It’s Pilot Season, And Here Are More Than A Dozen In The Works

By January 27, 2017

The word “cancellation” has become a dirty one with the networks, as none of them really seem to be anxious to use it.

So while everyone tries to find room on the schedule for mid-season shows that would otherwise replace failed shows. And now it’s time for networks to start thinking of next season as pilot season officially gets underway.

But will there be room? Here are the latest developments in pilot season so far.

Black’s Law (ABC)
ABC seems to have no issue continuously looking to Shonda Rhimes for many of its dramas. And do you blame them? Rhimes has produced hit after hit.

The network obviously thinks the producer might be onto something with Paul William Davies after ordering a pilot from the Scandal writer that has yet to earn an official title, according to The Hollywood Reporter, but which Internet Movie Database is calling Black’s Law.

The project is set in the Southern District of New York Federal Court, aka “The Mother Court.” The drama … follows brand-new lawyers working on opposite sides – for both the defense and the prosecution – as they handle the most high-profile and high-stakes cases in the country, all as their personal lives intersect.

Rhimes’ production company, Shondaland, already has an extensive library on ABC with the likes of ScandalHow to Get Away With Murder, and of course, Grey’s Anatomy.

The Crossing (ABC)
Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie will have a chance to try and bring a futuristic war drama to ABC, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Refugees from a war-torn country start showing up to seek asylum in an American town. Only the country these people are from is America, and the war they are fleeing is 500 years in the future. 

The local sheriff with a past, a federal agent, and a mother in search of her missing refugee daughter, drive this allegory with a surprising conspiracy at the center.

Dworkin and Beattie created MTV’s Scream: The Series, and are the creators of El Rey’s Matador. Their credits also include Criminal Minds for CBS and Revenge on ABC among others.

Deception (ABC)
ABC has ordered a pilot for Deception from one of The CW’s top talents Greg Berlanti and magician David Kwong, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

When his career is ruined by scandal, superstar magician Cameron Black has only one place to turn to practice his art of deception, illusion and influence – the FBI. He’ll become the world’s first consulting illusionist, helping the government solve crimes that defy explanation, and trap criminals and spies using deception.

Chris Fedak, who is one of the key people behind Berlanti’s Legends of Tomorrow, will write the pilot.

Berlanti’s most recent credits primarily take place in the DC Comics universe with The CW hits like Arrow and The Flash.

Kwong has worked on Now You See Me and its sequel, and is involved with NBC’s Blindspot.

Dr. Death (CBS)
Alan Cumming wants to make a big return to CBS, and hopes to do it with a new series he’ll also executive produce, Dr. Death, according to Variety.

It’s about a former CIA operative “who has since built a ‘normal’ life as a gifted professor.”

However, that changes when the professor is pulled back into his old life when the New York police need his help to stop a series killer.

It’s based on an upcoming book by James Patterson, and includes Star Trek: Discovery‘s Alex Kurtzman and Heather Kadin as executive producers.

Doomsday (ABC)
In a series ABC is most likely to pick thanks to a commitment made last summer, Doomsday enters the pilot phase from writers Carol Mendelsohn, Mark Bianculli and V.J. Boyd, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Doomsday is set in the aftermath of Sept. 11, when the U.S. government instituted a secret think tank comprised of the most creative minds in science and entertainment, tasked solely with dreaming up man-made disaster scenarios and their possible solutions.

The ideas they invented were so dangers that the list was sealed and the program shut down. But when a catastrophe occurs, ripped from the pages of the missing doomsday book, the team is brought back years later to prevent the disasters of their own making.

Mendelsohn, who also is an executive producer on the proposed NBC series Witchblade, has earned three Emmy nominations in her career for her work on CSI.

Boyd was a writer on FX’s series Justified, while Bianculli was one of the writers of the James Caan film The Good Neighbor last year.

The Get (CBS)
Like it was just ripped from the headlines – or was it – Bridget Carpenter has earned a pilot order for The Get, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The workplace drama centers on a team of tireless Internet journalists who pursue and expose the stories of injustice using their unconventional investigative techniques in today’s anything-goes world of reporting.

Carpenter’s most recent work was a showrunner for the Stephen King limited series adaptation 11.22.63 for Hulu, which starred James Franco. She also was part of the production team that earned an Emmy nomination for Friday Night Lights in 2011.

Her other writing credits include Showtime’s Dead Like Me and NBC’s Parenthood.

The Good Doctor (ABC)
Daniel Dae Kim of Hawaii Five-0 and Lost fame is getting into the producing game with the hopes to adapt a South Korean drama into The Good Doctor from House creator David Shore, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

It centers on a young surgeon with Savant syndrome who is recruited into the pediatric surgical unit of a prestigious hospital. The question will arise: Can a person who doesn’t have the ability to relate to people actually save their lives?

Kind of seems like a question House answered in the past, but what do we know?

Linda From HR (Fox)
Fox seemed interested in the latest project from The Mysteries of Laura executive producer Aaron Kaplan, but it will all depend on what kind of cast can be gathered to make it happen.

This is actually the third pilot Kaplan has in the works, according to The Hollywood Reporter, along with 9J, 9K and 9L, and an untitled “coming of age” project.

All it takes is one bad decision to throw Linda from HR’s monotonous, unfulfilled life into an exciting but dangerous tailspin of balancing work life, home life and a secret that could unravel everything.

Geoff Barbanell and Itai Grunfeld will write the script. Both previously worked on the Disney series Kickin’ It.

Mission Control (CBS)
This drama focuses on the “next generation of NASA astronauts and scientists juggling both their personal and professional lives during a critical mission with no margin for error,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The pilot will be written by Andy Weir, the author whose novel The Martian which was adapted into the critically acclaimed movie of the same name.

Perfect Citizen (CBS)
Private Practice and The Good Wife executive producer Craig Turk will have a chance to create a pilot about a former whistleblower involved in an international scandal, according to Variety.

The former general counsel for the NSA embarks on a new career at a storied law firm in Boston, facing the reality that while half the country think he’s our greatest patriot, the other half thinks he’s a traitor.

Reverie (NBC)
Mickey Fisher has now found life after the CBS summer series Extant with a pilot order from NBC for his new drama, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

It is described as a grounded and dramatic thriller revolving around a former detective specializing in human behavior who is brought in when the launch of an advanced virtual reality program has dangerous and unintended consequences.

Fisher also was one of the creators of Mars on National Geographic.

The Sinner (USA Network)
Cable television runs on a bit of a different schedule to the networks, so it should be no surprise that USA Network already is in the series pick-up stage, at least for this drama starring Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman.

The show will operate as an anthology, similar to American Crime Story on FX, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Based on Petra Hammesfahr’s best-selling book, The Sinner centers on a young mother (Biel) who is overcome by a fit of rage and commits a public act of violence. The incident launches a surprising crime thriller whose driving force is not the who or the what – but the why. 

Pullman, who last year reprised his role as President Whitmore in Independence Day: Resurgence, will play Harry Ambrose, a “rouge investigator” who “finds himself obsessed with covering the woman’s motive, and together they travel a path into her psyche and the secrets hidden in her past.”

Derek Simonds wrote the pilot, while Antonio Campos directed. Simonds has just one other project to his name, Seven and a Match in 2001 that starred The Blair Witch Project‘s Heather Donahue.

What About Barb (NBC)
It’s been 25 years since Bill Murray entertained audiences with Frank Oz’s What About Bob, so it must be time for NBC to consider a remake. Except this one comes with a small twist.

The network has ordered a pilot for What About Barb, a comedy that follows a psychotherapist who “tries to cut ties with her most overbearing patient, but is unsuccessful and gains an annoying family member in the process,” according to Variety.

Joe Port will write the pilot, tapping into his comedic experience on a number of series like Son of the BeachLast Man StandingThe Crazy Ones and The Odd Couple on CBS.

The 1991 film that inspired the series earned $63.7 million globally, or $115 million today. It finished just inside the top 20 domestic films of that year.

9J, 9K and 9L (CBS)
A multi-camera family comedy from Dana Klein and Mark Feuerstein that will actually star Feuerstein. It’s inspired by a time when Feuerstein lived in an apartment sandwiched between his parents and his brother and his family, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The project, which hails from CBS Television Studios, attempts to set boundaries with his intrusive but well-meaning family. 

Feuerstein is probably best known for his role as Hank Lawson on USA Network’s Royal Pains, which ended its eight-season run last year. He’s also set to appear in Fox’s upcoming Prison Break: Sequel.

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Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael began what has become nearly 19 years of entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based out of New York City where he is the editor of a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper in the Bronx.