As broadcast network executives sit behind closed doors pouring over focus group testing results on a whopping 100 pilots and which among them can best fill their needs, scores of showrunners are on stand-by as the decisions on which comedies and dramas will land slots on the 2013-14 schedules are expected to come starting Wednesday.
The Hollywood Reporter dialed up industry insiders and has compiled 10 of the thrillers, soapy procedurals, comic adaptations, family and workplace comedies that stand the best shot of earning series pickups.
1. Beverly Hills Cop (CBS)
From executive producer Shawn Ryan (The Shield), the continuation of the feature film franchise tested through the roof and is considered perfectly on-brand for CBS. The cop procedural starring Brandon T. Jackson as Axel Foley's rookie cop son is described as a procedural that comes wrapped with instant brand recognition and an easy to market premise -- and Eddie Murphy attached. Plus Beverly Hills Cop feature producer Paramount also handpicked the Sony Pictures Television drama to make its return to TV production.
2. Mom (CBS)
We hope Chuck Lorre uses part of his summer break to pen a lot of vanity cards as the prolific showrunner is poised to have four shows on the air. Mom, starring Anna Faris as a newly sober single mom attempting to get her life in order, has been considered a sure thing to make the schedule since Lorre and his Two and a Half Men co-writers Eddie Gorodetsky and Gemma Baker sold the spec to CBS. The show also marks Lorre's first female-fronted comedy since the 1990s. With How I Met Your Mother coming to an end after next season, CBS needs to find a new half-hour that works (RIP, Partners.)
3. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee was already mulling a place on the schedule for the Marvel comics adaptation from The Avengers and Buffy the Vampire Slayer mastermind Joss Whedon back in January, touting the Ming-Na starrer as a prime family viewing. Industry insiders, meanwhile, envision the drama as a solution for ABC's Thursday at 8 p.m. problem -- a slot that's been problematic for years (see Charlie's Angels, Last Resort).
4. Tomorrow People (CW)
The adaptation of the 1970s U.K. series of the same name fits right into the younger-skewing network's sci-fi wheelhouse and comes with a built in pedigree featuring two of the network's most valued creators: The Vampire Diaries' Julie Plec and Arrow's Greg Berlanti. The drama tells the story of several young people from around the world who represent the next stage in human evolution, possessing special powers, including the ability to teleport and communicate with each other telepathically. Together they work to defeat the forces of evil.
5. The Goldbergs (ABC)
The dysfunctional Wonder Years set in the 1980s is inspired by the childhold of Breaking In creator Adam F. Goldberg and counts Bridesmaids breakout Wendi McLendon-Covey among its cast. The family-friendly single-camera comedy has been generating great buzz coming out of last week's pilot screenings.
6. Blacklist (NBC)
Billed as "one of the best scripts of the year" by one TV agent, the drama about the world's most wanted criminal who turns himself in comes with a star with major TV appeal in James Spader, who would make his return to NBC following his run on The Office. Consider the drama from Perfect Stranger's Jon Bokenkamp and Alias' John Eisendrath this year's Revolution.
7. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)
Fox is expected to pickup at least one, potentially two workplace comedies as it shops for a companion to the already renewed The Mindy Project. Expect the cop comedy from Parks and Recreation duo Dan Goor and Mike Schur to be among them. Oh, and the cast happens to include Saturday Night Live's Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher and Terry Crews, the latter of whom was one of pilot season's most sought-after actors.
8. Rake (Fox)
After luring Kevin Bacon to his first small-screen regular role in The Following, look for Fox to repeat that strategy with Academy Award nominee Greg Kinnear starring in the adaptation of the Australian drama. The Little Miss Sunshine alum plays a House-like character described as a brilliant but self-destructive attorney in the project from Rescue Me's Peter Tolan.
9. Crisis (aka the untitled Rand Ravich drama) (NBC)
The Washington thriller starring Dermot Mulroney and Gillian Anderson has the slight edge over J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuaron's Believe. The drama from the creator of Life has also been generating rave reviews for its cast, which also includes 666 Park's Rachael Taylor and James Lafferty (One Tree Hill). Look for cable-type fare in the vein of Homeland to feature prominently among NBC's drama pickups.
10. Reign (CW)
The CW will likely hand out three additional series orders beyond Plec's Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals and add the drama about Mary Queen of Scots' rise to power as its big swing. Sources say the network likes the international appeal of Reign, which filmed in Europe and counts a largely unknown cast led by Adelaide Kane in her second stateside role (she'll next be seen in the upcoming third season of MTV's Teen Wolf.)
Which pilots are you rooting for? Hit the comments below with your thoughts and stay tuned to The Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed for the latest series orders and upfront news in the coming weeks.
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