Variety TV Editor Asks About This Year’s Broadcast Network Pilots: ‘Where’s the Pizzazz??!!’

May 6, 2013  •  Post A Comment

"As the upfronts approach, it’s hard to scope out pilot pickup buzz at the major broadcast nets this year because there are few clear heat-seekers," writes Variety’s Editor-in-Chief for TV, Cynthia Littleton.

Littleton, a veteran on the TV beat, continues, "The big bets of this year’s development crop were made early on in the cycle (last summer and fall) and for the most part have retained their front-runner status: ABC’s ‘Marvel’s Agents of Shield’ with the Whedon clan; CBS’s redo of ‘Beverly Hills Cop’; NBC’s 22-episode throwdown for the Michael J. Fox domestic laffer; Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher in Fox’s cop comedy ‘Brooklyn 99’; and the union of David E. Kelley and Robin Williams in CBS’s ‘Crazy Ones.’ "

The story continues, "The fuzzy picture for next season’s series pickups will clear up a little this week as the broadcast nets begin their formal pilot screenings. Here’s hoping there is more sizzle on the screen than there seems to be at this stage. The nets need some flash after a ho-hum 2012-13 season."

Littleton notes, "Some of the most creative ideas have come in the form of nontraditional casting decisions. ‘Office’ alum [Rainn] Wilson is set for a dramatic turn as a misanthropic homicide detective in CBS’s ‘Backstrom’ (it’s got a Swedish pedigree so ’nuff said), especially with Dennis Haysbert along for the ride. Christopher Meloni is leaving the serious law-and-order biz for a sitcom turn in Fox’s father-son laffer ‘I Suck at Girls,’ which has good buzz. Wendell Pierce of ‘The Wire’ and ‘Treme’ is lending his mellifluous baritone to the Michael J. Fox sitcom (he’ll have to watch his language on broadcast TV).

To read more of Littleton’s perceptive observations about this pilot season, please click on the link in the first paragraph and read her entire piece.

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