Fewer stars but just as many pilots on tap

Feb 4, 2002  •  Post A Comment

The list of broadcast networks’ drama pilot pickups for 2002-03 are markedly devoid of the names of prolific TV producers and marquee stars that traditionally fill the slate.
“The biggest difference I’ve noticed is that there are not as many stars attached to projects as we go deeper into the pilot process,” said a leading Hollywood agency TV department head, who requested anonymity. “The same could be said for talent holding deals on producers, where some big names are missing or some studio projects are rushing to still get new writers or producers attached.”
In particular, one of the few stars that had been previously attached to a pilot was Geena Davis, who is now said by the agency source to have pulled out of “The Sharon McCone Mysteries” project under consideration at CBS. Some of the stars still attached to pilots in development are Andie McDowell (CBS’s “Jo”) and Jeff Goldblum, who is said to be tentatively working out a deal to star in NBC’s “War Stories.”
ABC has so far commissioned 13 dramas, about 60 percent more than last year. CBS, NBC and Fox each have no more than eight dramas set to go to pilot so far. CBS has yet to formally announce its roster of pilots, preferring to wait a week or more to make some last-minute additions.
At UPN, where Dawn Tarnofsky-Ostroff is not set to take over as president of UPN Entertainment until Feb. 11, there has been no formal cut-down of what it will take to pilot. Talent agency and studio sources said Ms. Tarnofsky-Ostroff and CBS Television Network President and CEO Leslie Moonves, who now has oversight of UPN, have been busy reading scripts on the estimated 18 dramas in carryover development and could have a formal pilot roster announced within two weeks.
2002-03 season drama pilot pickups
(as of Feb. 1, 2002)
“Astronauts” (Twentieth Century Fox Television, Industry Entertainment)–A drama about male and female astronauts competing for a place on a mission to Mars. Todd Robinson is writer and executive producer; Ian Sander and Kim Moses are executive producers.
“EIS” (Touchstone Television)–Foot soldiers for the federal Centers for Disease Control investigate cases. Darren Lemke is writer and executive producer; Nena Rodrigue, Nina Wass and Gene Stein are executive producers.
“Homeward Bound” (Studios USA)–A 25-year-old woman is thrown into a quarter-life crisis when she loses her prestigious job and has to move back in with her meddlesome family. Samm Levine is attached as part of the ensemble cast. Jeff Judah and Gabe Sachs are writers and executive producers; Danielle Stokdyk and Jennifer Gwartz are executive producers.
“Miracles” (Spyglass Entertainment/Touchstone Television)–A spiritually conflicted man is charged with investigating miracles. Richard Hatem is writer and executive producer; Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber are executive producers.
“Nancy Drew” (Touchstone Television)–A two-hour back-door telefilm based on the former ABC series and Carolyn Keene’s series of “Nancy Drew Mysteries,” featuring a yet-to-be-cast teen female detective. Ami Mann is writer and executive producer; Kevin Brown is executive producer.
“Paranormal Girl” (Touchstone Television)–A 15-year-old girl discovers she has paranormal abilities at the same time that the FBI does, and she is recruited to help them solve crimes. Pam Brady and Andrew Fleming are writers and executive producers; Andrew Fleming is director.
“That Was Then” (Touchstone Television)–A 30-year-old man gets to go back to the pivotal week in his high school career, which he believes determined the outcome of the rest of his life, to try to correct his mistakes. Jeremy Miller and Dan Cohn are writers and executive producers; Jeff Kline is executive producer.
“The Oath” (Touchstone Television)–Two doctors fighting the system at an HMO hospital. Gary Tieche is writer and executive producer; Marc Platt is executive producer.
Untitled John Ridley project (Touchstone Television)–A dramedy about a dysfunctional family of martial arts experts. John Ridley is writer and executive producer; Kevin Misher is executive producer.
Untitled Larry Gelbart project (Touchstone Television)–A sprawling family drama, from noted “M*A*S*H” co-creator and executive producer Larry Gelbart, who is writing and executive producing the new project.
Untitled Massett, Zinman, Spicer project (Touchstone Television)–A two-hour back-door pilot about a father and son archaeology team. Patrick Massett and John Zinman are writers and executive producers; Bryan Spicer is executive producer and director; Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are executive producers.
Untitled mayor project (Brad Grey TV/Miramax Television/Touchstone Television)–A look into the lives of a big city mayor and his staff. Cast is contingent. Charles Randolph is writer and producer.
Untitled Rod Lurie project, a k a “D.C.” (DreamWorks/Touchstone Television)–A young female congressional staffer and others deal with the political machinations of Washington. Rod Lurie is writer, director and executive producer; Marc Frydman is executive producer.
“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” spinoff (CBS Productions/ Jerry Bruckheimer Productions/Alliance Atlantis)–This version will offer a crime scene investigation team working from a new city. Ann Donahue, Carol Mendelsohn, Anthony Zulker and Jerry Bruckheimer are executive producers.
“Hack” (Columbia TriStar/Pariah)–Former police officer who now drives a taxi and helps the “little guy” by solving crimes. Cast-contingent pilot pickup. David Koepp is writer and executive producer; Gavin Polone is executive producer.
“Inside the Echo” (DreamWorks Television/ Greenblatt-Janollari Studio)–A social worker adopts a young Latino boy. Cast-contingent pilot pickup. Allison Anders is writer, executive producer and director; Kurt Voss is a writer and executive producer, along with Robert Greenblatt and David Janollari serving as executive producers.
“Jo” (CBS Productions, Columbia TriStar Television, Third Millennium)–A mother and daughter veterinarian team, with cast contingent upon Andie MacDowell’s participation. Mike Newell is writer and director; Diana Son is writer.
“Queens Supreme” (Regency Television/Revolution Studios)–A dramatic series about a Supreme Court justice in Queens, N.Y. Kevin Fox is writing the pilot; Elaine Goldsmith is executive producer.
“R.U.S.H.” (Studios USA)–Cop drama set in South Central Los Angeles. Paul Attanasio is writer and executive producer; Katie Jacobs is executive producer.
“The Sharon McCone Mysteries” (Warner Bros. Television/Spring Creek Productions)–Based on Marcia Muller’s series of Sharon McCone mystery novels. Cast-contingent. May go out for midseason 2002-2003 launch. Jim Leonard is executive producer; Pam Grey is writer.
Untitled Stallone priest project (Brad Grey Television)–A war veteran becomes an unconventional priest in a low-income urban neighborhood and takes his message to the street. Cast-contingent. Sylvester Stallone is writer and executive producer; Cynthia Cidre is also a writer; Brad Grey is executive producer.
“Vanished” (Warner Bros. Television/Jerry Bruckheimer Television/CBS Productions)–Centers on the search for missing persons. Jerry Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman are executive producers; Hank Steinberg is writer and co-executive producer; David Nutter is director.
“Eastwick” (Warner Bros. Television)–Series adaptation that follows the 15-year-old son of John Updike’s “Witches of Eastwick” and his adventures with his devilish dad. Jon Cowan and Robert Rovner are writers and supervising producers; Jim Leonard is executive producer.
“Fast Lane” (Warner Bros. Television)–Fast-paced police drama revolving around two undercover officers who work to prevent crime. John McNamara is writer and executive producer; Joseph McGinty Mitchell (a k a McG) is executive producer and director; Daniel Rappaport is executive produce; Perry Husman is producer.
“Firefly” (20th Century Fox Television)–A sci-fi Western from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and
“Angel” creator Joss Whedon. Mr. Whedon serves as executive producer.
“Keen Eddie” (Paramount Network Television/The Littlefield Co.)–American cop goes to London to solve an international mystery that has destroyed his career; he ends up staying and becoming a private investigator. Joel Wyman is writer and executive producer; Simon West is executive producer and director; Warren Littlefield is executive producer.
“Save the Last Dance” (Paramount Network Television, Cort/Madden Productions)–Based on the feature film about a girl from a Midwestern suburb who dreams of becoming a ballerina. Bob Cort, David Madden and Dan Pyne are executive producers; Toni-Ann Johnson is writer.
“Time Tunnel” (20th Century Fox Television/Regency Television)–Based on original Irwin Allen-created series, a male and female operative travel through time to prevent disasters and right wrongs in history. Rand Ravich is writer and executive producer; Todd Holland is director and executive producer; Jon Jashni, Kevin Burns and Andrew Lazar are executive producers; Sheila Allen is producer.
Untitled Ricky Blitt project (20th Century Fox Television)–Hyper-neurotic slacker attempts to change life after his childhood sweetheart returns home. Ricky Blitt is executive producer.
“Boomtown” (NBC Studios)–A drama described as being evocative of the Akira Kurosawa film “Rashomon,” which explores a crime recalled from the perspectives of four witnesses. Jon Avnet is director and executive producer; Graham Yost is executive producer.
“Kingpin” (Spelling Television)–In the vein of the feature film “Traffic,” centering on the illicit drug trade. David Mills is writer and executive producer; Aaron Spelling and E. Duke Vincent are executive producers; Allen Coulter is director.
“Miss American Pie” (Studios USA/Dick Clark Productions)–A family drama set in the 1960s against the classic music series “American Bandstand.” Executive producers are Dick Clark and Jonathan Prince, who also is writer.
“Mr. Sterling” (Studios USA)–An idealistic and somewhat naive man in his mid-30s becomes a U.S. senator, a la “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.” Lawrence O’Donnell is executive producer and writer.
“St. George’s Island” (NBC Studios)–A family adventure drama focusing on veterinarians in Africa. Tom Lynch is writer and executive producer.
“War Stories” (NBC Studios)–Deals with the exploits of on-the-scene war correspondents, with actor Jeff Goldblum said to be attached to star. Peter Noah is writer and executive producer.
“Young Arthur” (NBC Studios)–In the vein of the feature film “A Knight’s Tale,” a young King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable fight evil. Remi Aubuchon is writer and executive producer; Graham Yost is executive producer.
“Zero Effect” (Warner Bros. Television, Castle Rock Entertainment)–Based on the feature film of the same name, about an eccentric private detective. Jake Kasdan is writer, director and executive producer; Walon Green is writer and executive producer.
“Aces” (Warner Bros. Television/Regency Television)–Centers on a boy in an elite private high school and his relationship with his father, who is a professional poker player. Daniel Baldwin is attached to star in the cast-contingent project.
“Birds of Prey” (Warner Bros. Television/Tollin Robbins Productions)–Based on a DC Comics offshoot of the Batman franchise in which three young women battle villains in Gotham City. Executive producers are Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins, who is also director. Laeta Kalogridis is writer.
“The Black Sash” (Warner Bros. Television/Tollin
Robbins Productions)–Martial arts instructor, who actually is a bounty hunter, enlists his teen students to help solve his cases. Dylan Sellers, Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins are executive producers; Robert Kamen is writer and executive producer.
“Brats” (Spelling Television)–The trials and tribulations of a military family. Winifred Hervey is writer and executive producer; Aaron Spelling and E. Duke Vincent are executive producers.
“Everwood” (Warner Bros. Television)–A widowed doctor moves with his family from New York City to start a small-town medical practice in Colorado. Greg Berlanti is writer and executive producer; Mark Piznarski is director.
“Lost in Oz” (Warner Bros. Television/A Band Apart)–New take on the fictional world of Oz, as created by author Frank L. Baum, where a 20-something woman leads a revolt against the powers that be in the mythical otherworld. David Hayter is writer and executive producer; Lawrence Bender, Kevin Brown and Joel Smith are executive producers.
“The Lone Ranger” (Daniels-Juergens TV)–Two-hour back-door pilot, featuring new take on the classic Lone Ranger and his trusty Native American sidekick Tonto, as they set out to avenge the deaths of fellow Texas rangers. Stacy Title and Jonathan Penner are writers and executive producers; Susanne Daniels and Kate Juergens are executive producers; Michael Chad is director.
“The Team,” a k a “In My Life” (Columbia TriStar Television/American Zoetrope)–Set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement in 1964, a group of teen-age boys come of age in Baton Rouge, La. Ira Ungerleider is writer and executive producer; Francis Ford Coppola is executive producer.
“Bad Reputation” a k a “Flava Jones” (20th Century Fox Television/Imagine Television)–A female cop moves to Miami and becomes a private detective. Steve Antin is writer and executive producer; Joe Voci, Tony Krantz, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer are executive producers.
“Beauty and the Beast” update (Paramount Network Television)–A female district attorney forms an unlikely relationship with a kind and noble man/beast who lives in a secret society of outcasts underneath New York City. Ron Koslow is writer and executive producer; Tony Thomas and Paul Junger Witt are executive producers.
“Blackstar” (Trilogy/New Line Television)–Described as “Top Gun” in outer space, or an intergalactic version of the Annapolis military academy. Travis Wright and John Glenn are writers and executive producers.
“Bling High” (20th Century Fox Television/ Imagine Television)–Series set at an inner-city performing arts high school in Philadelphia. Mike Elliot is writer and executive producer; Tony Krantz and Brian Grazer are executive producers.
“The Cleaners” a k a “The Fixers” (Columbia TriStar Pictures Television/Pariah)–People who work to right society’s wrongs. Bill Vought is writer and executive producer; Gavin Polone is executive producer.
“The Freezer” a k a “Cold Cases” (Viacom)–A young detective who is able to see ghosts and spirits after he is in an accident uses his new powers to help murder victims cross over into the world of the living. Chris Bertolet and Jason Pomerance are writers; Gina Matthews is executive producer.
“Heroes” (Spelling Television)–A group of five 20-something friends discover that they are blessed yet burdened with superhero powers and that their hometown has changed for the worse. Erin Maher and Kay Reindl are writers; Scott Shepherd, Aaron Spelling and E. Duke Vincent are executive producers.
“Prodigy” (Paramount Network Television/ The Littlefield Co.)–Martial arts expert goes on the road to help people accompanied by a young prodigy whom he protects and teaches. Andrew Wilder is writer and executive producer; Warren Littlefield is executive producer.
“The Searchers” (20th Century Fox Television/Imagine Television)–A group of young public service officers forms a task force to search for missing persons. Carlos Coto is writer and executive producer; Tony Krantz, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard are executive producers.
Untitled Charles Holland project (Warner Bros. Television/Tony Jonas Productions)–A crusading law professor recruits his second-year law students to assist him in investigating cases. Charles Holland is writer and executive producer; Tony Jonas is executive producer.
Untitled Kim LeMasters project (Paramount Network Television/Angel Ark)–Series set in a world of time trave
l. Kim LeMasters is writer and executive producer; Jason Alexander is executive producer.
Untitled Pat Green project (unattached studio)–An ensemble drama about a naval air academy. Pat Green is writer and executive producer, Toby Jaffe is executive producer and Steve Herek is director.
Untitled Peter Lenkov project (Viacom Productions)–Based on “The Destroyer” series of books by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir. A cop’s death is faked so that he can join the law enforcement arm of a top-secret government organization, Perter Lenkoy is writer and executive producer.
Untitled Milbauer and Hughes project (Spelling Television)–Dead teen-agers return to Earth as angels to help other young people. Terry Hughes and Ron Milbauer are writers; Scott Shepherd, Aaron Spelling and E. Duke Vincent are executive producers.
Untitled David Milch project (Paramount Network Television)–Dramedy about an ex-New York City cop who befriends an alien and shows him around town. David Milch is writer and executive producer.
Untitled National Import Racing Organization project (Lions Gate Television)–A dramatic series centered on a group of young auto racers in California. Kevin Brown is executive producer; John Fasano is writer.
Untitled Robert Palm project (Studios USA)–A dramatic series centering on a private investigator. Robert Palm is writer and executive producer; David Eick is executive producer.
Untitled Revolutionary War project (Geopp Circle Productions)–Period piece centering on a group of young American soldiers fighting in the Revolutionary War. Thomas Hines and Jonathan Fernandez are writers and executive producers; Jonathan Frakes and Lisa Olin are executive producers.
Note: UPN has yet to formalize drama pickups under new management; list is for all drama scripts originally placed into development to date.
Sources: TVtracker.com; network, studio and agency executives