TV pilot bonanza! NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, and The CW have been on a greenlighting binge, ordering 25 pilots for consideration among their fall 2013 lineups. Among them are the TV spinoff of the venerable Beverly Hills Cop franchise, starring Brandon T. Jackson as the son of Eddie Murphy's titular lawman and already given a series order; a new Western from Lost scribe Carlton Cuse for NBC; a Hunger Games-meets-The-Bachelor dystopian sci-fi thriller for The CW; and the first network adaptation of a Swedish crime novel series. 25 is a lot to wrap your head around, so we've ranked what we found to be Top 10 most intriguing of the lost. Don't worry, we'll let you know about the others too on the next page, but these are the ones that really caught our eye.
RELATED: Brandon T. Jackson is Your New 'Beverly Hills Cop'
1. Sleepy Hollow (FOX)
Alias scribes Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman gave one beloved franchise a 21st century makeover with their stellar script for 2009's Star Trek. Now they're looking to give Washington Irving's classic American folk tale about upstate New York schoolteacher Ichabod Crane running afoul of the legendary Headless Horseman a modern-day twist. In this version, the pilot for which will be directed by Live Free or Die Hard's Len Wiseman, Crane partners with Sleepy Hollow's female sheriff — something tells us her name might be Katrina Van Tassel — to investigate the battle of good versus evil that has engulfed the soporific burg.
2. Beverly Hills Cop (CBS)
The Shield creator Shawn Ryan didn't skip a beat after the failure of his first incursion into network television: ABC's submarine drama Last Resort. The pilot he wrote for the small screen version of '80s action-comedy juggernaut Beverly Hills Cop focuses on the son of Eddie Murphy's Axel Foley, played by Brandon T. Jackson (Tropic Thunder). Murphy, however, will appear in the pilot and executive produce the show along with Ryan. Mostly, though, after years of gritty, forensics-heavy procedurals it's exciting that CBS is embracing the idea of injecting a little humor into its typically stodgy crime drama format.
RELATED: CBS Snags Eddie Murphy in 'Beverly Hills Cop' Series
3. Sixth Gun (NBC)
Lost's Carlton Cuse is a busy man. He's already exec producing A&E's Bates Motel and FX pilot The Strain, his collaboration with Guillermo del Toro. Now he's serving as EP on Sixth Gun, a Western pilot picked up by NBC with a script by feature writer Ryan Condal, who's penned the upcoming Hercules: The Thracian Wars for Brett Ratner. Sixth Gun is about a legendary six-shooter with possibly supernatural power that falls into the hands of a young girl and makes her the target of every baddie in the West. Paging Hailee Steinfeld.
4. Delirium (FOX)
Based on Lauren Oliver's bestselling sci-fi book trilogy, Delirium is about a future world in which love has been declared illegal and is even rendered obsolete via a mandatory lobotomy-like procedure. Series protagonist Lena Holloway has 95 days before she herself is forced to submit to the love-killing surgery...only to find herself actually falling in love as time runs out. Think Brave New World meets Dollhouse.
5. The Returned (ABC)
The Killing's Aaron Zelman wrote this pilot about a mystical town called Aurora, where residents' dead loved ones return to visit them. Not so much in a zombie way, more like an existential Solaris way. It will probably go easy on the Tarkovsky long takes.
RELATED: 'Star Trek 2' Writers Pen New 'Sleepy Hollow' Series
6. Backstrom (CBS)
Leif G.W. Persson is the first Swedish crime novelist to get a pilot order with a major U.S. network. (Kenneth Branagh's version of Henning Mankell's Wallander airs on PBS.) His character Ernst Backstrom is being described as criminology's answer to Dr. Gregory House: an overweight, misanthropic forensics expert who's great at his job despite his personality disorder.
NEXT: The rest of our Top 10, plus a round-up of other pilots in development at CBS and ABC.
7. The Selection (The CW)
In development at The CW since 2011, the adaptation of Kiera Cass' novel is kind of like a dystopian version of The Bachelor. Correction: a more dystopian version of The Bachelor. 300 years in the future, a working class woman finds herself the winner of a lottery to compete against 25 other would-be brides for the hand of her nation's "Royal Prince." A fierce competition ensues.
8. Untitled Secret Service Thriller (NBC)
A rookie secret service agent finds himself plunged into a major international conspiracy. And that's just his first day on the job! The official logline promises that he will cross moral and legal lines, which can only mean one thing: torture! It's been too long since we heard Jack Bauer scream, "I'm gonna need a hacksaw!"
9. Holding Patterns (NBC)
Writer Justin Spitzer has proven himself a master of hilarious anti-comedy — a longtime producer on The Office, he wrote the classic Stanley-centric ep "Did I Stutter?" — and this new half-hour sitcom should be no exception. It's about a group of people whose lives are forever changed after they suffer, and survive, a plane crash together. Kind of like Lost with a funny bone.
10. The List (FOX)
Sure, the concept sounds like a rip-off of Skyfall but...wait, Skyfall was unbelievably awesome so who cares? The master list of everyone in the Federal Witness Protection Program is stolen, and one by one each member of the program is killed. It's up to a U.S. Marshal to track down the source of the breach and relocate the surviving witnesses before it's too late.
Friends With Better Lives
Each of the thirtysomethings who anchor this multicam sitcom thinks that they have the best life of their circle of friends. Smugness alert!
Single-camera sitcom from writing team Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitzky (Bad Teacher) about a group of women in their 30s who should have their lives figured out, but don't. In fact, not even close. Girls for Generation Y.
Charlie's Angels' helmer McG produces the first of two obvious cash-ins on the nighttime soap success of Revenge. This one is set on the sandy shores of Venice, CA and is about two rival families making power plays against each other. Bitchery required, clothing optional.
The second cash-in on Revenge. A married female photographer begins an affair with the power attorney who's defending a murder suspect. Guess what? Her husband's the prosecutor in the case.
NEXT: The pilots that have been ordered by Fox and The CW.
Untitled Sean Hayes Comedy Pilot
The multicamera sitcom format and Sean Hayes are kind of in a co-dependent relationship. They both need each other to be truly successful. Hayes, for one, would like everyone to forget about his role as Larry in last year's Three Stooges reboot. So he'll be playing a stressed out dad whose 14-year-old daughter moves in with him right around the same time he gets a difficult new boss at work.
Untitled DJ Nash Comedy Pilot
Jason Bateman's Aggregate Films is producing this single-camera comedy written by DJ Nash, and loosely based on his life, centering on a young kid who worships his blind father and struggles with the fallout from his parents' divorce.
Girlfriend in a Coma
Pretty much exactly what it sounds like. After almost two decades in a coma, a 34-year-old woman wakes up to find she has a 17-year-old daughter from a pregnancy she never even knew about. Kind of like Kill Bill, but presumably with fewer geysers of blood. Also, it's supposed to be a half-hour comedy.
In this hour-long drama, the world's most dangerous criminal turns himself in in exchange for an immunity deal in which he'll rat out all of his associates past and present. But does he have an ulterior motive? Intrigue.
Welcome to the Family
An unplanned pregnancy among two of their younger members brings an Anglo family and a Latino family together. The culture clash of the two broods is funny because they're so different, yet so much the same. NBC's most obvious attempt at a half-hour Modern Family clone yet.
I Suck at Girls
Based on Justin Halpern's follow-up book to $#*! My Dad Says, the concept is a coming-of-age sitcom about an incredibly awkward teenage boy. Fox has already given it a series commitment.
To My Assistants
Kind of like a tube version of Horrible Bosses, this half-hour comedy focuses on the harried, overworked, underpaid assistants at a big New York law firm who band together to cope with the wretched antics of their superiors.
Friends & Family
The U.S. version of Britain's Gavin & Stacey, about what happens when a long-distance romance becomes a short-distance romance.
Writers Justin Spitzer and Andrew Gurland scripted the pilot for this comedy about a wacky family trying to fit in to a very normal Midwest community.
Okay, it's kind of a cheat to include this Vampire Diaries spin-off here, since its pilot is already slated to air as a VD episode this April. Joseph Morgan will star as power-drunk werewolf/vampire hybrid Klaus and Daniel Gillies as Elijah when the action moves from Mystic Falls, VA to New Orleans.
Director Taylor Hackford (Ray, Parker) is producing an hour-long drama about a scandal that engulfs a Virginia naval base and the surrounding town. Leave it to The CW to build a show around hot guys in uniform.
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credits: Paramount Pictures, Harper Collins, Harper Teen, WENN]
You Might Also Like:
Biden? Ford? Surprisingly Hot Young Pics of Politicians
Who Wore This Crazy Hat?
Stars Who Changed Their Look After Love
Another year, another Golden Globes. But though the awards have been handed out, the formalwear neatly tucked away, and the attending celebs are starting to recover from their hangovers, we still have some burning questions about the ceremony itself.
1. Why did Lena Dunham thank Chad Lowe?
The Girls creator and star had announced on Twitter that the next time she won an award she would right Hilary Swank’s wrong of 13 years ago: forgetting to thank her husband Chad Lowe when accepting her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Boys Don’t Cry. So that’s exactly what Dunham did. However, she forgot to name-drop Lowe during her first Globe win last night, for Best Actress in a TV Comedy. Lowe immediately tweeted, “Congrats to @lenadunham on your Golden Globe win. But, seriously? You forget to thank me?! After all we've been through? I'm shocked.” Order was restored to the universe when Dunham did thank him after winning for Best Comedy Series. "I also promised myself that if I ever got this chance, I would thank Chad Lowe,” Dunham said. That prompted Lowe to respond, “Dearest Lena Dunham, you complete me” and “Now that I'm trending worldwide (finally) does that mean I don't have to give my daughters a bath or change their diapers anymore?”
2. Was Paul Rudd and Salma Hayek’s awkward presentation of Best Actor in a TV Drama due to technical difficulties?
Afraid so. Rudd and Hayek started off fine with a joke about the nominees, Bryan Cranston, Damien Lewis, Jon Hamm, Steve Buscemi, and Jeff Daniels. Hayek set up the punchline with, “They drink, they do drugs, they have a huge ego, and they are not to be trusted,” followed immediately by Rudd’s, “And that’s just their agents!” Okay, that kinda bombed since maybe agent-related humor is off-limits at awards shows. But it was better than what followed: silence. After their quip, Hayek and Rudd just stood there. It turns out the teleprompter did not display the names of the nominees they were to rattle off. Rudd tried to fill dead air by saying, “Hello, how’s everyone doing?” (Maybe if Tina Fey and Amy Poehler had been around more, they could have salvaged this awkward moment!) Finally, the video of the nominees started to roll, and Rudd and Hayek were spared. But that wasn’t the only glitch of the night. A strange buzz was heard over the speech from outgoing HFPA president Aida Takla O’Reilly, which is a shame because she was pretty funny. And on two different occasions the NBC producers’ countdown clock was heard after the broadcast had already resumed. Maybe the nominees weren’t the only ones drinking….
3. Who did Tarantino fist bump?
The Django Unchained director seemed all smug when he fist-bumped someone at his table after Amy Poehler called movie actors beautiful and TV actors “rat-faced.” It was like, “Look at me. I’m a movie director, and I only surround myself with the genetically gifted.” Definitely a faux pas. But its severity is lessened when you find out whom exactly he fist-bumped, since the recipient was unfortunately out of frame: Sofia Vergara. If she’s “rat-faced,” call me a fan of the Order Rodentia. Obviously, Tarantino was joking.
4. Was Savannah Guthrie’s red carpet dress the same as the one Hilary Swank wore to the 2005 Oscars?
We’ll let you decide for yourself.
5. Is this the first year that no broadcast network series won anything at the Golden Globes?
Yes. Call it another ominous milestone for the Big Four, but not a single broadcast network took him a Globe on Sunday. That marks a departure from last year when Modern Family won for Best TV Comedy. Even then, that was the only award a broadcast network received. This year, the drama categories were dominated by Showtime’s Homeland and PBS’ Downton Abbey, the comedy categories by HBO’s Girls and Showtime’s House of Lies, and the miniseries category by History’s Hatfields & McCoys and HBO’s Game Change.
6. Were the TV Categories basically just a redo of the Emmys?
Almost entirely — except for the fact that the Television Academy hasn’t fully abandoned network TV just yet. Emmy is still hung up on Modern Family, and Julie Bowen and Eric Stonestreet won in September, with the series itself being honored as Best Comedy. And they also awarded Jon Cryer Best Actor in a Comedy. The only other alteration was that Julia Louis-Dreyfus won Best Actress in a Comedy for HBO’s Veep, but otherwise the awards are precisely the same.
7. How does Michael J. Fox’s son qualify as a "philanthropist"?
The Spin City alum's 23-year-old son, Sam Fox, was Mr. Golden Globe last night, which he meant he shared the duty of handing out the statuettes to the winners alongside Miss Golden Globe, Francesca Eastwood. (Mr. and Miss Golden Globe are traditionally the children of Hollywood A-Listers.) Fox the Younger was described on-air as a “philanthropist." So what exactly does he do? He works for a website called Farmers Web, which is a startup platform that assists small farmers in selling their goods to wholesale buyers like restaurants, so that they can stay competitive against corporate agriculture. As for the tangential burning question, “Can you be a 23-year-old philanthropist, unless you’re the child of a Hollywood star, politician, or business leader?” I think we all know the answer to that.
8. What’s up with Tommy Lee Jones’ Col. Sanders ‘stache?
There was quite a bit of odd facial hair on display at the Beverly Hilton. Bill Murray opted for the full walrus effect. Bryan Cranston’s Walter White goatee was well under way (meaning that the remaining episodes of Season 5 are about to go into production. Yay!). Idris Elba opted for a Burt Reynolds semi-handlebar. But the strangest bit of face whiskers had to be those worn by Tommy Lee Jones, with a mustache and a patch below his lips. Just when you thought you wouldn’t see anything follicle-related from Jones that was more unsettling than his wig in Lincoln! Not to worry, though. He isn’t about to enter the fried chicken racket. Jones has just wrapped shooting Luc Besson’s mob thriller Malavita (due Oct. 18) and he obviously just hasn’t wanted to get a shave yet.
9. Um, why doesn’t Maggie Smith ever show up for awards shows?
She’s never made a public statement about why she's almost always a no-show, but the most likely reason is that she’s just really, really busy. If not on TV or in movies, the 78-year-old is still very frequently to be found on the British stage. In fact, her last appearance at any awards ceremony was at the 2002 BAFTAs when she presented a career achievement honor to Judi Dench. The last time she accepted an award in person in the United States? In 1979, when she won her second Oscar, as Best Supporting Actress for the film California Suite.
10. Was Damien Francisco robbed of the Globe for Best Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries for Dog President?
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! The miniseries’ answer to Johnny Depp was up for his stirring turn in Dog President, which we assume is another Quality with a Capital Q HBO production from the makers of Warm Springs. But Francisco lost to Kevin Costner for Hatfields & McCoys. Maybe he'll get another shot if Dog President spinoff Canine-in-Chief ever goes into production.
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credits: NBC (2); Jason Merritt/Getty Images; Jody Cortes/WENN]
Golden Globes 2013: The Best and Worst Moments
Anne Hathaway Your Turn Is Over!—The Five Biggest Faux Pas of the Golden Globes
’House of Lies’: Don Cheadle on Marty Kaan’s Reaction to His Globe Win, and What’s Next
From Our Partners:
Megan Fox’s 12 Hottest Moments (Moviefone)
Golden Globes: Tina and Amy’s Best Zinger’s (Moviefone)
Michael J. Fox has certainly proven that there's life after Parkinson's, but can the same be said for "Spin City" after Michael J. Fox?
The actor dropped a bomb in TV land Tuesday with his unexpected announcement to leave the hit sitcom "Spin City" at the end of its fourth season -- a decision, the actor said, that would allow him to better concentrate his efforts in combating the degenerative disease.
"After long and careful consideration, I have decided that following the completion of "Spin City's" fourth season (and the filming of our 100th episode), I will not be returning for a fifth year," said Fox in a statement.
"I feel that right now my time and energy would be better spent with my family and working toward a cure for Parkinson's disease. This does not mean I am retiring from acting, producing or directing, only that I want to relieve the strain of producing and performing a weekly network series."
Both ABC and DreamWorks Television, joint backers of the political satire, are tight-lipped about the future of "Spin City" (apparently out of commiseration), issuing only a generic statement of support in reaction to the news of Fox's impending departure late Tuesday.
"There are clearly more important things in life, and we wish Michael and his family our heartfelt thanks and continued support," said ABC in a press release. "We look forward to working with Michael in his future endeavors."
While the networks continue their support, in the form of golden silence on just about anything that has to do with "Spin City," trade-paper reports have not been as reserved on speculating about the show's possible future.
Variety reports today that one possible solution the networks are toying with is a "Spin City" spinoff -- a reincarnation of the sitcom that retains the original (minus Fox, of course) ensemble cast including Barry Bostwick, Michael Boatman and the new feisty addition in the form of Heather Locklear.
Yet another (contradictory) theory, reported by Daily Variety, states that ABC execs are unlikely to give the green light to a fifth-season "Spin City" without Fox.
Networks execs declined comment on either possibility. But one tube observer did opine that the viability of a post-Fox "Spin City" is not only slim but also futile.
"The show ["Spin City"] shouldn't have a future after Michael J. Fox. It does boast an ensemble cast and a bunch of very talented actors, but when you come right down to it, it's still Michael J. Fox's show. I don't think the networks will keep 'Spin City' without Fox," said David Bianculli, TV critic for the New York Daily News.
Bianculli continued: "Stars don't usually leave under these circumstances. When a character leaves a show, the writers can usually write around it. But when it's the central character that's leaving, and leaving so unexpectedly, it's really hard for the show to continue. Just imagine "M*A*S*H" without Alan Alda."
But such pessimism might not fly in the face of recent television history. "Cheers" without Shelley Long, "NYPD Blue" minus David Caruso and "ER" sans George Clooney are just some of the television prime-timers that continued their success long after the show's "star" left the show. Ironically, the same couldn't be said for Long and Caruso, whose careers became non-existent after dissociation from those shows.
Given the popularity of "Spin City," the networks may serve well to reconsider any possibility that could keep the show on the air. According to the Nielsen ratings, the show is currently the 42nd highest-ranking show on television and the third-most watched comedy behind "Dharma & Greg" (No. 22) and "The Drew Carey Show" (No. 25) for ABC.
Another footnote: A television series is usually profitable only after its fifth season. Cancellation of "Spin City," now in its fourth year, might result in a financial loss that neither ABC or DreamWorks want to entertain.
Fox first made public his incurable ailment in November 1998. He had reportedly told network producers and studio execs of his worsening health condition as far back as 1996, before the launch of "Spin City."
Fox has been television's favorite son since the '80s. He garnered three Emmys for his role as the overachieving young Republican Alex P. Keaton on the popular NBC sitcom "Family Ties" and continued his success on the big screen with the "Back to the Future" franchise.
He returned to the tube in 1998 to play a tough-talking deputy mayor on "Spin City," a role that earned him a best actor nomination at this year's Golden Globes. He has won the Golden Globe for the role the past two years.