Hello From Hollywood
THE BIG FIVE broadcast networks continue to test drive creativity in Hollywood during another pilot season and comedies are not the only format attracting big talent in front of and behind the camera. Concepts for many one-hour dramas have attracted box office stars and Oscar winners wearing new hats, and actors who remain true to working in television. The big 5 are looking hard to refresh next season’s schedules with potential winners to replace series on their way out - The CW’s 90210 and ABC’s Private Practice - and those facing the axe for low ratings - NBC’s Smash. With the money-making Adults 18 – 49 demographic typically in mind, here’s a list of some of the drama pilots in pre-production or filming now for a shot at the networks’ 2013 – 2014 schedule:
Christian Slater rolls the TV dice again, this time in the one-hour drama format. He stars with Steven Zahn in Influence about two brothers who head an agency created to solve their clients’ problems using the science of human manipulation and motivation.
S.H.E.I.L.D., produced in association with Marvel TV and written and directed by Joss Whedon (The Avengers) is based on the Marvel comic book and blockbuster films about a peacekeeping group who save the world.
A-list TV star Sophia Vergara (Modern Family) and film megastar Ryan Reynolds serve as producers of two separate pilots: Killer Woman (about a lone female Texas Ranger) and Murder in Manhattan (mother and daughter amateur sleuths) respectively.
The Offices‘s Rainn Wilson heads the cast of Backstrom, about a troubled detective trying to break bad habits. Dennis Haysbert also stars.
Oscar nominee Toni Colette joins the Bruckheimer empire as a DC surgeon in Hostages. Her character is chosen to operate on the US President, but quickly becomes involved in high stakes drama of a political conspiracy and the kidnapping of her family.
Five-time Tony winner and Private Practice costar Audra MacDonald gets the calling with Jorge Garcia, Sam Neill and Hope Davis in The Ordained, about a son of a Kennedy-like family who is forced to leave the priesthood in order to save his politician sister by becoming a lawyer.
Emmy winner James Spader (The Practice) signs up for more TV in The Blacklist about one of the world’s most wanted criminals who decides to cooperate with the FBI by squealing and giving up those he has committed crimes with.
2012’s cable period champ, Hatfields & McCoys, returns, but now set in present day Pittsburgh. Produced by Oscar winner Charlize Theron, it digs deeper into the feud between the two famous families, one rich and powerful, and the other all blue collar.
Emmy winner Felicity Huffman (Desperate Wives) returns to the medium in Boomerang in a family drama about the family business – as assassins for the US government.
Greg Kinnear stars in Rake which sounds more like a dramedy. It focuses on a criminal defense attorney who could learn a lot about being more professional; his personal life needs improvement too with a hormonal son, an exhausted wife and many affairs with other women.
The 100 stars Isaiah Washington (ex-Grey’s Anatomy cast member) about 100 juvenile delinquents who are sent back to earth 97 years after a nuclear war has virtually ended civilization. Can planet earth be re-colonized?