4:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Dick Wolf, Chuck Lorre, Patricia Heaton Series Among 7 CBS Pickups
CBS firmed up the bulk of its 2019-20 slate Thursday with seven new series orders — the dramas Evil (from The Good Fight creators Robert and Michelle King), Dick Wolf's FBI spinoff FBI: Most Wanted and All Rise (formerly Courthouse); and the comedies Bob Hearts Abishola (from Big Bang Theory boss Chuck Lorre), Broke (starring network favorite Pauley Perrette), the Patricia Heaton front-runner Carol's Second Act and the single-camera entry The Unicorn.
All told, the orders are about what was expected from the network, save for the missing Edie Falco vehicle Tommy, which sources say remains in contention for midseason. The rest of CBS' pilots also are in the mix as additional orders could also be coming.
This is the first upfront in decades that someone other than former CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves oversaw the network's new series orders, renewals and cancellations, with Showtime's David Nevins promoted to chief creative officer for the company. Nevins personally recruited former Nurse Jackie star Falco to the network, and the cop drama Tommy being passed over would be a surprise given her star power and the executive's personal outreach. In terms of volume, CBS' orders currently are down from last season's total of nine, off two on the drama side and with comedy even year-over-year.
With Big Bang Theory leaving a gaping hole on CBS' schedule, the network was expected to invest heavily in the multicamera space with all six of its pilots in that genre. Of CBS' four comedies, one — the Walton Goggins vehicle The Unicorn — has been converted to single-camera. Lorre's Bob Hearts Abishola — which brings Mike and Molly grad Billy Gardell back to the network — and Heaton's Carol's Second Act had been front-runners since landing at CBS with a sizable penalty attached under the Moonves regime.
On the drama side, CBS is betting big on proven producers with Robert and Michelle King's Evil and Wolf's FBI spinoff joining the surprise pickup All Rise starring Simone Missick and Wilson Bethel.
Comedies remaining on the bubble include the veterans Life in Pieces (now owned by Disney) and Man With a Plan and the rookies Murphy Brown, Happy Together and Fam.
Here's a closer look at the seven new series:
Evil marks the Kings' return to network television following The Good Wife. Westworld grad Katja Herbers stars — in a potential breakout role — alongside Luke Cage's Mike Colter, Aasif Mandvi and network favorite Michael Emmerson. The show is a psychological mystery that examines science vs. religion and the origins of evil. The project hails from CBS TV Studios, where the Kings are under an overall deal.
FBI: Most Wanted marks Wolf's latest franchise expansion as the Law & Order and Chicago mastermind expands to yet another hour of the broadcast schedule. (He also has New York Undercover still in contention at ABC.) The spinoff stars Julian McMahon and Alana de la Garza and explores the Fugitive Task Force of the FBI. The project, like its flagship, is a co-production between Universal TV — where Wolf is based — and CBS TV Studios.
All Rise is from writer Greg Spottiswood (Frontier) and follows the lives of judges, prosecutors and public defenders as they work with bailiffs, clerks and cops to get justice for the people of Los Angeles amid a flawed legal system. Missick and Bethel star in the Warner Bros. TV and CBS TV Studios co-production.
Bob Hearts Abishola — from writers Lorre, Eddie Gorodetsky (Mike and Molly), Al Higgins and Gina Yashere — stars Gardell as a middle-age businessman who falls for his nurse, a Nigerian immigrant. Folake Olowofoyeku and Christine Ebersole co-star in the multicamera comedy from Warner Bros. TV.
Broke, from Jane the Virgin's Jennie Snyder Urman and writer Alex Herschlag (Will & Grace), follows a wealthy trust-fund baby who is cut off by his father as he and his wife move into her estranged sister’s Reseda, California, home, forcing the two siblings to reconnect. Jane the Virgin's Jaime Camil and Perrette star alongside Natasha Leggero, Izzy Diaz and Antonio Corbo.
Carol's Second Act, from Trophy Wife duo Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins, brings Everybody Loves Raymond grad Heaton back to the network (a year off following The Middle's conclusion on ABC). She stars as a mother who, after raising her two children and retiring from teaching, pursues her dream of becoming a doctor. Kyle MacLachlan co-stars.
The Unicorn focuses on a group of friends and family who help a widower move on following the most difficult year of his life, which includes being an ill-equipped but devoted single parent to his two daughters, as he re-enters the dating game to find out he's a hot commodity. Goggins, Rob Corddry and Michaela Watkins star.
Keep track of all the renewals, cancellations and new show orders with THR's scorecards for ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and The CW and with all the latest pilot pickups and passes with our handy guide. For complete coverage, bookmark THR.com/upfronts.