Medical dramas are still hot in the TV development game, with NBC’s soap “Heart Matters” and CBS’ ER-set “Code Black” and “LFE” up for series contention. Overall, however, the networks are looking beyond the operating room for the 2015-16 cycle, tying pilots to current events, and focusing on more diverse themes. In fact, CBS’ “Rush Hour” remake is the only new show that fulfills the once-popular buddy-cop slot. Here’s a look at some of the biggest trends this pilot season:
Diversity in Entertainment
Hot on the heels of “Empire’s” huge success on Fox, NBC leads the broadcast pack with five minority-focused pilots. Eva Longoria headlines the straight-to-series “Telenovela,” and Jennifer Lopez will star as a cop-turned-undercover FBI agent in “Shades of Blue.” Drama “Curse of the Fuentes Women” comes from “Ugly Betty” producer Silvio Horta, while “Love Is a Four Letter Word” puts marriage to the race-sex-and-gender test. Comedy “People Are Talking,” from exec producer DJ Nash, examines similar formerly taboo topics. ABC picked up “Mix,” about multicultural families.
This Means War
Scripted TV is taking a page from news shows that focus on Americans in trouble overseas. On the docket: CBS’ “Criminal Minds” spinoff, with Gary Sinise and Anna Gunn, starring as FBI agents handling U.S. citizens abroad; AMC’s “White City,” centering on Westerners living in Afghanistan; USA Network’s “Stanistan,” starring “Dexter’s” Jennifer Carpenter, about State Dept. and covert CIA types at a U.S. compound in a fictional Middle East nation; and ABC’s “Quantico,” from Josh Safran and Mark Gordon, about a terrorist posing as an FBI trainee.
High Society Drugs
Fox’s “Studio City,” revolving around a singer whose father is drug dealer to stars, comes from the “Shameless” team, and is inspired by exec producer Krista Vernoff’s life experiences. ABC’s “L.A. Crime” goes searching for a serial-killing team on the “coke-infused” Sunset Strip. And TNT’s Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay untitled Miami project, adapted from the 2006 novel “Cocaine Cowboys,” is set against the Florida drug trade. “Runner” (ABC) and “Queen of the South” (USA Network) deal with drug trafficking abroad.
Name That Film
The smallscreen collides with the silver screen this development season, with four movie-to-TV adaptations. Fox has ordered “Minority Report,” a sequel to Steven Spielberg’s 2002 thriller. Drama vet Kevin Falls will serve as showrunner. NBC is bringing back “Problem Child” with a single-cam comedy pilot written by “Hangover II’s” Scot Armstrong, based on the 1990 John Ritter pic. CBS has picked up pilots “Rush Hour,” based on Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker’s action-comedy, and “Limitless,” with Bradley Cooper as an exec producer, alongside writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.
MVP EP: Aaron Kaplan
Kaplan may have a DVR stacked with his own shows next season. With four series already on air (NBC’s “Mysteries of Laura,” ABC Family’s “Chasing Life,” Nickelodeon’s “Instant Mom” and ABC’s “Secrets & Lies” set to bow March 1), he’s landed six pilots across broadcast and cable and on four major nets — and pilot season isn’t even over: “Chev & Bev” and “Broad Squad” (ABC); “Life in Pieces” (CBS); “Strange Calls” (NBC); “Kevin From Work” (ABC Family); an untitled Dana Klein comedy (Fox), which will reunite him with his “Friends With Better Lives” EP; and an untitled NBA comedy (ABC), on which he’ll team up with “Galavant’s” Dan Fogelman to exec produce. He’s also set to exec produce “Divorce,” a laffer that will likely mark Sarah Jessica Parker’s return to HBO.