4:10pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
10 TV Pilots Likely to Score Series Pickups
As broadcast network executives sit behind closed doors screening pilots and poring over focus group testing results on more than 80 pilots, scores of showrunners, writers, producers and actors are on stand-by as the decisions on which comedies and dramas will land slots on the 2015-16 schedules are expected to come in the coming weeks.
The Hollywood Reporter dialed up industry insiders and has compiled 10 of the thrillers, soapy procedurals, comic adaptations as well as family and workplace comedies that stand the best shot of earning series pickups. Of course, these are in addition to several dramas and comedies that have already landed series orders. Those include Ryan Murphy's star-studded Fox comedy horror anthology Scream Queens, which is already in production; NBC's Coach follow-up with Craig T. Nelson; and Eva Longoria entry Telenovela.
Read more TV Pilots 2015: The Complete Guide
Development season's slow start seeped into pilot season and has subsequently impacted production, with several comedies and dramas wrapping as late as this week with network executives also receiving late cuts and pushing decisions closer to game time than ever.
And like last year, multiple sources tell THR that there aren't as many clear frontrunners as the overall pilot class consists of interchangeable broad-skewing comedies and dramas competing for the same slots. (See CBS' Code Black and LFE and ABC's Family Fortune and The Real O'Neals.)
Here's a look at the pilots most likely to land series orders, which — as always —should be taken with a grain of salt as buzz changes like the wind.
1. Minority Report (Fox)
The reboot — with a known title and fan base — was one of the hottest scripts heading into pilot season and was Fox's first official drama pickup of the season and has been a front-runner ever since. From Amblin TV, Paramount TV and 20th TV, Stark Sands and Meagan Good star in the drama from showrunner Kevin Falls and Max Borenstein. The drama is already making firm offers to writers and will join a genre lineup at Fox that also includes Gotham and Sleepy Hollow. On the flipside, Fox has also been targeting a big push for soapy fare to join mega-hit Empire with Krista Vernoff's semi-autobiographical dramedy Studio City also considered a lock. The soap with music written by co-star and Idol alum Chris Daughtry stars Eric McCormack and will also present a second revenue stream for the network. Of Fox's remaining dramas, Autopsy (formerly Rosewood) has a good chance, while Frankenstein and Lucifer appear less likely.
2. Grandpa (Fox)
The Fox comedy stars John Stamos as a version of himself: a longtime bachelor whose life is upended after he learns he's a father and grandfather. With Netflix's Full House and Lifetime's tell-all in the works, Stamos could not be any hotter on the small screen. The comedy features a marketable star and hails from an established producer (Galavant, The Neighbors' Dan Fogelman) and comes as multigenerational comedies (The Goldbergs, Black-ish, Modern Family) continue to perform well. Meanwhile, Fox's Rob Lowe-Fred Savage starrer The Grinder is also considered a lock; and Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life, starring Jack Cutmore-Scott and Meaghan Rath, is already taking meetings for writers. The latter comedy, which explores the misadventures people have after college but before they settle down, has been considered the sleeper hit of the season and, sources say, tested through the roof. Meanwhile, buzz appears to be less than ideal for Detour, Fantasy Life and Dana Klein's The Perfect Stanleys.
3. Chicago Medical (NBC)
Dick Wolf will likely join Shonda Rhimes with four dramas on their respective networks as his Chicago Fire spinoff starring S. Epatha Merkerson, Yaya DeCosta, Laurie Holden and Oliver Platt is considered a lock to go to series. That would give Wolf four procedurals on NBC and join veteran Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Fire and Chicago PD. The backdoor pilot performed well earlier this season and arrives as medical dramas have been a must-have for the broadcast networks this season. Expect that to join drama Blindspot, with Greg Berlanti's newest entry potentially taking the place of his freshman critical punching bag Mysteries of Laura, the latter of which was pulled in favor of SVU repeats. Also looking good (and already staffing) are dramas The Player (formerly Endgame) from the producers of The Blacklist and starring Philip Winchester and Wesley Snipes, as well as medical drama Heartbreaker (previously Heart Matters) and also potentially Game of Silence, the latter of which is considered to be a dark, cable-type drama.
4. Strange Calls (NBC)
Of NBC's 14 comedies in the works, the network already has straight-to-series commitments for its Coach follow-up and Eva Longoria's Telenovela. Among the remaining offerings, a few front-runners have emerged with quirky supernatural comedy Strange Calls — based on the Australian format and starring Community favorite Danny Pudi — said to have surprised many network honchos. Other half-hours considered likely to go to series include Superstore, America Ferrera's comeback about a group of employees at a big-box retailer; and the untitled Suzanne Martin multigenerational family comedy starring Patrick Warburton reportedly "on the air" and reiterating NBC's commitment to multicam. Cuckoo and People Are Talking also have a shot.
See more The Faces of Pilot Season 2015
5. The Catch (ABC)
After scoring record ratings (and millions of tweets) ABC will build on its hugely successful TGIT lineup of Shonda Rhimes dramas (Scandal, Grey's Anatomy, How to Get Away With Murder) with a fourth. Forensic thriller The Catch, starring Mireille Enos and from writer Jennifer Schur, is considered a lock. Also looking good is Original Sin, a drama about a politician's (Joan Allen) presumed-dead son who returns from the dead and the mail man accused of his slaying. It was one of pilot season's hottest scripts and didn't lose any steam after screenings. The drama hails from Shondaland disciple Jenna Bans (Scandal, Off the Map) and has already been working out its budget ahead of its expected series pickup. Also expected to go is biblical saga Kings and Prophets, which is being eyed as a 15-episode straight-to-series order. Hourlong dramedy Mix, a multigenerational comedy from Private Practice alum Jennifer Cecil — is said to have come in well and is making if-come offers to writers ahead of a likely pickup, with Paula Patton drama Runner — rolled from Fox — also considered likely.
6. The Muppets (ABC)
The contemporary take on Kermit, Piggy and the gang is considered the biggest slam-dunk of the season, with a series pickup all but a formality. From The Big Bang Theory's Bill Prady and Bob Kushell, the documentary-style show filmed a pilot presentation that was incredibly well received. A series pickup is expected as ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee is high on corporate synergy (see Marvel, Once Upon a Time). Speaking of Marvel, expect to see the Agents of SHIELD spinoff — starring Adrianne Palicki and Nick Blood — to go straight to series, following the same trajectory of the flagship series and Agent Carter. With the latter on the bubble, the SHIELD spinoff could take its place as a bridge show between the first and second half of its traditional season. On the comedy synergy side, expect its untitled NBA comedy from Lee favorite Fogelman to go along with Family Fortune — starring Fortune Feimster and produced by Tina Fey — as well as Ken Jeong's Dr. Ken currently in talks with writers from MTV pilot Ken Jeong Made Me Do It about coming to ABC. Also considered likely is Chevy, a marketable extension of the Vacation franchise set to bow in July, which stars Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo,
7. Supergirl (CBS)
After early rumors that the DC Comics take from Ali Adler and Arrow/Flash masterminds Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg was facing trouble (being shopped to The CW), the tide changed after CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler saw the final cut and loved it. The Melissa Benoist starrer was always considered too expensive to move to the younger-skewing network and a pickup could present a larger question for CBS: where to schedule it. Some sources suggested a summer run could be on the table where it could be paired with sci-fi fare like Under the Dome, Extant and Zoo. A summer run could also give the network an edge in the increasingly crowded comic book space, with only AMC's Fear the Walking Dead expected to set up shop there. Elsewhere on the drama side, both feature adaptations — Limitless and Rush Hour — are said to have come in well, with its Criminal Minds spinoff and For Justice, from Ava DuVernay and Rene Balcer, also in the mix. Buzzy drama Doubt, from Grey's Anatomy alums Tony Phelan and Joan Rater, has been cooling but still has a shot.
8. Super Clyde (CBS)
The biggest mystery of the season is CBS' comedy slate. While it's traditionally challenging to read the tea leaves thanks to the network's code of silence, multiple sources say CBS has finally figured out the missing piece for Greg Garcia's Super Clyde. The pilot, redeveloped after being passed over in 2013, centers on a fast-food worker who finds his calling. The show arrives as uplifting material continues to be the focus on the unscripted side. A series pickup would also help make up for pulling the rug out from Garcia's The Millers midway through its second season. Elsewhere, sources say the network is high on both Tad Quill comedies — Taxi-22 (also redeveloped from last year after being developed at HBO) and Angel From Hell, starring Jane Lynch.
9. Flash/Arrow spinoff (CW)
With freshman The Flash rewriting the network's ratings records, the super spinoff featuring an all-star cast of guest stars including Brandon Routh, Wentworth Miller, Victor Garber and Dominic Purcell is all but on the schedule for midseason. The genre-heavy network is expected to unspool a top-secret presentation featuring the entire cast of the Warner Bros. Television drama at ts upfront presentation.
10. Cordon (CW)
While The CW traditionally splits its orders between WBTV and CBS Television Studios, insiders say the network is high on Warners' Julie Plec drama Cordon, based on the Belgian series. A pickup would give The Vampire Diaries and The Originals executive producer three shows on the network. As for the rest of CW's pilots, Marc Cherry and Neal Baer's Cheerleader Death Squad — picked up to pilot based on an incomplete spec script — is said to have the edge over CBSTVS' anthology Tales From the Darkside. Of course with The CW's limited shelf space and big plans for summer 2016, it's unclear just how many new series the network will add to its roster.
Stay tuned to The Live Feed for full coverage and keep up with all the renewals, cancellations and new series orders with THR's handy Scorecard.