Suffering from the mid-week blahs, the networks went on a Tuesday night pilot-buying binge yesterday, awaking this morning to a shameful pile of crumpled receipts and empty beer bottles, and attempting to piece together what they had done. Here’s what will be arriving at each of their studios soon, along with that Rush box set they don’t even remember ordering:
Despite most viewers already growing weary of the original one, the search for “the next Revenge” appears to be on at ABC, which ordered two more dramas that concern wealthy and pretty people backstabbing each other and classic literature given a modern, sexy spin, with modern sex: Betrayal concerns a “a beautiful but unhappily married female photographer who begins a torrid affair with a lawyer for a powerful family. When he turns out to be defending a murder suspect who is being prosecuted by her husband, the relationship and the case begin a spiraling series of betrayals with cataclysmic results for everyone involved.” And the McG-produced Venice updates Romeo And Juliet to contemporary Venice, California, following the torrid romances between two rival families. The network also added the high-concept drama The Return, in which a town’s dead loved ones suddenly turn up on their doorsteps unaware that they’ve been dead (and presumably looking just fine, otherwise this would be a very different show), and the comedy Pulling from Office writers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, about “dysfunctional” ladies in their 30s who really should know how to be adults by now but, adorably, don’t.
That Beverly Hills Cop TV show that we’ve been watching slowly take shape for months now, powerless to stop it, got a pilot order, naturally, along with a couple other CBS-sounding things. For instance, there’s Backstrom, a procedural based on the crime novel series of the same name, which concerns a detective who is as adept at solving crimes as he is sorely lacking in people skills, with the twist this time being that he’s also fat. So, that’s different. (“This House… really sits around the house,” the tagline can read.) CBS also got in on the burgeoning “clueless thirtysomethings are the new clueless twentysomethings” trend with Friends With Better Lives, in which a bunch of friends—but not officially Friends—envy each other’s lives, even though they’re all equally, adorably, clueless.
Previously reported dramas like the Greg Kinnear-starring Rake (“He’s like House, but a lawyer!”) and Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci’s Sleepy Hollow (“He’s like House, but there’s also a headless horseman!”) both got pickups. So did The List, Ruben Fleischer’s thriller about a U.S. Marshal trying to figure out who stole “the list” that exists in one place for some reason, which they’ve used to find everyone who’s in the Federal Witness Protection Program and kill them. There’s also Delirium, about “a world where love is deemed illegal and is able to be eradicated with a special procedure,” and the woman who falls for someone just before she’s scheduled to undergo her treatment.
Fox also loaded up on comedies, buying Seth MacFarlane’s previously reported Dads, about two thirtysomething men forced to room with their overbearing fathers, and the very, very similarly themed I Suck At Girls from Scrubs producer Bill Lawrence and Shit My Dad Says’ Justin Halpern, which once again concerns a man whose dad says some shit. There’s also House Rules, about a neurotic Midwestern family who have trouble fitting in with their over-sharing small town neighbors, an adaptation of the British comedy Gavin And Stacey that’s been inexplicably, blandly retitled Friends And Family, and To My Assistant, in which young assistants at a big-shot New York law firm cope with their big shot New York lawyer bosses by forming an unconventional family.
Not surprisingly, NBC bought the most new stuff to make itself feel better, ordering a bunch of freshmen sitcoms to replace its outgoing senior class and reflect that bolder, broader direction the network is headed in. They include: an untitled sitcom from Better Off Ted’s Victor Fresco, starring Will & Grace’s Sean Hayes as a guy trying to figure out how to parent the 14-year-old daughter who just moved in with him; Girlfriend In A Coma (no relation to the Douglas Coupland novel; partial relation to the Smiths song), about a thirtysomething woman trying to figure out how to parent the 17-year-old daughter she just discovered she had while in a coma; that previously reported, Jason Bateman-backed sitcom loosely based on Up All Night producer DJ Nash’s life, which no longer has the weird title Then Came Elvis nor its “1980s Wonder Years” premise, but is instead about “a son idolizing his blind father and bemused by his mother’s newfound adolescence who watches his family come closer together post-divorce;” and Holding Patterns, about a group of friends whose lives are forever altered after they all survive a plane crash. (”It’s Friends meets Lost!” the pitch probably went.) UPDATE: And now there's also Welcome To The Family, about the culture clash between a white clan and a Latino clan brought together when two of their kids fall in love. It's like !Rob! meets the unwillingness to do anything that smacks of off-putting originality!
NBC also picked up some dramas, including a Carlton Cuse-run adaptation of the graphic novel The Sixth Gun, a supernatural Western about “six mythical guns, each with its own otherworldly powers.” There’s also a new, as-yet-untitled show from Life creator Rand Ravich, about a Secret Service agent who’s confronted with a huge international crisis on his very first day, and The Blacklist, about “the world’s most wanted criminal” who offers to help the FBI catch everyone he knows, but only if he’s allowed to work with a specific, brand-new agent whom he already knows about somehow.
Obviously, some of these will actually make it to television; some you will never, ever hear about again. Try to guess which ones!
UPDATE: Not to be left out of the rush, The CW just ordered another retooled stab at The Selection, last year's "The Hunger Games meets The Bachelorette" cash-in attempt, plus Company Town, a military drama from Taylor Hackford and Supernatural showrunner Sera Gamble about a scandal-ridden Naval base and the community's "townie/military divide."