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Nets tap power players for pilots

'Kevin,' 'Lake,' 'Zero' among greenlit dramas

Nets rolled out the big guns Tuesday, ordering pilots from names such as Aaron Spelling, Mel Gibson, John Wells and Joel Silver.

Greenlit dramas included Gibson’s “Kevin Hill” and Spelling’s “Silver Lake” at UPN, Wells’ “Johnny Zero” at Fox and Silver’s “Nice Guys” at CBS.

Over at UPN, scribe Jorge Reyes (“Resurrection Blvd.”) is penning “Kevin Hill,” which revolves around a thirtysomething lawyer who must raise his niece after his brother dies.

Project comes from Touchstone TV and Gibson’s Icon Prods. Gibson and Bruce Davey will exec produce, along with Reyes.

That theme — youngish singles forced to grow up after they must take custody of a deceased relative’s kids — has struck a chord with network developers; several projects with similar concepts are in the works or will soon bow, including WB’s “Summerland.”

Also at the net, Spelling — who took viewers to “Beverly Hills, 90210,” and then moved east to “Melrose Place,” has moved further east for “Silver Lake.”

Justin Tanner (“Gilmore Girls”) will write and exec produce with Spelling and E. Duke Vincent. Drama revolves around a record store owner who uses his psychic abilities to communicate with the dead and help them resolve issues they left behind (Daily Variety, Oct. 28).

“Silver Lake” will be shot as a pilot presentation.

Fox’s “Johnny Zero,” meanwhile, would mark John Wells Prods.’ first presence at the net, should it be picked up to series. Warner Bros. TV is also behind the project.

R. Scott Gimmell (“ER,” “JAG”) wrote the pilot, which revolves around an ex-con who tries to go legit and become a private eye, but is frequently tempted by the dark world he left behind.

Thesp Franky G (“The Italian Job”), who has a talent deal at Wells Prods., will star. “Johnny Zero” is based on a script by Ken Sanzel; Wells, Gimmell and Llewellyn Wells will exec produce.

Also from Warner Bros. TV is the Eye’s drama pilot “Nice Guys.”

Project, which also comes from Silver’s Silver Pictures and Thomas Schlamme’s Shoe Money Prods., is a buddy action project described as “Rockford Files” meets “Lethal Weapon” (Daily Variety, Sept. 24).

Shane Black (“Lethal Weapon”) and fellow writer Anthony Bagarozzi are writing the drama, which was almost a shoo-in for pilot status, given its hefty $2 million put pilot penalty.

Schlamme will direct the cast contingent pilot, and exec produce with Silver, Black and Bagarozzi.

Meanwhile, ABC has pushed the previously announced Michael Bay/Shane Salerno drama project (Daily Variety, Oct. 10) until midseason. Both Bay and Salerno are working on feature projects and will now work to develop the untitled Touchstone Television crime drama for later in the 2004-05 season.

Alphabet net has opted to push back development on its J.J. Abrams pilot “The Catch,” a bounty hunter actioner set to star “Alias’ ” Greg Grunberg. Project will now be targeted for midseason 2004-05.

(Josef Adalian contributed to this report.)

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