NBC 2010 upfronts: Drama pilots

by Paul William Tenny

NBC LogoThis is the "Drama pilots" post a series on NBC's 2010 upfront presentation. These pilots were all ordred by NBC for consideration for the 2010 fall season, and anything they announce at the upfronts next week will come from this pile.

  • The Cape

    From: Tom Wheeler as creator, Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun producing, with Simon West directing. Wheeler doesn't have much of a paper trail that I can find and probably won't be running the show. Berman has tons of expereince producing (Buffy, Angel, Accidentally on Purpose, Mercy) so I imagine she'll be more hands on than Wheeler. Braun has a shorter list of credits, but he's worked with Berman before. Simon West has bounced between television and feature films (Con Air) and wrote the terrible Lara Croft/Tomb Raider movie.

    Synopsis: A former cop framed for a crime he didn't commit who becomes The Cape, a masked hero, to clear his name and reunite with his son. Notable co-star is Summer Glau.

    Notes: Ordered to pilot.

  • Chase

    From: Jennifer Johnson as creator, Jerry Bruckheimer, Johnathan Littman and KirstieAnne Reed producing, with David Nutter directing. Johnson came up writing for Providence and The Guradian, then started writing and producing for Lost and Cold Case. That's going from entry-level staff writer to her own show in less than 10 years. Uber producer Bruckherimer needs no introduction, but a useful note is that he has been doing a lot of TV producing lately (CSI and CSI Miami, The Amazing Race, CSI NY, Without a Trace) in addition to his feature film work.

    Nutter is a prolific TV director and producer back to 21 Jump Street, The X-Files and Millennium, Smallville, E.R., Without a Trace, etc. Littman is an equally proilfic producer on lots of big name shows. Reed has done production work steadily over the past few years, but nothing big.

    Synopsis: A game of cat-and-mouse as a team of U.S. marshals hunts down America's most dangerous fugitives.

    Notes: 13 episodes ordered. Guaranteed to air sometime this fall.

  • The Event

    From: Nick Wauters as creator, Steve Stark producing, with Jeffrey Reiner directing the pilot. Wauters worked his way up from PA to freelance writer, collecting a few producing credits along the way. Good idea then, but probably not the showrunner. Sparks has produced most of Medium while Reiner has directed the pilot for Caprica and regular episodes for Friday Night Lights and about-to-be-canceled Trauma.

    Synopsis: A conspiracy thriller that follows Sean Walker, an Everyman who investigates the mysterious disappearance of his fiancee, Leila, and unwittingly begins to expose the biggest cover-up in U.S. history.

    Notes: 13 episodes ordered and will air at some point. Press release says Evan Katz (24, JAG) will run the show.

  • Kindreds

    From: David E. Kelley as creator with Bill D'Elia directing the pilot. Kelley is a tier-1 producer and writer who produced and wrote for Boston Legal, The Practice, Ally McBeal, Boston Public, Picket Fences, Chicago Hope, and L.A. Law. He also consulted for Doogie Howser. D'Elia worked with Kelley on several of those series and wrote for Judging Amy.

    Synopsis: Kindreds follows a curmudgeonly ex-patent lawyer and his group of misfit associates as their lives come together to form an unconventional kind of law practice.

    Notes: Ordered to pilot. Sounds like House as a lawyer. From Kelley, it'll probably be very good. Notable co-star is Kathy Bates.

  • Love Bites

    From: Cindy Chupack as creator, Eric Fellner and Shelley McCrory producing, with Marc Buckland directing the pilot. Chupack co-produced and wrote for Sex and the City and Everybody Loves Raymond, and written for Mad Men.  Fellner appears to be a mostly feature producer with a long list of films to his name (nearly 100). Some gig movies, too. Fargo, Burn After Reading, Frost/Nixon among them.

    Buckland produced for Murder One and My Name is Earl, and directed for Scrubs, Earl, Sports Night, The West Wing, NYPD Blue, Murder One, and others.

    Synopsis: "Love Bites" is an hour-long romantic comedy anthology series featuring three loosely connected, modern stories of love, sex, marriage and dating.

    Notes: 13 episodes ordered.

  • Prime Suspect

    From: Lynda La Plante and Hank Steinberg as creators, Paul Buccieri and Erwin Stoff producing, with Mick Johnson directing the pilot. La Plante created the original UK mini-series which will be adapted and run by Steinberg. Steinberg produced and wrote for Kings, Without a Trace, and The Nine. Stoff is producing the recently announced remake of Commando (feature film) and worked on Kings with Steinberg and the recent feature remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still.

    Mick Johnson has feature and TV directing experience, but nothing really stands out.

    Synopsis: A courageous female detective who investigates complex mysteries in a politically explosive big city.

    Notes: Backdoor pilot, filming delayed to June -- may not happen.

  • Rex is Not Your Lawyer

    From: Andrew Leeds and David Lampson as creators, Barry Schindel, Gail Berman, and Lloyd Braun producing, with David Semel directing the pilot. Schindel (N3mbers, Castle, Law & Order), Berman (Mercy, Accidentally on Purpose, Angel, Buffy), and Braun (mostly same as Berman) will carry the bulk of the executive producer burden as Leeds and Lampson are both actors. None of them appear to be writers. Semel has directed episodes of Heroes, Life, House, The Cleaner, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Ally McBeal, Angel, Buffy, Beverly Hills 90210 and quite a few other shows.

    Synopsis: A lawyer who suffers panic attacks and takes up coaching clients to represent themselves in court.

    Notes: Ordered to pilot. Notable cast members include Dr. Who's David Tennant, Jerry O'Connell, and Heroes Sendhil Ramamurthy.

  • The Rockford Files

    From: David Shore as creator and Steve Carrell producing. I trust I need not explain who these people are, but if you're curious, just follow their links.

    Synopsis: The title character, Jim Rockford, remains a roguish private eye who tackles the dangerous, quirky and unpredictable cases that no other detective wants to handle.

    Notes: Ordered to pilot. Remake. Alan Tudyk (Firefly), Beau Bridges, and Dermot Mulroney co-star. Almost certain to air.

  • Rough Justice

    From: John Eisendrath as creator, Conan O'Brien, David Kissinger, Jeff Ross and Jimmy Smitts producing, with Terry George directing the pilot. Eisendrath has written and produced for Alias, Felicity, 90210, and My Own Worst Enemy. Kissinger would seem to bring little of value to the project. Ross produced Late Night and The Tonight Show under O'Brien and Kids in the Hall.

    Synopsis: Tough Justice follows an ex-supreme court justice who quits the court to start his own legal practice.

    Notes: Ordered to pilot. Jimmy Smitts will co-star in addition to producing (this is normal for powerful actors.) O'Brien's vantiy studio will produce the show (sorry, I consider all these things to be vanity entities. You hardly ever see a star's production company involved absent the star in some way.)

  • Undercovers

    From: J. J. Abrams and Josh Reims as creators, Bryan Burk producing, with Abrams directing his pilot. Abrams of course created Alias, Lost, and Fringe. Reims wrote and produced for Felicity, Dirty Sexy Money, and Brothers and Sisters. Burk produced Alias, Lost, Fringe, as well as Abrams' Star Trek feature film and Cloverfield.

    Synopsis: A spy drama that proves once and for all that marriage is still the world's most dangerous partnership.

    Notes: 13 episodes ordered. It will air, you can bet your paycheck on it.

Also: NBC comedy pilots, mid-season replacements, and the intro post.

Update: I've posted NBC's full fall schedule

in Feature, Television


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