Pilots building early buzz

ABC's sci-fi drama 'Flash Forward' among the hot projects

Although most pilots -- especially on the comedy side -- are yet to be completed, several projects are enjoying early buzz based on screenings, testings, dailies or the strength of their script and cast.

ABC's sci-fi drama "Flash Forward" starring Joseph Fiennes is a lock for a series order.

Also hot on the drama side at ABC are "Happy Town," "Eastwick" and "Inside the Box," with "Limelight," "V" and the Dave Hemingson project also looking good. Last year's pilot "Captain Cook's Extraordinary Atlas," which didn't make the cut in August, is back in contention, now for next season.

On the comedy side, "An American Family," the untitled Ricky Blitt project starring Alyssa Milano, and "Cedric" are being buzzed about, along with the Courteney Cox starrer "Cougar Town."

At Fox, the comic book-based "Human Target," directed by Simon West and starring Jackie Earle Haley, is considered a shoo-in, joining the already ordered "Glee."

Also hot is the medical drama "Maggie Hill." Comedy-wise, "Sons of Tucson" and "Cop House" are considered front-runners.

"Trauma" looks strong at NBC, with the opening action sequence of the Peter Berg-produced pilot creating a lot of buzz. "Parenthood," a recognizable property is based on the 1989 movie, boasts a well-liked script by Jason Katims and a star-studded cast that includes Peter Krause, Maura Tierney, Monica Potter, Erika Christenen and Craig T. Nelson. That project has begun preliminary staffing.

Also in serious contention at NBC are David E. Kelley's "Legally Mad" and the Katee Sackhoff starrer "Lost & Found."

On the comedy side, "Community," starring Joel McHale and Chevy Chase, is hot, with the previously shot "Off Duty," starring Bradley Whitford, looking promising along with "100 Questions for Charlotte Payne," which is coming off a strong table read.

At CBS, the "NCIS" planted spinoff starring Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J looks like a sure bet.

The rest of the field is still murky, with the drama "Three Rivers," toplined by Alex O'Loughlin, considered a strong contender. Also talked about are the dramas "The Good Wife," "Washington Field" and "US Attorney" and the comedies "Happiness Isn't Everything," starring Jason Biggs, Richard Dreyfuss and Mary Steenburgen, and "Accidentally on Purpose," starring Jenna Elfman.

All six CW pilots are tracking well for now.

The new "Melrose Place" is considered a go, and network brass is said to be happy with the "Gossip Girl" planted spinoff, also considered a front-runner.

The competition will be fierce for the remaining couple of slots, with "Light Years," "A Beautiful Life," "Body Politic" and "Vampire Diaries" all said to be in contention.