2007-08 drama pilots: CBS


When CBS brass said in the fall that they are throwing out the rule book this development season, they weren't kidding.

Described by vp drama development Robert Zotnowski as "eclectic," the network's drama pilot roster of nine projects, two fewer than last year, includes a murder mystery musical ("Viva Laughlin!") and projects about couple-swapping ("Swingtown"), exorcism ("Demons"), resurrection ("Babylon Fields") and a blood-sucking private eye ("Twilight").

"We feel with these unique shows we will appeal to our core viewers as well as bring in new eyeballs," says vp drama development Christina Davis, who oversees CBS' drama slate with Zotnowski.

Last development season, CBS took risks with the serialized postapocalyptic drama

"Jericho," which worked, and with the intense, dark caper "Smith," which didn't.

With the safety net of having the strongest overall drama lineup on television, CBS decided to go for an even riskier high-wire act this time around, going for "inventive," "unconventional," "out-of-the-box" projects, Davis and Zotnowski note.

"Each has an attention-grabbing element, but at its center, there is an emotionally complicated story (and) highly relatable storytelling," Zotnowski says.

Babylon Fields
Production Co.: 20th Century Fox TV
Production Team: Michael Atkinson, Gerald Cuesta, Michael Cuesta
Sardonic, apocalyptic comedic drama in which the dead are resurrected and try to resume their former lives. As a result, lives are regained, families restored and old wounds are reopened

Production Co.: CBS Paramount Network TV
Production Team: Barbara Hall, Joe Roth, Nina Lederman
Ex-Jesuit priest/psychlogist performs exorcisms, fighting the demons in his life and the lives of others

Los Duques
Production Co.: CBS Paramount Network TV
Production Team: Cynthia Cidre, Jonathan Prince, Polly Anthony, Jimmy Iovine
Follows the lives of three generations of a powerful Latin American family in South Florida who work in the rum business

Protect and Serve
Production Co.: NBC Universal TV Studio
Production Team: Gary Scott Thompson, Mark Gibson, Philip Halprin
Follows the lives of street cops in suburban Los Angeles as they deal with the trials and tribulations of police life on and off the job

Untitled Barry Schindel (presentation)
Production Co.: CBS Paramount Network TV/Scott Free Prods.
Production Team: Barry Schindel, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, David Zucker
Follows the private lives and cases of a team of dedicated public defenders; Janeane Garofalo, Rachel Carpani co-star

Skip Tracer
Production Co.: CBS Paramount Network TV
Production Team: Mitchell Burgess, Robin Green, Tucker Tooley, Stephen Dorff
Centers on a so-called skip tracer -- a guy who finds people who have tried to disappear -- who works in Los Angeles; Dorff stars

Production Co.: CBS Paramount Network TV
Production Team: Mike Kelley, Alan Poul
Revolves around married couples in 1970s suburbia who explore partner-swapping and open marriages

Twilight (presentation)
Production Co.: Warner Bros. TV
Production Team: Trevor Munson, Ron Koslow, Joel Silver, Gerard Bocaccio
Private investigator/vampire struggles with the repercussions of immortality, vampire adversaries and his love for a mortal

Viva Laughlin!
Production Co.: SPT/BBC Worldwide Prods./CBS Par TV/Seed Prods.
Production Team: Bob Lowry, Hugh Jackman, John Palermo, Paul Telegdy, Peter Bowker, Gabriele Muccino
Musical about a family man who dreams of opening a casino in Laughlin, Nev. Based on BBC's "Viva Blackpool!"