Abrams drama draws Alphabet go-ahead
ABC handed out greenlights Wednesday to six projects, including a new drama from J.J. Abrams and a laffer starring TV warhorse Ted Danson.Dramas greenlit are “Six Degrees,” “The Nine” and “Daybreak.” Comedies with a go-ahead for next season are “Help Me Help You,” “In Case of Emergency” and “Notes From the Underbelly.” Alphabet sibling Touchstone snagged three of the pilot pickups, while Warner Bros. TV added two shows to its 2006-07 roster. Regency TV also landed an order. It’s likely several more projects will get greenlights by the end of this week. ABC declined comment. On the drama front, ABC once again seems inclined to go for the big ideas. Abrams-produced “Six Degrees,” from Touchstone, is an ensemble sudser about a group of Gotham strangers whose lives become intertwined. Stu Zicherman, Raven Metzner, Thom Sherman, Bryan Burk, Jim Parriot and Abrams are exec producers. “The Nine,” from “Without a Trace” creator Hank Steinberg, documents what happens to nine strangers when they get caught in the middle of a hostage crisis following a bank robbery gone bad. K.J. Steinberg and Alex Graves are also aboard as exec producers of the Warner Bros. skein. Chi McBride, Scott Wolf and Kim Raver star. “Daybreak” stars Taye Diggs as an L.A. cop wrongfully accused of murder. While trying to figure out who framed him, Diggs’ character must also race to stop another murder from happening. Paul Zbyszewski, Matt Gross and Jeff Bell are exec producers on “Daybreak,” which comes from Touchstone TV. Rob Bowman directed the pilot. Comedywise, Danson toplines “Help Me Help You,” from Regency TV. Danson plays a brilliant psychologist whose own life starts to unravel, partly in front of his group-therapy patients. Jennifer Konner and Alexandra Rushfield exec produce “Help Me Help You,” which also stars Leslie Hope, Darlene Hunt, Suzy Nakamura and Charlie Finn. “In Case of Emergency,” from Touchstone Television, already scored a six-episode commitment from ABC earlier this pilot season, giving it a better-than-average shot of making it to air. Alphabet web had also ordered an additional 12 scripts for the show, so the minds behind “Emergency” already have a jump on production for fall. Scribe Howard Morris and Emile Levisetti exec produce “Emergency,” along with Jon Favreau, who helmed the pilot. Show stars David Arquette, John Silverman, Kelly Hu and Greg Germann as a group of friends who come together after a crisis and realize that their lives didn’t turn out as planned. Show’s title was inspired by the contact info required by doctors’ offices. “Notes From the Underbelly,” from Warner Bros. TV and the Tannenbaum Co., revolves around pending parenthood via the eyes of an expectant dad. Stacy Traub wrote and will exec produce with Eric and Kim Tannenbaum. In other pilot buzz, scuttlebutt continued to suggest that NBC has all but given orders to the John Lithgow starrer “20 Good Years,” from Warner Bros. TV and Werner-Gold-Miller, as well as its untitled Tina Fey laffer, from NBC Universal TV and Broadway Video. A bogus NBC schedule making the rounds even puts “Tina Fey” in the coveted Thursday night 9:30 slot — a move that makes a lot of sense, especially if “The Office” shifts to 9 p.m. Not headed for the Peacock fall sked: “Teachers.” Midseason laffer is said to be dead. Meanwhile, Fox is said to be mulling one or two more drama pickups, with “Damages” and “Beyond” topping the short list. And ABC may order as many as three or four more dramas, according to talk around town, while “Lost” may launch in November. Alphabet seems likely to bring back “The Bachelor” franchise as well after a successful midseason run. Over at CBS, word is net may pick up four or five drama pilots, with two or three for fall; “Shark” and “Smith” top those lists.