ABC closes in on series choices

Dramas 'Angels,' 'Bitches,' 'Pan Am' and 'Time' in line for pickups

As new ABC Entertainment prexy Paul Lee hashes out his first fall lineup for the Alphabet, insiders have tabbed four drama pilots — “Pan Am,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Good Christian Bitches” and “Charlie’s Angels” — as looking strong for a pickup.

Meanwhile, there was industry chatter that the heatseekers at CBS are dramas Person of Interest,” “The Rememberer,” a medical drama from feature scribe Susannah Grant; “Rookies” and Minnie Driver starrer “Hail Mary.”

ABC’s “Pan Am,” which travels back to the 1960s when the airline was an iconic brand, is on course for a series order, as is fantasy-mystery “Once Upon a Time.” “Charlie’s Angels” and “Christian Bitches” have been considered locks for a pickup ever since ABC began pilot screenings earlier this month.

“Pan Am,” starring Christina Ricci, hails from Jack Orman and Sony Pictures Television. “Time,” starring Ginnifer Goodwin and Lana Parrilla, comes from “Lost” alums Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis and ABC Studios.

ABC is expected to pick up more than those four, however. Other titles in contention are said to be Shonda Rhimes’ “Scandal,” procedural “Identity,” “Poe” and “Revenge.” Not generating as much enthusiasm are Marc Cherry’s “Hallelujah,” twentysomething D.C. soap “Georgetown” and femme detective drama “Partners.”

On the comedy side, the standouts are “Apartment 23,” whose edgier scenes had to be toned down to comply with broadcast standards, and the Tim Allen starrer “Last Days of Man.” Allen is a proven commodity at ABC — “Home Improvement” ran for eight years at the network — and the Alphabet and the thesp are clearly comfortable with each other.

Other comedies in the mix include “Smothered” and “Suburgatory.”

Lee was expected to begin making calls to producers today in anticipation of the net’s upfront presentation Tuesday in Gotham.

As for ABC’s bubble shows, Matthew Perry’s “Mr. Sunshine” looks to be fighting an uphill battle. Frosh laffers “Better Than You” and “Happy Endings” were too close to call. A renewal for “Brothers and Sisters” looks promising.

After canceling five shows and greenlighting a handful of others Tuesday, Fox looks pretty set. Though the net said no to “Exit Strategy,” 20th Century Fox Television remains very high on the Ethan Hawke actioner and may shop it elsewhere.

CBS’ hot comedy prospects are said to be “How to Be a Gentleman,” from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” scribe David Hornsby, and “Two Broke Girls,” from Michael Patrick King. The untitled workplace ensembler from scribe Peter Knight and Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison banner could be a dark horse at the Eye. Upfront scorecard
A rundown of next week’s
programming presentations:
11 a.m. (Hilton Hotel)
4 p.m. (New Beacon Theater)
9:30 a.m. (Best Buy Theater)
4 p.m. (Avery Fisher Hall)
6 p.m. (American Museum of Natural History)
10 a.m. (Hammerstein Ballroom)
4 p.m. (Carnegie Hall)
11 a.m. (Frederick P. Rose Hall at Lincoln Center)
3 p.m. (New Amsterdam Theater)
Note: All times Eastern