Broadcast Pilot Buzz – Summer 2024 Edition

As Hollywood starts to slow down ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, broadcast networks have some unfinished business — making decisions on several pilots ordered earlier this year. With development no longer confined within the bounds of the traditional TV cycle that comes to an end at the May upfronts, networks are taking longer to produce and evaluate pilots before deciding their fate. Here is where the Big 4 stand heading into the summer.

ABC has two new drama series for next season, High Potential and Dr. Odyssey — both on the fall schedule — and no new comedies. That will change as the network has two multi-camera pilots, Shifting Gears, starring Tim Allen and Kat Dennings, and Forgive & Forget, headlined by Ty Burrell. Both are considered very strong contenders.

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Shifting Gears is ahead of Forgive & Forget timeline-wise; a cut was delivered and seen this week, I hear. Meanwhile, Forgive & Forget is taping today.

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ABC has comedy needs: By the end of this season, the network will be down to one returning series, flagship Abbott Elementary, as The Conners is set for an abbreviated seventh and final season.

With Shifting Gears and Forgive & Forget being in the more cost-effective multi-camera format and featuring popular ABC comedy stars in Home Improvement and Last Man Standing‘s Allen and Modern Family‘s Burrell, there is a good chance for both to go to series, I hear.

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Allen is a Disney fixture beyond his two hit ABC series as star of the Toy Story movies and The Santa Clause film and TV franchise, coming off the Disney+ series. As Deadline reported, the intent to get Allen back on the air was so strong, ABC developed two scripts for him to choose from. A series pickup for Shifting Gears is considered likely.

Meanwhile, the Forgive & Forget table read went well, and ABC execs are high on the project, which has Modern Family co-creator Christopher Lloyd consulting, I hear. It marks his third collaboration with Burrell after the Emmy-winning ABC family comedy and Fox’s Back to You.

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NBC has two hourlong pilots outstanding, Suits: L.A. and Grosse Pointe Garden Society. Both are finished and have been undergoing testing, with the final cuts yet to be delivered to the top NBCU executives making greenlight decisions.

According to sources, the pilots came in solid and, under normal circumstances, both would be picked up to series at NBC.

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There is currently no issue with shelf space at the network — NBC has the fewest returning series of any of the Big 4 and only one scripted series on tap for midseason, new drama The Hunting Party, which will join three new series on the fall schedule, drama Brilliant Minds and comedies St. Denis Medical (which just received an order for five additional episodes), and Happy’s Place.

But there are other mitigating factors, most notably NBCUniversal’s reported $2.5B bid for NBA rights. Besides the big financial investment, the package requires a major primetime real estate commitment starting in the 2025-26 season, when the network would have to air games on Tuesday and Sunday when there is no conflict with Sunday Night Football. NBCU brass might wait for the NBA deal to be sorted out before making decisions on the pilots.

I hear those decisions probably will come in July, when the final cut of Grosse Pointe Garden Society will be delivered. (NBC is believed to have options on the casts through the end of the year.) One possibility would be to pick up both pilots to series to launch next midseason, with one of them, Grosse Pointe Garden Society, considered a stronger possibility, migrating to Peacock after Season 1 if NBC lands NBA games.

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Grosse Pointe Garden Society which, like The Hunting Party, originated as a writers room commission in February 2023, has been receiving high marks internally in the early going. In a sign of confidence, the project’s producer, NBC sibling Universal Television, just signed new multi-year deals with the series co-creators Jenna Bans and Bill Krebs.

With a globally recognizable title thanks to Suits‘ recent Netflix success, the offshoot had been considered a strong contender from the moment it was announced. I hear the Suits L.A. pilot, from Suits creator Aaron Korsh, has been well received. Said to be carrying the original series’ signature wit, it is considered likely for a series pickup.

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Fox has three new drama series for next season, Rescue HI-Surf, Murder in a Small Town and Doc, along with new comedy series Going Dutch. And the network, which has an extra night to fill next season following the departure of WWE SmackDown, likely is not done.

Referring to the direct deal with Denis Leary that led to Going Dutch, Deadline’s Peter White asked Fox Entertainment’s CEO Rob Wade earlier this month whether another series might be coming out of the network’s talent deals.

“There’s a new drama, which we haven’t announced, potentially next year; it’s coming through,” he said.

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Wade did not elaborate, but he is believed to be referring to State Patrol (working title), a drama from Burn Notice creator Matt Nix, which stems from his direct deal with Fox Entertainment.

As Deadline reported last month, State Patrol has been heating up for a pickup. I hear there might be a second drama the network also is looking at for a potential green light.

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It is not the Baywatch reboot, which is in earlier stages. I hear Fox executives liked the first script, with the project continuing through the development process.

Multi-camera comedy Meet the Kumars, a follow-up to the award-winning 2001 BBC series The Kumars at No. 42, which produced a presentation, is on a slower track but remains in contention. The rest of the single-camera comedies that Fox considered for an order alongside Going Dutch, are dead, I hear.

CBS is ahead of everyone with the first scripted series order for the 2025-26 season, Fire Country spinoff Sheriff Country, and the largest contingent of new scripted series for 2024-25, dramas NCIS: Origins, Matlock and Watson and comedies Georgie & Mandy’s First Marriage and Poppa’s House.

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In line with CBS’ long-term development strategy of making series-pickup decisions well in advance, the network still plans to pick up some writers rooms this summer and “potentially even a comedy pilot or two,” CBS Entertainment President Amy Reisenbach told Deadline’s White this month.

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Still waiting for a nod to open a writers room is medical drama The Pact. Initially announced as a writers room commission alongside Watson in January 2023, The Pact instead focused on reworking the original pilot script, with writer Ayanna Floyd joining Marcus Dalzine. It remains in development.

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