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Following a ho-hum 2013-14 season that saw ABC’s sophomore drama Scandal break out into a bona fide hit, the five broadcast networks are again relying on the tried and true — cops! doctors! romantic comedies! and comic book properties like Batman prequel Gotham and DC Comics’ The Flash and supernatural dramas like alien invasion entry The Visitors — in a bid to find the next water-cooler show. Here’s a look at Pilot Season 2014 by the numbers — including the decline in total pilots (down eight), growth in multicamera comedies and some of the trends that have emerged as the race to cast more than 90 projects continues.
Total orders: 95 (including Fox’s non-pilot orders) (100 in 2013, down 5; 87 in 2012; 83 in 2011; 83 in 2010)
Dramas: 45 (52 in 2013, down 7)
Comedies: 50 (48 in 2013, up 2)
Single-cam: 32 (34 in 2013, down 2)
Multicam: 17 (14 in 2013, up 3)
Hybrid: 1 (none in 2013, up 1)
Series orders 2013: 47
ABC 27* (25 in 2013, up 2)
ABC’s Paul Lee kept the network’s orders largely the same as last year. Its pickups include six remakes and three dramas already earmarked for the schedule — including one for next summer (Astronaut Wives Club). Also among the Disney-owned network’s orders are Awkward creator Lauren Iungerich‘s first broadcast comedy, Damaged Goods; out-of-the-box musical half-hour Galavant; timely titled Emily Kapnek entry Selfie; and a semi-autobiographical comedy from Kevin Hart. On the drama side, remakes Sea of Fire and Secrets & Lies are already generating buzz.
Dramas: 13 (13 in 2013, even)
Comedies: 14 (12 in 2013, up 2)
Single-cam: 10 (10 in 2013, even)
Multicam: 3 (2 in 2013, up 1)
* Includes three series orders/commitments: Astronaut Wives Club (summer), Secrets & Lies and the untitled David O. Russell drama.
Series orders 2013: 12 (7 dramas, 5 comedies)
NBC 27* (28 in 2013, down 1)
With rookie The Blacklist already renewed for a second season, two cycles of The Voice taking up multiple hours of primetime and a heavy mix of procedurals likely to return, the network is again focusing on comedy. This year, NBC again out-ordered all four of its broadcast competitors in both total pickups and comedies. Among its half-hour hopefuls are Amy Poehler‘s Old Soul; Rob Lowe-starrer The Pro and NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt‘s latest stab at a gay-themed vehicle in its Ellen DeGeneres-produced lesbian comedy One Big Happy.
Dramas: 9 (12 in 2013, down 3)
Comedies: 18 (16 in 2013, up 2)
Single-cam: 14 (11 in 2013, up 3)
Multicam: 4 (5 in 2013, down 1)
* Includes four series orders/commitments: Emerald City, Mr. Robinson, the untitled Tina Fey–Ellie Kemper comedy and Working the Engels (up 2 year-over-year).
Series orders 2013: 13 (7 dramas, 6 comedies)
CBS 19* (23 in 2013, down 4)
With Thursday Night Football set to take eight weeks of the network’s fall launch, CBS has fewer hours to program. That might explain the network’s slower pilot season this year, where dramas and comedies are both down year over year. The pickups are evenly split between comedy and drama again this year, with high expectations already riding on How I Met Your Mother spinoff How I Met Your Dad and HIMYM star Alyson Hannigan also remaining in the family with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon‘s More Time With Family. On the drama side, CBS will attempt its second NCIS spinoff in as many years with Scott Bakula‘s NCIS: New Orleans arriving after NCIS: LA spinoff NCIS: Red failed to make the cut, and its third spinoff from the long-running CSI franchise.
Dramas: 9 (11 in 2013, down 2)
Comedies: 10 (12 in 2013, down 2)
Single-cam: 3 (7 in 2013, down 4)
Multicam: 6 (5 in 2013, up 1)
Hybrid: 1 (none in 2013, up 1)
* Includes one series order: Battle Creek.
Series orders 2013: 8 (5 comedies, 3 dramas)
Fox 16* (16 in 2013, down 2)
After declaring pilot season dead, Fox has the greatest jump of any network on the 2014-15 season with series orders for comedies The Last Man on Earth, Mulaney, Weird Loners as well as dramas Backstrom and Hieroglyph. Meanwhile, Ben McKenzie-starring Batman prequel Gotham — which, like Tina Fey‘s Cabot College, has a series commitment penalty attached — seems like the season’s biggest no-brainer pickup.
Dramas: 8 (8 in 2013, even)
Comedies: 8 (8 in 2013, even)
Single-cam: 5 (7 in 2013, down 2)
Multicam: 3 (1 in 2013, up 2)
* Includes seven series orders/commitments: The Last Man on Earth, Cabot College, Mulaney, Weird Loners, Backstrom, Gotham, Hieroglyph (up 5 year over year).
Series orders 2013: 9 (5 comedies, 4 dramas)
NOTE: Includes series prototypes that are unofficially pilot orders.
CW 6 (8 in 2013, down 2)
The youth-skewing network is largely sticking with what it does best: supernatural fare. Among the orders are high-profile spinoffs of Arrow and Supernatural with Grant Gustin-starrer The Flash and Supernatural: Tribes, as well as a remake of iZombie from Veronica Mars’ Rob Thomas.
Dramas: 6 (8 in 2013, down 2)
Series orders 2013: 5 (all dramas)
ABC Studios 22 (+3) (5 off-net, up 3 year over year)
Universal TV 20 (+4) (3 off-net, up 2 year over year)
Warner Bros. TV 17 (up 1)
CBS TV Studios 17 (-1) (2 off-net, up 2 year over year)
20th Century Fox TV 16 (-2) (9 off-net, down 1 year over year)
Sony Pictures Television 8 (-7)
Halfire-CORE 1 (NBC’s Working the Engels)
Pearl Street Films 1 (Fox’s The Middle Man)
* Includes 8 co-productions: ABC’s Sea of Fire (ABCS/SPT); ABC’s David O. Russell (ABCS/CBSTVS); CBS’ The McCarthys (CBSTVS/SPT); CBS’ Save the Date (CBSTVS/ABCS); CBS’ Toscano/Ehrin (UniTV/CBSTVS); CBS’ Battle Creek (CBSTVS/SPT); NBC’s The Pro (UniTV/ABCS); CBS’ Cuz-Bros (CBSTVS/SPT)
Many of the usual trends are prevalent this pilot season, with crime (14), medical (4) and legal dramas and comedies (5) in play. CBS and The CW are both banking on spinoffs again paying off with new series based on CSI, How I Met Your Mother, NCIS as well as Arrow and Supernatural. Semi-autobiographical fare remains hot. Female-fronted pilots are also big this year with more than 10 putting women in the leading role — including ABC’s summer pickup Astronaut Wives Club and Cabot College. Here’s a look at some of the other big trends this pilot season. For more of the business trends, click here.
$6 million-$8 million — The average cost of a one-hour broadcast drama pilot in 2013.
$175,000 — What an A-list star can expect to make, per episode, in the first season of a show
32 — Family comedies/dramas, including two with the word “family” in the title
20 — Oscar nominees with pilots, including current Academy-Award nominees John Ridley (12 Years a Slave), Lee Daniels (The Butler) and David O. Russell (American Hustle).
15 — Shows ordered straight to series or with series commitments, bypassing the traditional pilot system as competition, thanks to cable and digital streaming services like Netflix, forces networks to fork over larger penalties to land hot projects.
14 — Foreign adaptations (3 Israeli; 2 British; 2 Australian; 2 Spanish and 1 each Scandinavian, Dutch, French-Canadian, Turkish and Venezuelan)
12 — Sci-fi projects (including regeneration drama Strange Calls, alien effort The Visitors and apocalyptic entry The Messengers as well as the Will Forte comedy about the last man on Earth)
10 — Romantic comedies
8 — Book adaptations (including 4 from DC Comics)
2 — Movie adaptations (ABC’s Selfie/My Fair Lady; NBC’s The Money Pit)
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