Variety’s Pilot Report: Cautious optimism meets economic reality

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Now that we’re mid-way through pilot season, Variety today looks at the state of the biz — and finds that network and studio execs are a tad more upbeat than they were at this time last year.

And why not? The advertising market appears to be improving; the nets had several new hits to celebrate coming out of fall (“Modern Family,” “Glee,” “NCIS: Los Angeles”), and viewers are once again flocking to the Big Four to catch big events like the Olympics.

But yet… it’s still tough out there. More productions are racing out of town, as the networks and studios pinch every penny they possibly can. That also means pressure to keep down budgets and license fees — just as shows get more expensive than ever.

Check out our roundup of what’s impacting pilot season here.

Meanwhile, Rick Kissell expertly goes network-by-network and runs down each broadcaster’s needs — and which pilots might make the most sense on what night. Check out Rick’s Picks here.

And God bless Cynthia Littleton, who took on the task this year of getting our pilot chart in order. It’s a time-consuming job. But take a look at the fruits of her labor, as we showcase the current pilot roster here.

And if that ain’t enough for you, check out these trends:

Nets find the C.I.A. irresistible

D.C.-set pilots are the rage

Fox looking for a new sketch comedy franchise

U.S. networks turn to Israel

All of our pilot-related stories can be found here.

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