3:50pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Notorious,' 'Imaginary Mary,' 'Time After Time,' 'Conviction,' 'Downward Dog,' 'Second Fattest Housewife' Ordered to Series at ABC
ABC has started replenishing its roster for the 2016-17 broadcast season. The network has handed out a series order to Conviction, moments after canceling star Hayley Atwell's Marvel drama Agent Carter. Also picked up to series at ABC are comedies Downward Dog and the untitled Sarah Dunn drama (formerly known as The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport). The network, which also canceled Nashville and Castle, has also greenlit Kevin Williamson's time travel drama Time After Time. Additionally, the network has picked up Sony's Imaginary Mary and Notorious.
Conviction, starring Atwell, emerged as ABC's drama frontrunner. With the network looking to make a shift in programming from its tried and true soaps (Grey's, Nashville) to procedurals, the series — co-starring entertainment president Channing Dungey's sister, Merrin Dungey — emerged as a shoo-in.
From ABC Studios, eOne and the Mark Gordon Co., Conviction tells the story of Carter Morrison (Atwell), the brilliant but ne'er-do-well daughter of a former president, who is blackmailed into taking a job as the head of Los Angeles' newly created Conviction Integrity Unit. She, along with her team of lawyers, investigators and forensic experts, work together to examine cases where there's credible suspicion that the wrong person may have been convicted of a crime. Eddie Cahill, Shawn Ashmore and Emily Kinney co-star.
Conviction's pickup gives Gordon, who exited ABC Studios for an overall pact at eOne, two series on ABC next season as it joins Kiefer Suthlerland starrer Designated Survivor. Liz Friedman (Jessica Jones) penned the script, with The Following's Liz Friedlander also exec producing and directing the pilot. Gordon's MGC topper Nicholas Pepper also exec produce.
The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport is a family comedy narrated by Katie (Mike & Molly's Katy Mixon), a strong-willed mother raising her flawed family in a wealthy town filled with "perfect" wives and their "perfect" offspring.
Spin City's Sarah Dunn penned the script for ABC Studios, with Kapital Entertainment's Aaron Kaplan exec producing the series. Diedrich Bader (Drew Carey Show), Carly Hughes, Ali Wong and Johnny Sequoyah co-star in the single-camera comedy. Keep up with all the renewals, cancellations and new series pickups with THR's handy scorecard and follow the pilot crop status here. For full upfronts 2016 coverage, go to THR.com/upfronts.
Downward Dog, developed, cast and produced off-cycle, is based on the web series of the same name. The single-camera comedy from ABC Studios and Legendary TV centers on a woman, Nan (Allison Tolman) and her dog. The twist is that it features a Modern Family-style confessional device — for the dog.
The script had been drawing rave reviews around town after its initial order, with ABC said to be high on the project after landing it in a multiple-network bidding war that resulted in personal outreach from former network president Paul Lee. Downward Dog continued its momentum after Lee's exit with the network's new regime said to be committed making the comedy work.
Animal Media Group's Samm Hodges and Michael Killen, who created the web series, wrote the ABC adaptation and executive produce alongside Mosaic Media Group's Jimmy Miller and Sam Hansen as well as Animal's Kathy Dziubek.
The role marks Tolman's first series regular gig since landing a supporting actress Emmy nomination for her scene-stealing part in the first season of FX anthology Fargo. Lucas Neff co-stars.
Time After Time is one of three pilots Williamson had in the works this season. It's based on the novel and movie Time After Time and described as a fantastical cat and mouse adventure through time when famed science fiction writer H.G. Wells is transported to modern day Manhattan in pursuit of Jack the Ripper. Once H.G. arrives in New York City, he finds a world he never thought possible and a young woman who captivates him. Freddie Stroma (UnREAL), Josh Bowman (Revenge) and Genesis Rodriguez star in the drama from Warner Bros. Television and Williamson's Outerbanks Entertainment.
Time After Time is one of three time-travel projects in the works this season. Fox has already ordered comedy Making History to series, while NBC's Shawn Ryan/Eric Kripke entry Time is also considered a lock for a pickup.
From the team behind The Goldbergs, Imaginary Mary is a live-action/CGI comedy centering on a bachelorette (Jenna Elfman) whose life is turned upside down when she finally meets the love of her life — a divorced father with three kids. This triggers even more upheaval when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend she created as an only child suddenly reappears in her life to help her navigate the transition from single girl to a woman ready for a family. With Rachel Dratch as the voice of the imaginary friend.
The Goldbergs creator Adam F. Goldberg penned the script alongside David Guaracio, with Patrick Osbourne and Doug Robinson exec producing the single-camera/CGI comedy. The comedy is a co-production between ABC Studios and Sony Pictures Television, with the latter where Goldberg is based.
Notorious, starring Daniel Sunjata (Graceland), is inspired by the true-life stories of famed criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos and cable news producer Wendy Walker, the drama is a provocative look at the unique, sexy and dangerous interplay of criminal law and the media.
The pickups come as ABC, under Ben Sherwood and Channing Dungey, have been vocal about making procedurals a priority for the network best known for its soapy fare. Already picked up this season are NBC's Chicago Justice and comedic farce Trial and Error, Fox cop drama APB, Lethal Weapon, 24: Legacy and Prison Break.