5:15am PT by Lesley Goldberg
TV Pilots 2020: The Complete Guide
Following a development season marred by the ongoing battle between the Writers Guild and the agencies over packaging fees and affiliated studios, the broadcast networks continued a more prolonged development season and are gearing up for the first pilot season without the latter. Many insiders don't expect the feud to impact pilot pickups, though come May when series orders are on the line, it's anyone's guess as to how the status quo may change.
As for now, the broadcast networks continue to compete not only with one another, but also with basic and premium cable and streaming services new and old including forthcoming platforms from NBCUniversal (Peacock, due in April) and WarnerMedia (HBO Max, May). As in the past few years, the networks continue to offer the biggest commitments to A-list stars and proven formulas (i.e. reboots and spinoffs) as they look to cut through the clutter.
Here's a look at the pilots in contention for the 2020-21 television season, as ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and The CW sift through hundreds of scripts and march forward in a bid to find the next breakout comedies and dramas.
Bookmark THR.com/PilotSeason as well as this page, as The Hollywood Reporter will update this guide throughout the season with the latest pilot orders, castings and eventual series pickups.
* Denotes casting has been completed.
No pickups yet.
Logline: A family drama described as a sexy contemporary reimagining of Dracula. The drama revolves around a trio of powerful female leads and features strong horror elements. It's a vampire soap about empowered, immortal women and the things they do to maintain wealth, prestige, legacy — and their nontraditional family.
Team: W/EP Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Riverdale); EP Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter; EP/D Maggie Kiley
Studio: Warner Bros. TV, ABC Studios, Berlanti Productions,
Logline: The new take on the beloved original will focus on the children of the main characters from the initial series, who are now in their 30s themselves. The stars from the original series — Ken Olin (who played Michael), Mel Harris (Hope), Timothy Busfield (Elliot) and Patricia Wettig (Nancy) — will reprise their roles.
Cast: Ken Olin, Mel Harris, Timothy Busfield and Patricia Wettig
Team: W/EP Marshall Herskovitz, Ed Zwick (who created the original); D Ed Zwick
Studio: MGM TV, ABC Studios
United States of Al
Logline: Follows the friendship between Riley (Parker Young, Enlisted), a Marine who is struggling to re-adjust to civilian life in Ohio, and Awalmir (Al), the Afghan interpreter (Adhir Kalyan, Rules of Engagement) who served with his unit and has just come to the U.S. to start a new life.
Cast: Adhir Kalyan (Rules of Engagement), Parker Young
Team: W/EP David Goetsch, Maria Ferrari (Big Bang Theory); EP Chuck Lorre, Reza Aslan, Mahyad Tousi
Studio: Warner Bros. TV, Chuck Lorre Productions
Clarice (series commitment)
Logline: The drama takes place in 1993, a year after the events of The Silence of the Lambs. Clarice is described as a deep dive into the untold personal story of Clarice Starling — the role made famous by Jodie Foster in the 1991 feature — as she returns to the field to pursue serial murderers and sexual predators while navigating the high-stakes political world of Washington.
Team: W/EP Alex Kurtzman, Jenny Lumet (Star Trek: Discovery); EP Heather Kadin; co-EP Aaron Baiers
Studio: MGM TV, CBS TV Studios, Secret Hideout
Logline: Based on creator Miranda Hart's BBC U.K. original series of the same name, the comedy revolves around the titular character (Mayim Bialik), a 39-year-old woman who struggles every day against her mother to prove that you cannot have everything you want — and still be happy. That's why she spent the money her parents set aside for her wedding to open a Cat Café in Louisville, Kentucky.
Cast: Mayim Bialik
Team: W/EP Darlene Hunt (The Big C); EP Mayim Bialik, Jim Parsons, Todd Spiewak, Angie Stephenson, Miranda Hart
Studio: Fox Entertainment, Warner Bros. TV
Housebroken — SERIES ORDER (animated)
Logline: The animated comedy explores human dysfunction and neurosis through a group of neighborhood animals who live in the suburbs.
Voice cast: Lisa Kudrow, Clea DuVall, Sharon Horgan, Nat Faxon, Will Forte, Tony Hale, Jason Mantzoukas, Sam Richardson, Bresha Webb, Greta Lee.
Team: W/EP Sharon Horgan, Clea DuVall, Jennifer Crittenden, Gabrielle Allan (Divorce)
Studio: Fox Entertainment, Kapital Entertainment, Bento Box
The Kenan Show — SERIES ORDER (in 2019 and rolled to the 2020-21 season with reshoots)
Logline: SNL mainstay Kenan Thompson stars as a newly widowed dad who is determined to be everything for his kids while begrudgingly letting his persistent father-in-law (Andy Garcia) become more involved in their lives.
Cast: Kenan Thompson, Andy Garcia, Punam Patel
Team: W/EP Jackie Clarke (Superstore); EP Kenan Thompson, Lorne Michaels, Andrew Singer; EP/D Chris Rock
Studio: Universal Television, Broadway Video
Location: Los Angeles
Logline: Similar to the 2018 feature film, the comedy follows a mix of adults at a night school GED prep class who unexpectedly bond over their shared experience and find themselves helping each other both inside and out of the classroom.
Team: W/EP Chris Moynihan (Marlon); EP Kevin Hart, Will Packer, Sheila Ducksworth, Malcolm D. Lee, Bryan Smiley, Tiffany Brown
Studio: Universal TV, Hartbeat Productions, Will Packer Media, Bicycle Path Productions
Young Rock — STRAIGHT-TO-SERIES ORDER
Logline: Based on Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's formative years, the actor will appear in every episode, bookending flashbacks to early points in his life growing up in Hawaii and becoming a wrestler-turned-actor.
Cast: Dwayne Johnson
Team: W/EP Nahnatchka Khan, Jeff Chiang (Fresh Off the Boat); EP Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia, Brian Gewirtz, Jennifer Carreras
Studio: Universal TV, Fierce Baby Productions, Seven Bucks Productions
Untitled L.A. mayor comedy — STRAIGHT-TO-SERIES ORDER
Logline: Originally conceived as a 30 Rock spinoff, the new series revolves around a wealthy businessman (The Good Place star Ted Danson) who runs for mayor of Los Angeles for all the wrong reasons. Once he wins, he has to figure out what he stands for, gain the respect of his staff and connect with his teenage daughter, all while humanely controlling the coyote population.
Cast: Ted Danson, Holly Hunter, Bobby Moynihan
Team: W/EP Tina Fey, Robert Carlock (30 Rock); Jeff Richmond, David Miner, Eric Gurian
Studio: Universal TV, 3 Arts, Little Stranger
Location: Los Angeles
Logline: Two agents from two different continents, and two different mindsets, must work together to investigate when wreckage from a destroyed alien spacecraft has mysterious effects on humankind.
Team: W/EP J.H. Wyman (Fringe); EP Jason Hoffs
Studio: Legendary TV, Frequency Films
Logline: When a massive sinkhole mysteriously opens in Los Angeles, it tears a family in half, separating mother and son from father and daughter. When part of the family find themselves in an unexplainable primeval world, alongside a disparate group of strangers, they must work to survive and uncover the mystery of where they are and if there is a way back home.
Team: W/EP David Appelbaum (The Mentalist); EP Avi Nir, Alon Shtruzman, Peter Traugott, Rachel Kaplan, Ken Woodruff
Studio: Universal Television, Keshet Studios
Untitled The 100 prequel (to air as a planted episode in the final season)
Logline: Set 97 years before the events of The 100, the drama starts with the end of the world and a nuclear apocalypse that wipes out most of the human population on Earth. It follows a band of survivors on the ground as they learn to cope in a dangerous world while fighting to create a new and better society out of the ashes of what came before.
Team: W/EP Jason Rothenberg (The 100); EP Leslie Morgenstein, Gina Girolamo
Studio: Warner Bros. TV, CBS TV Studios
Untitled Arrow spinoff (will air as a planted episode in the final season)
Logline: Spinoff following the women of Arrow: Katherine McNamara's Mia Smoak/Green Arrow and the Canaries, Katie Cassidy's Laurel Lance and Juliana Harkavy's Dinah Drake.
Cast: Katherine McNamara, Katie Cassidy, Juliana Harkavy
Team: W/EP Beth Schwartz, Mark Guggenheim, Jill Blankenship, Oscar Balderrama; EP Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter
Studio: Warner Bros. TV, DC Entertainment