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The CW on Tuesday added to its pilot haul, picking up an immigration-themed Roswell reboot and dramas from familiar faces including Greg Berlanti and Rob Thomas.
Ordered to pilot are Roswell, In the Dark, Skinny Dip, Playing Dead, The End of the World as We Know It and Spencer. They join Wayward Sisters, Charmed and Dead Inside as the network’s pilot haul comes to nine — up three from a year ago.
Here’s a closer look at Tuesday’s pickups:
The untitled Roswell project is written by Carina Adly MacKenzie (The Originals) and counts the original show’s Kevin Kelly Brown among its executive producers. After reluctantly returning to her tourist-trap hometown of Roswell, New Mexico, the daughter of undocumented immigrants discovers a shocking truth about her teenage crush, who is now a police officer: He is an alien who has kept his unearthly abilities hidden his entire life. She protects his secret as the two reconnect and begin to investigate his origins, but when a violent attack and long-standing government cover-up point to a greater alien presence on Earth, the politics of fear and hatred threaten to expose him and destroy their deepening romance.
The Roswell reboot is based on Melinda Metz’s Roswell High book series that also spawned the Jason Katims drama (that starred Shiri Appleby and Jason Behr) that ran for three seasons on The CW predecessors The WB Network and UPN. Exec producers include Amblin Television’s Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank and Lawrence Bender. The drama hails from Warner Bros. Television.
Spencer, from Greg Berlanti and husband Robbie Rogers, is based on the life of pro football player Spencer Paysinger. The drama revolves around what happens when a high school football player from South Central Los Angeles is recruited to play for Beverly Hills High. It explores the wins, losses and struggles of two families from vastly different worlds — Compton and Beverly Hills — when their lives begin to collide. This is Berlanti’s third pilot order of the season and second drama, joining ABC comedy Most Likely To and CBS’ God Friended Me.
April Blair (Reign, Into the Badlands) penned the script and exec produces the drama alongside Greg Berlanti Productions topper Sarah Schechter. The Warner Bros. Television project counts Rogers as a producer, with Dane Morck on board as a consultant.
In the Dark, from writer Corinne Kingsbury (The Newsroom), follows a flawed and irreverent blind woman who is the only “witness” to the slaying of her drug-dealing friend. After the police dismiss her story, she sets out with her dog, Pretzel, to find the killer, while also managing her colorful dating life and the job she hates at Breaking Blind, the guide dog school owned by her overprotective parents. Exec producers include Ben Stiller and his Red Hour Films team of Jackie Cohn and Nicky Weinstock. The drama hails from CBS Television Studios. This is Kingsbury’s second pilot order of the season and joins CBS comedy Fam.
Skinny Dip is based on the novel by Carl Hiaasen. After her husband tries to kill her on what she thought was a romantic cruise to celebrate their second wedding anniversary, a woman teams with a jaded ex-cop to exact her own twisted brand of revenge on her cheating spouse and winds up uncovering a wider conspiracy in the process. Russel Friend and Garrett Lerner (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency) penned the script and exec produce the CBS Television Studios drama alongside Keshet Studios’ Peter Traugott and Rachel Kaplan.
Playing Dead is described as a dysfunctional family dramedy about a mortician and his son whose lives are turned upside down when the woman who abandoned them 15 years ago returns and asks them to fake her death. Rina Momoun (Mistresses, Hart of Dixie, Everwood) and Josh Reims (Valor) penned the script and exec produce the CBS Television Studios project alongside Intrigue’s Tariq Jalil and Lucas Carter.
The End of the World as We Know It is based on the book of the same name by Iva-Marie Palmer. When a prison spaceship carrying the universe’s most deadly aliens crashes in Southern California, two young women with bigger dreams than working at a kids’ pizza place in the Valley are recruited by a space cop to hunt down the escaped criminals who have camouflaged themselves as eccentric Angelenos. Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker (Powerless, iZombie) penned the script and exec produce the Warner Bros. Television drama alongside studio-based Rob Thomas (iZombie), Danielle Stokdyk, Dan Etheridge and Alloy’s Leslie Morgenstein and Gina Girolamo. The project hails from Warner Bros. Television, Ehsugadee Productions, Spondoolie Productions and Alloy Entertainment. This is Thomas’ second pilot order of the season and joins CBS comedy I Mom So Hard.
Tuesday’s orders join three previously announced pickups: Wayward Sisters, the Supernatural spinoff; the Charmed reboot; and Dead Inside, from exec producer Bill Lawrence. Last season, The CW ordered six pilots, with four of them moving to series (Black Lightning, Dynasty, Life Sentence and Valor).
With reboots of Roswell and Charmed and a Supernatural spinoff, The CW is among the broadcast networks looking to familiar intellectual property in a bid to cut through a cluttered landscape that is expected to top 500 scripted originals this year. Key to the reboots is having the original producers involved, which Roswell has with Brown attached.
Keep up with all the latest pilot orders, castings and eventual series pickups with THR‘s handy guide.
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