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With ABC’s upfront presentation less than a week away, the network’s new boss Paul Lee opted for an out with the old, in with the new approach to slate for the coming season. In a 24-hour period, he added 12 new series — seven dramas and five comedies — to his 2011-12 schedule.
The Hollywood Reporter takes a look at what’s in, out and renewed.
A modern take on the 1970s series starring Annie Ilonzeh (Melrose Place), Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) and Rachael Taylor (Grey’s Anatomy) as Charlie’s (Robert Wagner) new Angels. The Miami-set drama, from Sony Pictures Television, is written by Smallville duo Alfred Gough and Miles Millar and produced by Nancy Juvonen (Whip It), Leonard Goldberg (the Charlie’s Angels features) and Drew Barrymore, who appeared in the big-screen reboot. Marcos Siega (The Vampire Diaries) directed the pilot. The project scored strong buzz throughout pilot season, with the benefit of its built-in franchise name.
Last Man Standing
The project centers on the former Home Improvement star, who is fighting for his manhood in a world increasingly dominated by women. Nancy Travis (So I Married an Axe Murderer) co-stars in the multicamera comedy from 20th Television. Jack Burditt (30 Rock) penned the pilot, with Marty Adelstein (Prison Break), Becky Clements and Shawn Levy (Date Night) on board as producers. Insiders believe the mutlicam Allen vehicle, which has had “lock” status for weeks, will launch a second ABC comedy block, likely on Tuesdays (Improvement‘s old stomping ground). While it’s not Friends money, Allen didn’t come cheap, with two sources with knowledge of his deal suggesting he’ll be paid $220,000 per episode with a 7.5 percent backend (off adjusted gross).
From Sony, the sexy soap set in the 1960s focuses on stewardesses and pilots, some of whom live double lives as spies. Christina Ricci stars in her first series regular role in the drama written and produced by Jack Orman (ER). Also producing are Sid Ganis, Nancy Hult Ganis and Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing), who helmed the pilot. Though there has been buzz about casting troubles and potential retooling, say insiders, both its Mad Men-esque world and the names attached were a selling point.
The a single-camera comedy from 20th TV centers on a Midwestern girl (Dreama Walker, The Good Wife) whose big-city dreams are dashed after her first week in New York, where she finds herself living with her worst nightmare (Krysten Ritter, Breaking Bad). James Van Der Beek (Dawson’s Creek) co-stars as himself in his first series comedy role. Nahnatchka Khan (American Dad) and Dave Hemingson (Traffic Light) penned the pilot and will produce along with Jeffrey Morton (Traffic Light). Jason Winer (Modern Family) helmed the pilot. The project has been considered a lock for some time, with several insiders giving Van Der Beek’s performance high marks. Another noted its status as one of 20th’s highest testing comedy pilots in years.
Good Christian Belles (formerly Good Christian Bitches)
The soap revolves around a former high school “mean girl” (Leslie Bibb, Popular) who returns home to Dallas after her marriage ends in scandal. The series, from ABC Studios, also stars Kristin Chenoweth (Glee) and Annie Potts (Designing Women). Robert Harling (Laws of Attraction), who penned the pilot, produces alongside Darren Star (Sex and the City) and Aaron Kaplan. Alan Poul (Six Feet Under) directed the pilot. The series is based on the book by Kim Gatlin. A lock from the beginning, the show, dubbed “Desperate Housewives in Dallas,” could be paired with Housewives, which currently occupies the Sunday block alongside (now-canceled) Brothers and Sisters.
The Count of Monte Cristo-inspired soap from Mike Kelley (Swingtown), centers on a woman (Emily VanCamp, Brothers and Sisters) who moves to the Hamptons. The ABC Studios pilot, which was directed by Phillip Noyce, counts Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey as executive producers. The project gained momentum internally in recent weeks, insiders tell THR.
Once Upon a Time
A fantasy drama that revolves around a woman (Jennifer Morrison, How I Met Your Mother) who, after a boy who claims to be her son shows up, is drawn into a town where fairy tales might be real. Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love) co-stars as Snow White in a cast that also includes Robert Carlyle (Stargate Universe) and Josh Dallas (Thor) as Prince Charming. Lost’s Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz penned the pilot and will produce alongside Steve Pearlman (V) and Mark Mylod (Shameless), who directed the pilot from ABC’s sister studio. Working in its favor: the built-in names and marketing/merchandising potential of its characters.
Scandal (formerly Damage Control)
The drama revolves around the life and work of a professional fixer (Kerry Washington) and her staff. Lost’s Henry Ian Cusick co-stars as her right-hand man and Tony Goldwyn plays the president. It is based on the career of crisis management consultant Judy Smith, who serves alongside producers including Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice) and Betsy Beers (Grey’s Anatomy). From ABC Studios, the pilot was directed by Paul McGuigan (Lucky Number Slevin). Though buzz surrounding the project cooled some in the recent days, Rhimes is a very valuable producer for the network and her voice has connected with its viewers.
A stylized project that follows a crew through the Amazon in search of a missing adventurer. Eloise Mumford (Lone Star) stars in the ABC Studios drama written by Michael Green (Kings) and Michael R. Perry (Persons Unknown). Executive producers include Oren Peli and Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity), Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey (United States of Tara), Zack Estrin (No Ordinary Family) and Steven Schneider (Paranormal Activity). Jaume Collet-Serra directed the pilot, which was shot in Puero Rico. There was buzz in recent weeks about the high quality of the show’s footage.
The cross-dressing comedy from Warner Bros. TV and Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen (Friends), revolves around two out-of-work car salesmen (Amaury Nolasco, Ben Koldyke) who dress as women in order to get jobs as pharmaceutical reps. Beth McCarthy Miller directed the pilot. The multicam laugher has gained buzz in recent weeks.
The project stars Jane Levy as a New Yorker who moves to a cookie-cutter community and discovers that the suburbs is more frightening than any horror movie she’s seen. Jeremy Sisto (Law & Order), Alan Tudyk (Firefly) and Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) co-star. The single-camera comedy from Warner Bros. TV was written by Emily Kapnek (Hung, Parks and Recreation), with the pilot directed by Mike Fresco (Raising Hope, Better Off Ted). The laugher has garnered good buzz for weeks, and Lee hasn’t been shy in development meetings with Madison Avenue buyers about his desire to add comedy.
The single-camera comedy from ABC Studios and Chris Moynihan (Coupling) is a look at what it takes to survive as a modern man, as told through the eyes of three best friends and the women in their lives.
From Josh Schwartz (Gossip Girl) and Warner Bros. TV, the project starred James Wolk (Lone Star) in a relationship drama revolving around young Washington power brokers. One source said the soap series would seem a better fit for the previous ABC regime, which lined its schedule with series glossy, female series like Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy. If the current development season is any indication, Lee is set to infuse the ABC schedule with high-concept fare.
A dysfunctional family drama set in the world of professional dance starring Eric Roberts (Crash) as a hotshot choreographer looking to reclaim his place at the top. Fame’s Debbie Allen co-starred in the series from ABC Studios. Krista Vernoff (Grey’s Anatomy) penned the pilot and will produce alongside Carrie Ann Inaba (Dancing With the Stars) and Flody Suarez (8 Simple Rules). Leslie Glatter (The Chicago Code) helmed the pilot. It was carried along despite weak buzz because of its potential to be paired with juggernaut Dancing with the Stars, multiple sources told THR.
Despite the equity Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry has at ABC, his music-infused drama failed to excite Lee and his team. The show, from the net’s sister studio, revolved around a stranger who brings justice to a Tennessee town with episodes infused with gospel choirs. Donal Logue (Terriers) and Jesse L. Martin were among the show’s stars.
The police procedural revolveed around an elite unit formed to fight identity-related crime. Angela Bassett (ER) and Orlando Jones (The Replacements) starred in the series from ABC Studios. John Glenn penned the pilot and produced alongside Mark Gordon (Grey’s Anatomy) and Deb Spera (Criminal Minds). Gary Fleder (Life Unexpected) directed the pilot.
The ABC Studios police drama from Ed Bernero (Criminal Minds) revolved around two female detectives who are secretly sisters. “It was dead before it shot,” sniped one insider.
A supernatural police procedural in which Edgar Allan Poe (Chris Egan, Kings) investigated mysterious crimes in 1840s Boston. From Warner Bros. TV, the pilot was written by Chris Hollier (Kyle XY) and was produced by Dan Lin (Sherlock Holmes). Alex Graves (The West Wing) directed the pilot. While insiders said it was a favorite of Lee’s, one suggested it was essentially “Castle set in the 1800s.”
Lost and Found
The multicamera comedy from Warner Bros. TV and Jeff and Jackie Filgo starred Jordana Spiro as a narcissistic New Yorker who has her life turned upside-down when her conservative son she gave up for adoption shows up.
Other People’s Kids
The multicamera comedy from ABC Studios and executive producer Peter Traugott (Samantha Who?) starred Jesse Bradford as a carefree 32-year-old who falls in love with an older woman (Bonnie Somerville) with two kids.
The single-camera comedy from ABC Studios centered on a mother of two (Jenna Elfman, Accidentally on Purpose) who must raise her kids on her own after her mother (Frances Conroy, Six Feet Under) decides she wants her life back. Tom Everett Scott (Southland) co-starred in the comedy from writer Sharon Horgan (Free Agents) and executive producers Aaron Kaplan, Gabrielle Allan (Scrubs) and Jennifer Crittenden (The New Adventures of Old Christine). Chris Koch (Modern Family, Traffic Light) directed the pilot.
My Freakin’ Family
A single-camera comedy from ABC Studios, the project was a look at how two young parents’ lives change after they have a baby and struggle to deal with four grandparents with different cultural backgrounds. Peter Traugott (Samantha Who?) executive produced.
Body of Proof
From ABC Studios and starring Dana Delany, the drama premiered well in March, drawing 14 million viewers and becoming the second-most-watched premiere in the 2010-11 season, following CBS’ Hawaii Five-0. Despite being jerked around with premiere dates, it has been a strong performer for the otherwise ratings-troubled net.
The single-camera comedy from Sony stars Zachary Knighton and Elisha Cuthbert. With a throng of comedies jumping into the fray the spring, Endings managed to cut through and win some critical praise.
The rookie crime drama starring Michael Imperioli had been preempted several times during its 18-episode run. From ABC Studios, it averaged 7.6 million viewers in its Tuesdays timeslot.
Since its February premiere, Sony’s Matthew Perry comedy has averaged 7.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen. It has neither Friends critical status nor viewership, though few expected it to. For his part, Perry announced earlier this week that he’d be entering rehab.
No Ordinary Family
The network cut the order for the Greg Berlanti freshman drama from 22 to 20 episodes in February after the ABC Studios Michael Chiklis and Julie Benz starrer stumbled late in the season after losing half its premiere episode viewership. It averaged 6.6 million viewers for the season, according to Nielsen.
Off the Map
From Shonda Rhimes protoge Jenna Bans, the jungle-set medical drama starring Martin Henderson and Zach Gilford struggled to find its footing on Wednesday nights after premiering in January. The freshman drama, from ABC Studios, averaged 6.4 million viewers during its 13-episode season.
Brothers and Sisters
?Though the ensemble drama still had loyal viewers in its recently wrapped fifth season, it no longer was the buzz or ratings draw it used to be. Multiple insiders had suggested this coming season would be the aging — and increasingly pricey — drama’s last, with whispers of a truncated season to tie up story lines.
The second season of the alien-invasion remake starring Elizabeth Mitchell dipped to 6.9 million viewers, on average, reports Nielsen, though fans blame ABC’s scheduling.
Better With You
The freshman multicamera series from Warner Bros. TV starred Joanna Garcia and Jennifer Finnigan and wrapped its 22-episode order this week. It averaged 6.6 million viewers for the season, according to Nielsen.
ABC is scheduled to unveil its complete slate to Madison Avenue buyers on Tuesday in New York.
Email tips to Lacey.Rose@THR.com.
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