Inside Move: Pilots set biz backrooms abuzz

Exex pleased with 'Joey,' 'D.O.T.S.,' 'Eyes,' Stamos laffer

It’s buzz time in TV land.

With three or four days of pilot screenings completed for most webs, agents and producers have started furiously trading phone calls and emails about what’s hot, what’s cold and what’s so bad even Trio would refuse to air it. Over the next 10 days, the buzz will change constantly as new research emerges or the Michael Eisners and Peter Chernins of the world weigh in.

Some things are set in stone. The WB, for example, confirmed Thursday what’s been known for days: “Jack & Bobby” is on the air (Daily Variety, May 4).

WBTV is producing the skein along with former “West Wing” helmer Thomas Schlamme’s Shoe Money Prods. and “Everwood” creator Greg Berlanti’s Berlanti-Liddell shingle. Schlamme and Berlanti are exec producers, as are Vanessa Taylor and Mickey Liddell. Brad Meltzer and Steve “Scoop” Cohen have been part of the project since its inception and will remain with the series.

WB co-CEO Jordan Levin said Berlanti’s “incredible ability to create poignant dramatic storytelling within a youthful dynamic and (Schlamme’s) incomparable expertise in translating the political arena to television” were factors in the pickup.

Then there’s the buzz about who’s in the screenings. Over at NBC, for example, there were some new faces this year, such as VUE topper Ron Meyer.

Meyer’s presence is not a big surprise given that the Peacock and U will be joined in wedlock next week. The NBC-U love works both ways: Jeff Zucker and some other NBC suits were at the “Van Helsing” premiere Monday.

As for show buzz, here’s the latest — with the very strong caveat that what’s “dead” today could be “the next ‘Friends’ ” a week from now:

  • Early buzz at NBC has execs breathing a sigh of relief over “Joey,” which screened very well, according to numerous insiders. The Heline/Heisler romantic comedy is also getting good response, as is “D.O.T.S,” which looks to be the workplace laffer the net hasn’t had since “Night Court.”

“Father of the Pride” is already ordered to series, while comedies in the mix include “My 11:30,” “Beverly Hills, SUV” and “Men’s Room.” On the drama tip, “Revelations” seems a sure thing, while “Hawaii” and the untitled medical mystery show are hot.

Barring boffo testing, early response has been chilly to “Foster Hall,” “The Friendlys,” “Weekends” and “Home and Hardware.”

  • Over at ABC, the Tim Daly drama “Eyes” screened very well, as did the John Stamos romantic laffer. The Jessica Simpson comedy continues to be a contender, despite mixed reaction from screening auds. The Jennifer Love Hewitt laffer also has fans, and “Desperate Housewives” hasn’t lost any of its early momentum.

“Harry Green & Eugene” isn’t looking like a fall launch, but “Doing It” had a big group of fans. Among the standup comics with pilots, the Earthquake project didn’t score on laugh scale, but Rodney Carringston’s half-hour seemed to surprise auds.