Pilot Season 2017: Meet the Overachievers

Aaron Kaplan leads the pack with six — SIX! — pilots in contention this season.
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Aaron Kaplan

As Pilot Season 2017 heads into its casting portion and pickups cool down, it's time to take a look at this season's overachievers.

While overall orders are down (73 versus 88 a year ago), it has still been a big season for prolific developers like Aaron Kaplan and Greg Berlanti as the five broadcast networks largely spread the wealth among established producers (and a few rising stars).

Here's a look at this season's overachievers with two or more pilots in the works at the broadcast networks.

Aaron Kaplan has six (yes, you read that right) pilots in the works this season: ABC's Charlie Foxtrot and Losing It; CBS' 9J, 9K and 9L, Hannah Royce's Questionable Choices as well as Me, Myself and I; and Fox's Linda From HR. As if having comedies in the works at three different networks wasn't enough, he's also working with five studios (ABC Studios, Sony Pictures Television, CBS Television Studios, Warner Bros. Television and 20th Century Fox Television). What's more, the producer behind Netflix's Santa Clarita Diet, ABC's American Housewife and Secrets and Lies as well as HBO's Divorce parlayed 9J into a distribution deal with CBS Television Studios and his Kapital Entertainment.

Talent management and production company 3 Arts has five pilots this season: ABC's Amy Poehler-produced Carol Burnett-starrer Household Name; Fox medical drama The Resident and the Adam Scott/Craig Robinson comedy Ghosted; as well as NBC's untitled Charlie Grandy/Mindy Kaling comedy and Tina Fey's The Sackett Sisters.

Greg Berlanti and his Warner Bros. Television-based Berlanti Productions is producing four pilots this season: ABC's magic drama Deception, which reunites him with Blindspot creator Martin Gero; his first comedy pilot in ABC's Diablo Cody-produced Raised by Wolves as well as The CW's Searchers and DC Comics entry Black Lightning. The latter was quickly shopped to the home of DC Comics dramas Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow after Fox passed. Berlanti accounts for a third of WBTV's 12 overall sales this season. How's that for a valuable producer?

Peter Traugott-led Keshet Studios, the L.A.-based subsidiary of Keshet International, had a strong first year of development with three pilots at three different networks: NBC's For God and Country, ABC's Salamander and CBS' Wisdom of the Crowd.

A year after ABC canceled critical darling Agent Carter, Marvel is back in the broadcast business with two shows — on two different networks. ABC has big swing straight-to-series drama The Inhumans, whose first two episodes will bow in Imax theaters before moving to ABC in the fall in a groundbreaking first-of-its-kind deal. Then there's Fox's untitled live-action X-Men drama from Matt Nix, which could give the comic book powerhouse a show on the same network as DC Comics' Batman show Gotham. (Imagine the fierce competition between the comic book behemoths if Fox had picked up Black Lightning, too.)

Black-ish showrunner Kenya Barris could have three shows on ABC next season with a pair of pilots: politically themed family comedy Libby and Malcolm, starring Felicity Huffman and Courtney B. Vance, and Toni Collette spy drama Unit Zero. Then there's the Black-ish spinoff, which has yet to score an official order. All of them hail from ABC Studios, where Barris is under an overall deal.

20th Century Fox Television-based Fresh Off the Boat showrunner Nahnatchka Khan has a pair of family comedies in contention: ABC's Jalen vs. Everybody, starring Jalen Rose; and NBC's untitled Kourtney Kang half-hour, which like Fresh is set in the '90s.

Davis Entertainment, the Sony Pictures Television-based production company behind NBC's Blacklist, Blacklist: Redemption, Timeless and ABC's Dr. Ken, has two more projects looking to join that roster this season: ABC's Zach Braff comedy Start Up and Fox's Behind Enemy Lines reboot, with the company having exec produced the feature film of the same name.

In his first pilot season after splitting with Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and his Secret Hideout banner scored a pair of drama orders at CBS in Alan Cumming vehicle Killer Instinct and Jenny Lumet's newsy hate crimes procedural.  

How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas are plotting their TV return with a pair of SPT-produced comedies bringing them back to CBS. The duo will pen the script for comedian Chris Distefano's semi-autobiographical comedy as well as exec produce Hilary Winston's Real Life, which was redeveloped from last year. 

A year after saying farewell to Rush Hour and Undateable, Bill Lawrence and his WBTV-based Doozer Productions is back with a pair of pilots: The CW's Life Sentence, starring Pretty Little Liars favorite Lucy Hale, and half-hour workplace space comedy Spaced Out at NBC.

Two years after TBS canceled comedy Clipped after one season, Max Mutchnick is back in the game with a pair of comedies at NBC, including the network's most high-profile comedy of the season in its 10-episode Will and Grace revival. For the comedy, produced by Universal Television, Mutchnick reteams with Will and Grace co-creator David Kohan after the former signed an overall deal with WBTV. In exchange for loaning Mutchnick to Universal TV for Will and Grace, NBC handed out a pilot order for Happy Peppers, which was developed at CBS in 2015. 

Feature producer Simon Kinberg continues to expand his TV footprint with Fox's live-action X-Men drama as well as CBS' space workplace entry Mission Control looking to join ABC's Designated Survivor and FX's Legion, both of which he also exec produces.

Film scribe Dean Georgaris (The Manchurian Candidate) is making a big TV push this season with ABC's Las Reinas and NBC's For God and Country — both of which are produced by different studios, a nice advantage to stepping outside of the studio system.

Keep track of the latest news and castings at THR.com/PilotSeason and bookmark THR's handy guide.

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