Pilots ready for takeoff

New skeins start to staff up

This article was updated on May 12, 2005

With the upfront presentations just days away, several network pilots have already been given the signal to start hiring staff writers — always a strong sign that a greenlight is forthcoming.

NBC is high enough on the Warner Bros. TV/Bruckheimer Pentagon thriller “E-Ring” that staffing has commenced. Peacock has also told 20th Century Fox to start hiring writers for “My Name Is Earl,” about a small-time crook (Jason Lee) who goes legit after being taught a lesson in karma by Carson Daly.

Net has also begun the process of lining up writers for sea creature pilot “Fathom,” which is being produced by NBC U Television Studio.

Earlier this week, ABC gave a similar nod to WBTV’s supernatural-themed “Invasion” and Touchstone/Battle Plan’s “Commander-in-Chief” (starring Geena Davis as the first female president).

The WB pilots now scouting for writers include the Warner Bros. TV/Wonderland Sound and Vision entry “Supernatural,” about two brothers cruising across the spooky American backroads.