
  • Trying to repopulate saturdays where there is still a portion of (old) viewers available.

CBS is having kind of a tough year after an horrible development season -especially in the comedy department- terrible reviews for most of their new shows and not so smart a schedule. Ratings are going down slowly and it’s not gonna stop. They need to react now before it’s too late. They need to rejuvenate their dramas by bringing some diversity; in other words: they need to stop playing it safe and embrace modernity.

Even though MacGyver is doing okay on friday, even though Bull proved very compatible with the NCIS audience, those shows don’t look that promising from a longtime perspective. At the same time, older shows like NCIS & NCIS: New Orleans are aging; Criminal Minds clearly can’t lose any more cast members and needs to move. Newer entry Scorpion is already doing worrying numbers after only 3 years. Elementary can be considered as dead now (and has been dead walking for a long time). Madam Secretary does a satisfying job on a tough night but never got the same critical reception as The Good Wife and won’t be saved when it’s gonna get tougher. Pure Genius is dead. Code Black is almost dead with a desperate reboot that didn’t change a thing to its ratings. As for the comedies, The Odd Couple should’t have been renewed by the look of its recent numbers; The Great Indoors is a flop; Kevin Can Wait is already loosing steam but manages to stay at an okay level; Man with a plan is very lead-in dependent and disappoints.

Things are looking brighter for NCIS: Los Angeles, which got a nice push by moving to sunday night; Hawaii Five-O is having a good season for reasons unknown and shouldn’t go this year as previously guessed; Blue Bloods is still a beast on fridays; The Big Bang Theory is still going strong; Mom is doing okay given the situation, as well as 2 Broke Girls and Life In Pieces, which surprises a bit by not doing that bad. Midseason shows don’t look good, especially Training Day which will probably take the Rush Hour route. Doubt has a better chance but will probably be impacted by its weakened lead-in. Ransom is dumped on saturday, officially to see if there’s still an audience on this night for low-budget fare. Pretty interesting move. The most promising show seems to be sitcom Superior Donuts, which should be given the best chance with the post-TBBT slot.

DRAMAS

 

BLACK BOOK (CBS Television Studios)

What? about a Chicago detective with amnesia from a near-fatal gunshot who learns he is a murder suspect, but realizes things may not be what they seem when he finds a mysterious black book that contains the secrets of the city.

Why? Doesn’t look like your typical CBS cop show. So that’s a good thing. Is the concept strong enough? It will depend on what kind of “secrets” they are talking about and how much time this part of the show will be dealt with. Since the title is Black Book, I guess it won’t be this kind of procedurals which uses their serialized elements only twice a year.

 

DR DEATH / KILLER INSTINCT (CBS Television Studios) Picked-up

What? a former CIA operative (Alan Cumming) who has since built a normal life as a gifted professor and writer is pulled back into his old life when the NYPD needs his help to stop a serial killer on the loose…

Why? I want to believe Alan Cumming, who’s a great actor as he proved it weekly on The Good Wife, wouldn’t sign for a very generic cop show. So let’s imagine there’s more to it than what the pitch suggests. It will probably be a little bit funny or they really don’t know what they’re doing. You don’t choose Alan Cumming for something too serious, right?

 

FIREWALL (Warner Bros. Television)

What? about a charming but ruthless San Francisco billionaire who, in the wake of personal tragedy, decides to use his wealth for good, putting together a team of various experts to exact justice on criminals who’ve slipped through the cracks of the legal system…

Why? “charming but ruthless”, ugh. Haven’t we already have those a million times before? Firewall is coming from Bruno Heller, who created The Mentalist and Gotham. And Rome too. It’s not the kind of show I’d watched, and I wished the concept was a little different (why not a woman billionaire to make a change?) but it’s in his and CBS comfort zone and they need new shows like this. So it’s a yes.

 

MAGNOLIA SPRINGS (CBS Television Studios)

What? the Sheriff of Magnolia Springs discovers that this progressive and idyllic town in the new American South is a hotbed of criminal activity, and he enlists the help of his teenage son to investigate the town’s dark secrets and quirky crimes…

Why? Apart from the fact that I love this poetic title, what is exciting here is the fact that it’s a police procedural wrapped around a family drama, one which could be soapy “dark secrets” and fun “quirky crimes” and that’s everything CBS shows are not usually and should be sometimes. It looks a bit like David E. Kelley’s Picket Fences, which was great and on CBS too.

 

MRS V. MR (CBS Television Studios)

What? a prominent, larger-than-life L.A. defense attorney and the chief prosecutor for the DA’s office are constantly at odds in the courtroom, but are a happily married couple who have to leave their rivalries at the door when it comes to raising their three willful kids…

Why? Mr & Mrs Smith legal edition? It seems like an effective concept, though not particularly original. David Zucker (The Good Wife, Numb3rs) & Ridley Scott are producing. Find the perfect couple of actors and try this thing already!

 

REBEL LAW (CBS Television Studios)

What? an openly gay attorney returns home to Mississippi to join his family’s multi-generational law practice where they work through their personal and political differences both inside and outside the courtroom…

Why? Lisa Kudrow & Dan Bucantinsky are producing this legal drama, meaning it could be funnier than most of the very serious and generic CBS dramas we’re fed up with. Plus, we’re still waiting for a show on the big 4 where the main character is gay. Not that it would or should make such a change on the writing of the show itself but visibility is important.

 

STILL AT LARGE (ABC Studios)

What? after evading the largest manhunt in U.S. history and becoming infamous for a murder he didn’t commit, a man is recruited by the U.S. Marshals to track other fugitives, where he’s paired with a female partner who questions whether he really is innocent…

Why? There was a similar show a few years ago on FOX called Breakout Kings. It didn’t last long but it was okay. There’s probably something successful to do with this concept and CBS is the perfect place for it. A mix between Castle for the dynamics at the center and Scorpion for the action. If there’s a real suspense about the innocence of the male protagonist, it’s a plus.

 

THE 313 (CBS Television Studios)

What? when a sex scandal brings down the current administration, a 29-year-old female City Council President suddenly becomes the Mayor of Detroit and has to contend with all the staggering obstacles the job brings…

Why? Oh, CBS wants their own version of Designated Survivor at a smaller scale since we’re “just” talking about a Mayor, not the President of the United States. They have already chosen their actress. It will be Tika Sumpter. She played Michelle Obama in the Southside with you picture film. Don’t know about her talent but she’s black, she’s gorgeous and she doesn’t look like any of the heroines of CBS from the past decade. I’m in and they’d better be too. Changing the title seems inevitable.

 

TRIAL BY FIRE (CBS Television Studios)

What? After the deaths of their husbands in a suspicious plane crash, three women take over one of the most powerful legal firm of Manhattan and fight to save the practice while solving the mystery behind their husbands’ untimely deaths…

Why? Among the many legal shows CBS develops, this one is appealing to me for one reason mainly: three women at the center of the show, it’s not that common on this network. Casting will be the key, as well as the personalities of these heroines. It would work better as a dramedy, but I don’t think that’s what we’ll get.

 

UNDER SUSPICION (Universal Television)

What? about a justice-seeking investigative journalism team that produces an award-winning true-crime series that investigates unsolved major crimes through the eyes of those who are closest to the victims — and who also are the prime suspects.

Why? It’s hard to find new ideas in the procedural crime area but this one, adapted from Mary Higgins Clark, could be a modern and interesting take for the genre with journalists investigating instead of detectives. That may not change the formula that much but if they use “the TV show within the TV show” part of it wisely, I feel like it could be a winner. Don’t be shy, CBS.

 

UNTITLED ANNIE WEISMAN PROJECT (Universal Television)

What? about two sisters on opposite sides of the political spectrum who come together to save their father’s law firm when scandal puts him behind bars…

Why? It’s not the pitch that attracts me the most in this project but the magical name attached to it as a producer : Jason Katims. Mr Friday Night Lights / Parenthood. The family element and the political element of this probably otherwise classical legal drama are reassuring.

 

CBS also develops S.W.A.T., a reboot of the 70s series; so many generic shows that I could throw up; several Scorpion clones like Stingray; other numerous legal dramas; and a limited series which chronicles the events in 1974 when Patty Hearst was abducted from her Berkeley, California apartment by a terrorist group.

 

COMEDIES

99 PROBLEMS (CBS Television Studios)

What? about three very different couples from different backgrounds who all have a child in the same first-grade class and are exposed to the same inciting problem each week – which affects them in different ways…

Why? One of the few comedy projects at CBS with a real concept. That almost makes it an automatic yes, quite frankly. Plus, it’s coming from Greg Garcia. He did the very bad The Millers, but also the very good Raising Hope. So everything’s possible. It’s an hybrid comedy, like How I Met Your Mother was, between the multicamera format and the single-camera. Intriguing.

 

HANNAH ROYCE’S QUESTIONNABLE CHOICES (Sony Pictures Television)

What? about a woman who has made some interesting choices throughout her life – namely, having three different kids with three different men – but all have led her to having a very unique, loving, blended family…

Why? NBC had a similar project 2 years ago with Monica Potter (Parenthood) starring. It was pushed and ended up cancelled but I still think there’s something modern here that could make a great show with the right lead actress. Not sure CBS is the right fit though, especially since it’s a single-camera. They only have Life In Pieces in the genre, and it can’t be labelled as a huge success…

 

ME, MYSELF & I (Warner Bros. Television)  Picked-up

What? examines one man’s life over a 50-year span, somewhat in the vein of movie Boyhood

Why? Of course, they had me at Boyhood. Which is funny because it’s pretty clear they won’t be able to live up to the hype, even if the show is good. Anyway, we don’t know much about the project and I don’t think it fits with CBS line-up at this point but hey, their other comedy projects are terrible so…

 

MY FELLOW AMERICANS (CBS Television Studios)

What? Set in the office a Republican Governor, where a young Democratic staffer is hired to work on his team…

Why? Years after Spin City, it wouldn’t be crazy to offer another political sitcom. And it may be the perfect time to do so. This one is written by a duo of young writers Diallo Riddle & Bashir Salahuddin, who worked for Jimmy Fallon late night show and created a pilot for HBO that wasn’t picked up to series after all. I feel like they really have something to say. Let them do it.

 

NO NEW FRIENDS (Universal Television)

What? A group of friends ar various stages in their lives, realize that now is the time they need eacher other the most…

Why? This is a very basic pitch for a sitcom about a group of friends. What’s interesting here is that it’s written by Robert Padnick, who worked on The Office and now FX’s weird comedy Man Seeking Woman. Maybe he can make something that’s different from Friends, How I Met Your Mother

 

RICH FOLKS (CBS Television Studios)

What? about a middle-class family that rents the guesthouse of a needy rich couple…

Why? I agree with you: it’s a very simple and slim concept. But sometimes in the comedy department -often in fact- simple is good. So let’s keep it simple CBS and just agree to order a pilot. We’ll see if there’s a strong show in there. The battle of the classes is always a good start for a comedy.

 

SHELDON (Warner Bros. Television)

What? prequel series to “The Big Bang Theory” which would follow the child prodigy Sheldon character, played by Jim Parsons as an adult, at age 12

Why? It’s described as in the same vein as Malcolm in the Middle. And it will get picked-up whether it’s good or not. CBS needs to bank on The Big Bang Theory before it’s too late. I’m not convinced it’s the best idea they could have come up with but it’s the series that could finally help them enter the world of the single-camera comedies. There’s now a stong pressure to find the right leading kid.

 

THE FAMILIES MAN (Warner Bros. Television)

What? A mixed-race lawyer juggles his two families: his white wife and kids in Beverly Hills and a black ex-wife and son in Baldwin Hills…

Why? CBS is constantly criticized for their lack of diversity in their shows. Rightfully. This comedy project is their chance to prove they can be black and white too. The concept is not terribly exciting, but it’s produced by Simon Helberg (Howard in The Big Bang Theory) and looks more modern than the family sitcoms they have on the air right now.

 

UNTITLED MARC LAWRENCE PROJECT (CBS Television Studios)

What? an extremely non-confrontational single mom is promoted to Dean of Students at the high school where she teaches and must contend with overly involved parents, demanding administrators and a challenging student body – which includes her two teenagers…

Why? A comedy which takes place in a school, that’s weirdly rare. But the most interesting thing here is that it’s produced by The Good Wife creators Michelle & Robert King. And they know how to be funny. Their humor is way different from, let’s say, 2 Broke Girls‘. But why not? We needs the Kings back into our lives.

 

What projects are you the most interested in among these? Take your picks!

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