Female Baseball Drama 'Pitch' Scores Fox Pilot Pickup, Casts Lead

Kylie Bunbury - H 2016
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Kylie Bunbury - H 2016

Fox is stepping up to the plate and ready to play ball.

The network has handed out a pilot order to hourlong drama Pitch, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The baseball drama hails from prolific producer Dan Fogelman (Grandfathered) and centers on a young female pitcher who defies the odds when she becomes the first woman to play in the major leagues. Kylie Bunbury (Under the Dome, Tut) has been cast to star.

The drama scored a hefty put-pilot commitment from the network in September and is one of multiple projects Fogelman has in the works this season.

Fogelman (Fox's Grandfathered, ABC's Galavant) and Rick Singer (Younger, American Dad!) will pen the script and executive produce the 20th Century Fox Television entry. Tony Bill and Helen Bartlett are also attached to exec produce.
The drama order comes as Fox continues to be the home for postseason Major League Baseball, including the All-Star Game, one League Championship Series, two Division Series games as well as the crown jewel: the World Series.

While it's unclear if Major League Baseball will have any role in the Fox drama, the potential series would mark a natural extension for the network, which sees its fall schedule disrupted by postseason games every year. (Fox's MLB deal runs through 2021.)

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The Fox drama comes after 14-year-old pitcher Mo'Ne Davis captured hearts last year when she made history by becoming the first girl to win a Little League World Series game, hurling a shutout to boot. She followed that up with a Disney Channel biopic and an open invitation to join the Harlem Globetrotters after she graduates college. Additionally, French teen shortstop Melissa Mayeux recently became the first woman ever added to the Major League Baseball international registration list, making her eligible to be signed by a MLB team.

There has never been a woman who has played in the big leagues. Eleanor Engle was signed by the Harrisburg Senators in 1952, but the team's manager opposed her playing and her contract was subsequently canceled. In the 1990s, the Colorado Silver Bullets were revived, becoming the first all-female baseball team since the folding of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League — featured in A League of Their Own — in the '50s. The team — sponsored by Coors Brewing Co. — lasted four seasons of play, taking on men's all-star amateur and semi-pro teams.

For Fogelman, meanwhile, the baseball drama marks his second pilot order under his new, rich overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV. He also has an untitled birthday dramedy set up as a pilot at NBC with Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia attached. The baseball entry is also the second sports-themed project that Fogelman has taken on in as many years. The visionary producer, who moved from ABC Studios last year after being pursued by multiple studios, developed an untitled NBA comedy pilot starring Skylar Astin in collaboration with the NBA last season.

Fogelman is repped by WME, Management 360 and Hansen Jacobsen. Singer is repped by ICM Partners, PYE and Morris Yorn. Bunbury is with ICM and Gotham. 

Keep up with all the latest pilot news with THR's handy guide to pilot season.