ABC Family makes dramatic moves

Pilots 'Moons,' 'Kyle' take off at cabler

ABC Family has greenlit pilots for a trio of quirky dramas — about a sleepy town, a just-born teenager and an inner-city cop, respectively — set to begin production in July.

Cabler has made an aggressive bid to get into the one-hour game, ordering up two scripted dramas for this summer, “Wildfire” and “Beautiful People,” and setting up the three pilots before either of the completed skeins has premiered.

Programming senior VP Kate Juergens responded to the projects because each was “a little off-center” — a quality that also describes off-net hour “Gilmore Girls,” among the cabler’s highest-rated performers in its key 18-34 bracket. Juergens helped develop “Gilmore” while she was a senior VP at the WB.

“These are shows that are smart and quirky but also have really strong ideas at the center of them,” she said, noting that the cabler may soon move forward on one or two more drama pilots but that negotiations are still in the early stages.

“Three Moons Over Milford” is centered on a small East Coast town in which residents literally live “for the moment” because the town is located beneath a falling comet that could destroy their world at any time. Juergens compared it in tone to “Northern Exposure.” Laura Ziskin is in negotiations to exec produce alongside writer-producers Holly Goldberg Sloan and Gary Rosen.

“Kyle XY,” from writer-exec producers Eric Bress and J. Mackeye Gruber, concerns a suburban family that takes in a mysterious teen naive to the world around him. David Himmelfarb also will exec produce, with Benderspink aboard to produce.

Touchstone will produce both “Three Moons” and “Kyle.” Casting on both projects is under way.

The third newly greenlit pilot is an untitled project from Seth Freeman about a young cop who moves his family back to the inner-city neighborhood where he was raised in hopes of making a difference. Disney Cable Networks Group will produce the pilot.

Juergens added that ABC Family is still very much focused on mining a comedy project and will move forward on pilots for a round of laffers this fall. “Just a Phase,” a comedy about a teen uncertain of his sexual identity from Carter Covington, is still in play. But the cabler has officially passed on “East of Normal, West of Weird” and “Door to the Throne.”