Four Big Trends of TV Development Season
This story first appeared in the Sept. 28 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
CBS is betting big on A-list film stars (Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams) while Fox appears to be buying less, ABC seeks 8 o'clock family fare (a la Once Upon a Time), and NBC wants noisy ideas from strong up-and-comers. With TV's development season picking up after a slow summer, here's a look at some of the big trends:
1. HOMELAND EFFECT
That's what one studio chief dubs the influx of dramas centered on conspiracy and political intrigue. ABC alone has a CIA project with Jason Katims, a terrorist drama from House's Pamela Davis and an undercover-agent effort from The Shield's John Hlavin. And Homeland executive producer Howard Gordon is among the season's most active producers, with his Teakwood Lane company having sold four projects at press time.
2. ALL ABOUT ME
Writers are selling a rash of semiautobiographical shows. "It helps with the specificity and point of view," says one studio exec of the genre. Among them: Donald Glover's untitled effort at NBC, Justin Halpern's I Suck at Girls (from his memoir, pictured below) at Fox and Adam F. Goldberg's How the F--- am I Normal? set up at ABC.
3. OLD IS NEW (AGAIN)
In a bid for built-in interest and clutter-cutting fare, reboots are in vogue again. The CW is prepping a new take on Wonder Woman, both The CW and Fox have Sleepy Hollow projects, ABC has a Huck Finn entry, and CBS is working with David Mamet and Vince Vaughn on Have Gun Will Travel and The Brady Bunch, respectively.
4. SINGLE LADIES
Single women -- and, in many cases, single moms -- are similarly hot. Most networks have at least one project centering on one, including an Ellen DeGeneres/Lauren Pomerantz comedy at NBC about an independent 32-year-old woman who freaks out that she'll be alone forever. ABC's Safe at Home focuses on a strong-willed divorced mom, while CBS' All the Single Ladies turns its attention to -- wait for it -- a thirtysomething single woman.