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Big 4 networks greenlight slew of pilots

Seth MacFarlane lands series order; 22 other pickups unveiled

The Big Four networks triggered an avalanche of 22 pilot orders on Tuesday evening, signaling an early start to the marathon casting process that will determine the fate of many projects.

NBC loaded up with seven projects — four dramas and three comedies, including one shepherded by Dick Wolf. CBS ordered two dramas and a comedy. Fox ordered four dramas, including a project starring Greg Kinnear, and four comedies. ABC came in with three dramas and one comedy. And Seth MacFarlane one-upped everyone else with a straight-to-series order for 20th Century Fox TV’s “Dads” at Fox.

Multicam comedy, from the “Ted” trio of MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, follows two thirtysomething guys whose dads move in with them. Sulkin and Wild wrote the pilot and exec produce with MacFarlane. Series nabbed a six-episode order on the strength of the pilot script.

Fox also ordered pilots for single-cam comedies “Friends & Family,” “House Rules” and an untitled project from Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker.

“Friends & Family,” from Sony Pictures TV and scribe David Rosen, is based on the BBC series “Gavin & Stacey.” “House Rules,” from 20th and writers Justin Hurwitz and Andrew Gurland, centers on a neurotic family with contempt for all things normal that tries their best to fit into their small Midwest town where everyone knows each other and politeness reigns.The Halpern/Schumacker comedy is based upon the book “I Suck at Girls,” which Halpern penned. Bill Lawrence and Jeff Ingold also exec produce for Warner Bros. TV.

Fox also ordered the multicam “To My Assistant,” from Sherry Bilsing-Graham and Ellen Kreamer. WBTV laffer is based on the blog and forthcoming book written by Lydia Whitlock and focuses on assistants at a Gotham law firm.

Drama-wise, Kinnear will topline Sony Pictures TV’s “Rake,” based on an Australian series about a brilliant but self-destructive criminal defense lawyer. Peter Duncan, creator of the original series, wrote the pilot and exec produces with Peter Tolan and Michael Wimer. Fox’s other drama pickups went to three 20th TV projects.

Supernatural thriller “Sleepy Hollow,” written by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Phil Iscove, is a modern-day retelling of the spooky legend. Kurtzman, Orci and Iscove exec produce with Heather Kadin. Len Wiseman is on board to direct.

Fantasy vehicle “Delirum,” written by Karyn Usher, is based on a book series set in a world where love is illegal. Usher exec produces with Chernin Entertainment’s Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope.

“The List,” from “Lost” alum Paul Zbyszewski, centers on a federal marshal hunting for a lost list of people in the Witness Protection Program. Zbyszewski and Ruben Fleischer exec produce.

Over at the Peacock, NBC’s drama orders went to Sony TV’s “The Blacklist,” Universal TV’s “The Sixth Gun” and an untitled Rand Ravich project from 20th TV.

“Blacklist” revolves around a wanted criminal who turns himself in to work with a rookie FBI agent. Jon Bokenkamp penned the pilot and will exec produce with John Eisendrath, who is set as showrunner.

“Sixth Gun” has “Lost” vet Carlton Cuse attached as showrunner of the supernatural Western based on an Oni Press graphic novel. Ryan Condal wrote the pilot.

The Ravich project revolves around a group of Washington, D.C., power brokers who are pulled into an international conspiracy.

NBC’s comedy roster features a surprise appearance by Wolf, who is working with “Nurse Jackie” co-creator Liz Brixius on U TV’s “Girlfriend in a Coma,” a single-cam comedy about a 34-year-old woman who comes out of a coma to discover she has a 17-year-old daughter. Wolf Films’ Peter Jankowski and Danielle Gelber also exec produce.

An untitled U TV project from writer DJ Nash centers on a son whose family grows closer after a divorce.

U TV’s “Holding Patterns,” written by “Office” vet Justin Spitzer, follows a group of friends after they survive a plane crash. Peter Traugott and Rachel Kaplan also exec produce.

NBC also picked up a family comedy toplined by Sean Hayes, from Universal TV. Victor Fresco (“Better Off Ted”) wrote the pilot about a man who has to adjust to living with his 14-year-old daughter.

CBS made it official for its redo of “Beverly Hills Cop” from Sony TV, and another project that already had a hefty commitment, “Backstrom,” from “Bones” exec producer Hart Hanson and 20th TV.

Shawn Ryan penned the “Beverly Hills Cop” pilot and will exec produce alongside Eddie Murphy, who is slated to star with Brandon T. Jackson. Marney Hochman will also exec produce.

Backstrom,” a drama based on a Swedish book series, centers on an offensive detective as he tries to change his self-destructive behavior. Leif G.W. Persson and Niclas Salomonsson exec produce with Hanson.

CBS’ comedy nod went to 20th TV’s multicam vehicle “Friends With Better Lives.” Laffer centers on a group of thirtysomething friends. Dana Klein, who served as producer on the Peacock’s “Friends,” wrote and will exec produce the pilot with Aaron Kaplan.

ABC was late to the pickup parade Tuesday night, weighing with orders for three ABC Studios projects and a drama from Warner Bros. TV.

The single-camera laffer “Pulling” was penned by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (“The Office”). It follows three dysfunctional women in their 30s. Eisenberg and Stupnitsky exec produce for ABC Studios with Aaron Kaplan, Sharon Horgan and Dennis Kelly.

Drama “Venice” hails from Warner Bros. TV and McG’s Wonderland Sound and Vision. Byron Balasco penned the sudser set in the Southern California beach community. McG, who is set to direct the pilot, Balasco and Peter Johnson exec produce.

“Betrayal,” penned by David Zabel, centers on a femme photographer who gets involved in a murder case after having an affair with a lawyer for a powerful family. Zabel, Rob Golenberg and Alon Aranya exec produce.

“The Returned” is a supernatural vehicle revolving around people whose loved ones suddenly turn up back from the dead. Aaron Zelman penned the script and is exec producing with Plan B and Brillstein Entertainment TV.

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