Pilot orders continue to gradually fly out of network hangars, with more than 60 series hopefuls now on tap from the Big Three networks and Fox Broadcasting Co.
Stephen J. Cannell Prods. is bringing a novel approach to the process by introducing a potential CBS series within its firstrun action hour “Renegade.” The new show, “Carrick O’Quinn,” to star Don Michael Paul (who headlined an earlier Cannell-CBS series, “The Hat Squad”) and Cecelia Peck, will be introduced within a “Renegade” episode that will serve as a presentation for the network.
Fred Silverman has used a similar strategy in the past, introducing characters within episodes of series like “Jake and the Fatman” and “Matlock.” The advantage is that suppliers actually have another episode of an ongoing series to show for their efforts, rather than, in the worst-case scenario, a busted pilot.
One project previously tagged cast-contingent has been greenlighted, with Jeff Fahey (“Silverado”) to star in Paramount’s “The Marshal,” a drama about a U.S. marshal fromproducers John Mankiewicz, Dan Pyne and Aaron Lipstadt.
Cop and detective shows, in fact, appear to be making a minor resurgence, spurred perhaps by the strong response to “NYPD Blue.” Another recent candidate in that vein includes “The Gray Area” (CBS), about a New York cop.
Warner Bros. drama pilots recently picked up include “Medicine Ball,” about hospital interns, from producer Rob Lieberman for Fox; and “Modern Romance,” loosely described as “how to marry a millionaire,” produced by Thomas Carter. Another WB candidate at CBS, now titled “The Mighty Quinns,” is actually a revised version of the short-lived sitcom “It Had to be You,” minus Faye Dunaway , with Robert Urich as a single dad.
Orders moving slowly
Though orders have been slow and stingy this year, Warner Bros. already has over a dozen pilots or presentations slated. Universal, Paramount, Columbia and ABC and NBC’s in-house divisions are also all well-represented on early development rosters.
On the comedy side Fox has ordered “Pearl’s Kitchen,” a TriStar TV/Brillstein-Grey Entertainment comedy featuring stand-up comic Bernie Mac as the manager of a combination diner/convenience store in a blue-collar neighborhood.
Fox is also said to be considering a sketch comedy from the producers of HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam,” also through Brillstein-Grey — joining a proposed Latino-themed variety series from John Leguizamo, now titled “House is Buggin’,” in contention representing that genre.
NBC Prods. aspirants include “The World According to Noah,” an urban comedy that sees the world through the eyes of an 11-year-old boy, from former “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” producer Winifred Hervey; “Best Friends,” a family sitcom from Allan Katz; and “Bellamy,” a cast-contingent ensemble drama about female lawyers produced by Jeff Bleckner.
Also on NBC’s cast-contingent roll is the Paramount sitcom “Pigsty,” from “Cheers” writer-producers Rob Long & Dan Staley, about five college chums sharing a Manhattan apartment.
Sci-fi and superhero contenders include “Green Arrow,” in development from Norman Stephens and Warner Bros. at CBS.
The most unusual concept outlined thus far may be “Sliders,” a two-hour, John Landis-Tracy Torme-Universal TV pilot for Fox that involves a youth who discovers a void allowing him to jump back-and-forth between parallel universes.
Other projects of note not currently connected to a studio include CBS’ “X’s & O’s,” the Brandon Tartikoff drama about four ex-wives of country-music singers in Nashville; and “Doc Holliday,” another Eye network hour, from producer Glen Larson.