TV Development Report Card
An invitation to an invitation to a preparty." That's how ABC chief Paul Lee describes his network's fall script purchases, only a tiny percentage of which will end up on air. Still, every hit show starts with an exec saying yes to a pitch, and during the past few months, networks and studios have bought hundreds of promising projects, from original ideas like "mechanical-human dramas" to remakes of classics like The Rifleman. THR parses the loglines and pilot commitments to analyze what the networks are buying and who's got the inside track on next year's schedule.
WHAT THE NETWORKS ARE BUYING
NBC: With little clicking this season, NBC boss Bob Greenblatt has been spending big to not only revive but also put his mark on the net. He's lured boldfaced names from Roseanne Barr to Snoop Dogg.
- Best Bet (drama): Blue Tilt has Ethan Hawke and Vincent D'Onofrio attached as fragile homicide detectives balancing work with family.
- Best Bet (comedy): Sarah Silverman's vehicle centers on a woman readjusting to single life after a decadelong live-in relationship. Silverman will co-write alongsideDan Sterling and Jon Schroeder.
ABC: Despite strong freshman offerings, the network doled out more put pilot commitments than its rivals. Overall, ABC remains focused on female-centered soaps, with a few supernatural projects thrown in.
- Best Bet (drama): Rand Ravich will write and EP a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced drama based on the livesof Navy SEALs and their families.
- Best Bet (comedy): A multicam Jim Belushi vehicle about a co-dependent father and his teen daughter, from Murphy Brown creator Diane English.
CBS: The projects likely to fill CBS's few holes will look much like what's already on. Save for a handful of en vogue Westerns, CBS' lot is heavy on cops, docs and detectives.
- Best Bet (drama): A drama from Shawn Ryan and Simon Mirren about a genetic scientist who discovers he has the psychopath gene and helps the FBI catch killers.
- Best Bet (comedy): A multicamera workplace comedy project from Cougar Town's Bill Lawrence and Friends writer Greg Malins.
FOX: With The X Factor filling several slots on Fox's schedule next fall, the network again will have little need for new shows. Still, Fox is determined tolaunch more comedies in the vein of its freshman hit New Girl and a harder-edged procedural.
- Best Bet (drama): Kevin Williamson's thriller about a diabolical serial killer who uses technology to create a cult of killers, and the FBI agent who finds himself in the middle of it.
- Best Bet (comedy): Adam F. Goldberg's untitled 1980s family comedy, an autobiographical look at growing up with a highly screwed up but loving family.
THE BIGGEST WINNERS OF DEVELOPMENT SEASON: The most active producers based on number of network projects sold (not prices paid or pilot commitments).
The Chernin Group, 20th Century Fox TV | 16 projects sold
- Highlight: NBC's Untitled Gene Hong, an ensemble comedy set in a karaoke bar with The Voice coach Adam Levine attached as an EP. The network has given a script commitment with penalty.
Mark Gordon Co., ABC Studios | 14 projects sold
- Highlight: CBS has given a script plus penalty commitment to Source Code, an action/procedural that follows three former federal agents who are part of a top-secret program; loosely based on the Gordon-produced feature film.
Peter Traugott Productions, Universal Television | 13 projects sold
- Highlight: ABC has given a script order to I'm With Stupid, a buddy comedy with Party Down duo Martin Starr and Ryan Hansen. Starr will pen the script alongside Better Off Ted's Justin Adler.
Fanfare Productions, Sony Pictures TV | 12 projects sold
- Highlight: Fox has doled out a script order for an untitled single-camera father-son workplace comedy in which the son is the boss, from Wilfred scribes Reed Agnew and Eli Jorne.
SHAWN LEVY and MARTY ADELSTEIN
21 Laps/Adelstein, 20th TV | 11 projects sold
- Highlight: NBC has given a script plus penalty commitment to a Romancing the Stone adaptation from The Forgotten creator Mark Friedman, with Levy (Date Night) attached to direct.
Imagine Entertainment, 20th TV | 10 projects sold
- Highlight: NBC has given a script plus penalty order to an hourlong legal drama from TV legends Steven Bochco and David Milch about a "rainmaker" lawyer in Washington, D.C., with a dark secret.
Kapital Entertainment | 10 projects sold
- Highlight: NBC has given a pilot order to Isabel, a comedy inspired by a French-Canadian series about a normal family with magical elements from scribes Howard Busgang and Tom Nursall.
VIVIAN CANNON and NEAL MORITZ
Original Films, Sony Pictures TV | 9 projects sold
- Highlight: John Scott Shepherd's comedy Save Me, which NBC granted a cast-contingent pilot order, centers on a woman who believes she's channeling God.
Brillstein Entertainment Group, abc Studios | 8 projects sold
- Highlight: CSI creator Anthony Zuiker and World Trade Center writer Andrea Berloff have sold Chameleon, a drama centering on an undercover FBI agent who is a master of disguise.
Happy Madison, Sony Pictures TV | 8 projects sold
- Highlight: Rules of Engagement creator Tom Hertz's multicamera generational family comedy exploring how childhood affects adult decisions has received a put pilot commitment from CBS.