6:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
ABC Orders Shondaland, Fake Empire Dramas; Chevy Chase, Dan Savage Comedies
ABC added to its pilot pickups Monday, adding dramas from established production companies (Shondaland, Fake Empire) and comedies from "It Gets Better" LGBT activist Dan Savage and a half-hour that reteams the stars of National Lampoon's Vacation.
On the drama side, The Catch hails from Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder executive producers Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers. Written by Jennifer Schur (Hannibal) and exec produced by Shondaland duo Rhimes and Beers, the drama centers on a gutsy female forensic accountant who exposes fraud for a living and has finally found fulfillment both at work and in love until a case comes along that threatens to turn her world upside down.
From ABC Studios, where Shondaland is under a rich overall deal, Julie Anne Robinson will exec produce and direct the pilot. Helen Gregory and Kate Atkinson will co-produce. Should Catch earn a series pickup, Shondaland would have four shows on the broadcast schedule. The production company currently produces ABC's entire Thursday night lineup, all of which are considered shoo-ins for renewals.
Read more TV Pilots 2015: The Complete Guide
Broad Squad, meanwhile, hails from Fake Empire's Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz (Gossip Girl) and marks the company's second project at the network following Astronaut Wives Club. The drama is inspired by true stories and follows the first four women to graduate from Boston's Police Academy in 1978.
Bess Wohl (Flightplan) will pen the script and exec produce alongside Savage, Schwartz, Len Goldstein and Kapital Entertainment's Aaron Kaplan. The drama marks Kaplan's third pilot pickup of the season, following CBS comedy Life in Pieces and Fox's untitled Dana Klein half-hour. Alexandra Lyndon will also produce the drama.
On the comedy side, the untitled Savage comedy is a single-camera semi-autobiographical entry based on the LGBT activist/boundary-pushing columnist's life. It centers on a picture-perfect family that is turned upside down when the youngest son comes out of the closet. What seems like the end of their idyllic life turns out to be the beginning of a bright new chapter when everyone stops pretending to be perfect and actually starts being real. Savage is responsible fororganizing the It Gets Better photo campaign following the passage of Prop. 8 and numerous other anti-gay legislation.
Galavant, Trophy Wife and Don't Trust the B alum David Windsor and Casey Johnson will pen the script. Savage, Hypomania Content's Brian Pines and DiBonaventura Pictures Television's Dan McDermott will produce.
The comedy comes as NBC is poised to launch its Ellen DeGeneres-produced comedy One Big Happy about a single (gay) woman who expands her family with the help of her straight best friend in March and as ABC has found success this season with family comedies about African-Americans (Black-ish) and Asian-Americans (the well-reviewed and upcoming Fresh Off the Boat).
Rounding out the four pilot pickups is Chev & Bev, a single-camera comedy starring Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo as two baby boomers who are fun, relevant and living a selfish retirement when their world is turned upside down and they are suddenly left to raise their grandchildren.
The comedy, in development for more than a year and with a penalty attached, will be written by Brad Copeland (My Name Is Earl) and exec produced by Kapital Entertainment's Kaplan (whose pilot haul grows to four). Chase and D'Angelo will star, reuniting the National Lampoon's Vacation stars. The comedy marks Chase's first broadcast gig since he exited NBC's Community.
All four pilots hail from ABC Studios.
The orders bring ABC's comedy orders to three and dramas to seven.