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Of the 19 pilots that the network ordered this season — excluding Coach, Shades of Blue and Telenovela, which were granted straight-to-series orders — NBC is doling out series commitments to two medical dramas, Chicago Med and newly retitled Heartbreaker, along with FBI drama Blindspot. The news comes some two months after it granted its Jerrod Carmichael comedy pilot a six-episode series order. More will trickle in as the network continues with its closed-door discussions and screenings ahead of its presentation for Madison Avenue buyers May 11.
NBC has many needs as it rounds out a lackluster season, with several ambitious bets, including State of Affairs, Allegiance and star-studded The Slap, falling short. More problematic: the net’s comedy efforts, which included Bad Judge, A to Z and since-abandoned Mission Control. (NBC shrewdly let its own Universal TV-owned Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt go to Netflix, where it earned a two season order.) Among the few bright spots has been Dick Wolf’s Chicago Fire and spinoff Chicago P.D., which have been competitive on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, respectively. For that reason, it’s no surprise that the network is expanding the Windy City franchise, by adding Chicago Med to its 2015-16 portfolio. The backdoor pilot, which was introduced on Chicago Fire, performed well earlier this season and arrives as medical dramas have been in demand once again this season. In making the order, the network has entrusted Wolf, the Law & Order mastermind, with four series on its schedule. (The last time he had as many shows on NBC was 2005 when Law & Order: Trial by Jury debuted and joined the mothership series, SVU and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.) Even more impressive, a producer with two back-to-back hit franchises is believed to be unprecedented.
Moving forward, Chicago Med is being billed as an emotional thrill ride through the day-to-day chaos of the city’s most explosive hospital and the courageous team of doctors who hold it together. They will tackle unique new cases inspired by topical events, forging fiery relationships in the pulse-pounding pandemonium of the emergency room, and through it all, familiar faces from the Chicago police and fire departments will intertwine as this third team of Chicago heroes hits the ground running. The cast includes Oliver Platt, S. Epatha Merkerson, Laurie Holden, Nick Gehlfuss and Yaya Dacosta, with Wolf, Matt Olmstead, Michael Brandt and Derek Haas attached as writers and executive producers. Danielle Gelber, Peter Jankowski and cross-over pilot director Joe Chappelle joining them as executive producers on the Universal TV and Wolf Films produced entry.
Leaning into the medical genre, NBC has also ordered Heartbreaker, which went through pilot season as Heart Matters. The series, based on the real life and achievements of Dr. Kathy Magliato, is being described as a unique character-driven medical drama that follows Dr. Alex Panttiere (Melissa George), an outspoken world-renowned heart-transplant surgeon and one of the few women in her field. Stubborn and fearless, Alex always operates on her own terms. She revels in a racy personal life that’s a full-time job in itself, manages the daily demands of skeptical faculty and dutiful interns, and pushes the boundaries of medical science to impressive new heights. The cast is rounded out by Dave Annable, Don Hany, Shelley Conn, D.L. Hughley, Jamie Kennedy, Maya Erskine, J. Louis Mills and Joshua Leonard. Jill Gordon serves as writer and executive producer on the Universal TV-produced hour, with Amy Brenneman, Brad Silberling and director Robbie Duncan McNeill also executive producing.
For its part, Blindspot hails from prolific producer Greg Berlanti, who’s also behind bubble drama The Mysteries of Laura at NBC. The Warner Bros.-produced drama centers on a vast international plot, which explodes when a beautiful Jane Doe is discovered naked in Times Square, completely covered in mysterious, intricate tattoos with no memory of who she is or how she got there. There’s one that’s very clear, however: the name of FBI agent Kurt Weller, emblazoned across her back. “Jane,” Agent Weller and rest of the FBI quickly realize that each mark on her body is a crime to solve, leading them closer to the truth about her identity and the mysteries to be revealed. The cast features Sullivan Stapleton, Jaimie Alexander, Audrey Esparza, Rob Brown, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Ukweli Roach and Ashley Johnson. Martin Gero penned the pilot and will executive produce alongside Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and pilot director Mark Pellington.
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