Oh, NBC. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, they never keep things boring for us. If networks are feeling the bite of a diminished acting pool this pilot season, then NBC has truly bared the brunt. Which is kind of funny, considering it was legendary NBC president Brandon Tartikoff who lived by the philosophy that television made stars. In other words, these pilots should be a proving ground for the unknowns. No better place to start that the fifth fourth place network!
Forget which shows are which? No problem, NBC has more than anyone else. It’s hard to keep track. Here’s my detailed look at NBC’s pilots from a few weeks ago.
New information: One of NBC’s most high profile and bullish pilots, Girlfriend In A Coma, was derailed because series lead Christina Ricci left after the table read. That pilot will now have to shoot off cycle since they need to find a new lead. I really hope they can keep Miranda Cosgrove and Daniel Stern, because that was great casting.
…Then Came Elvis has a new title. It’s now called Family Guide. There’s still no big buzz on it, but hey, nothing like a confusing title change to help a show already lost in the mix.
After Hours has been retitled as The Night Shift.
Wonderland, which was pushed to off cycle because of production issues, has been beat to the punch by ABC who is spinning off their fairy tale series Once Upon A Time. It’s about Alice in Wonderland. Go figure! That’s not to say that NBC won’t go forward with the project, but will viewers want two shows about Wonderland? Who knows.
I am Victor is suffering from some behind the scenes turmoil. NBC is notorious for behind the scenes interference with their TV shows and this has caused clashes between the brass and Executive Producers Katie Jacobs and Daniel Rappaport. The two producers have apparently exited the show. Still, TPTB really love this show and are intent on it being a success.
Because this network is so desperate for reliable performers, even with a huge crop of pilots, it’s decided to do a backdoor pilot and spinoff for one the rare success stories this year, Chicago Fire. That will air during the season finale. It’s likely this move was also to placate Dick Wolf, since they are in some very tough negotiations for Law and Order: SVU. Here’s all the info about that spinoff:
Name: The Untitled Chicago Fire Spinoff Project (how original!)
Cast: Jon Seda, Kelly Blatz, Melissa Sagemiller, Scott Eastwood, Tania Raymonde
Premise: A drama set in the Chicago Police Department.
Shouldn’t the name be, in following the pattern of the original series, Chicago Police? I’m just saying.
Got all that? Now, for NBC’s usually large list of shows up for consideration. Most of the trouble and disasters have happened with NBC’s comedy slate, so you’ll find most of the dramas are coming out very nicely.
Frontrunners: The Sixth Gun (yay!), The Blacklist, The Night Shift. NBC has supposedly ordered four backup scripts of The Night Shift, so that’s a very good sign it’s on the fall schedule.
Strong contenders (NBC does have a lot of holes to fill): Believe, The Hatfields and McCoys, After Hours, Bloodlines, I am Victor, the still Untitled Rand Ravich Project.
Looking very good, but still too early in project to tell: The Untitled Chicago Fire Spinoff.
No word yet: Ironside, The Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives
Strong contenders: Undateable, About A Boy
The less than strong contenders: The Gates, Welcome To The Family, Assistance, Family Guide.
Pick your untitled project: According to Deadline, NBC is expected to go with either the Untitled Craig Robinson project or the Untitled Robert Padnick project. Both are produced by Greg Daniels. Dude needs to title his shows for starters. Considering the Robert Padnick project had one of those disastrous table reads where a lead actor was let go at the last minute and had to be recast, I’m going with Untitled Craig Robinson. But that’s just me.
No word yet: The John Mulaney Show, Holding Patterns, Brenda Forever. All have had some casting issues and got started later. There’s also no buzz on Joe & Joe & Jane, which filmed back in February. Me thinks that one didn’t go over too well.
I’ve got to say, I am impressed with NBC’s strong drama possibilities. I’m voting for The Sixth Gun to get the Monday at 10 pm timeslot, and move Revolution to the much troubled Thursdays at 10 pm. What do you think? We’ll be doing fantasy schedules soon, so start thinking about it!
Up next, CBS and their terrible dilemma of having all these great pilots on their slate and no spots to air them.