All of the big news of the pre-upfronts week so far has focused on NBC and Fox, to the point where it might seem like ABC and CBS are just going to renew everything and call it a day. (That might work out pretty well for CBS, actually.) In the case of CBS, the main concern was figuring out a persistent question for one of their big hit shows (something they did Thursday, which Sean will cover in a bit). In the case of ABC, what sounds like a large number of solid pilots has led new network president Paul Lee to take his sweet time in figuring out what to do next. The answer to this, of course, is to create a Castle spinoff called Palace which will be about a writer of medical thrillers becoming a freelance doctor, traveling the country in an RV with a spunky intern and sharing banter with her, saving lives via roadside surgery. (We’d also point out how The CW has announced basically nothing so far, but everybody laughs at all of the things on The CW that don’t involve vampires. You hear they’re thinking about renewing ONE TREE HILL?! Lord.)
Anyway, the cancellation and pick-up news once again came out of NBC Thursday, as the network continued to put intriguing sounding pilots that will probably suck on the air, then renew other shows. The big news out of NBC is that, according to Deadline, David E. Kelley’s take on Wonder Woman won’t be ordered to series, despite the fact that Adrianne Palicki is pretty much perfect casting (and could really use a break) and we’ve all really been waiting for a television series equivalent of the music video for Britney Spears’ “I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman,” in which we learn that women can do whatever they put their minds to, but it’s tough when a boy doesn’t like you, y’know? (At times, the pilot script read like a stealth remake of Ally McBeal with superheroics clumsily grafted on.) Anyway, it’s probably dead, though if any project is going to make an abrupt, unnecessary resurrection at the last minute, it’s this one, because God doesn’t want us to have nice things. (In limbo is NBC’s ultra-strange “Don Johnson is the last straight hairdresser” project A Mann’s World, which Deadline says may go to cable because it’s probably too gritty or something.)
Happier news, brought to us by Hitfix, involves a third season pickup for family drama Parenthood, though such a thing was never really in doubt. The series, from Friday Night Lights showrunner Jason Katims, quietly developed into one of the best dramas on broadcast last season, despite a colossally misjudged season finale. Also picked up for another season was surprise hit—at least with old people—Harry’s Law, so Kathy Bates and Kelley can be happy and maybe Kelley can work a weird Wonder Woman crossover into this other series. (Deadline reports official confirmation of the Chuck renewal should arrive sometime today.)
Finally, NBC picked up even more new dramas, bringing its total number of new series picked up to seven (the most of any network so far). According to The Hollywood Reporter, they include The Playboy Club, a flashback to one of the titular clubs in 1960s Chicago that stars Amber Heard and Eddie Cibrian and has raised eyebrows thanks to nudity clauses in the cast members’ contracts; Awake, an ambitious new cop drama about a man caught between two worlds starring Jason Isaacs and Cherry Jones and issuing from the pen of Kyle “I wrote Lone Star and really like to write about guys caught between two worlds” Killen; and Grimm, a fantastical detective drama set in a world where the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales are real. Written by Buffy and Angel vet David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf, it has the potential to either be surprisingly awesome or the second coming of The Cape. No in between.
The pick-up of Grimm consigns Battlestar Galactica showrunner Ron Moore’s “Hill Street Blues with wizards!” series 17th Precinct to the dustbin, along with a bunch of other heavily hyped NBC drama pilots, including the Stephen Gaghan “let’s do The Wire in L.A.” project Metro (which the Hollywood Reporter’s source called “too smart,” before asking Gaghan if he could maybe just come up with some show about the last straight hairdresser to star Don Johnson) and a promising sounding post-Civil War drama from St. Elsewhere and Northern Exposure co-creator Joshua Brand called Reconstruction, which was rejected because NBC couldn’t figure out how to market it during The Biggest Loser. (Presumably, they could have just had ads showing how emaciated Civil War soldiers were, then said, “You know what takes off the pounds, fatties? THE HORRORS OF WAR.” Yes, I’m looking for contract work on the side, NBC.) If all of these projects sound more cable-ish than network-y, well, that’s because new network head Robert Greenblatt used to work at Showtime and is still figuring out that what he needs is probably another show about a dog that solves mysteries. (Other rejected pilots can be checked out at the Hollywood Reporter link above.)
Both NBC and Fox may pick up a handful of other series—a Chelsea Handler-based sitcom pilot at NBC has been considered a lock for a while now, but has yet to get a pick-up—but the networks are more or less done for the year, outside of NBC making up its mind on a handful of bubble series, including Law & Order: LA and Outsourced. That means attention now shifts to CBS, ABC, and just which body parts a dog would eat if The CW renewed One Tree Hill yet again. If you want rumors and speculation, well, Deadline's got you covered.
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