Before the networks unveil their fall lineups this month, TVGuide.com’s Natalie Abrams poured over nearly 100 broadcast scripts, narrowing the contenders down to the 10 most promising pilots:
About a Boy (NBC)
Starring: David Walton, Minnie Driver
Summary: Based on the Nick Hornsby novel and Hugh Grant film, a loutish bachelor (Walton) finds his priorities in life shifting after he befriends the awkward son (Benjamin Stockham) of his neighbor (Driver).
Pedigree: Parenthood’s Jason Katims will write and executive-produce the comedy with original Boy producers Robert DeNiro, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Jane Rosenthal. Jon Favreau will helm the pilot.
Why we like it: Walton (Perfect Couples, Bent) is perfectly cast as a man-child in this heartwarming comedy that makes us want to be a kid again.
Why it has a shot: It already has a built-in fan base, which will make NBC’s job easier. Plus: The network is hot on Katims, after giving Parenthood a full 22-episode season.
Starring: Jake McLaughlin, Kyle MacLachlan
Summary: An unlikely relationship develops between a young girl (Johnny Sequoyah) with a gift and a man (Jake McLaughlin) sprung from prison who has been tasked with protecting her from the evildoers who covet her power, among them Skouras (McLachlan), a mysterious billionaire.
Pedigree: Harry Potter’s Alfonso Cuaron and The Forgotten’s Mark Friedman will write and executive-produce the drama with Lost’s J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk.
Why we like it: The script was bursting with what will likely turn into visually stunning shots and effects at the hands of Cuaron.
Why it has a shot: The pedigree alone should be enough to land this drama a spot on the network’s schedule, especially since Abrams’ Bad Robot gave NBC its only bona fide hit last season with Revolution.
Beverly Hills Cop (CBS)
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Brandon T. Jackson, Christine Lahti
Summary: In a sorta-sequel to the movie franchise, the police officer son (Jackson) of Axel Foley (Murphy) patrols the rich and famous of Beverly Hills under the leadership of Lahti’s Captain Chernick.
Pedigree: The Shield’s Shawn Ryan will write and executive-produce the drama with Murphy.
Why we like it: Axel Foley’s young son is just as hilarious — if not more so — than his legendary pops!
Why it has a shot: Even those who never saw the original films will be attracted to the lavish, gritty world of California’s sunshine-noir. Plus: CBS isn’t likely to pass up the opportunity to bring Murphy back to TV.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)
Starring:, Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher, Terry Crews
Summary: A group of detectives — including Samberg, Braugher and Crews — form an odd family in a police precinct in an outermost neighborhood of New York City.
Pedigree: Parks and Recreation’s Mike Schur and Dan Goor will write and executive-produce the comedy with 30 Rock’s David Miner.
Why we like it: Samberg, the former SNL goofball, has a chance to prove he can navigate both comedy and tragedy, bringing to mind Hill Street Blues and M*A*S*H.
Why it has a shot: Schur, Goor and Samberg all know comedy cold.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
Starring: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na
Summary: It’s based on Marvel Universe’s fictional and secret law-enforcement agency, Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistic Directorate.
Pedigree: The Avengers’ Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen will write and executive-produce the drama.
Why we like it: An action-packed thrill ride that resurrects Agent Coulson (Gregg) and introduces Ming-Na as a steely new agent? Count us in!
Why it has a shot: The Avengers has grossed $1.5 billion worldwide. Need we say more? Fine, Whedon also brought Buffy, Angel and Firefly to our TV screens!
Starring: Anna Faris, Allison Janney
Summary: A newly sober single mom (Faris) — who blames her own mother (Janney) for her issues — tries to pull her life together in Napa Valley.
Pedigree: Two and a Half Men’s Chuck Lorre will write and executive-produce the comedy with Men’s Eddie Gorodetsky.
Why we like it: True to form, Lorre doesn’t skimp on the schadenfreude as Faris’ hot mess Christy enables our own feelings of superiority.
Why it has a shot: It’s doubtful CBS will say no to Lorre, who has given the network three hit series (Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and Mike & Molly). Plus: The chemistry between Faris and Janney is sure to be undeniable.
Oxygen (The CW)
Starring: Aimee Teegarden, Matt Lanter
Summary: An epic romance ignites between a human girl (Teegarden) and an alien boy (Lanter) when he and eight others of his kind start attending high school in the suburbs.
Pedigree: The Good Wife’s Meredith Averill will write and executive-produce the drama with Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol producer Josh Appelbaum.
Why we like it: It feels like District 9-meets-Romeo and Juliet.
Why it has a shot: Sure, it’s a Roswell-esque drama about aliens, but at its core, it’s a high school love story — something at which The CW excels. Plus: 90210’s Lanter and Friday Night Lights’ Teegarden have valuable name recognition.
Starring: Greg Kinnear, Miranda Otto
Summary: Kinnear stars as a brilliant, charming defense attorney whose biggest challenges exist outside the courtroom — he owes money to the IRS and a bookie, he’s juggling overlapping affairs, and he has a cranky kid and an exhausted ex-wife (Otto).
Pedigree: Peter Duncan, creator of the original Australian series, and Rescue Me’s Peter Tolan will write and executive-produce the drama.
Why we like it: It’s not your typical legal series: Kinnear’s character is at times more depraved than his clients, and watching his constant recalibration of his moral compass is intriguing.
Why it has a shot: Fox will likely want to repeat the success it had with bringing Kevin Bacon to TV in The Following by locking down Oscar nominee Kinnear.
Super Fun Night (ABC)
Starring: Rebel Wilson
Summary: Kimmie (Wilson) and her two best friends (Lauren Ash and Liza Lapira) worry that their Friday-night tradition of staying home in their pajamas will be threatened when Kimmie gets a big promotion at her law firm and is invited to a party by the cute transfer from the London office (Kevin Bishop). It’s time to take Super Fun Night on the road!
Pedigree: Wilson will write and executive-produce the comedy with Conan O’Brien and Conan’s Jeff Ross.
Why we like it: As in all her roles, Wilson (Bridesmaids, Pitch Perfect) dives head-first into Kimmie, who is both pathetic and endearing — but mostly pathetic. And let’s be honest, we all want to spend Friday night in our PJs. This way, we can do it vicariously with a sympathetic, hilarious heroine.
Why it has a shot: Fat Amy Wilson is among the hottest names in comedy right now; of course ABC wants to be in business with her.
Tomorrow People (The CW)
Starring: Peyton List, Robbie Amell (Arrow star Stephen Amell’s cousin), Mark Pellegrino
Summary: Based on the U.K. series of the same name, it’s the story of a group of young people from around the globe — List and Amell among them — who represent the next stage in human evolution and possess special powers like teleportation and telepathy. They work together to defeat the forces of evil. Genre stable Pellegrino (Lost, Revolution, Supernatural) plays the villain.
Pedigree: Chuck’s Phil Klemmer will write and executive-produce with The Vampire Diaries’ Julie Plec and Arrow’s Greg Berlanti.
Why we like it: It’s the promise that Heroes never quite fulfilled, combined with the CW’s special talent for eye candy. Plus: What a great companion show for Arrow.
Why it has a shot: Ordering People to series would expand the network’s relationship with Plec and Berlanti, two of the network’s most valuable players.
In one of pilot season’s final major castings, Kristin Chenoweth is set to play Matthew Broderick‘s sister in CBS’ Untitled Tad Quill Project, TVLine has learned.
The multi-camera comedy, written and exec produced by Scrubs vet Quill, centers on Broderick’s Jack, a recently widowed father who is raising his 12-year old son while simultaneously jumping back into the dating pool.
Chenoweth, whose tube credits include Pushing Daisies, Glee, The Good Wife and GCB, will play Marnie, Jack’s cute but judgmental sister who works as a waitress at a nice but not-too-upscale restaurant (is it shaped like a pie?!) Something of a busy-body with strong opinions about pretty much everything, Marnie considers herself a therapist, even if she hasn’t quite finished her clinical hours for state certification.
HBO has acquired Open, Glee creator Ryan Murphy‘s drama spec script about human sexuality and relationships — and promptly given it a pilot order, Deadline reports.
The provocative project, which was penned by Murphy and Dexter co-executive producer Lauren Gussis, revolves around five characters. Among them are a thirtysomething married couple, the husband’s male co-worker and a female yoga professional in her 40s.
The potential series is “an adult show that is very frank in its depiction of sex,” Murphy tells Deadline. However, “it is a very honest exploration of relationships and intimacy, and the sex feels organic to the subject matter,” notes 20th Century Fox TV chairman Gary Newman.
Open “is a perfect marriage of an idea and execution,” adds HBO president Michael Lombardo. “This is an area we’ve been talking about doing something in for some time, and Ryan did it in a way that is enormously engaging.”
Casting will begin shortly, with filming set to begin this fall.
Bill Lawrence has made an 11th hour tweak to his NBC comedy pilot Undateable.
Hellcats actress Aly Michalka has exited the project for creative reasons and has been replaced by Cougar Town‘s Briga Heelan, TVLine has learned.
Heelan, who is already tied to Lawrence’s TBS pilot Ground Floor (methinks BL is a Heelan fan), will technically appear as a guest star in Undateable.
The project, written by Adam Sztykiel (Due Date, Made of Honor), centers on Danny (Chris D’Elia) and Justin (Brent Morin), two very different guys who are bonded by their common inability to attract women.
Looking to further expand its original programming slate, Cinemax has ordered a ’70s-set drama pilot titled Quarry, TVLine has learned.
Based loosely on a series of books by Max Allen Collins, the project centers on a Marine marksman who, upon returning home from Vietnam in 1973, finds himself shunned by those he loves and demonized by the public. The disillusioned vet is quickly recruited into a network of contract killers and corruption spanning the Mississippi River.
Rectify scribes Michael D. Fuller and Graham Gordy penned the project and will exec-produce if the series moves forward. John Hillcoat (Lawless, The Road), meanwhile, serves as EP and director of the pilot, with Keith Redmon (Awake), Steve Golin, David Kanter and Matt DeRoss exec-producing, as well.
Staying in business with her Saturday Night Live boss, Nasim Pedrad has joined NBC’s untitled Lorne Michaels/John Mulaney comedy pilot.
Written by and starring Mulaney, the prospective series is loosely based on the comedian and SNL writer’s life and follows a group of young people and their hijinks.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, Pedrad will play Jane, the female lead described as a sweet and intelligent but lazy and procrastination-prone grade school teacher who’s tired of her job and dying to make a change.
Comedy vets Martin Short and Elliott Gould round out the project’s previously announced cast.
Should NBC move forward with the series, Pedrad — who joined SNL in 2009 — will vacate her spot on the late-night staple.
Private Practice/Mad Men alum Matt Long has been tapped to star in ABC’s drama pilot Lucky 7, TVLine has learned.
From Detroit 1-8-7‘s David Zabel and Jason Richman, the project centers on seven employees at a Queens-area service station whose lives are forever altered when they win the lottery.
The actor will play one of the “lucky,” jackpot-landing employees.
Long — whose other TV credits include The Newsroom, The Deep End and Jack & Bobby — joins the project’s previously cast Isiah Whitlock, Jr. (The Wire), Summer Bishil (90210), Anastasia Phillips (Skins), Christine Evangelista (The Kill Point), Luis Antonio Ramos (Early Edition), relative newcomer Stephen Louis Grush and Lorraine Bruce (The Syndicate).