Fox zeroes in on pilot orders

Hot prospects include laffers 'Ben Fox,' 'El Jefe,' drama 'Guilty'

It’s decision time at Fox. Net execs are hunkered in the scheduling room this afternoon finalizing pilot pickup decisions in preparation for Monday’s upfront presentation.

The net is expected to pick up three or four comedies and at least three dramas.

Comedy-wise, the heatseeker is still Universal TV’s untitled Mindy Kaling project, which seems bound for a companion slot with “New Girl” next season. “Ned Fox is My Manny,” a 20th Century Fox TV domestic comedy about a single mom who taps her brother to be an unconventional nanny, is seen as having a strong shot.

Contenders for the remaining slot(s) are Sony Pictures TV’s “El Jefe,” about a guy from a wealthy family who winds up living with the family’s housekeeper; and two more from 20th TV: “Rebounding,” about a guy who finds solace after the death of his finance with his basketball buddies; and “The Goodwin Games,” about three adult siblings who reunite after their father’s death. A dark horse may be another 20th TV project, “Little Brother,” starring John Stamos and T.J. Miller as long-lost brothers, which has a lot of fans at the network, but there’s concern that it treads too much of the same ground as “Ned Fox.”

On the drama side, the three best shots appear to be Kevin Williamson’s serial killer drama “Mastermind,” starring Kevin Bacon, from Warner Bros. TV; the untitled femme Mafia doctor vehicle from Sony Pictures TV and “Guilty,” starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as a disgraced lawyer trying to clear his name. A wildcard could be 20th TV’s spy drama from scribe Karyn Usher.

A rep for Fox declined comment Tuesday afternoon. There’s no word yet on the timing of Fox’s pickup calls to producers.

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