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CBS' Fall Schedule: A Snap Judgment

Who says CBS doesn’t make bold programming moves? Oh, that’s right: Everyone. But everyone would be slightly wrong! At yesterday’s upfront presentation, the nation’s most-watched — if least-interesting — broadcast television network surprised reporters by revealing that it was not green-lighting two high-profile potential series: A small screen revival of Beverly Hills Cop from executive producer Shawn Ryan (The Shield) starring Brandon T. Jackson as the son of Axel Foley and a recurring Eddie Murphy; and NCIS: Red, starring John Corbett and Kim Raver. Beverly Hills Cop might find a home elsewhere, while NCIS: Red was deemed unworthy of the franchise’s creative standards. (Why are you giggling?)

CBS also made news with some bold scheduling swaps and shifts. Mike & Molly is being held for midseason (but received a full order of 22 episodes); Hawaii 5-0 is sailing to Friday; and Person of Interest is relocating to Tuesday, joining NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles to form a blockbuster night of brawny drama. Thursday now has two hours of comedy, a mirror to its Monday night block of powerhouse yukkers. With few holes to fill and (quoting network president Nina Tassler) “limited shelf space,” CBS ordered just eight new shows, five of which will premiere this fall. Here, CBS was true to form: All have potential to be watched by a broad audience, and very few seem all that creatively daring. To be fair, it’s hard to glean meaningful insight from the preview videos released by the network, comprised of select scenes, behind the scenes footage, and rah-rah interviews with actors and producers. And while CBS may not have leveraged its position of great strength to take a chance on innovation, I found something commendable about each of its new offerings. READ FULL STORY

NBC orders 'Ironside' reboot

Blair Underwood is returning to NBC to help revive a classic TV show.

NBC has ordered to series a remake of Ironside, the ’60s drama that starred Raymond Burr as a wheelchair-bound detective.

Underwood will play the title role in the new version from Michael Caleo, David Semel, Teri Weinberg, John Davis and Jon Fox. Here’s the network description: “A tough, sexy but acerbic police detective relegated to a wheelchair after a shooting is hardly limited by his disability as he pushes and prods his hand-picked team to solve the most difficult cases in the city.”

The original series, which is owned by the Peacock’s parent company, ran on NBC from 1967 to 1975.

In 2010, Underwood played the president in NBC’s shortlived actioner The Event.

NBC will announce its complete fall schedule to advertisers on Monday in New York.


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NBC orders new comedy from 'Cougar Town' creator Bill Lawrence

NBC continued its series orders today by placing an order from Undateable, a new comedy from Bill Lawrence (Cougar Town) that stars Chris D’Elia and comedian Brent Morin.

Here’s the official logline from the network: “When confident slacker Danny Beeman (D’Elia) takes Justin (Morin) on as a roommate, Danny unwittingly inherits Justin’s group of romantically challenged friends. Seeing himself as the ultimate player, Danny decides to teach the crew (who he dubs ‘The Undateables’) everything he knows about “the game of love.” For their first lesson, Danny takes the guys to an event hosted by his sister, Leslie (Bianca Kajlich), who is a single mom with dating difficulties of her own. At first, Danny’s advice seems to pay off big-time: The shy guy talks to a girl, the no-filter dude learns it’s never OK to ask a woman when she’s due, and his nebbish roommate, Justin, goes home with a mystery woman. It’s not until the next day that they figure out it was Leslie! Talk about a bunch who just can’t get lucky!”

On Thursday, NBC began making series orders in preparation for its fall presentation to advertisers Monday. Among the pickups: About A Boy, which is a comedy starring David Walton and Minnie Driver which centers on a bachelor whose primary goal in life is avoiding any kind of responsibility until he meets a geeky young boy; and Believe, a J.J. Abrams joint about an unlikely relationship develops between a young girl with a gift and a man sprung from prison who has been tasked with protecting her from the evil elements that hunt her power. Johnny Sequoyah, Jake McLaughlin, Delroy Lindo will star. Photos of the new shows here.

Fall TV pilots 2013 series order list

NBC orders 'About a Boy,' Sean Hayes comedy, more for fall


No monkeys this year!

After yanking shows like Deception on Thursday and the much-deserved Animal Practice earlier this season, NBC began making series orders this morning in preparation for its fall presentation to advertisers Monday.

Among the pickups: About A Boy, which is a comedy starring David Walton and Minnie Driver which centers on a bachelor whose primary goal in life is avoiding any kind of responsibility until he meets a geeky young boy; and Believe, a J.J. Abrams joint about an unlikely relationship develops between a young girl with a gift and a man sprung from prison who has been tasked with protecting her from the evil elements that hunt her power. Johnny Sequoyah, Jake McLaughlin, Delroy Lindo will star. Photos of the new shows here. READ FULL STORY

'Friday Night Lights' creator Peter Berg to direct, produce HBO pilot penned by Damon Lindelof

The creative minds of Friday Night Lights and Lost are teaming up.

Peter Berg, best known for showrunning Friday Night Lights and directing last year’s Battleship, will produce and direct an HBO pilot written by Damon Lindelof (Lost, Prometheus), EW has confirmed. The show is an adaptation of 2011 novel The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta, who is writing the pilot script along with Lindelof. READ FULL STORY

Your TGIF crossover dreams are coming true: Jackee Harry is in the 'Girl Meets World' pilot

Boy Meets World Meets Sister Sister, anyone?

EW has confirmed that actress Jackée Harry, best known to Gen Xers as 227‘s vampy, Emmy-winning Sandra and to Millennials as Sister Sister‘s flamboyant adoptive mom Lisa, will appear in the pilot episode of Girl Meets World. There’s no word yet on whether Harry appears as a guest star or as a potential recurring character, should the Boy Meets World spinoff be picked up to series.

So, will Jackée be playing a sassy teacher who works with Cory (Ben Savage)? A sassy lawyer who works with Topanga (Danielle Fishel)? A sassy neighbor who serves as little Maya’s (Rowan Blancard) answer to Mr. Feeny (William Daniels)? Disney’s keeping mum on details for now — so feel free to speculate wildly, and to dream up possible GMW roles for other TGIF alumni. There’s got to be a part here for Melissa Joan Hart!

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Read more:
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Mr. Feeny back for ‘Girl Meets World’ pilot
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Ryan Murphy sells sexy pilot to HBO

How many scripted series can one man shepherd at the same time? For Ryan Murphy, at least, the answer may soon be “four.” EW has confirmed that the mastermind behind Glee, American Horror Story, and The New Normal has sold yet another pilot: Open, a “modern, provocative exploration of human sexuality and relationships” co-written with Dexter co-executive producer Lauren Gussis. HBO has ordered the pilot; Deadline first reported the sale Wednesday night.

This marks the cable net’s second project with Murphy. His TV movie adaptation of Larry Kramer’s play The Normal Heart will premiere in 2014, the same year that could also see the third installment of AHS (subtitled Coven), the fifth of Glee, and the second of The New Normal, assuming the latter two are picked up for additional seasons.

Read more:
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‘Glee’ guru Ryan Murphy shopping sex show

'Glee' guru Ryan Murphy shopping sex show

Leave it to Ryan Murphy to find another tantalizing subject that should satiate his devoted audience.

EW has confirmed that the co-creator of Glee, American Horror Story and The New Normal is busy shopping a new script with Dexter co-executive producer Lauren Gussis that Deadline describes as a modern, provocative exploration of human sexuality and relationships.

It’s likely the project will end up on cable, where all of the good hibity-dibity seems to be happening these days. And there’s already a bidding frenzy in the works.

In fact, steamy sex series could become the next rage. In September, Showtime is scheduled to premiere Masters of Sex, a new drama starring Michael Sheen and the captivating Lizzy Caplan that’s about the real-life pioneers of the science of human sexuality. And you can’t study sex without watching someone have sex, right?

The drama was created by Michelle Ashford (The Pacific) and is based on Thomas Maier’s biography Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson.

First Look: See the zombies invading Amazon's new 'Zombieland' pilot

You already got a glimpse at the apocalyptic survivors in Amazon’s new Zombieland pilot, now we’ve got your first look at the zombies out to get them.

In the still above, Columbus (Tyler Ross) and Wichita (Maiara Walsh) try to avoid getting eaten by a zombiefied old lady. She’s one of many un-dead attackers they’ll encounter in the pilot.

“You will see plenty of violence and blood and gore like you did in the movie,” says Paul Wernick, who, along with co-writer Rhett Reese, penned the film and now pilot. “People can expect a lot of zombie attacks in Zombieland for sure.” READ FULL STORY

'SNL' comedienne joins Lorne Michaels pilot

Good news for NBC prime time, potentially bad news for Saturday Night Live fans: funny woman Nasim Pedrad has joined an untitled ensemble comedy pilot from standup comic John Mulaney and uber-producer Lorne Michaels.

Pedrad will play Jane, a smart but apathetic grade school teacher in the comedy that’s loosely based on Mulaney’s life. Martin Short and Elliott Gould have also been cast in the pilot.

Should the pilot go to series, Pedrad would leave SNL, where she’s worked with Michaels since 2009. Her forte on the late-night show is celebrity impersonations, like this one: READ FULL STORY

Amazon's 'Zombieland' pilot, now with promo images: 'A new dead is dawning'

That news you first heard about Amazon reviving Zombieland with a pilot? It’s coming back to life a little quicker than you expected.

The website released two images for the series, which will continue the adventures of our intrepid apocalypse survivors, now played by Kirk Ward, Tyler Ross, Maiara Walsh, and Izabela Vidovic. We don’t learn much from either, except that things are basically as we left them back in 2009: cities still burning, undead still roving, and guns still loaded. It’s not not nothing, right?

Zombieland will premiere alongside Amazon’s dozen other projects, after which customers will be invited to review each one and help determine what goes to series. Take a look at the poster, and a photo of the foursome, after the jump


Amazon orders 'Zombieland' pilot

Amazon is adding a pilot based on 2009’s hit action-adventure-rom-com Zombieland to its slate of original programming. The film’s writers, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, are writing the pilot; producer Gavin Polone is also returning. Filling in the roles of Woody Harrelson et al. are Kirk Ward, Tyler Ross, Maiara Walsh, and Izabela Vidovic. A statement from Amazon says that the show will follow in the same storytelling footsteps of the film, “and finds four survivors outwitting zombies and searching for a place to call home.” READ FULL STORY

Rainn Wilson to play irascible cop for CBS

CBS has definitely won the sweepstakes for best pilot casting this year.

The network — which has already lured actors like Robin Williams, Anna Faris, Jason Isaacs, Toni Collette and Josh Holloway — has cast Rainn Wilson in the leading role of Backstrom, a drama pilot that’s based on a Swedish detective series of same name about an overweight, offensive irascible cop as he tries and fails to change his self-destructive behavior. Wilson will play Det. Backstrom. Other cast members in the drama pilot from Hart Hanson, Leif G.W. Persson and Niclas Salomonsson include Dennis Haysbert as Det. John Almon and Kristoffer Polaha as Sgt. Peter Niedermayer.

Since NBC passed on Wilson’s spinoff of The Office dubbed The Farm, the funny man was blissfully up for grabs. He became one of a handful of most sought after actors this pilot season — that is, until CBS added him to its high-profile roster of stars for fall. Other actors nabbed by the Eye include Marg Helgenberger, Dylan McDermott, CCH Pounder, Rupert Grint, John Corbett and most interestingly, Brandon T. Jackson and Eddie Murphy — who will star in Shawn Ryan’s Beverly Hills Cop pilot.

For more:

Fall’s most sought-after actors
Fall drama pilots 2013 master list


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