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July 28, 2014

Major Networks Pick Up New Pilots

by Gary Susman, posted Jan 20th 2010 12:00PM
Hey, TV fans: Do you like medical dramas, ensemble comedies, and shows about Las Vegas? The major networks hope you do, since they bought six series pilots yesterday that could make those elements staples of this fall's primetime schedule.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, ABC bought three pilots, including a new medical drama from 'Grey's Anatomy' and 'Private Practice' creator Shonda Rhimes, as well as a medical/crime procedural and a comedy about a group of young adult friends. Fox picked up another group comedy, centering on an Indian-American family. Set in Vegas are a new NBC pilot from the makers of 'Reno 911!' and a CBS buddy cop drama.

Here's our breakdown of the six new pilots and their chances for success.

'Off the Map': Rhimes' new drama is about three American doctors who leave the U.S. to work in a remote tropical clinic, where they face the usual Rhimes combination of exotic medical challenges and soapy personal lives.
Chances for fall pickup: Very good, given Rhimes' track record at ABC.

'Body of Evidence': Also for ABC, a medical examiner named Megan Hunt frequently squabbles with her superiors and uses her experience as a neurosurgeon to solve crimes. Creator Matt Gross describes the show as "a female post-mortem 'House.'"
Chances for fall pickup: Hmm. Show sounds a lot like both 'House' and 'Bones,' and ABC already has a lot of medical shows (especially if it picks up 'Off the Map'). Still, TV execs tend to consider familiarity a virtue, not a strike.

'Happy Endings': When a couple breaks up at the altar, their friends have to negotiate the breakup as well. Producer is Jamie Tarses ('My Boys').
Chances for fall pickup: Middling. Tarses has a long and checkered history with ABC (she programmed the network into a three-year slump in the mid-'90s before becoming an independent producer), and besides, ABC already has plenty of fresh sitcom hits (including 'Modern Family' and 'Cougar Town'). Still, Tarses is also credited with helping make a hit of 'Friends' way back when, a show that 'Happy Endings' resembles.

'Nevermind Nirvana': Fox bought this 'Everybody Likes Raymond'-type family comedy about an Indian-American family with two grown sons, one of whom has a white girlfriend. It's based loosely on the life of its writer, Ajay Sahgal, who is married to Kelli Williams, a star of Fox's 'Lie to Me.'
Chance for fall pickup: Good, despite the project's long history, which includes two previous failed attempts at NBC. In one incarnation, back in 2003, the pilot would have starred Kal Penn and Judy Greer, with David Schwimmer behind the camera. In another pass, Sahgal himself was to star opposite Greer. But then-NBC exec Kevin Reilly, who helped develop the show, still liked the idea and is now in a position to make it happen as Fox entertainment president. Besides, Fox is short on comedies.

'The Strip': 'Reno 911!''s Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant are writing, executive producing and starring in this NBC comedy about a former child star (Lennon) who owns a Hooters-type restaurant in a strip mall outside Las Vegas.
Chances for fall pickup: Very good, since it's an in-house project, produced by NBC sibling Universal Media Studios. Plus, NBC suddenly has a lot of primetime space to fill (no wonder it's purchased nearly 20 pilots this season) and a slate of well-regarded but ratings-challenged comedies.

'The Odds': Two buddy cops working in Las Vegas are as weird as their caseload. Action film guru Joel Silver produces.
Chances for fall pickup: Middling. CBS already has loads of crime dramas, including the still-going-strong 'NCIS' and 'CSI' franchises. (And of course, the original 'CSI' already has a market cornered on Las Vegas weirdness.) Nonetheless, some of these shows are getting pretty long in the tooth, so maybe some fresh blood is warranted.

Tell us: Which pilot are you most looking forward to? And which do you think has the best chance at success?

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