It’s hard to believe this year’s Pilot season is almost coming to a close. Upfronts are next week for networks and Pilot testing is just about done. So what do we know so far? The picture is getting more interesting. (Check back for frequent updates over the next few days and networks start to announce their pickups. The first fall schedule, probably NBC, will be out by this weekend.)
FOX has officially ordered the Batman prequel Gotham to series. I was one of those people that thought it had already been ordered, but the official announcement was enough to get this nice trailer that aired during the premiere of 24: Live Another Day. Lots of excitement over this one!
Out of my list of Pilots in contention for FOX, Last Man on Earth and Weird Loners join Mulaney in the straight-to-series camp. Welcome to FOX guys! Going into upfronts, FOX so far seems to have made most of their pickup decisions. There are a couple more drama and comedy pilots that could be picked up, but if an existing show hasn’t been renewed by FOX by now, it might not be by upfronts (or ever). (All announcements have been made. See below).
UPDATE (5/6) – FOX, as many expected, has ordered dramas Empire and Red Band Society. Those were all three pilots they had in the mix for their official Not!Pilot season. Also, Mulaney‘s episode order has been upped to 16 episodes from 6. Many believe this is it, FOX is now done with its series pickups for now.
UPDATE (5/7) – FOX has renewed American Idol (duh!) and cancelled Rake, Enlisted,Dads, and Surviving Jack. They have also officially passed on the comedy pilots Fatrick, Dead Boss, and No Place Like Home. The only pilots left in contention are Cabot College and Sober Companion, but it’s uncertain right now how much of the schedule FOX wants to commit to comedy. Their Tuesday night comedies have certainly been struggling lately and FOX has a very strong drama slate coming up.
At CBS, rumor has it CBS might only be picking up two comedies for upfronts. They seem to be keen on the How I Met Your Dad spinoff of How I Met Your Mother, and everything else is still testing. Despite what you’re hearing, The Odd Couple is not the lock people think it is. Retreads have proven to be risky propositions! I did hear that the pilot The Mistake is dead and wasn’t even shot! They had too many casting issues.
As for dramas, the spinoffs for NCIS: LA and CSI aired their backdoor pilots and the reception has been very good for both. CBS is right now staring at a white board trying to figure out how they’re going to possibly work them both in, but it seems they want them. There are other dramas in contention too, but like last year, a lot of good pilots could be passed up because CBS doesn’t have the space (aka start shopping to other networks like Backstrom did).
At ABC, well, that’s a lot more of a mess. Considering they’re the only network that hasn’t announced en mass their renewal decisions, we really don’t have a great idea how many slots they need to fill. The new Shonda Rhimes produced show How to Get Away From Murder looked like a lock from day one (aka Shonda!) so that will likely fill one hole. There’s a lot of buzz about the comedy Cristela coming out of nowhere, but it hasn’t been determined yet if that’s just a lot of PR noise or if it’s really on the network radar. Other than that, ABC has a lot of possibilities, and probably a lot of slots, and where they go will be anyone’s guess.
NBC looks like it’s going to finish the year as the number one network (at least in 18-49). I know, it’s kind of freaky, isn’t it? In terms of their pilots, I think just about anything could still be picked up. None of the pilots are generating the kind of buzz The Blacklist did last year, and NBC has already picked up a few shows, so it’ll be interesting to see how many new shows they’ll end up ordering to series. They still have a handful of shows waiting for renewal decisions, and aside from Law and Order: SVU, About A Boy, Growing Up Fisher and maybe Parenthood, chances are the rest won’t be coming back (sorry Revolution).
It does sound like NBC is balking on the idea of going ahead with the Constantine series, which isn’t shocking since NBC has been shying away from those kind of risks for a few years now. However, since they need sci-fi fare for the Friday block they might figure it’ll be the ideal fit. NBC’s real need seems to be on the comedy front, unless they decide to finally abandon comedy on Thursdays (I can’t imagine that happening), so that’s where a lot of the pilots are still in serious contention.
UPDATE (5/7) – NBC has started their series pickup process. Ordered to series are dramas Odyssey, State of Affairs, and Alliegance, and comedy Marry Me. NBC had already picked up the always name changing Tina Fey vehicle starring Ellie Kemper (Deadline says it’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt now) and Mr. Robinson.
UPDATE 2 – NBC has renewed Law and Order: SVU.
Word is The CW wants to pickup four or five shows. The CW has six pilots, and one has already aired. It was the backdoor pilot for Supernatural, “Bloodlines.” We know from our sister site at The Winchester Family Business that a majority of Supernatural fans didn’t like it. A majority of the Supernatural bloggers too (including myself) panned it critically. I’m hearing that it was screened for people who never heard of Supernatural as well and a good number of that group thought it was bad (how large the number is not known). Unofficial word as of today is out of the six pilots, “Bloodlines” is the only one looking dead.
The rest have a chance, but it’s hard to tell based on rumor and speculation which ones are real contenders. The Flash is certain, and iZombie and Jane The Virgin are testing very well. The problem with the latter is where does it fit on the schedule (Fridays or summers is all I’ve got). The chances of The Messengers and Identity depends on who you ask at any time of the day, but I’ve heard everything from “dead” to “getting a series order.” Gotta love insiders!
Well, that’s all for now. Upfronts starts with NBC on Monday, May 12th in the morning. Maybe I’ll have some fantasy schedules before then, but for networks like CBS, isn’t that kind of shooting fish in a barrel? It all depends if the decisions closer to upfronts get interesting.