The top five broadcast networks have ordered almost 100 pilot episodes for the start of the 2013-14 television season, up significantly from a year earlier, TV critic Mike Hale writes in The New York Times.
And last year, Hale notes, "Everyone was talking about how many pilots there were."
“The terror gripping broadcast television as viewers continue to run away — 8.6 million to ‘Duck Dynasty,’ 13.1 million to ‘The Bible,’ who knows how many to ‘House of Cards’ — has meant boom times for TV’s most ephemeral product: the network pilot,” Hale’s report notes.
He adds: "Right now they are being cast and shot at a furious pace so that the fall schedules can be announced in May, and, as always, a great majority of them will be seen by no one but the people who make them and the programmers who reject them.”
The story spotlights eight pilots with intriguing premises or stars, although the writer admits he doesn’t know which projects have the best chances to make it onto a network schedule.
Among the eight are "About a Boy," the NBC project based on Nick Hornby’s novel, which will star David Walton from "Perfect Couples"; and "Boomerang" on Fox, starring Felicity Huffman of "Desperate Housewives" and Anthony LaPaglia of "Without a Trace" as government-hired assassins.
Others on the list: NBC’s “Believe,” CBS’s “Beverly Hills Cop,” CBS’s “Hostages,” Fox’s “Rake,” NBC’s untitled D.J. Nash project and CBS’s “Mom.”
Two other pilots that are assured of being picked up are NBC’s Michael J. Fox comedy, whose pickup was already announced, and CBS’s “NCIS” spinoff, Hale notes.