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As Pilot Season 2018 heads into its casting portion and pickups wind down, it’s time to take a look at this season’s overachievers.
While overall orders are on par with those of last year (74 versus 74 in 2017), it has been a big season for prolific developers like perennial favorites Greg Berlanti and Aaron Kaplan as the five broadcast networks continued to spread the wealth among established producers and a few rising stars.
Here’s a look at this season’s overachievers with two or more pilots in the works at the broadcast networks.
3 Arts (Seven)
The talent management and production company has comedy pilots at each of the Big Four networks — NBC’s Abby’s, ABC’s untitled Bobby Bowman, CBS’ untitled Austen Earl/Tim McAuliffe and Fox’s Daddy Issues, Cool Kids, untitled Aseem Batra and an untitled drama from outgoing Empire showrunner Ilene Chaiken. That’s a strong showing after the company ranked second on this list a year ago with five pickups. Should any of the seven move forward, they would join a roster that includes Fox’s The Resident and The Mick, HBO’s Insecure and NBC’s Champions.
Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment (Five)
In the second year of his distribution deal with CBS Corp., Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment landed pickups at ABC — an untitled single-camera comedy from Justin Noble (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and drama A Million Little Things, as well as three multicams at CBS: Pandas in New York, Fam and Here Comes the Neighborhood. Those would join a roster that includes CBS’ Life in Pieces and 9JKL, CBS All Access’ Tell Me a Story, HBO’s Divorce, Showtime’s The Chi, ABC’s American Housewife and Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet. Kaplan led this list last year with six pilot orders. (Worth noting: Kapital-based Wendi Trilling’s TrillTV is producing four of the company’s five pilots.)
Greg Berlanti (Four)
Warner Bros. Television-based Berlanti already holds the record for the most scripted series currently in production at the same time (11) and could add to that with ABC multicam Most Likely To, CBS dramas God Friended Me and The CW’s Spencer, the latter of which is being produced by his husband, Robbie Rogers. For the sake of comparison, Berlanti had the same number of pilots picked up last season (with The CW’s Black Lightning and ABC’s Deception moving forward).
Todd Lieberman’s, David Hoberman’s and Laurie Zaks‘ ABC Studios-based Mandeville Films is a newcomer to this list with a very strong season that included two dramas, The Fix and Safe Harbor, and a single-camera comedy — Steps — all at the Disney-owned network.
Liz Meriwether (Three)
After wrapping production on the final season of Fox’s New Girl, 20th TV-based Meriwether is hard at work readying her next project. She co-created (with New Girl’s J.J. Philbin) ABC single-camera comedy Single Parents, which she’ll exec produce, and Fox’s Lake Bell off-cycle vehicle Bless This Mess, which she’ll write. On top of that, she’s exec producing Fox’s Erin Foster starrer Daddy Issues.
Kenya Barris (Two)
The Black-ish creator is on the verge of having four shows at three different networks. In addition to ABC’s critical darling, Barris also has Freeform spinoff Grown-ish, already renewed for a supersized second season, and could have four shows by this time next year. Barris is exec producing an ABC family comedy that lost its straight-to-series order after Alec Baldwin opted not to star in it. He also has Bright Futures in the works at NBC, which picked up the script to pilot after ABC passed on it.
Bill Lawrence’s Doozer Productions (Two)
As he awaits the March premiere date for The CW’s Lucy Hale dramedy Life Sentence, WBTV-based Lawrence will get to work on the younger-skewing network’s ghostly drama Dead Inside and look for brevity with Scandal‘s Scott Foley in ABC’s hourlong action dramedy Whiskey Cavalier. (Lawrence — a regular presence on this list — had a pair of pilots last year, too.)
Craig Turk (Two)
The CBS Television Studios-based Good Wife alum Turk is charged with steering the ship on Dick Wolf’s FBI, which landed at CBS with a straight-to-series order. On top of that, he is writing and exec producing the network’s military drama The Code (though Craig Sweeny will serve as showrunner on that one).
Lionsgate Television (Two)
The independent studio, which will say farewell to ABC-turned-CMT’s Nashville this year, is back on broadcast with two reboots: CBS’ L.A. Confidential and ABC’s Get Christie Love, the latter of which is being showrun by Lionsgate-based Courtney Kemp (Power).
Hazy Mills (Two)
Sean Hayes’ and Todd Milliner’s Universal Television-based production company scored a pair of multicamera comedies at the network that was home to their veteran drama Grimm. Like Family reteams the duo with Hot in Cleveland showrunner Suzanne Martin, while So Close marks a reunion for Hayes with former Will and Grace EP Greg Malins.
Jerry Bruckheimer (Two)
After exploring the open market for a year following a 15-year deal with Warners, Jerry Bruckheimer TV scored a pilot pickup for CBS’ Main Justice some seven months after signing a sizable three-year deal with CBS Television Studios. The company also has a stake in NBC’s untitled Gabrielle Union-fronted Bad Boys spinoff after having produced the original films.
Rob Thomas (Two)
The Warners-based iZombie showrunner is focused on exec producing this season, with his Spondoolie Productions behind CBS multicam I Mom So Hard and The CW’s out-there dramedy End of the World as We Know It.
Corinne Kingsbury (Two)
The Newsroom grad went two-for-two this pilot season, scoring pickups for CBS Television Studios-produced drama In the Dark at The CW and CBS multicam Fam, produced by Kaplan.
Keshet Studios (Two)
Returning to this list for the second year in a row is the Peter Traugott-led Keshet Studios, the L.A.-based subsidiary of Keshet International. After a strong first year of development with three pilots at three networks last season (NBC’s The Brave, which is on the bubble; ABC’s Salamander, which didn’t go; and CBS’ Wisdom of the Crowd, which is effectively canceled), Keshet landed pickups for NBC thriller Suspicion and The CW’s revenge drama Skinny Dip.
Keep up with all the latest pilot orders, castings and eventual series pickups with THR‘s handy guide.
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