Nets set drama pilots

Doctors, lawyers and families lead the charge

EXCLUSIVE
Projects from Jason Katims, John Wells, John Masius and Chris Abbott are among the drama pilots for fall ordered by the networks in a flurry of activity last week.

NBC has ordered two drama pilots from “ER” executive producer Wells, and the network is still considering a third. Sources say that Wells’ exclusive deal with NBC was revised to a first-look deal as part of the “ER” renewal. Any Wells projects NBC passes on may now be shopped to other networks, sources say.

One of the Wells pilots, called “The Adversaries,” is written and executive produced by Paul Manning. It’s about a group of lawyers in Washington, D.C. (Daily Variety, Dec. 18). The other, called “Trinity,” was written by Matthew Carnahan and is about an Irish family in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen.

The third Wells project that NBC is considering is called “West Wing” and was written by Aaron Sorkin (“A Few Good Men”). It’s about young White House aides.

Aside from the Wells projects, the Peacock web has ordered just one other drama pilot, “Providence” from NBC Studios. The pilot is executive produced by Masius, who helped create “Touched by An Angel” and has worked on series such as “L.A. Law” and “St. Elsewhere.”

CBS

Bob Greenblatt and David Janollari, who recently formed their own production company on the Fox lot, have sold a drama pilot to CBS called “To Have and to Hold,” which will be co-produced by CBS Prods. Scott Shepherd (“The Outer Limits,” “The Young Riders,” “Miami Vice”), Joanne Waters (“The Doyles”) and director Jim Hayman (“Murder One”) will executive produce the pilot about a professional couple in Boston.

The Eye web also has ordered a Universal drama called “Turks,” executive produced by Robert Singer (“Lois & Clark”), which is about a Chicago father and his three sons.

CBS ordered one of the three drama pilots produced by feature producer Mark Johnson (“Rain Man”). The untitled Columbia TriStar TV drama, written by John Lee Hancock (“Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”), centers around a group of doctors who start their own practice in Los Angeles (Daily Variety, Jan. 8).

Fox

Fox Broadcasting Co. picked up the 20th Century Fox drama pilot “Astoria,” which had been in development at ABC. Executive produced by Katims (“Relativity,” “My So-Called Life”) and directed by Mark Piznarski (“Relativity”), the ensemble drama pilot is about a Greek-American family whose middle son returns home.

Fox also picked up the 20th pilot “Daybreak,” which will be executive produced by Greenblatt and Janollari. The pilot, written and executive produced by Hans Tobeason (“The Visitor”), is about a man in a terrible accident who dies but is brought back to life with superhuman physical powers.

UPN

UPN CEO Dean Valentine and his new team are now ordering their first pilots for the netlet. “Legacy,” from 20th Century Fox, is executive produced by Chris Abbott (“Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” “Magnum, P.I.”). The pilot is about a horse farm in Kentucky, described as “Legends of the Fall” meets “Bonanza.”

The netlet also has ordered a time travel action-adventure drama called “Seven Days” from Paramount Network TV. The pilot stars Jonathan LaPaglia and is executive produced by Chris Crowe (“The Untouchables”).

All of the pilots will be considered for the fall schedule, but none has been ordered as a series yet.

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