×

ABC loads up on high-profile drama pilots

Orders include projects from Cherry, 'Lost' alums, Peli

Paul Lee is casting a wide net in his first season at the helm of ABC development.

On Tuesday the Alphabet handed out pilot or presentation orders to seven drama projects, six of them from ABC Studios. The orders range from a fantasy-mystery from “Lost” alums to sudsers from Marc Cherry and Darren Star to a horror drama from “Paranormal Activity” helmer Oren Peli to a project dubbed ” ‘The O.C.’ in D.C.” exec produced by Josh Schwartz.

These pickups come on the heels of recent pilot orders for such disparate projects as the reboot of “Charlie’s Angels” and the swinging ’60s period piece “Pan Am.”

Clearly, ABC Entertainment Group entertainment prexy Lee is rolling the dice on a number of big concepts. ABC’s drama development in recent years had tended to focus on procedurals, earthy police dramas and femme-friendly ensemblers.

Full pilot orders went to Cherry’s “Hallelujah”; former “Lost” exec producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz’s “Once Upon a Time”; Peli-penned “The River”; and “Revenge,” from “Swingtown” creator-exec producer Mike Kelley. Presentation orders were given to Star’s “Good Christian Bitches” and “Identity,” from Mark Gordon Co.

Hallelujah” revolves around a tiny town in Tennessee torn apart by the forces of good and evil until a stranger arrives to restore faith to the town’s residents. Episodes will be punctuated by songs from a gospel choir, which is meant to serve as a kind of Greek chorus.

Cherry penned the pilot and will exec produce with Sabrina Wind, who heads his ABC-based production banner.

Kitsis and Horowitz’s “Once Upon a Time” is a mix of sci-fi and fantasy with a strong mystery element, set in a small town in Maine. Premise is a modern-day take on fairy tales, with a female protagonist who comes from a unique background.

“The River,” from Peli, hails from DreamWorks TV and ABC Studios. Shot in the style of the “Blair Witch Project,” it revolves around a search for a person who went missing in the Amazon river. Peli co-wrote the pilot with Michael Perry. Peli, Jason Blum and DreamWorks TV’s Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank exec produce.

“Revenge” revolves around a vengeful woman with a secret who moves to the Hamptons. Kelley exec produces with Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey.

“Georgetown,” from Warner Bros. TV, is an ensembler set among youthful aides to power brokers in Washington, D.C. Will Fetters penned the script and exec produces with Schwartz, Savage and Len Goldstein.

Good Christian Bitches,” based on the book of the same name, revolves around a divorced mother of two who encounters some friction after she moves back to her hometown of Dallas. Robert Harling penned the pilot and will exec produce with Star and Aaron Kaplan.

“Identity” revolves around an elite police unit that combats identity-related crime. Pilot was penned by John Glenn, who exec produces with Mark Gordon and Deb Spera. It’s based on the ITV format of the same name.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Masters of the Universe: Revelation

    Kevin Smith Announces Anime 'He-Man' Series for Netflix

    Kevin Smith surprised audiences at Sunday’s annual Power-Con convention by announcing a new anime “He-Man” series for Netflix. The new series, titled “Masters of the Universe: Revelation,” will take place in the Mattel toy inspired world and will focus on some of the unresolved storylines of the classic ‘80s show. Smith will serve as showrunner [...]

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content