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Fall pilot predictions

ABC looking solid on 'Flash Forward'

Industry buzz about NBC fall pickups grew louder Thursday as the Peacock preps for its “infront” programming presentation to Madison Avenue on Monday.

Meanwhile, ABC gave a strong signal that it plans to greenlight drama “Flash Forward” by giving it a clever running viral push during Wednesday’s episode of “Lost.”

On the comedy side, Peacock programmers are said to be high on the single-cam project from Sony starring Joel McHale as a guy who becomes part of an unlikely family after he enrolls in a community college class. There was talk late Thursday that Universal Media Studios laffer “100 Questions for Charlotte Payne,” about a young woman in Gotham, was gaining fans at the network after a strong screening for execs.

On the drama front, NBC’s pilot-picking process was stalled somewhat Thursday as execs dealt with the news of the death Wednesday evening of drama veep Nora O’Brien on a location shoot for the pilot “Parenthood.” Although the Imagine TV/Universal Media Studios pilot based on the 1989 film is not completed, it is considered a lock for the Peacock’s fall sked.

Other contenders are the UMS paramedic drama “Trauma,” which emerged as an early favorite, and “Mercy,” a UMS pilot about the lives of three nurses.

Ensembler “Legally Mad,” from David E. Kelley and Warner Bros. TV, had mixed reviews in its screening but should not be counted out, biz insiders said. Same goes for Dick Wolf’s “Lost and Found,” from UMS.

As for NBC’s on-the-fence renewals, signs are pointing to a third-season pickup for “Chuck” and a second-season nod for Amy Poehler laffer “Parks and Recreation.” New drama “Southland” seems to be well positioned for a pickup based on its ratings perf and strong reviews. Things were looking tougher for “My Name Is Earl,” however.

NBC will announce its new and returning pickups Monday, but its fall sked won’t be disclosed until the week of May 18, when the rest of the broadcast nets hold their traditional upfronts.

Meanwhile, ABC is said to have started scouting for a writing staff for fantasy-thriller drama “Flash Forward,” from ABC Studios. In commercial breaks during Wednesday’s edition of “Lost,” the net ran a series of super-short clips of the pilot accompanied by the text slate “What did you see?”

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