Greg Berlanti entered the upfronts as the producer with the most pilots this year — four — in his first development season at Warner Bros. TV. Two of them, the CW’s Arrow and CBS’ Golden Boy, went to series, while a third, Fox legal drama Guilty, has a solid shot at a midseason order. Additionally, Berlanti has cable series Political Animals launching on USA this summer. Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage‘s Fake Empire also netted two new broadcast series orders. The company went 2-for-2 with its two pilots, the CW’s The Carrie Diaries and Cult, to increase its primetime portfolio to four series next season, including returning CW dramas Gossip Girl and Hart Of Dixie, and tie the Mark Gordon Co. as the pods with the most broadcast shows on the air. In addition to newly picked up comedy Family Tools and returning Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Criminal Minds, the Mark Gordon Co. also has Army Wives on Lifetime. With CSI: Miami ending its run, Bruckheimer TV will have three series on the air next season, same as Chernin Entertainment, which added one new series, Fox comedy Ben & Kate, to its returning New Girl and Touch; J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot (newbie Revolution and returning Person of Interest and Fringe) and Alloy (666 Park Ave, The Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl).
Besides Fake Empire, the only other entity to log a 1.000 batting average this upfront was Lionsgate TV, also with two series out of two pilots, ABC darling Nashville and NBC’ midseason comedy Next Caller. The pickups capped the company’s renewed push into broadcast TV led by Chris Selak in her first season as head of development. Another established company in its first development cycle with a new top development executive, Wolf Films, which hired Danielle Gelber last July, landed its first non-Law & Order-branded new series in six years, NBC’s Chicago Fire. Two newly launched pods, Peter Traugott‘s Traugott Company and Lorenzo DiBonaventura‘s DiBonaventura Pictures Television, also scored series orders in their first year, NBC drama Do No Harm and ABC drama Zero Hour, respectively, as did two indies, Gaumont and Georgeville. Gaumont’s U.S. division, launched in September, already has netted two straight-to-series orders, Hannibal at NBC and Hemlock Grove at Netflix. Georgeville Television, an independent studio formed in February by producer Marc Rosen and Motion Picture Capital, the finance arm of Reliance Entertainment, has midseason NBC series Crossbones, also a straight-to-series pickup.
With the pickup of his new comedy The New Normal at NBC, Ryan Murphy will serve as a showrunner on three series in three different genres on three different networks next season: half-hour comedy The New Normal, hourlong musical dramedy Glee on Fox and horror drama American Horror Story on FX. He joins three other showrunners with three series on the air next season, Chuck Lorre (CBS comedies Two And A Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and Mike & Molly on CBS), Shanda Rhimes (dramas Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal on ABC) and Seth MacFarlane (comedies Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show on Fox). With ABC ordering Kevin Abbott‘s comedy pilot Malibu Country to series, the comedy veteran will run two series next season, Malibu Country and ABC’s other multi-camera comedy, Last Man Standing. Ditto for Kevin Williamson, who has new Fox drama series The Following and the CW’s The Vampire Diaries; and How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas who also have midseason Fox comedy The Goodwin Games. Cult creator Rockne O’Bannon who also has Syfy series Defiance. Bryan Fuller is behind NBC’s midseason drama series Hannibal and the network’s pilot Mockingbird Lane, also in consideration for midseason. Lorre, Abbott and Rhimes also rule over programming blocks: Lorre (CBS’ Thursday 8-9 PM), Abbott (ABC’s Friday 8-9 PM) and Rhimes (ABC’s Thursday 9-11 PM)
Veteran director James Burrows‘ dominance of the multi-camera space continues. He directed the pilot for new CBS multi-camera comedy series Partners. The pickup brings the number of comedy series on the air whose pilots were directed by Burrows to 5: The Big Bang Theory, Two And A Half Men, Mike & Molly, 2 Broke Girls and Partners. That is almost half of all multi-camera comedy series on the broadcast schedule for next season, 12. On the single-camera side, the pickups of NBC’s Animal Kingdom and 1600 Penn bring the number of on-air series whose pilots were directed by Anthony & Joe Russo and Jason Winer to three: Community, Happy Endings and Animal Kingdom (Russos) and Modern Family, Don’t Trust The B— and 1600 Penn (Winer). The Russo brothers also directed the pilots for IFC’s The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret and Arrested Development, which is coming back via Netflix. Michael Cuesta, director of hot new CBS drama Elementary, also directed the pilots for CBS’ Blue Bloods and Showtime’s Homeland and Dexter.
Josh Gad & Mindy Kaling. For a second straight year, comedy pilots written by actors who also star in them did well, resulting in two new series, The Mindy Project, created by and starring Mindy Kaling, and 1600 Penn, co-written and starring Josh Gad. Of the four such shows picked up last year, Whitney Cummming’s Whitney, David Hornsby’s How To Be a Gentleman, Chris Moynihan’s Man Up) and Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair’s BFFs, one, Whitney, made it to second season.
Connie Britton just lined up her third series starring role in a year. Last May, her series Friday Night Lights was still airing on NBC. She went on to play the female lead in FX’s American Horror Story and now toplines new ABC new drama Nashville.
Crystal the monkey from NBC’s new comedy series Animal Practice. She stole the show at NBC’s upfront presentation last week. What’s more, according to NBC executives Crystal’s character on the show Dr. Zaius was the highest-testing character on any upcoming NBC series.
BY THE NUMBERS: Pods With Multiple Shows On the Broadcast Nets next season:
Fake Empire – 4 (Hart Of Dixie, The Carrie Diaries, Cult, Gossip Girl)
Mark Gordon Co. – 4 (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Criminal Minds, The Family Tools)
Jerry Bruckheimer – 3 (2 CSIs, The Amazing Race)
Chernin Entertainment – 3 (New Girl, Touch, Ben & Kate)
Alloy -3 (Gossip Girl, Vampire Diaries, 666 Park Ave)
Bad Robot -3 (Revolution, Person of Interest, Fringe)
Wonderland Sound and Vision – 2 (Nikita, Supernatural)
Ryan Murphy Prods – 2 (The New Normal, Glee)
Berlanti Prods. – 2 (Golden Boy, Arrow)
Imagine TV -2 (Parenthood, How To Live With Your Parents)
FanFare – 2 (Happy Endings, Made In Jersey)
Wonderland Sound & Vision -2 (Nikita, Supernatural)
The Tannenbaum Co. – 2 (Two And A Half Men, Friend Me)
Honorable mention: 3 Arts’ Howard Klein executive produces two new series, Fox’s Mindy Kaling Project and ABC’s Red Widow, and a total of four series next season, including returning The Office and Parks & Recreation.
- Greg Berlanti