Big pilot deals at ABC

New series from Jerry Bruckheimer, McG, Mark Gordon

ABC is getting into the Jerry Buckheimer crime drama business.

The network on Friday greenlighted an untitled pilot from the top producer to be directed by frequent Bruckheimer collaborator Danny Cannon.

Friday was a big day for the most prolific producers on TV, with McG and Mark Gordon also landing pilot orders from ABC.

McG is behind the high school musical drama "Limelight," which will be directed by David Semel, while Gordon exec produces the modern-day Romeo and Juliet tale "Empire State."

The Bruckheimer pilot, from WBTV and Bruckheimer TV, was written by Mark Friedman. It centers on a team of amateur detectives working on cases of unidentified victims.

Friedman, Bruckheimer and Cannon are exec producing with Jonathan Littman.

If the pilot goes to series, it would be Bruckheimer's first scripted show on ABC. The network's previous regime famously passed on "CSI," developed at ABC Studios (then Touchstone) under current ABC Entertainment chief Stephen McPherson.

At ABC, McPherson had pursued Bruckheimer and bid on "Eleventh Hour," which ultimately landed at CBS. Bruckheimer previously collaborated with ABC on the 2003 doc series "Profiles From the Front Line."

"Limelight," written by K.J. Steinberg, is a soap featuring contemporary music and dance, which is centered around the teachers and students of a performing arts college in New York. The pilot, exec produced by McG, Steinberg, Semel and Leonard Goldberg, is loosely based on the experiences of hip-hop producer Pharrell Williams of the Neptunes fame. Peter Johnson is co-exec producing, with Williams serving as consulting producer.

The project, from WBTV and McG's Wonderland, has been in the works for two years. It was originally set up at ABC in fall 2007 with writer David S. Rosenthal.

Another music-themed high school series, Ryan Murphy's "Glee," is launching this spring on Fox.

Semel continues to hold a perfect pilot record, with every pilot he has directed going to series.

Written by Michael Seitzman from a story by Seitzman and Jeff Reiner, "Empire State" revolves around two families -- one of blue-collar iron workers and the other of the wealthy real estate tycoons who run them -- who collide in present-day Manhattan over a romance.

Seitzman, Gordon and Deborah Spera are exec producing.
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