ABC Orders 5 Pilots & “Rolls” 3 To Next Season, Drops ‘The Brides’ & ‘Thirtysomething(else)’
ABC has announced it’s pilot orders for this season. Out of the fourteen remaining pilots they had on their list this year, five they intend to film this year, three have been rolled to next season, and three have been ditch entirely, leaving the decision on three potential new shows for a later date. They had already handed straight-to-series orders to ‘Big Sky’ from ‘Big Little Lies’ creator David E. Kelley, and comedy ‘Call Your Mother’ starring Kyra Sedgwick. Here is a breakdown of the remaining ABC pilots.
Ordered ABC Pilots
Rebel – ABC (Drama)
Katey Sagal (‘Sons of Anarchy’) stars as Annie “Rebel” Bello, a blue-collar legal advocate without a law degree. She’s a funny, messy, brilliant and fearless woman who cares desperately about the causes she fights for and the people she loves. When Rebel applies herself to a fight she believes in, she will win at almost any cost. Inspired by the life of activist Erin Brockovich.
The series comes from ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and ‘Station 19’ EP/showrunner Krista Vernoff with Brockovich serving as exec producer on the drama. Along with Sagal, the pilot stars Andy Garcia (‘Ocean’s Eleven’, ‘Godfather III’), John Corbett (‘Parenthood’, ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’), James Lesure (‘Good Girls’, ‘Blue Bloods’), Tamala Jones (‘SEAL Team’, ‘Castle’), Ariela Barer (‘Runaways’, ‘Atypical’), and Lex Scott Davis (‘The L Word: Generation Q’, ‘Training Day’).
Harlem’s Kitchen – ABC (Drama)
Delroy Lindo (‘The Good Fight’) stars as Executive Chef and patriarch Ellis Rice, who runs a successful fine-dining restaurant in Harlem with his wife and three daughters. But an unexpected death thrusts the family into turmoil and puts the restaurant’s future in jeopardy as long-buried secrets are revealed.
The drama comes from ‘Scandal’ & ‘Stumptown’ writer/producer Zahir McGhee, and also stars Sheryl Lee Ralph (‘Ray Donovan’), Miguel Gomez (‘The Strain’, ‘SMILF’), Clare-Hope Ashitey (‘Doctor Foster’, ‘Suspects’), Adrianna Mitchell (‘Snowfall’), and Pepi Sonuga (‘Famous in Love’).
Bossy – ABC (Comedy)
This multi-camera comedy follows a diva boss with zero patience for working parents. However, when she adopts a baby herself and has a change of heart, she casts her mother-of-three assistant as an unlikely mentor and upending the office dynamics.
There is no casting yet for this pilot, but it comes from Shana Goldberg-Meehan, who was writer/producer on ‘Friends’ and ‘Speechless’. Brit director Christine Gernon, who worked on ‘Gavin & Stacey’, ‘Speechless’ and ‘One Foot in the Grave’ is set to direct the pilot and also exec produce.
Home Economics – ABC (Comedy)
The single-camera comedy follows three adult siblings who have ended up in very different financial circumstances. One is in the 1%, one is middle class and one is barely holding on. The only casting at the moment is ‘That 70’s Show’s Topher Grace who will play middle-class, middle child Tom. He’s an intellectual, a novelist who’s had a couple of books that sold decently, but his last one did not. Whilst he strives to be where his brother is financially, he fears he’ll slip down to his sister’s level. He’s in a creative field so his income fluctuates, which wasn’t such a concern when he was starting out but now he’s plagued by financial anxiety after having twins.
The pilot comes from ‘Penguins of Madagascar’ and ‘Children’s Hospital’ writers Michael Colton & John Aboud. The Tannenbaum Company, Lionsgate TV and ABC Studios produce.
Work Wife – ABC (Comedy)
The comedy follows a platonic male/female team of Dani (Angelique Cabral – ‘Life in Pieces’, ‘Undone’) and Scott (Tone Bell – ‘Fam’, ‘The Flash’) whose professional success, personal friendship and ability to share deodorant makes their lives work. Set in the world of real estate, Dani and Scott have taken the leap to start their own team. Now feeling the stress of being the boss, they have to rely on the yin-yang of their dynamic more than ever to keep their professional and personal lives afloat. The story is inspired by the real-life partnerships of co-hosts and friends Kelly Ripa & Ryan Seacrest, and ‘The Real O’Neals’ co-creators Casey Johnson & David Windsor.
Johnson & Windsor write the pilot and exec produce alongside Ripa & Seacrest. Todd Holland (‘The Real O’Neals’, ‘Malcolm in the Middle’) is set to direct and EP. Kelly Ripa also takes a recurring role.
“Rolled” To Next Season ABC Pilots
National Parks Service – ABC (Drama)
The story follows the elite special agents of the Investigative Services Branch, who are tasked with solving the most complex and heinous crimes committed within the diverse and majestic national parks of the ISB’s Pacific West region.
The pilot is written and executive produced by actor Kevin Costner and writer/producer Aaron Helbing (‘Knightfall’, ‘The Flash’). Helbing will also serve as showrunner. There is no casting in place yet, although Costner himself is unlikely to star in any major way as he is currently lead on ‘Yellowstone’.
Triage – ABC (Drama)
‘Triage’ is a character-driven medical drama that follows a pioneering surgeon, Finley Briar, over three distinct decades at the same hospital. With the evolution of medicine as the backdrop, the show explores the interconnected careers, friendships, and romances of Finley and her colleagues, and their tenuous relationship with time.
The pilot comes from ‘Criminal Minds’ exec producer/showrunner Erica Messer and creator David Cornue. ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ director Jon M. Chu will also exec produce and direct the pilot.
Adopted – ABC (Comedy)
A single-camera comedy, inspired by a true story, the pilot follows a Green Beret who returns home to Texas from military service, where he and his family struggle with the challenges of adopting his new brother, a 12-year-old Russian boy.
The pilot is co-written and executive produced by Jimmy Kimmel alongside military veterans Shawn Vance & Daril Fannin, stars and co-creators of ‘The Green Beret’s Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse’.
ABC Pilots Not Moving Forward
The Brides (Drama)
The pilot was a contemporary reimagining of Dracula tale, described as “a vampire soap about empowered, immortal women and the things they do to maintain wealth, prestige, legacy, and their non-traditional family”. Whilst the focus will be on the three women, Dracula also features in the show.
It’s a rare “swing and a miss” for uber-producer and Arrowverse boss Greg Berlanti, along with writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (‘Riverdale’, ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’, ‘Supergirl’). It also had a solid cast with Gina Torres (‘Firefly’, ‘Suits’), Erin Richards (‘Gotham’) and Katherine Reis (‘Rise’, ‘Claws’) lined up as the sister, alongside Goran Visnjic (‘Timeless, ‘ER’) as Dracula. Sadly, it is not to be.
A sequel to 1987-91 series ‘thirtysomething’, it followed an ensemble of new faces playing the grown-up, thirtysomething children of the original characters. Apparently, raising children (even grown children) never ends, but who could have known how hard it would be for them to raise their parents?
This seemed like it should work given it was a continuation to a hugely popular show. However, it seems there was some concern over the cost of, not only a new, young, ensemble cast, but also bringing back some of the original stars as the parents. Whilst there was a lot of passion for the show at the network, it’s possibly just a case of wrong place/wrong time.
Valley Trash (Comedy)
A single-camera comedy that followed the Harmans, a scrappy, blue-collar family living in the deep Valley who suddenly experience a major culture clash when their fourteen-year-old daughter, Abby, gets accepted to a prestigious LA private high school filled with students and parents who want nothing to do with her, her family or their 818 area code.
The pilot was to star Lulu Wilson (‘The Haunting of Hill House’) as the daughter and Jason Lee (‘My Name Is Earl’) as the dad. Writer/producer Niki Schwartz-Wright (‘Speechless’, ‘The Goldbergs’) penned the pilot.
ABC Pilots Still TBC
Wreckage – ABC (Drama)
On the surface, Lillian Linden looks like a brave survivor of a plane crash. But she’s been lying to her family, her friends, and the whole world since rescue helicopters scooped her and her fellow survivor, Dave Hall, off a deserted island in the South Pacific. Missing for almost four years, the castaways are thrust into the spotlight after their rescue, becoming media darlings overnight. But they can’t tell the real story – so they lie.
Based on Emily Bleeker’s book of the same name the pilot is written by Jacquie Walters (‘Big Shot’, ‘Just Add Magic’), with Marc Webb (‘Why Women Kill’, ‘The Society’, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’) set to direct and exec produce.
Prospect – ABC (Comedy)
A comedic Western following an idealistic young woman who moves to the frontier to be a schoolteacher, but her ideals are quickly tested when she learns that her students are rowdy ranch hands, not children.
The comedy is written by ‘I Hate My Teenage Daughter’ creators Sherry Bilsing-Graham and Ellen Kreamer, with Hunter King (‘Life in Pieces’) leading the cast, alongside David Alan Grier (‘The Carmichael Show’), Diana Maria Riva (‘Dead to Me’), Dale Dickey (‘Palm Springs’).
Untitled Emily Kapnek/Dean Holland Comedy – ABC (Comedy)
The single-cam comedy is described as a “love story with a twist,” centring on New York City teenager Lennon Cochrane, whose life is turned upside down when she stumbles on a family secret.
The pilot comes from ‘Suburgatory’ & ‘Splitting Up Together’ creator Emily Kapnek alongside director/EP Dean Holland (‘Splitting Up Together’, ‘The Good Place’). Quintessa Swindell (‘Trinkets’) is set to play Lennon.
As these dramas and comedies are all just pilots at the moment, they may or may not make it to full series. The ones listed as “not moving forward” obviously won’t be going anywhere. 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.