Biblical, Crime, Terrorism, Arms-Dealing Dramas Among ABC Pilot Orders

Joshua Safran Mark Gordon Split - H 2014
Getty Images; AP Images/Invision

Joshua Safran Mark Gordon Split - H 2014

ABC threw its hat into the pilot mix late Friday, adding five dramas — including one previously developed at Fox.

The pickups included Quantico, from Josh Safran (Gossip Girl) and Mark Gordon; arms-dealing drama Runner (previously developed at Fox); biblical entry Of Kings and Prophets; procedural L.A. Crime; and Mix, a restaurant dramedy from Rashida Jones.

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Quantico hails from ABC Studios and the Mark Gordon Co., which after a long tenure with the studio, recently departed in favor of forming a film and TV studio with Entertainment One. The drama has been described as Grey's Anatomy meets Homeland. It centers on a group of young, sexy FBI recruits, all with specific reasons for joining, who go through training given by current special agents at the college-like Quantico base in Virginia. One of the recruits turns out to be a sleeper terrorist and created the most severe terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.

Safran (Smash) will pen the drama, which landed at the network in September with a script commitment, and executive produce alongside Gordon and the Mark Gordon Co.'s Nick Pepper. The drama was one of eight projects the company developed this past season. Gordon remains an exec producer on ABC's long-running Grey's Anatomy as well as CBS' Criminal Minds and Showtime's Ray Donovan. This marks the company's second pilot this season, joining CBS' Criminal Minds spinoff starring Gary Sinise. Last season, Gordon had three shows go to pilot: ABC's Agatha and Clementine as well as NBC's Fifth Wheel. Both ABC dramas were passed over, while the comedy was rolled to this development season.

Runner, meanwhile, was originally set up at Fox and rolled from last season with a cast contingency attached. The drama was initially picked up under former network president Kevin Reilly during his no pilots period.

Based on the Turkish series SonRunner — which is to guns what Traffic was to drugs — centers on the traditionally masculine world of arms dealing through the unexpected lens of a woman. After a simple twist of fate, Lauren Marks learns her husband is not the person she believed him to be. Faced with the harsh reality that her life is forever changed, she goes on a truth-seeking journey that entrenches her in a U.S.-Mexican war over weapons and terrorism.
Michael Cooney (Identity) is attached to pen the script and exec produce alongside Ian SanderKim Moses and Peter Horton, with the latter previously attached to direct the pilot.

The drama, from 20th Century Fox Television, was originally picked up off-cycle with an eye toward series production in summer 2014. Fox handed out a cast-contingent pilot order to Runner in September, with Christina ApplegateKatie Holmes, Mireille Enos and Jessica Biel among the actresses who had been eyed for the leading role at the time.

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Of Kings and Prophets hails from the writers behind the 2014 Ridley Scott movie Exodos: Gods and Kings that starred Christian Bale. The film's writers, Adam Cooper and Bill Collage, are on board to pen the script and exec produce alongside Jason Reed, Reza Aslan and Mahyad Tousi. The ABC Studios drama is described as an epic Biblical saga of faith, ambition and betrayal as told through the eyes of a battle-weary king, a powerful and resentful prophet and a resourceful young shepherd on a collision course with destiny.

Of Kings and Prophets marks the latest in a wave of biblical dramas across cable and broadcast networks following the success of History's record-breaking 10-part miniseries The Bible.

L.A. Crime also hails from ABC Studios. Written by Steven Baigelman (Feeling Minnesota), the drama is a character-driven, true-crime procedural that explores sex, politics and popular culture across various noteworthy eras in L.A. history. Season one focuses on two L.A. cops in search for a Bonnie & Clyde-esque serial killing team amid the rock 'n roll, coke-infused revelry of the 1980s Sunset Strip. The drama is exec produced by ABC Studios-based Mandeville Television.

For its part, Mix hails from Rashida Jones and Will McCormack's Le Train Train (NBC's A to Z) banner and is described as a one-hour dramedy that explores the realities of modern-day families — multicultural, multigenerational, built through divorces, affairs and adoptions — set against the backdrop of a revered family restaurant at a crossroads. Written by Jennifer Cecil (Private Practice), the restaurant dramedy marks the second year in a row that the two-year-old company has scored a pilot pickup. Cecil, who was a co-showrunner on ABC's Grey's Anatomy spinoff, will exec produce alongside Jones and McCormack via their Warner Bros. Television-based banner. As for A to Z, the series finale aired Thursday night and registered a 0.6 among adults 18-49.

Friday's pilot orders mark ABC's first of the traditional season and join Irreversible, the remake of the Israeli drama that was rolled from last year. The single-camera comedy, starring Justin Long, has a contingency attached and is pending finding a female lead.

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