ABC pilot wrap: Angels, stewardesses, Poe and fairy tales on tap for fall
Image Credit: Image Credit: Bob Charlotte/PR Photos; Tina Gill/PR Photos; David Livingston/Getty Images; Everett Collection (3) ABC is nearly done picking up pilots for fall and, like over at NBC, there’re some intriguing high-concept ideas mixed in with the network’s usual “Can we have another sexy hit soap like Grey’s Anatomy pretty-please?” Also like at NBC, there’s a new entertainment president at the helm picking the titles — Paul Lee, who used to run things over at ABC Family before being called up to the big show.
What good about ABC’s dramas this year is I’m grasping to find a trend — that means there’s eclectic stuff rather than the network overdosing on one particular type of show (like the aforementioned sexy soaps).
The closest project to a sure bet is Charlie’s Angels. No pilot is guaranteed a slot on a network’s fall schedule (remember NBC’s Rockford Files?), but ABC sure likes the amount of online buzz this title is receiving. And thankfully, CBS successfully rebooting Hawaii Five-0 broke the remake curse.
The pilot I’d most likely watch is The River. Here you have the Paranormal Activity team doing its “found video footage” thing, about a team that goes searching for a TV personality who vanished along the Amazon river. This is one of those “but how do you do this every week?” ideas, but wouldn’t you like to see them try?
That said: I’m obsessed with Poe — about Edgar Allan Poe solving crimes in 1840s Boston. Yes, I mocked the idea, but that comes from a place of admiration for a network trying to make an idea work that sounds like a SNL parody of a TV show.
Another intriguing project is Halleluah from Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry. This has one of those bold loglines that would probably not get an average writer past the ABC gate: “When the Tennessee town of Hallelujah finds itself being torn apart by forces of good and evil, a stranger arrives to bring justice, peace and quite possibly restore the faith in the world that the residents so desperately need. The episodes will be punctuated by songs sung by the gospel choir, which serves as a sort of Greek chorus.”
There’s also two projects with “bitch” in the title (at least, at this early stage), but both titles are quite catchy and clever: Good Christian Bitches! is exec produced by Sex and the City scribe Darren Starr about a former “mean girl” who returns to Dallas. Meanwhile, everybody’s favorite sitcom title for next fall, Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apt. 23, is about two mismatched rooomates in NYC.
On the comedy side, ABC seems to be looking for, not surprisingly, modern families. There’s a young man/older woman (Other People’s Kids), two young-parents-and-their-parents shows (My Frickin’ Family, Smothered), and a teen mom (Bad Mom), to name a few. There is also a stab at, yes, re-inventing Bosom Buddies in Work it, in which two out-of-work salesmen decide they have to dress as women to get jobs as pharmaceutical reps. Sure that’s the reason, surrre…
Here’s the lineup of ABC’s pilots (and here is the full list for all the networks):
Halleluah (Marc Cherry) — When the Tennessee town of Hallelujah finds itself being torn apart by forces of good and evil, a stranger arrives to bring justice, peace and quite possibly restore the faith in the world that the residents so desperately need. The episodes will be punctuated by songs sung by the gospel choir, which serves as a sort of Greek chorus. (drama, pilot)
Once Upon a Time (Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz) — A young boy who is drawn into a town where the magic and mystery of fairy tales may be real real. (drama, pilot)
Revenge (Mike Kelley) — Emily Thorne has a secret. She’s new to the Hamptons and rented a beautiful house on the water for the summer and she’s welcomed into the spectacular community by her neighbors. Little do the townsfolk know, however, that every kind gesture is an invitation to their own downfall in this primetime soap. (drama, pilot)
The River (Oren Peli, Jason Blum) — Follows the search for a famed adventurer/TV personality who, along with his crew, goes missing deep in the Amazon. (drama, pilot)
Identity (John Glenn) — A procedural that centers on an elite police unit formed to combat the explosion of identity-related crime. (drama, pilot)
Good Christian Bitches! (Robert Harling, Darren Star) — Primetime soap is set in Dallas and asks the question: Is it possible to start over in a town that thinks they already know you? Amanda, once the ultimate “mean girl” in high school, returns home to Dallas after her marriage ends in scandal. Humbled, Amanda is nothing like the girl she once was. But as her old classmates reacquaint themselves with the new Amanda, will these “Good Christian Bitches” give her a second chance or is this their shot to seek revenge? (drama, pilot)
Untitled Shonda Rhimes project (Rhimes, Betsy Beers) — Revolves around the life and work of a professional fixer and her dysfunctional staff. The character is based on the career of Judy Smith, a crisis management consultant who has guided corporations, politicians, and public figures over the last 20 years. (drama, pilot)
Georgetown (Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage) — A sexy soap centered around young people behind the power brokers of Washington DC. (drama, pilot)
Poe (Chris Hollier) — Crime procedural following Edgar Allan Poe as the world’s very first detective, using unconventional methods to investigate dark mysteries in 1840s Boston. (drama, pilot)
Pan Am (Jack Orman, Nancy Ganis, Sid Ganis, Tommy Schlamme) — A sexy soap set against the jet age, focusing on the stewardesses and pilots and their glamorous world full of adventures (drama, pilot).
Charlie’s Angels (Miles Millar, Al Gough, Leonard Goldberg, Drew Barrymore, Nancy Juvonen) — Modern-day version of the classic show that will be set in Miami. (drama, pilot)
Partners (Ed Bernero) — Centers on two female police detectives who are fiercely loyal to one another since they’re also secretly sisters. (drama, pilot)
Grace (Krista Vernoff, Carrie Ann Inaba) — Focuses on a dysfunctional family set in the world of professional dance. (drama, pilot)
Other People’s Kids (Stacy Traub, Peter Traugott, Hunter Covington) — A 32-year-old guy with no responsibilities finds himself with an insta-family when he falls in love with an older woman who has two kids, an ex-husband, and ex-in-laws. (comedy, pilot)
The Last Days of Man (Jack Burditt) — Even though the world around him has declared the traditional male an ‘endangered species,’ Tim Fitzgerald is fighting for his manhood in a world that is being increasingly dominated by women. (comedy, pilot)
Lost and Found (Marisa Coughlan) — A narcissistic New York City bartender and party girl has her life turned upside down when the conservative 18-year-old son she gave up for adoption shows up on her doorstep. (comedy, pilot)
Work it (Andrew Reich, Ted Cohen) — Two out-of-work salesmen realize that it is now a woman’s world and decide that in order to find work and succeed, they are going to have to dress as women to get jobs as pharmaceutical reps. (comedy, pilot)
Man Up (Chris Moynihan, Ron West, Kelly Kulchak) — A look at what it takes to survive as a modern man, as told through the eyes of three best friends and the women in their lives. (comedy, pilot)
Smothered (Andrew Rech, Ted Cohen) — A young couple finds themselves smothered by their two very different sets of parents. (comedy, pilot)
Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23 (Nahnatchka Khan, David Hemingson) — The story is about a naive young woman who comes to New York City and ends up with a trouble-making party-girl roommate. (comedy, pilot)
Suburgatory (Emily Kapnek) — In this satirical look at life in the suburbs, a quintessentially New York City girl moves to a cookie-cutter community only to discover that life in the ‘burbs is more frightening than any horror movie that she’s ever seen. Tonally, this is a heightened view of suburbia with a cinematic quality that evokes the scope and horror of perfection. (comedy, pilot)
My Frickin’ Family (Erica Rivinoja, Peter Traugott) — Two young parents’ lives change after they have a baby and the four grandparents butt in. (comedy, pilot)
Bad Mom (Sharon Horgan, Aaron Kaplan) — Young woman goes from having the best mom in the world to being the best mom in the world. (comedy, pilot)