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Pilot-Pickup Season: Specs Are Hotter Than Ever Before

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Jan 28, 2010 | 4:02am EST

According to The Hollywood Reporter, this is a pilot-pickup season in which specs are hotter than ever before.

NBC has ordered pilots for spec scripts including David E. Kelley's Kindreds and J.J. Abrams' Undercovers, both from WBTV, as well as The Event, by writer Nick Wauters, which was reworked through UMS. 

Carter Bays and Craig Thomas' comedy spec Livin' on a Prayer, from 20th TV, received a green light from CBS in a rich preemptive deal, joining two other 20th TV comedy specs-turned-pilots: Traffic Light, by Wedding Crashers co-writer Bob Fisher, and Most Likely to Succeed, by veteran Dave Walpert.

Meanwhile, Davey Holmes' political drama spec Worthy, which landed at Fox in August, is also in contention for a series pickup with an order for two additional scripts, says THR.

Two comedy specs, Open Books, by Will & Grace alumna Gail Lerner, and Rednecks & Romeos, by That '70s Show co-creator Mark Brazill landed pilot orders earlier in the development cycle. (The latter did not get past the casting stage.)

Further, the comedy spec This Little Piggy, by Steven Cragg and Brian Bradley, is showing resilience, says THR, landing a second consecutive pilot order, this time at NBC.

"I compliment the development teams and the management at the networks about being very open-minded, going for the very best scripts in their orders regardless of how they were developed," 20th TV chairman Dana Walden told THR.

She noted that specs have the advantage of being able to surprise network executives, something projects they have developed from the pitch stage can't do.

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