TV Upfronts: Meet the Mega-Producers
A roster of established producers add to their overall hauls following a pilot season that saw few inexperienced showrunners make the cut.
In an era of increased competition, the broadcast networks made it a point to turn to more experienced producers for their new fall fare. Following a pilot season that saw several writer-producers develop multiple projects, few received multiple phone calls. Instead, some of the most prolific EPs added to their overall hauls.
Here's a look at the 2014-15 season's biggest winners, including those who now have multiple series on the network.
Greg Berlanti (3 shows)
After saying farewell to The Tomorrow People, the Arrow exec producer added two new series: The CW's Flash spinoff and NBC's Debra Messing procedural Mysteries of Laura to join CW's returning Arrow.
Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas (2 shows)
The Reaper duo helped spare fourth-place ABC from a total disaster with midseason drama Resurrection, which will return for a second season. The writing duo will also oversee Marvel's Captain America spinoff, Agent Carter, for the network.
Aaron Kaplan (2 shows)
Kaplan's Kapital Entertainment adds ABC's Secrets and Lies and NBC's Mysteries of Laura to the schedule, while the Alphabet's Back in the Game and CBS' Friends With Better Lives -- as well as ABC's The Neighbors -- exit.
Chuck Lorre (4 shows)
He'll continue to have four shows on CBS' schedule after rookie Mom was one of only two first-year series to earn a second season at the network. That joins veterans The Big Bang Theory, Mike & Molly and the final season of Two and a Half Men on the Eye's schedule.
Seth MacFarlane (4 shows)
With American Dad headed for TBS and Dads and The Cleveland Show effectively canceled, MacFarlane's Family Guy will be joined by new animated comedy Bordertown on Fox. The prolific producer also received a two-season order for his second live-action comedy over at Starz, which slated Patrick Stewart starrer Blunt Talk for 2015.
Shonda Rhimes & Betsy Beers (3 shows)
ABC's go-to producers will have three shows on the network's schedule -- for Shondaland Thursdays! -- for the third time in her career. Joining the venerable Grey's Anatomy and red-hot Scandal is Viola Davis drama How to Get Away With Murder, which hails from Grey's writer Peter Nowalk.
Gary Sanchez Productions (2 shows)
Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's Universal TV-based banner join the fray with its first two broadcast scripted series on the air at NBC in Kate Walsh starrer Bad Judge and workplace ensemble Mission Control.
Steven Spielberg (7 shows)
Spielberg and Amblin TV's Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank's large roster will add ABC's The Visitors, Fox's Red Band Society and TNT's Ed Burns drama Public Morals to a lineup that includes CBS' Halle Berry summer drama Extant, TNT's Falling Skies, FX's The Americans and the second season of the Eye's Under the Dome. Plus Spielberg is exec producing Xbox's long-gestating Halo series. That certainly makes up for ABC bomb Lucky 7. For its part, Amblin already has a jump on next season after The Money Pit redo was pushed after being picked up to pilot at NBC.
Kevin Williamson (3 shows)
In addition to Fox's The Following and The CW's The Vampire Diaries, Williamson will have three shows on three different networks with the addition of CBS' Stalker.
They join a roster of other producers also juggling multiple series including Breaking Bad's Vince Gilligan (Battle Creek, Better Call Saul); Jason Katims (Parenthood, About a Boy); Dan Goor and Mike Schur (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Recreation); Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz (Astronaut Wives Club, Hart of Dixie); Bruno Heller (The Mentalist, Gotham); Gary Glasberg (NCIS, NCIS: New Orleans); Hart Hanson (Bones, Backstrom); John Pasquin (Cristela, Last Man Standing); Jake Kasdan (Fresh Off the Boat, Weird Loners) and Tim Kring (Heroes: Reborn, USA Network's Dig), among others.
Other notable over-achievers include Carlton Cuse, who will now have three shows -- all on cable: A&E's Bates Motel and The Returned as well as FX's The Strain; and Parks and Recreation alum Rashida Jones, who exec produces NBC's A to Z and stars in TBS' Steve Carell comedy series Angie Tribeca.
Gone from the list is J.J. Abrams, who heading into upfronts had four series on the air: Person of Interest, Revolution and rookies Almost Human and Believe. Of those, only CBS' Person of Interest remains.
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