The Networks Went Crazy and Ordered a Ton of Pilots, and Here They Are

By Tim Surette

Jan 23, 2013

The BBC's Pulling, maybe coming to America via ABC.

Several television projects got their wings today as networks really started looking ahead to the 2013-2014 season and realized that they'd better have at least a couple shows that don't involve celebrities jumping from high places into pools of water. Pilot season is one of the most exciting times of the year because it reveals what trends are forming, which shows sound good on paper, and how stupid networks can be by showing interest in the next Work It.

Let's make this easy by just listing the pilots that were ordered today, along with my level of interest based on the vague loglines that announced:

At NBC...


The Blacklist

From John Eisendrath (Alias)

The premise: This follows a master criminal who turns himself in and agrees to give up all of his past connections, but only under the condition that he works with an FBI agent who he seemingly has no connection with.

Interest level: Ummm... an I-don't-really-care 5/10. That's about as non-committal as a person can be, right?

Untitled Rand Ravitch drama

From Rand Ravich (Life)

The premise: An untitled thriller about a secret service agent who gets involved in an international incident on his first day on the job. Expect lots of corruption and moral quandaries!

Interest level: 7/10 because THIS ONE GOES ALL THE WAY UP TO THE TOP!

The Sixth Gun

From Carlton Cuse (Lost)

The premise: Based on a graphic novel set in the Old West. When the most dangerous and powerful of a half-dozen mythical guns ends up in the hands of a girl, lots of bad people (some presumed dead) show up to try and get it.

Interest level: 7/10 because this is NBC and this is an interesting concept that the network will blow, right?


Untitled DJ Nash project, single-camera

From DJ Nash (Up All Night)

The premise: Try and follow this one: "A son idolizing his blind father and bemused by his mother’s newfound adolescence who watches his family come closer together post-divorce." It was originally set in the 1980s, but will now be set in the present day.

Interest level: Did you read that logline? How about 0/10?

Girlfriend in a Coma, single-camera

From Nurse Jackie co-creator Liz Brixius

The premise: This follows a 34-year old woman who wakes up from a coma to find out that she has a 17-year-old daughter from a pregnancy she didn't know she had.

Interest level: This sounds like it has enough plot for a five-minute sketch. 5/10.

Holding Patterns, multi-camera

From Justin Spitzer, producer of The Office

The premise: This ensemble comedy centers on a group of friends whose lives change after they all survive a plane crash.

Interest level: 3/10 because it's multi-cam and because what the hell do you do with this concept for more than half a season?

Untitled Victor Fresco project, multi-camera

From Victor Fresco, creator of Better Off Ted

The premise: Will and Grace's Sean Hayes stars as a man trying to be a father to his teenage daughter while simultaneously keeping his new mercurial boss happy.

Interest level: Gonna go out on a limb here and say this sounds boring. Three points for Hayes, so 3/10.

At Fox...



From Peter Duncan (creator of the Australian original) and Peter Tolan (Rescue Me)

The premise: Greg Kinnear stars as a mouthy criminal defense lawyer who is good at his job but has a hard time keeping his opinions to himself. He takes the cases no one else wants!

Interest level: 7/10, because of Kinnear, but really this is another lawyer show with a touch of House.

Sleepy Hollow

From Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci (Star Trek the movie)

The premise: A modern-day supernatural thriller based on the legendary town that follows Ichabod Crane as he partners with the local female sheriff to solves cases dealing with the battle of good and evil.

Interest level: 8/10, dropping a point or two with every episode just like every other recently aired crummy network supernatural thriller.


From Karen Usher (Prison Break)

The premise: Based on the book series, this sci-fi show is set in a world where love is illegal and authorities can "remove" it with a special technique. So of course main character Lena Holoway falls in love just a few months before she's supposed to be de-loved.

Interest level: Sounds hokey. 4/10.

The List

From Paul Zbyszewski (Daybreak)

The premise: What happens when the identities of everyone in the Witness Protection Program get leaked to an unknown source? They all start dying! It's up to one Marshal to save them and hopefully give them bigger fake mustaches so they can stay hidden.

Interest level: How about 6/10? That sounds good.


I Suck at Girls, single-camera

From author Justin Halpern (the source book), and produced by Bill Lawrence (Cougar Town)

The premise: Here's the logline that the trades are using: "The story of a boy becoming a man, and a man becoming a father, in a time before coming of age was something you could Google." Barf. The book is about a man revisiting his ideas of love and life when he tells his dad he's getting engaged.

Interest level: This is from the same guy who gave us S#*! My Dad Says, so what's lower than zero?

Friends and Family, single-camera

From Gavin & Stacey creators James Corden and Ruth Jones

The premise: This is an Americanized version of the U.K. show Gavin & Stacey, about a couple in a long-distance relationship.

Interest level: How many U.K. remakes have been successful on U.S. network TV? One? Let's say 2/10.

House Rules, single-camera

From Justin Hurwitz (The League)

The premise: This family comedy is set in Wisconsin, and the family in question is a group of "introverted, neurotic" people who don't mind telling you more than you want to know.

Interest level: This is so vague it's something like a 2/10 to an 8/10. Who knows.

To My Assistant, format TBA

From blogger Lydia Whitlock

The premise: Young assistants to overbearing bosses in New York City get stepped on and complain about the oppression.

Interest level: I have a no-blog tolerance policy but I'm feeling generous so 1/10.

At CBS...


Beverly Hills Cop

From Shawn Ryan (Last Resort, Terriers, The Shield)

The premise: Hey! I know this one. Ryan brings the film franchise to TV with a story about Axel Foley's son joining the Beverly Hills police force. Brandon T. Jackson stars as the son, and Eddie Murphy will reportedly reprise his role in the show's pilot, with the possibility for more banana-in-the-tailpipe action in later episodes.

Interest level: Plus 10 points for Ryan, minus 2 points for a remake, minus 1 point for CBS, so 7/10 if my math is correct.


From Hart Hanson (Bones)

The premise: Based on the Swedish crime books, Backstrom is described as House with a detective. You know, brilliant but cranky.

Interest level: Another detective procedural? How about a 3/10.


Friends with Better Lives, multi-camera

From Dana Klein

The premise: This takes the "group of 20-somethings" formula and changes it by making it about 30-somethings! And they all think their friends have better lives than they do.
Interest level: The last CBS sitcom I was excited about was The Bob Newhart Show, so let's say 2/10.

At ABC...



From David Zabel (ER)

The premise: Based on the Dutch show Overspel, this drama is about a woman who strays from her marriage with a lawyer by cheating with a different sexy lawyer. But when her new bed buddy is assigned a case defending a murder suspect against her prosecuting husband, all sorts of twists and turns unfurl. Serves you right, cheating hussy!

Interest level: Primetime soap, so I'll pass. 4/10.


From McG's Wonderland Studios

The premise: A Romeo and Juliet-type scenario set in California's beach city.

Interest level: McG? ZERO!

The Returned

From author Jason Mott

The premise: What happens when the dead come back and rejoin their old families like nothing ever happened? The Returned, that's what!

Interest level: Finally, a show that sounds a bit interesting! 8/10


Pulling, single-camera

From Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (Bad Teachers)

The premise: Based on the British series, three 30-something women live the lives they want to live, societal norms be damned.

Interest level: I have to stick with the British adaptation rule here and say this will probably butcher the magic of the original. 5/10.

What, that's all? I'm not sure I'm excited for many of these pilots. Do any of them interest you? Notice any trends so far?

Follow writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

  • Comments (172)
Add a Comment
In reply to :
  • nfrkmst Jan 28, 2013

    I recently watched the two existing series of the original Australian "Rake" and it is not going to work in the US let alone on network tv. If you've seen the original series, you'll realize that the lawyer's cases are only about 1/3 of the important stuff happening. the Australian series has a great story arc about the guys life: divorced with a son who only sleeps with way older women, in love with a prostitute, currently dodging the tax collector and an abuser of drugs and alcohol with a gambling addiction to boot. Yeah, Greg House can take lessons from this guy....

  • Shreela Jan 28, 2013

    The Return sounds the most intriguing to me. Beverly Hills Cop, I'll look at reviews after 3 shows to decide whether to watch it. The Blacklist sounds like a White Collar rip-off, besides it'll be on NBC -- I won't start any new NBC show until the second season has started, because NBC's so fickle & drops new shows like hot potatoes.

  • Svanehjerte Jan 28, 2013

    Sleepy Hollow sounds great. The Return sounds like it could be fun, I will try that one out too. Delirium is sci-fi so I'm likely to try it, but the plot sounds awful. The Sixth Gun sounds OK, might try it. The rest sound like the same old.

  • atjp Jan 28, 2013

    Except for Sleepy Hollow and maybe one or two other ones there, nothing else seems interesting. I hope the next new series season isn't worse than the one that just passed because this one was the worse one yet!

  • atjp Jan 28, 2013

    I know others have mentioned this before but a lot of new series work better as mini series so why don't they just do that? What wrong with a few really good mini series instead of trying to drag out ideas and working them to death?

  • NeoBasch Jan 27, 2013

    So looks like 3 for me. The Sixth Gun, Delirium, and Sleepy Hollow all managed to pique my interest. The Returned sounds like a show worth looking into, but it's those first three that I know I'll be watching for sure when they air.

  • WiredKiwi Jan 27, 2013

    Tim, Tim, Tim. You need to expand your base of pop culture mediums - Girlfriend in a Coma is most likely based on the book of the same name by Douglas Coupland. If it's even 1/5 as good as the (unbelievably cancelled) jPod adaptation, it'll be gold. Dunno if Coupland is involved in the series, but I suggest you read the book and get back to us on that rating.

  • Liria Jan 27, 2013

    The Returned sounds cool. It also sounds exactly like the French series "Les Revenants", which in turn was based on the 2004 film of the same name apparently...
    Anyone know if the American version has any relation to the French show? I hope it does, because the French series is awesome!
    Should it be a bad sign that the coolest thing on the list is likely a copy of something else?

  • VConn Jan 27, 2013

    THE RETURNED sounds kind of awesome. I give the BEVERLY HILS COP show a month before it's cancelled because A) It's based on a classic movie series and star of said series will not feature prominently and B) It's made by Shawn Ryan - ever since THE SHIELD ended none of the shows he's been involved with have been extended beyond 1 season - Even LIE TO ME died upon his arrival.

  • totomomo182 Jan 26, 2013

    I dont understand the network executives They do sometime approve some great mini series why not make them a full series like The Lost Room or Fallen or better yet take some great video game and make it into a series like God of War

  • Liria Jan 27, 2013

    Lost room, I miss that. Maybe they tried to get a full series and weren't able to, so they became mini-series... I think I read somewhere that The 4400's first season would've been a mini-series if they were cancelled. And then they weren't so yay for us. The Lost room gave us an opening for continuation at the end, but I think nobody ever picked it up... sadly... Fallen could've been transformed into a series, more than continued further after the mini-series, I think. Alas, no one seems to agree with us.:)

  • LiseLotteDive Jan 26, 2013

    Nope, sorry,,,nothing.

  • See More Comments (107)