Waitress comedy, period drama join 2012 pilot slate

ABC has given pilot orders to a comedy about sisters who run a diner and a drama set in 1895 New York from Shonda Rhimes and scribe KJ Steinberg.

“Counter Culture,” penned and exec produced by Stephnie Weir, revolves around three aging sisters who run their family diner in west Texas. Claudia Lonow (“Accidentally on Purpose”) is on board as an exec producer for the multi-cam laffer from Sony Pictures TV and ABC Studios.

“Gilded Lillys,” from ABC Studios and Rhimes’ ABC-based Shondaland banner, revolves around the opening of Gotham’s first luxury hotel. It appears to have a touch of “Downton Abbey,” as ABC bills the drama as an “epic love story” set against the backdrop of “vicious family rivalries, scandalous secrets, and conflict and commingling of classes.”

Steinberg has penned the pilot and will exec produce with “Grey’s Anatomy” boss Rhimes and Shondaland’s Betsy Beers.

Steinberg has fielded several pilot scripts in recent years and has also worked as a scribe on CW’s “Gossip Girl,” ABC’s “The Nine” and CBS’ “Judging Amy.”

The Alphabet is in the midst of winnowing its pilot picks and is expected to make a slew of orders in the next few days.

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