ABC has given the series greenlight to a half-dozen drama projects, ranging from a Biblical epic to an FBI 9/11 conspiracy vehicle to a long-con thriller from Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland shop. All six of the series hail from ABC Studios or the ABC Signature production unit.
The orders reinforce ABC’s strategy of loading up on dramas with an eye toward some shows with shorter-episode orders to help refresh the schedule and avoid repeats of new and returning series. The emphasis on ABC-produced projects makes it clear that the Alphabet is looking for maximum control of the digital windowing strategies on its shows, an increasingly important factor for broadcasting networks.
The six dramas getting the nod for ABC’s 2015-16 slate so far:
“Of Kings & Prophets”
An epic Biblical saga of faith, ambition and betrayal as told through the eyes of a battle-weary king, a powerful and resentful prophet and a resourceful young shepherd on a collision course with destiny. Adam Cooper & Bill Collage wrote the pilot and exec produce with Jason Reed, Reza Aslan and Mahyad Tousi.
Cast: Ray Winstone as King Saul, Haaz Sleiman as Jonathan, Maisie Richardson-Sellers as Michal, Oliver Rix as David, Simone Kessell as Ahinoam, James Floyd as Ish-Boseth, Mohammad Bakri as Samuel and Tomer Kapon as Joab.
A diverse group of recruits have arrived at the FBI Quantico Base for training. They are the best, the brightest and the most vetted, so it seems impossible that one of them is suspected of masterminding the biggest attack on New York City since 9/11. Josh Safran wrote the pilot script and exec produces with Mark Gordon and Nick Pepper.
Cast: Priyanka Chopra as Alex, Dougray Scott as Liam, Jake McLaughlin as Ryan, Aunjanue Ellis as Miranda, Yasmine Al Massri as Nimah, Johanna Braddy as Shelby, Tate Ellington as Simon Asher and Graham Rogers as Caleb Haas.
“Untitled Pate & Fishburne Project”
Billy and Cody Lefever dream of a new life beyond their working class roots and move to “the Bakken” in North Dakota, booming after the biggest oil discovery in American history, only to be pitted against a ruthless tycoon. Josh Pate and Rodes Fishburne wrote the script. Pate, Fishburne, Tony Krantz, Josh Pate, Drew Comins and Don Johnson are exec producers.
Cast: Don Johnson as Hap, Chace Crawford as Billy, Rebecca Rittenhouse as Kelly, Delroy Lindo as Tip, Amber Valetta as Carla, Scott Michael Foster as Wick, India De Beaufort as Jules, Yani Gellman as AJ and Caitlin Carver as Lacey.
A strong, successful fraud investigator is about to be the victim of fraud perpetrated by her fiancé. Between her cases, she is determined to find him before it ruins her career. Jennifer Schuur wrote the script and exec produces with Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers and Julie Anne Robinson.
Cast: Mireille Enos as Alice, Alimi Ballard as Evan, Damon Dayoub as Kieran, Jay Hayden as James, Jacky Ido as Emil, Bethany Joy Lenz as Zoe, Rose Rollins as Andie and Elvy Yost as Maria.
The return of a politician’s young son who was presumed dead after disappearing over a decade earlier raises suspicious about whether he really is who he says he is. Jenna Bans wrote the script and exec produces with Todd Lieberman, David Hoberman, and Laurie Zaks.
Cast: Joan Allen as Claire, Allison Pill as Willa, Margot Bingham as Sergeant Nina Meyer, Zach Gilford as Danny, Liam James as Adam, Floriana Lima as Bridey, Madeline Arthur as Young Willa, Rarmian Newton as Young Danny, Rupert Graves as John and Andrew McCarthy as Hank.
Each season is designed to follow a different case from a noteworthy era of L.A. history, starting with a murder case from 1982 centered on the rock and roll, cocaine-infused revelry of the Sunset Strip. Steven Baigelman wrote the script and exec produces with Todd Lieberman, David Hoberman and Laurie Zaks.
Cast: Adam Rothenberg as Jack, Ed Westwick as Kent, Taissa Farmiga as Karen, Gabriel Luna as Paco, Karolina Wydra as Dianne, Holley Fain as Trish, Darrell Britt-Gibson as Diver, Anne Winters as Vicki and Erika Christensen as Betty.