Tag: sneaky pete

UPDATE “Sneaky Pete” (CBS/Amazon) pilot preview: Walter White & Mr. Dr. House made a skinny baby


Story written by David Shore & Bryan Cranston. Teleplay written by David Shore (Dr House, Battle Creek, Family Law). Produced by James Degus & Erin Gunn (Battle Creek). For Sony Pictures Television, Moon Shot Entertainment & Shore Z. 60 pages.

Description: Marius, a thirty-something con man, upon leaving prison, takes cover from his past by assuming the identity of a cellmate. “Sneaky Pete” then hides out from his debtors while working for his new “family’s” bail bond business. There he uses his considerable charm and criminal prowess to take down bad guys far worse than himself, partnering with a female “cousin” who has her suspicions about his real motives…

With Giovanni Ribisi (Friends, Earl, Ted, Dads), Marin Ireland (Homeland, Masters of Sex, The Divide), Margo Martindale (The Americans, The Millers, Justified), Peter Gerety (The Wire, Homicide, Prime Suspect), Shane McRae (The Following, Still Alice), Lile Barer (Parenthood)…

UPDATE: After CBS passed on it last May, Sony Pictures Television closed a deal with streaming platform Amazon to broadcast Sneaky Pete pilot episode (after a few reshoots) as part of its semiannual pilot season event. If it gets good grades from viewers, Amazon will order a full season for 2016. Pilot will be available on the platform August 7th.


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What happened with Battle Creek at CBS is still a mystery to me. Sure, Scorpion, NCIS: New Orleans, Stalker, Madam Secretary & CSI:Cyber were safer bets and most of them found some kind of success, but Battle Creek was way more special -a dark-humored old school gritty buddy cop show-  and needed to be taken care of properly. “By the creators of Breaking Bad & Dr House, with Las Vegas’ Josh Duhamel” must have been a strong enough slogan to sell it to the masses. Instead, the network decided not to promote it much and sent it into the worst timeslot they had: sundays at 10 after very old-skewing The Good Wife. No new show could have survived this. The fact that it’s produced by Sony Pictures and not CBS Television Studios didn’t help, that’s for sure. It was not a priority. So, as much as I liked Sneaky Pete pilot script, I am more afraid than excited by what future may hold for it…

Like Battle Creek, this show imagined by David Shore & Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston doesn’t try to be all shiny and beautiful. It’s not as dark and dirty, but it’s not your smooth cop show with sexy people investigating and/or dying. Look at the cast! Giovanni Ribisi is a great actor, perfectly at ease in both drama and comedy, and no doubt a right fit for the role of Marius/Pete, but he is no Josh Duhamel, or Shemar Moore, or Jonny Lee Miller. He’s little, skinny, not cute or even charming. He looks like a red neck, as Marin Ireland, her fake cousin and partner in the show, is not your classical female lead. They could totally have played weird and incestuous brother & sister in an X-Files episode back in the days, with beloved Margo Martindale playing their creepy mother. It certainly is a departure from what CBS offers. Most of the action takes place in Connecticut, between an old farm and a sea of fields. But fortunately, towards the end, they infiltrate a charity event with rich people all around. Oh and did I tell you? It’s not a cop show! Well, not really. They investigate and have to catch bad guys, but they are not cops (but a real one, another cousin, help them from time to time).

I let grandpa Otto (Peter Gerety) explains to you what the family business is about: “When someone gets arrested, a judge sets bail. A certain amount of money that they have to post with the court to get out until trial. Most people don’t have the money. That’s where we come in. We charge a fee and put the money up for them. When they show up for trial, we get the money back and keep our fee of course.“. Grandma Audrey (Martindale) adds: “And if they don’t show up, we have to find them or we lose our money“. So Sneaky Pete will partly be about those weekly cases when they’re looking for them. The pilot’s one is kind of funny and action-packed and sets up an efficient template that could work for years. Add to that the weird chemistry between Pete and Julia. They are clearly attracted to each other but officially, they’re cousins. That’s gross. The family scenes totally work, and I’m pretty sure Martindale’s character will be dope, as always. The fact that Pete is not who he claims to be, wanted by guys whom he owes money to, helps raising the stakes of the show and making it more serialized than it seems to be at first sight. David Shore knows how to handle appealing bad guys, Bryan Cranston played one himself for years, and it shows in the script.

Sneaky Pete is the first CBS drama pilot I read this year, so it’s hard to tell whether or not it’s a front runner in the pilot race but it certainly is a keeper and an easier sell than Battle Creek was tonally. I hope CBS won’t screw it up this time, won’t be sneaky with it, and find a way to give it a not so skinny chance to succeed.



The 10 pilots that didn’t make it but were worth it!

None of the pilots I was really really rooting for were passed on (except the first three I’m gonna talk to you about in a minute but I knew they were hard sells so I expected it). Quantico, my favorite script of the year, a no-brainer for ABC, was picked up (and the trailer didn’t disappoint). Same goes with Original Sin, now called The Family, Blindspot, Oil (aka Boom), Game Of Silence, Life In Pieces, The Catch, The Grinder, The Player & Lucifer. My top 10. But among my worst 5, Rush Hour, Rosewood & Hearbreaker were ordered (and I predict them a dark future). Thank God, Unveiled & Warrior didn’t make it at NBC!




In 1978, the graduating class of Boston’s first female patrol officers was dubbed “The Broad Squad” by the local press. Eileen, Molly, Joanne & Lisa 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 period drama is always a hard sell on a network and ABC surely remembers Pan Am failed not so long ago. The Broad Squad had the advantage to take place in a precinct, and when police is involved on a TV project, it always helps. But it’s not your straight crime-solving procedural, it’s a female character-driven drama, heavy serialized, that is both entertaining and intelligent and tells a lot about how things evolved since then. The cast was great (Lauren Ambrose, Rutina Wesley, Charlotte Spencer, Cody Horn). It was that close to be ordered (Runner was also very much in contention until the very end). ABC is allegedly considering a redevelopment for next season. Let’s hope so!  There’s a little work to do to make the male characters more interesting and the female ones maybe more appealing to the masses.



2. LFE (CBS)

Joe, Ryan, Chelsi, Trevor Mae & Anj are New York City’s wildest, brilliant and most promising doctors. As they start their second year of residency in the city’s most prestigious hospital, they attempt to balance their god complexes with their humanity. Julie, their den mother, give them guidance in their lives and share with them the relationship she wishes she had with her own children…

The medical drama battle at CBS couldn’t have ended differently. I knew from the get-go, even before reading the scripts, that Code Black would always have the hedge over LFE. Not because Code Black seemed better -and it turns out it was not on the page- but because it was a better fit with the network. LFE was more cable-y, more ambitious, more modern, more stylized and would have appealed to a younger audience. Code Black has a respectable chance to become something. LFE was too much of a wild card for CBS. They hesitated a lot but ultimately a miracle didn’t happen. Since it was produced by CBS Television Studios (that doesn’t sell outside CBS & The CW) it was deadly dead when it didn’t get picked up.




Jermaine is a millennial with big ideas, but very little drive. When he has no other choice but to move in with his estranged grandmother Delores, a strict, football-loving, former DC cop, he brings his youthful enthusiasm into her life as much as she helps him grow up thanks to her old-school parenting methods. Soon enough they’ll become inseparable…

Loved this script because I laughed out loud while reading it and having the great Whoopi Goldberg in the cast was certainly a big advantage. I wanted to believe it was possible ABC gave it a try but the truth is, with so little place to offer for multicamera comedies, and with Last Man Standing as the only companion, Dolores & Jermaine was not the most natural fit. Dr Ken was and it’s the one which was ordered in the end (and it looks pretty good too). ABC Studios tries to sell it elsewhere but I don’t really see where it could land. Plus this is not a good year for comedies. No other network is looking for more.




After her alcoholic mother totally lost it, Catalina Evans, 17, is sent to L.A to live with her songwriter father and her stepfamily. What she thought would be an easier life doesn’t turn out exactly the way it should when she discovers her dad is a drug dealer to the stars and haven’t sell a single song for years. With her own dreams of stardom in mind, she starts her new life full of hope and songs to give…

The OC meets Shameless US is the most surprising no-go of this pilot season! Studio City was more than a strong contender, it was red-hot and it looked like a sure thing until the end, especially since its musical component would have fit well with phenomenon Empire. Why FOX didn’t give it the thumb up? It’s safe to assume they wanted to order only one Warner Bros. pilot Vs. all the 20th Century FOX Television they had. So it was either Lucifer or Studio City. I’m a big fan of the first one so I can’t blame them to have made that choice. But still, it’s hard to understand and it’s a missed opportunity. But maybe not for so long. FOX insists that the show is still in contention for midseason (but they already said that for Cabot College and Sober Companion last year… and we’re still waiting). We’ll see…




An affable but down on his luck young police officer is transferred to a rural town where — with the help of a peculiar, elderly night watchman — he starts to realize the town has a bizarre supernatural underbelly.

When you look at what NBC ordered on the comedy department, there is on one side latina fueled Hot and Bothered and Superstore, and on the other side multicamera comedies People are talking and Crowded. Most of them will only debut at midseason and won’t get much of a chance to shine on a network that decided it was about time they find a drama hit. Strange Calls clearly was the odd man out. It’s really fun, but it’s a supernatural comedy, it’s quirky. What to pair it with? Maybe NBC found the right solution but a little too late: they’re working on making it a 42 minutes dramedy, and pairing it with Grimm would make a lot of sense. But I’m not sold on the idea honestly if it means adding a procedural element to the mix. It would lose what made it different.




Natalia Chappel, an FBI agent who works in the Criminal Section of the Department of Civil Rights Division investigating crimes based on civil rights violations across the country, finds herself caught between the radical family she was born into and the professional family she has chosen…

It was reportedly a CBS President Les Moonves’ favorite. But it was not enough to get the precious order to series so it seems. CBS passed on the opportunity to be relevant to the world we are living in, because that’s what this show was meant to be. It was smart and important. The cast was great (Anika Noni Rose! Please Shonda give her a show already!) and the pilot was directed by Selma‘s Ava DuVernay. They clearly made a mistake here, but to be fair it wasn’t right with their objectives this year: attract younger viewers with pop-corn fares. It’s just the opposite of that. But why ordering it in the first place then? Maybe Supergirl & Limitless were enough. They could have found a place for For Justice if they really wanted to…




Marius, a thirty-something con man, upon leaving prison, takes cover from his past by assuming the identity of a cellmate. “Sneaky Pete” then hides out from his debtors while working for his new “family’s” bail bond business. There he uses his considerable charm and criminal prowess to take down bad guys far worse than himself, partnering with a female “cousin” who has her suspicions about his real motives

Not a pop-corn fare either. Not shiny and beautiful. Procedural but with no police involved. If ordered, I’m sure Sneaky Pete would have gotten the Battle Creek treatment: no promotion and a doomed timeslot. It’s a good thing CBS passed on it, in spite of a huge commitment. Now Sony Pictures Television can sell it to a cable channel where it would have a real chance to find the audience it deserves. They’re actively trying to find it a new home so let’s cross our fingers.




Two fun and relevant baby boomers are living a selfish retirement until their world is turned upside down when their eldest daughter die. They are suddendly left to raise their grandchildren. If as they say the golden years are starting when the fun begins, then their golden years and the greatest adventure of their life start right now…

Chevy not ordered, that’s another surprise of this pilot season. I really liked the script, that I found funny and sweet, and more importantly it seemed to be a perfect fit with the other comedies ABC already has on the air and distinctive enough not to be just The Middle 2.0 or something. Since ABC decided to keep its Wednesday intact and give The Muppets a try, there was simply not a place for it anywhere on the schedule. And I’m glad ABC chose The Real O’Neals over Chevy! But last year or the year before last year, I’m sure Chevy would have made it. It’s unfair.




When Salvador, a magical and mysterious young man inexplicably emerges from the ocean during a violent storm, he breathes new passion into the lives of the Fuentes women who own a Cuban restaurant on Miami Beach: the beautiful but lonely Lola, who instantly falls in love with him, her mother Esperanza, who’s losing her mind since she’s been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer, and her troubled daughter Soledad, who’s secretly pregnant. The curse that ruined their lives for so long finally breaks…

Blindspot, The Player, Game Of Silence, Chicago Med, Shades Of Blue… NBC went with very serious dramas this year (but some are entertaining too) while the lighter series are represented by the outdated Heartbreaker. The Curse of the Fuentes Women from Ugly Betty‘s creator was ridiculously fun and hot and really worth a try. I think they made a mistake, but it seems they only do that now. Mistakes. And the same ones over and over again. Their loss! Warner Bros. is trying to sell it elsewhere. Not easy. ABC doesn’t need it and it’s the only place I can see it go.




Through a combination of genetics and dynamic home schooling, Kip and Mona Lisa Mitchell 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, especially in the Orange County, where looks is the only religion…

I don’t know what happened with this one. I was really high on it after reading the script and I was pretty sure it was a safe bet. As I already said about Chevy, there was just not enough space for it on the schedule but it seems like it was never considered as having a real shot. Maybe they didn’t find the right actors for the children and ultimately the result was bad because of that. Or it’s something else. That being said, I’m still annoyed by the fact FOX didn’t keep it for themselves (it was 20th Century FOX Television produced). How come they are not able to find one broad comedy for them while they produce Modern Family for ABC or now Life In Pieces for CBS? It doesn’t make sense.



A disgraced CIA agent-turned-teacher at an elite Washington D.C. prep school realizes that his students have high-level access through personal connections. So he trains a select few to be his eyes and ears into the world of international espionage and help him earn his way back into the agency.

The surprising order of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, originally set up at Showtime, is probably what doomed the Marc Cherry’s show in the end, whereas it seemed like a sure thing for a longtime. I haven’t read it so I won’t elaborate on it but among the DC Comics’ series it would have been a fun breath of fresh air…

CBS | 2015/2016 Pilot Season: The Best & Worst


Before CBS reveals its new schedule next Wednesday, here’s the best & worst of their pilot season ! Just my humble opinion.



1. LFE – Officially Dead

“Shares some DNA with Grey’s Anatomy but just the right amount. The resident characters are fresh and a lot of fun (…) It feels cable-y, not network-y. That’s why I don’t think CBS will go for it. And that’s sad, ‘cos it’s the best.” Full preview here

2. FOR JUSTICE – Officially Dead

“No other pilot this season resonates more with what’s happening right now in the United States than For Justice (…)  I wish it were less academical, more serialized too, funnier maybe because it’s deadly serious for the most part, but for what it brings to the table in terms of debate and diversity, without being too sanctimonious, it has to go to series.” Full preview here

3. CODE BLACK – Ordered to series

“Honestly, the script is a page-turner, I was hooked! But it also felt a lot like an high-octane episode of Grey’s Anatomy (…) Code Black is not new, and not particularly modern either (…) lacks a sense of humor.” Full preview here

4. SNEAKY PETE – Officially Dead

“this show imagined by David Shore & Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston doesn’t try to be all shiny and beautiful. It’s not as dark and dirty, but it’s not your smooth cop show with sexy people investigating and/or dying (…) The pilot’s one is kind of funny and action-packed and sets up an efficient template that could work for years.” Full preview here

5. LIMITLESS – Ordered to series

“it’s a police procedural in the end, but with a greater mythology and a science-fiction twist that helps making it special (…) I didn’t fall in love with Limitless but I recognize the script has great qualities and there’s an evident potential here. It may even be a better TV show than a movie.” Full preview here

6. DOUBT – Officially Dead

” Doubt has been created by two ex-writers and producers of Grey’s Anatomy, and it shows. Doubt is soapy (…) Doubt is your classical legal drama with two prominent cases dealt with in the pilot episode. They are not particularly original but they do the job efficiently (…) a decent but shy show developed by/for the wrong network.” Full preview here

7. RUSH HOUR – Ordered to series

It’s exactly what you think it is. What you expect is what you get. It’s funny, for those who like that kind of humor (…) The first Rush Hour movie came out in 1998! You can’t make the same shit as a TV series almost 20 years later and expect the same result and the same welcome from the audience.” Full preview here


Not reviewed: SUPERGIRL – Ordered to series

Not reviewed: CRIMINAL MINDS: BEYOND BORDERS – Ordered to series




1. LIFE IN PIECES – Ordered to series

“an uneven but quite good script… but for a show launched 6 years ago, before Modern Family arrives. CBS has definitely found something that looks like a hit, with a terrific cast, but in my opinion, they missed an opportunity to be relevant about diversity. It was the perfect vehicle for it.” Full preview here

2. AMY FROM HELL – Ordered to series

“Not as profound as Mom, not as funny as 2 Broke Girls, but surely an interesting take on women-centric sitcoms. But why isn’t it a multicamera?! Didn’t find the pilot great but I feek like there’s a real potential behind. It could become a must-see, and the fact that the unlikely pair is played by Jane Lynch & Maggie Lawson makes it a safer bet.”


“Very much in the vein of How I Met Your Mother -with Adam Brody playing some sort of cuter version of Ted Mosby, still hopelessly romantic- it takes place at three different times of the characters’s lives, so it’s a real challenge, one that I would like CBS to risk. They need something like this for the younger demo. And it’s funny too, by the way” 

4. SUPER CLYDE – Officially Dead

“Quite liked the first version. Quite satisfied with the second one, even though I didn’t feel like there was such an improvement (and we lose the sister character that I found great). Still doesn’t think Greg Garcia’s style fits with CBS’s but if they are willing to give it a chance with this new cast that looks more attractive, then try it!”

5. THE HALF OF IT – Has a shot

“Too classical, but that may be its force. It’s the only multicamera worth a try at CBS this season. And it works mostly.” 

6. HAPPY LIFE – Officially Dead

“Didn’t like it first, the Joe character was just too happy for my taste, but it’s the secondary characters that made it work somehow along the way. Pretty pleased that I’ve read it in the end, but not sure I would have watched it.


“Generic, didn’t make me laugh once… No need to say more!”


Not read: TAXI-22 (2015 version) – Officially Dead


What pilots are you rooting for?