Drama has its day at ABC

Gilbert filling Hannigan's shoes on Hewitt laffer

ABC has all but wrapped up its drama development, greenlighting a quartet of pilots from Touchstone Television.

Pilot season is also progressing at NBC and the WB, which have each placed an additional drama into their 2005-06 mix.

And on the casting front, Alyson Hannigan won’t be joining ABC’s upcoming Jennifer Love Hewitt laffer “In the Game” after all (Daily Variety, Jan. 5). Instead, the role will be filled by Sara Gilbert (“Roseanne”), who will guest star in the role.

Gilbert has had recent guest turns on “ER” and “24.”

Also over at the Alphabet, Touchstone-produced pilot pickups included the following:

  • Frank Spotnitz’s “Night Stalker,” a reworking of the well-remembered ABC frightfest “Kolchak: The Night Stalker,” which detailed a hardboiled journo’s investigations into freakish occurrences (Daily Variety, Oct. 14). It’s the first pilot order for Spotnitz (“The X-Files”) since setting up shop at Touchstone last fall.

  • “In Justice,” a legal drama about passionate lawyers trying to help the wrongly accused. Robert & Michelle King are writing and exec producing; Stu Bloomberg is also on board as exec producer.

  • “Soccer Moms,” in which two suburban housewives desperate for fulfillment team up to become private investigators. Don Todd and Marla Ginsburg are exec producing the cast-contingent pilot.

  • “Lennie Rose,” a dramedy about a single woman looking for love and fortune in Gotham. Krista Vernoff and Ken Olin are exec producers; project is cast-contingent.

ABC has ordered 11 drama pilots in the past month. Including the above four hours, Touchstone TV is producing seven drama pilots for the net, followed by Warner Bros. TV (three) and 20th Century Fox TV (one). Production is already under way on Touchstone’s “1/4 life,” while ABC has made a put pilot commitment to J.J. Abrams’ “The Catch” (also from Touchstone).

Meanwhile, the WB is honoring its put commitment to “Supernatural,” the spooky hour from scribe-exec producer Eric Kripke. David Nutter (“Smallville”) has come on board as helmer-exec producer.

McG and Stephanie Savage’s Warner Bros. TV-based Wonderland Sound and Vision is producing. Peter Johnson heads up Wonderland.

And over at NBC, Peacock has picked up “World of Trouble,” a drama from scribe-exec producer Peter Noah. Femme-headed ensembler follows FBI agents who solve crimes against Americans living abroad.