ABC, Fox skeds call 911
Emphasis on doctors, cops, respectivelyABC and Fox have firmed up their rosters of new series for next season, handing out pickup papers to 10 and seven new scripted shows, respectively.
Sources on Sunday said that ABC is in talks to pick up an 11th pilot, the 20th Century Fox TV-produced comedy "Miss/Guided," to series, which would become a co-production with ABC Studios.
Additionally, ABC is bringing back two midseason entries — the drama "October Road" and the comedy "Notes From the Underbelly" — with 13-episode orders, while Fox has renewed the freshman comedy " 'Til Death."
Meanwhile, the NBC Universal TV Studio-produced "Aliens in America," about a Pakistani Muslim exchange student, has emerged as an unlikely frontrunner on the comedy side at the CW. The pilot from writers Moses Port and David Guarascio, who also are behind NBC's newly ordered comedy series "The IT Crowd," was shot months ago. But according to sources, if it is picked up to series, "Aliens" would not be produced by NBC Uni TV but by the network's sister studios, CBS Paramount Network TV and Warner Bros. TV.
A third CW drama has moved closer to a series order as the network has given the go-ahead for high-level staffing offers to be made on the untitled South Africa project. It joins "Gossip Girl" and "Reaper," which last week were given the OK to do the same.
Meanwhile, CBS is moving ahead with two dramas, the untitled Cynthia Cidre project starring Jimmy Smits and the couple-swinging "Swingtown," both given the green light to start making staffing offers.
Fox's seven new series orders — four dramas and three comedies — mirror the network's scorecard from last year. ABC's pickups are also on par with what the network did last season.
ABC is staking an early claim on the titles of the most-buzzed-about new comedy and drama series for next season with orders for the half-hour "Cavemen," based on the characters from the Geico commercials, and the "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff "Private Practice."
With ABC going for doctors, Fox went for cops and lawyers, handing series orders to "Canterbury's Law," starring Julianna Margulies; the New Orleans-set cop drama "K-Ville"; and the high-concept detective drama "New Amsterdam."
Fox's picks for next season also include the "Terminator"-themed sci-fi drama "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," which John Wirth has joined as an executive producer.
On the comedy side, Fox went for big names in front of and behind the camera, formally picking up the Kelsey Grammer-Patricia Heaton starrer "Back to You" from Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd. The show is rumored to be a potential companion for "Death," a reunion of sorts for Heaton and fellow "Raymond" co-star Brad Garrett, who toplines "Death." The network also ordered Amy Sherman-Palladino's "The Return of Jezebel James," starring Parker Posey, and the Farrelly brothers-produced "The Rules of Starting Over."
In addition to "Practice," ABC also is betting on two drama projects from Greg Berlanti — the star-studded "Dirty Sexy Money" and "Eli Stone" — as well as "Cashmere Mafia" starring Lucy Liu, "Pushing Daisies," "Women's Murder Club" and "Big Shots" (formerly the untitled Jon Feldman project).
On the comedy side, "Cavemen" is joined by "Sam I Am," starring Christina Applegate as a woman with amnesia, and the male buddy comedy "Carpoolers."
After six seasons, it's the end of the road for ABC's comedy "George Lopez." The network's freshman comedy "The Knights of Prosperity" also seems unlikely to return because of issues with scheduling and reaching an agreement with Ray Romano, who was to co-star next season (HR 5/10).
Meanwhile, the veteran sitcom "According to Jim" is said to still be in contention.