'New York Undercover,' Zoe Lister-Jones Comedy Join ABC Pilot Slate

The network now has seven dramas and three comedies on its slate.
Courtesy of Photofest; Jesse Grant/Getty Images
'New York Undercover' (Inset: Dick Wolf)

ABC continues to round out its pilot slate.

The network on Thursday handed out formal orders for a reboot of Dick Wolf's New York Undercover and Woman, Up, a comedy from New Girl creator Liz Meriwether and Zoe Lister-Jones.

The pickup for New York Undercover arrives as the reboot of the former Fox drama from Dick Wolf already had a pilot-production commitment at the network. The new take is a sequel that picks up 20 years after the end of the iconic series. It will follow detectives Nat Gilmore and Melissa Ortiz as they investigate the city's most dangerous criminals, from Harlem to Battery Park. Some castmembers from the original series are expected to reprise their roles.

Wolf and Ben Watkins (Amazon's Hand of God) will pen the script and exec produce alongside Wolf Films' Arthur W. Forney and Peter Jankowski. Anthony Hemingway (The People v. O.J. Simpson) has signed on to direct and exec produce the pilot, which will begin filming in early March in New York. The reboot will be a co-production between Universal Television — where Wolf is under an overall deal — and ABC Studios.

Co-created by Wolf and Kevin Arkadie, New York Undercover aired for four seasons on Fox from 1994-98. Malik Yoba, Michael DeLorenzo, Luna Lauren Velez and Josh Hopkins starred in the drama that was originally produced by Universal Television. The show took place in the same universe as Wolf's original Law & Order and its subsequent spinoffs (and Homicide: Life on the Street). The series is notable for being the first police procedural on U.S. television to boast two people of color in the leading roles.

This is super-producer Wolf's third order for the 2019-2020 season. He has dramas in the works at three different broadcast networks — NBC's straight-to-series Law & Order: SVU spinoff, Law & Order: Hate Crimes and CBS' FBI spinoff, FBI: Most Wanted as a backdoor pilot that carries a sizable series commitment penalty. The New York Undercover order would expand Wolf's rapidly expanding empire to a third network and grow his roster from NBC's SVU, Chicago Fire, Med and P.D. and CBS' FBI. If all three go, and his current roster comes back as is, he would have eight series across three networks.

Woman Up, meanwhile, revolves around two former teen moms who have worked their asses off to see their daughters all the way through high school graduation. Now, at age 35, they're ready to make up for the youth they never had. Lister-Jones will pen the script and exec produce alongside Meriwether. The comedy reunites the duo after Lister-Jones had a guest stint on New Girl. Lister-Jones exec produces via her 20th Century TV-based Ms. Lister Films banner. The actress-producer is currently in production on the fifth season of CBS' 20th TV comedy Life in Pieces, which does not yet have a premiere date. Meriwether exec produces via her 20th TV-based banner. The single-camera comedy is a co-production between 20th TV and ABC Studios, the two entities that are poised to become one megastudio once Disney's Fox deal closes.

For her part, Meriwether has ABC rookie comedies Single Parents and Bless This Mess, starring Lake Bell, due midseason.  

All told, ABC now has seven dramas and three comedies in contention for slots on its 2019-2020 schedule.

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