NBC Orders 5 Pilots & “Rolls” 5 To Next Season, 2 Left In Contention
NBC has made a decision on this season’s crop of pilot shows. Under normal circumstances, tv pilots would have been shot by now, but this is 2020, and anything but normal due to the global pandemic… Out of twelve possible pilots, the US network has announced five will be shot later in the year, with five more being “rolled” over into next broadcast season. The last two are still in limbo, but may yet see a pickup. These are in addition to ‘Law & Order: Organized Crime’, ‘Kenan’, ‘Mr. Mayor’, and ‘Young Rock’ which were ordered straight to series. Here is a breakdown of the various new NBC pilots.
Ordered NBC Pilots
Langdon – Drama
‘Succession’s Ashley Zukerman takes the title role of ‘Langdon’ in the prequel pilot based on The Da Vinci Code novel series. The story follows the early adventures of Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, who finds himself pulled into a series of deadly puzzles when his mentor is kidnapped. The CIA forces him onto a task force where he uncovers a chilling conspiracy. The plan will be to use the plot of the 2009 novel ‘The Lost Symbol’ for the tv drama but alter the timeframe to earlier in Langdon’s life.
The pilot comes from Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie, co-creators of the ‘Scream’ tv-series and short-lived drama ‘The Crossing’.
Ordinary Joe – Drama
James Wolk (‘Zoo’, ‘Watchmen’) stars as Joe Kimbrough, in a ‘Sliding Doors’ type drama which explores three parallel lives of the character after he makes a pivotal choice at a crossroads in his life. The series asks the question of how different life might look if you made your decision based on love, loyalty or passion. The choices he makes upon graduation from college change the trajectory of his life and the results of his decisions are seen in parallel time.
The pilot, which comes from Russel Friend & Garrett Lerner (‘House’) along with Caleb Ranson (‘Diamond Geezer’, ‘Distant Shores’), also stars Natalie Martinez (‘The Crossing’, ‘The I-Land’), Charlie Barnett (‘Arrow’, ‘You’), and Teddy Sears (‘The Flash’, ‘Chicago Fire’).
Night School – Comedy
From ‘Marlon’ co-creator Christopher Moynihan, and based on the 2018 feature film, the comedy revolves around a unique mix of adults at a night school GED prep class who unexpectedly bond over their shared experience and find themselves helping each other both inside and outside of the classroom.
The pilot stars Josh Segarra (‘Arrow’, ‘Orange Is the New Black’), Shanola Hampton (‘Shameless’), Ian Gomez (‘The Morning Show’), Collette Wolfe (‘A.P. Bio’), James Earl (‘Wayne’) and Joe Massingill (‘Fear the Walking Dead’).
Grand Crew – Comedy
There isn’t a whole lot to go on from this description, other than it is a comedy which revolves around a group of black friends, their dating lives… and wine. However, it does come from ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ co-creator Dan Goor and writer Phil Augusta Jackson, which is a good sign.
The pilot cast includes Echo Kellum (‘Arrow’), Nicole Byer (‘Tuca & Bertie’), Justin Cunningham (‘When They See Us’), Carl Tart (‘Comedy Bang! Bang!’), and Aaron Jennings (‘Pure Genius’).
American Auto – Comedy
The pilot comes from ‘Superstore’ creator Justin Spitzer, and is set at the headquarters of a major American automotive company in Detroit, where a floundering group of executives tries to rediscover the company identity amidst a rapidly changing industry.
Ana Gasteyer (‘The Goldbergs’), Harriet Dyer (‘The Other Guy’), X Mayo (‘The Daily Show’), and Michael Benjamin Washington (‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’) are set to star in the pilot.
“Rolled” To Next Season NBC Pilots
Echo – Scifi/Drama
The description for this seems something like ‘Quantum Leap’ or ‘Travelers’ but as a crime procedural. It revolves around a team of investigators who solve the highest-profile crimes by sending our heroes into the past… into the body of the victim. They assume the victim’s identity and must race against time to prevent the crime before it happens.
The pilot comes from JJ Bailey, and stars Janina Gavankar (‘The Morning Show’, ‘Sleepy Hollow’), Reid Scott (‘Veep’), Richard Brooks (‘Bosch’), and Wesam Keesh (‘For The People’).
At That Age – Drama
From ‘Good Girls’ writer Carla Banks-Waddles, the drama is an exploration of an African-American family’s legacy. After the Cooper family’s golden child suffers a catastrophic event, seven family members face a foundational shift, make life-altering decisions and deal with deep secrets coming to light.
Emayatzy Corinealdi (‘Ballers’) leads the pilot cast with Malcolm D. Lee (‘Night School’, ‘Girls Trip’) and Debra Martin Chase (‘Missing’, ‘Zoe Ever After’) set to exec produce alongside Banks-Waddles.
Crazy for You – Comedy
Shelley Hennig (‘Teen Wolf’) stars a Daisy, who, with her life stalling, re-enters the dating scene only to discover that while she was out of the game, the game sort of, totally, completely changed. Realizing she is a bit rusty at being “normal” and “appealing” on first dates, she’ll need the support of her friends as she strives to succeed while being her true self in today’s quick-to-dismiss dating culture.
The pilot comes from SNL’s Lorne Michaels, Rachele Lynn, and Seth Meyers, with additional cast including Alice Lee (‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’), Tiana Okoye (‘The Good Place’) and Nick Cafero (‘Pitch Perfect’).
Jefferies – Comedy
Written by Jim Jefferies and Suzanne Martin (‘Will & Grace’, ‘Frasier’), it stars Jefferies as a fictionalized version of himself – a comedian with a unique and often controversial take on modern life, relationships and co-parenting with his best friend, played by ‘Breaking Bad’ & ‘Life in Pieces’ star Betsy Brandt.
Darien Sills-Evans (‘Treme’, ‘Superior Donuts’), Mike Lane (‘Total Eclipse’), Anthony LaPaglia (‘Riviera’) and Laird Macintosh (‘Tosh.0’) also star in the pilot.
Someone Out There – Comedy
Ryan Hansen (‘Veronica Mars’) and Aimee Carrero (‘The Village’) star as Derek and Chloe, two set-in-their-ways adults who are challenged by very unexpected strangers to become the best versions of themselves in order to find love and possibly each other. Based on the Spanish series ‘Pequeñas Coincidencias.’
The pilot comes from Matt Hubbard (’30 Rock’), along with writing duo Josh Siegal & Dylan Morgan (‘The Good Place’, ’30 Rock’), and also stars Neil Casey (‘Avenue 5’), and Kimia Behpoornia (‘Atypical’).
The Other Two…
These two pilots are still in limbo right now, although both very much still in contention. ‘Debris’ had already shot a bunch of footage before the shutdown, so is in a good position to get a thumbs up (or down…) already, and may get a pickup based on the footage they already have. ‘La Brea’ had not shot anything, but NBC did order a bunch of additional scripts, which is usually a positive sign.
Debris – Scifi/Drama
‘Debris’ stars ‘Holby City’ actress Riann Steele and Jonathan Tucker (‘Westworld’, ‘City on a Hill’) as MI6’s Finola Jones and CIA’s Bryan Beneventi – two agents from two different continents and two different mindsets who must work together to investigate when wreckage from a destroyed alien spacecraft has mysterious effects on humankind. Somewhat in the vein of ‘The X-Files’, Steele’s Jones is the MI6 rule follower, whilst Tucker’s Beneventi is the headstrong, smart operative who investigates strange occurrences for the CIA.
The series comes from ‘Almost Human’ creator and ‘Fringe’ writer J.H. Wyman and is produced by Legendary Television.
La Brea – Scifi/Drama
‘La Brea’ sees a massive sinkhole mysteriously open in Los Angeles, which tears the Castillo family in half, separating mother (Natalie Zea – ‘Justified’, ‘The Following’) and son from father (Michael Raymond-James – ‘Once Upon a Time’, ‘True Blood’) and daughter (Zyra Gorecki). When part of the family find themselves in an unexplainable primaeval world alongside a disparate group of strangers, they must work to survive and uncover the mystery of where they are and if there is a way back home.
The series also stars Jon Seda (‘Chicago P.D.’) as former Navy Seal Dr. Benjamine Glass, Rita Angel Taylor (‘Sunnyside Up’) as younger Castillo daughter Lilly, Caleb Ruminer (‘Finding Carter’), Karina Logue (‘NCIS: Los Angeles’), Angel Parker (‘Runaways’), Catherine Dent (‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’), Veronica St. Clair (’13 Reasons Why’), and Jag Bal (‘The Romeo Section’).
As these are all just pilots at the moment, they may or may not make it to full series, but we’ll let you know when we hear more.
Dave has over 20 years experience in the digital industry, and is founder and editor of Geektown. Obviously a huge geek himself, he can often be found in front of the latest tv show or movie, on various video games, or with his head in a comic book.