CBS 2010 upfronts: Drama pilots

by Paul William Tenny

CBS network logoHere are the drama pilots for CBS's 2010-2011 season. CBS had the most drama pilots of any network this this year, especially compared to FOX, who only had two. Anything CBS announces at their presentation in New York next week will come from this pile, and the comedy/drama pilot posts.

  • Chaos

    From: Tom Spezialy as creator, Martha Haight producing, with Brett Ratner directing the pilot. Spezialy has written and produced for Parker Can't Lose, Weird Science, Dead Like Me, Desperate Housewives, and Reaper. He's also consulted for Chuck. Haight produced for Touching Evil. Ratner, in addition to his feature film directing career, has produced for Prison Break.

    Synopsis: A group of rogue CIA operatives who combat bureaucratic gridlock, rampant incompetence and political infighting.

    Notes: Ordered to pilot.

  • Defenders

    From: Kevin Kennedy and Niels Mueller as creator, Carol Mendelsohn, Harry Gantz and Joe Gantz producing, with Davis Guggenheim directing the pilot. Kennedy and Mueller are feature writers with no significant experience writing for television. Mendelsohn is a very experienced writer and producer, having worked on Melrose Place, Providence, Two and a Half Men, CSI, CSI: Miami, and CSI: New York. Harry and Joe Gantz produced Taxicab Confessions from 1995 through 2005, but little else since. Guggenheim produced for Deadwood and the feature films An Inconvenient Truth and Training Day, and directed episodes of NYPD Blue, E.R., 24, Alias, The Shield, Deadwood, Numb3rs, and The Unit.

    Synopsis: Two charismatic and fiery Las Vegas defense attorneys who go to the mat for their clients.

    Notes: Ordered to pilot.

  • Hawaii Five-O

    From: Alex Kurtzman, Peter Lenkov, and Robert Orci as creators, Paul Zbyszewski producing, with Len Wiseman directing the pilot. Kurtzman and Orci wrote and produced for Hercules, Xena, Jack of All Trades, Alias, Fringe, and J. J. Abrams Trek feature film. Lenkov wrote and produced La Femme Nikita, Tracker, The District, 24, and CSI: NY. No idea who Len Wismen is, doesn't appear to be "Len Wiseman".

    Synopsis: Revival of the one-time CBS mainstay about the workings of the fictional Hawaiian state police department.

    Notes: Ordered to pilot. Hard to imagine this not getting picked up.

  • I Witness

    From: Pam Veasay and Trey Callaway as creators. Veasay wrote for Gimme a Break!, and wrote/produced In Living Color, Martial Law, The District, and CSI: NY. Callaway wrote and produced for Mercy Point, Super Natural, and CSI: NY.

    Synopsis: Centers on a detective/professor who uses her psycho-physiological skills to solve crimes.

    Notes: Ordered to pilot.

  • The Line

    From: Michael Dinner as creator, Carl Beverly and Sarah Timberman producing, with Dinner directing the pilot. All three have worked together on Kidnapped and more recently Justified. Dinner has directed for The Wonder Years, Chicago Hope, North Shore, Kidnapped, Bionic Woman, and Law & Order.

    Synopsis: An ATF agent who hunts down the most dangerous criminals while trying to balance life as a dad to his teenage daughter who has re-entered his life.

    Notes: Ordered to pilot. Notable cast members are Dylan Walsh, Michael Rapaport, and Sean Patrick Thomas.

  • The Odds

    From: Jeff Wadlow as creator, Beau Bauman, Ian Biederman, and Joel Silver producing, with Kenneth Fink directing the pilot. Wadlow has written and directed a few movies since 2002. Bauman has written and produced a few movies, nothing big. I couldn't really nail down Biederman (?) or Fink (?). Uber-producer Silver is...well, he's Joel Silver.

    Synopsis: A buddy cop show set in Las Vegas where the cops are just as outrageous as the crimes they solve.

    Notes: Ordered to pilot.

  • The Quinn-Tuplets

    From: Chris and Mike Kelly as creators, Arik Kneller, Eilon Ratzkovsky, Giyora Yahalom, Oren Jakobi, and Yona Wiessenthal producing, with Mimi Leder directing the pilot. Chris has had a few acting roles in the last decade but not much more. Mike has written for Providence, and written/produced for One Tree Hill, The O.C., Jericho, Swingtown, and The Beautiful Life. Kneller, Ratzkovsky, Yahalom, Jakobi, and Wiessenthal are foreign producers.

    Leder directed for China Beach, L.A. Law, John Doe, Jonny Zero, The West Wing, Vanished, and E.R. She has also produced for Beach, E.R, Doe, and Vanished.

    Synopsis: The personal and professional lives of the adult quinn quintuplets, whose whole lives have been documented on TV.

    Notes: Ordered to pilot.

  • Reagan's Law

    From: Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green as creators, Leonard Goldberg producing, with Michael Cuesta directing the pilot and producing. Burgess and Green wrote for Northern Exposure and Party of Five, produced Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and wrote/directed for The Sopranos. Cuesta directed for Six Feet Under, and directed/produced for Dexter.

    Synopsis: A multi-generational family of New York-based cops.

    Notes: Ordered to pilot. Notable cast members are Bridget Moynahan, Donnie Wahlberg, and Tom Selleck.


    From: Chris Mundy and Edward Allen Bernero as creators, Deborah Spera and Mark Gordon producing, with Richard Shepard directing the pilot. Every one of them has worked on Criminal Minds. Mundy has also written and produced for Cold Case. Bernero wrote and produced for Third Watch. Spera produced Reaper and Army Wives. Gordon has produced lots of shows including Reaper, Army Wives, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, LAX, and the feature films 2012 and 10,000 BC.

    Synopsis: The BAU team travels to San Francisco to investigate the murders of several homeless men and teams up with a separate group of BAU operatives who are working another case they think is connected.

    Notes: Ordered to pilot. Notable cast member is Forest Whitaker.


    From: Hannah Shakespeare as creator, John Wells producing, with Christopher Chulack directing the pilot. Shakespeare was a story editor (uncredited writer sometimes) for Ghost Whisperer and Bionic Woman. Wells is a writer and producer for shows like China Beach, Third Watch, The West Wing, E.R., and Southland. He's also the current President of the Writers Guild of America. Chulack has directed and produced for Third Watch, Smith, E.R., and Southland.

    Synopsis: A roaming medical team that travels the U.S. helping those less fortunate get through life-or-death medical crises.

    Notes: Ordered to pilot. Notable cast members include Amy Smart, Janeane Garofalo, Sissy Spacek, and Skeet Ulrich.

Also: CBS drama pilots, mid-season replacements, and the introduction post.

Update: The full CBS fall schedule has been posted here.

in Feature, Television


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