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NBC has picked up its first comedy pilot to series, handing out a series order to Casey Wilson starrer Marry Me and adding spy drama Allegiance, thriller Odyssey and Katherine Heigl drama State of Affairs.
Of NBC’s whopping 18 comedies, David Caspe comedy Marry Me emerged as the network’s clear frontrunner. The single-camera entry about a couple (Happy Endings‘ Wilson and Ken Marino) who get engaged — only to quickly realize that it’s harder than it looks — had been drawing stellar reviews for its script and the finished product. Also working in its favor is the art-imitates-life aspect of the show’s behind-the-scenes story, with real-life couple Caspe and Wilson’s Happy Endings romance as much of a draw as the story itself.
Sarah Wright, John Gemberling, Tymberlee Hill and Tim Meadows co-star, with Scandal Emmy winner Dan Bucatinsky having a guest role in the series.
From Sony Pictures Television and executive producers Caspe, Jamie Tarses and Seth Gordon, the single-camera comedy joins previously ordered half-hours, including Mr. Robinson; Ellie Kemper starrer Tooken, which is now titled Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; and acquired series Working the Engels at the network.
This past pilot season was a big one for the cast of Happy Endings, with Wilson also producing her own NBC comedy pilot, Mason Twins, and the cast all lining up new gigs following ABC’s decision to pull the plug on the beloved comedy.
Allegiance, meanwhile, hails from writer-director George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau). It revolves around Alex O’Connor, a young, idealistic CIA analyst specializing in Russian affairs, who learns a shocking secret, and his close-knit, affluent family that’s about to be split apart when it’s revealed that his parents, Mark (Scott Cohen) and Katya (Hope Davis), are covert Russian spies deactivated decades ago. But today the Kremlin has re-enlisted them into service as they plan a terrorist operation inside the U.S. border that will bring America to its knees. Years ago, Russian-born Katya was tasked by the KGB to recruit American businessman Mark O’Connor as a spy, and the two fell in love. A deal was struck: As long as Katya remained an asset for Russia and it was agreed that her services could be called on in the future, she would be allowed to marry Mark and move to America. After years in America building a happy life and without word from Moscow, they thought they had escaped. Now it seems that the new Mother Russia has one more mission — turning Alex into a spy. For these anguished parents, the choice is clear: betray their country or risk their family.
The drama is based on the Israeli format The Gordin Cell and hails from Universal Television, Keshet Media and Yes. Gavin Stenhouse, Margarita Levieva, Morgan Spector, Alex Peters, Kenneth Choi and Annie Ilonzeh co-star in the drama, which was written, directed and exec produced by Nolfi and Avi Nir (Homeland).
For its part, State of Affairs marks Grey’s Anatomy alum Heigl’s return to series television. Described as Scandal meets The West Wing, the drama revolves around a maverick CIA officer (Heigl) who was plucked from the field to become the president’s (Alfre Woodard) daily briefer, assuming responsibility for targeting America’s most critical threats while navigating the unique lifestyle that comes with such a high-powered job.
Alexi Hawley penned the script alongside Joe Carnahan, who directed the pilot for the Universal Television entry. Heigl, her mother Nancy Heigl, Bob Simonds, Sophie Watts, Henry Crumpton, Julia Franz and Rodney Faraon exec produce.
Finally, Odyssey is described as a Traffic-like thriller that centers on three families who are torn apart when a stranded female soldier (Pushing Daisies‘ Anna Friel), a disillusioned corporate attorney (Nurse Jackie’s Peter Facinelli) and a disrespected political activist (The Carrie Diaries’ Jake Robinson) are pulled into the same shocking international military conspiracy. From Universal Television, Fabrik Entertainment, Red Arrow Entertainment, Treat Williams, Daniella Pineda, Elena Kampouris, Jim True-Frost and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje co-star. The drama, from writers Adam Armus and Kay Foster and exec producer/director Peter Horton, screened well and comes as conspiracy dramas continue to be all the rage among broadcast and cable networks. Horton co-created the series with Armus and Foster and co-wrote the pilot. The trio co-wrote the first three episodes of the series.
Allegiance (which was previously known as Coercion), Odyssey and State of Affairs join a roster of new NBC dramas that include limited-entry Emerald City.