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When CBS brass said in the fall that they are throwing out the rule book this development season, they weren’t kidding.
Described by vp drama development Robert Zotnowski as “eclectic,” the network’s drama pilot roster of nine projects, two fewer than last year, includes a murder mystery musical (“Viva Laughlin!”) and projects about couple- swapping (“Swingtown”), exorcism (“Demons”), resurrection (“Babylon Fields”) and a blood-sucking private eye (“Twilight”).
“We feel with these unique shows we will appeal to our core viewers as well as bring in new eyeballs,” says vp drama development Christina Davis, who oversees CBS’ drama slate with Zotnowski.
Last development season, CBS took risks with the serialized postapocalyptic drama “Jericho,” which worked, and with the intense, dark caper “Smith,” which didn’t.
With the safety net of having the strongest overall drama lineup on television, CBS decided to go for an even riskier high-wire act this time around, going for “inventive,” “unconventional,” “out-of-the-box” projects, Davis and Zotnowski note.
“Each has an attention-grabbing element, but at its center, there is an emotionally complicated story (and) highly relatable storytelling,” Zotnowski says.
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