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Pilot Buzz: ‘Supergirl,’ ‘Rush Hour’ Flying at CBS; Comedies, Medical Dramas Have Pulse

As April turns to May this week, network execs are huddling in screening sessions and debates over the pilots in contention for series orders to be unveiled in less that two weeks during the broadcast upfronts.

The volume of new comedy series is expected to be high, and medical dramas have momentum at several nets. And don’t believe the rumors: Greg Berlanti’s “Supergirl” pilot for CBS is not destined to fly over to the CW, sources said.

Though sources caution it’s still hard to declare definitive winners and losers, the picture is getting sharper. Here’s a look at what the broadcast networks have their eye on for the 2015-16 season.

For detailed information on production and creative auspices of this year’s pilots, see Variety.com’s searchable Pilot Scorecard chart.


While “Supergirl” would seem to be a fit with CW’s “The Flash” and “Arrow,” the show is seen as too expensive for the younger-skewing network, and would be more profitable for CBS Corp.’s overall portfolio, if it lands at CBS, where it currently has a good chance to go to series.

Meanwhile, sources say the CW will preview a first-look trailer at the DC superhero spinoff at their May 14 upfront presentation.


ABC is also looking to continue its superhero saga with talks of keeping “American Crime” creator John Ridley on the Alphabet’s air by handing him the keys to a new top-secret Marvel project.

As Shonda Rhimes already owns Thursday night on the network with her “TGIT” programming, no surprise here — Shondaland’s next drama “The Catch” with leading lady Mireille Enos, is seen as a lock.

“Dr. Ken,” starring “Community” alum Ken Jeong, was well received at the Alphabet, along with the Chevy Chase-Beverly D’Angelo sitcom and the untitled NBA buddy comedy, set to star Skylar Astin. Though not a favorite, Judah Miller’s comedy is still standing, sources said.


Besides “Supergirl,” CBS is pulsing for a medical drama with “Code Black” and LFE” both hot among execs.

The network is also eyeing the movie-to-television trend with two pilots high up on the list: “Rush Hour,” a take on the ’90s film, and “Limitless,” adapted from the 2011 film starring Bradley Cooper, who will serve as an exec producer if the thriller, set to star Jake McDorman and Jennifer Carpenter, goes to series.

The “Criminal Minds” spinoff with Gary Sinise and Anna Gunn playing FBI agents who handle troubled Americans overseas is also a good bet at CBS.


The 1990s may be making a comeback next season as John Stamos’ comedy, Rob Lowe’s “Grinder,” and Eric McCormack’s celebrity drug dealer-inspired “Studio City” dramedy are all hot at Fox.

Like CBS, Fox is also looking at a movie adaptation with “Minority Report,” a take on Steven Spielberg’s movie, plus, it wants to get into the medical genre with “Rosewood,” an early frontrunner, which would add another diverse lead in Morris Chestnut to the net’s slate, following “Empire’s” success.

On the comedy, front, “48 Hours to Monday” is looking good.


NBC is already staffing three series for the new season, sources say: sniper thriller “The Player” (formerly titled “Endgame”) from “The Blacklist” producers, “Blindspot” from Berlanti, and medical drama “Heart Matters.”

Comedy pilots “How We Live” and “People Are Talking” are said to be in good shape at the Peacock, as is paranormal laffer “Strange Calls,” which would bring another “Community” alum, Danny Pudi, into the 2015-16 season.

Lastly, Dick Wolf will likely have a “Chicago” trifecta next season — and four shows total with the 17th season of “SVU” — as it appears the “Chicago Med” spinoff looking good for a midseason order. The planted spinoff aired this month as an episode of “Chicago Fire.”

Debra Birnbaum and Cynthia Littleton contributed to this report.

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