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Tag: Pilot Season (1-10 of 70)

Check out Sarah Silverman's failed NBC pilot -- VIDEO

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“This isn’t like, ‘Can you believe they didn’t pick this up?!’” Sarah Silverman says by way of introduction in the following video. “It’s like, ‘They probably did the right thing, but we liked the show.’”

Maybe you’ll like it too. The proposed series, Susan 313, starred Silverman as Susan Farrow, a recently single woman moving back into her old apartment building. The cast includes comedy bigwigs like famed standup Tig Notaro, actress/Casey Wilson’s writing partner June Diane Raphael, and Harris Wittels, the Parks and Recreation writer who coined the term “humblebrag.” Also, Jeff Goldblum is there! Also, what is perhaps a Wreck-It Ralph reference within the show’s first minute! Wait, why wasn’t this thing picked up again?

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'The Office' airs backdoor pilot for aborted Dwight spinoff. Would you have watched it?

Successfully spinning off a beloved TV show is trickier than it seems. For every Frasier or The Jeffersons, there’s an AfterMASH, The Ropers, or — perhaps most infamously of all — Joey.

It makes sense, then, for networks to hedge their bets by airing episodes of existing shows that serve as “backdoor pilots” for potential spinoffs. The Cosby Show did it when the Huxtable clan went to see Denise at Hillman College, setting up A Different WorldGrey’s Anatomy did it when Addison took a trip to California, visiting the Private Practice she’d eventually join. And last night, The Office did it by setting half of the action at Schrute Farms, where audiences were introduced to a few heretofore unseen members of Dwight’s family — including his weed farmer brother Jeb (Thomas Middlemarch), his single mom sister Fannie (Majandra Delfino), and his bearded cousin Zeke (Matt Jones, a.k.a. Badger on Breaking Bad).

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TV pilot season: Now for something completely the same

We’ve reached pilot season, the time of year when the networks start looking at candidates for this fall’s schedules. Thus, it is also the time of year when armchair quarterbacks like me say “You’re doing it wrong!” to which network executives usually reply “You think you could do better?” My answer: I watched 666 Park Avenue and Animal Practice and The Mob Doctor and Made in Jersey, and I hope you think you can do better. Every year, networks look at their pilots and ask the same questions. And every year, they’re the wrong questions. Here are the three that do real damage:

• ARE THE CHARACTERS LIKABLE OR RELATABLE?
There is exactly one TV-viewing demographic that still cares about this: development executives laboring under the delusion that they’ll eventually find the next Cheers or Friends (both of which, by the way, were full of characters who often behaved terribly). You know who doesn’t care about likability? People who watch Game of Thrones, or Breaking Bad, or Mad Men, or Archer. READ FULL STORY

'Whitney' series premiere: The jokes feel not-so-fresh, but is there hope for this show?

My favorite part of tonight’s Whitney debut from title star Whitney Cummings came really early on when she says in voice over, “Whitney is taped in front of a live studio audience. You heard me.” It made me think of Reginald Veljohnson making a similar announcement over the sax-heavy end credits of Family Matters, only with a twist. That little wink gave me hope that this might be the type of savvy, self-aware sitcom that’s able to lightly mock the laugh-tracked, multi-camera format that NBC seems to have mostly abandoned.

But that wasn’t the only throwback. I’m sure this show wants to entertain while cleverly shining a light on the modern relationship and the evolving differences between men and women. The most important thing for Whitney is to feel current, relevant. Unfortunately, the humor here felt tired, very Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. The whole time, I kept expecting a joke about a toilet seat, and whether it had been left up. READ FULL STORY

Barry Watson returns. (Not in clown makeup = bonus.)

Barry-WatsonImage Credit: Jeff Vespa/WireImage.comBarry Watson, last seen guesting on Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva as a man who got fired from his job because he insisted upon dressing like a clown (inset), is back. He’s costarring in the TV Land sitcom pilot Rip City (working title) with Zoolander‘s Christine Taylor. The network describes the show, from Less Than Perfect‘s Terri Minsky, as “a multi-camera office comedy taking place at Rip City Cola, a regional beverage manufacturer and distributor. When an Ivy League-educated female takes over as the boss, the entire office is shaken up, particularly a beloved executive at the company who long ago decided to forgo college in favor of working his way up the ranks at Rip City.” No one wears vulnerable, lost, and likable better than Watson (What About Brian, Samantha Who?), am I right?  READ FULL STORY

Kristin Davis may return to TV in 'The Happiness Project': Are you happy to see her again?

Kristin-DavisImage Credit: Solarpix/PR PhotosIs Charlotte York Goldenblatt returning to TV? NBC has picked up the comedy The Happiness Project and Davis is attached to star in the pilot. (This news comes the same day that New Line announced Davis will also appear in Journey to the Center of the Earth 2.) Happiness is based on the best-selling memoir by Gretchen Rubin in which she spent a year trying to improve her outlook on life using scientific studies, philosophy, and pop-culture wisdom. It goes without saying that this seems exactly the kind of project Charlotte would gravitate towards. Are you excited to (maybe) see Davis on TV again? How will she fare without her three partners-in-crime?

140 characters of funny: CBS developing yet another Twitter comedy based on 'Dear Girls Above Me'

Deadline is reporting that CBS — home of the current sitcom $#*! My Dad Saysis turning to Twitter yet again for another potential comedy. This time, it’s the “Dear Girls Above Me” Twitter feed, about a fictional guy who writes missives to the two party girls who live upstairs. (Sample tweet: “Dear Girls Above Me, ‘He totally drunk friend requested me at 3 am! Should I reject it and sober add him tomorrow?’ Don’t, he’ll hangover ignore you.”) This appears to be a trend: In September, CBS greenlit another comedy based on the Twitter stream “Shh, Don’t Tell Steve”. I guess good sitcoms have been built on less. Are we excited about this? And what Twitter streams deserve the call next?

Read more:
CBS greenlights another Twitter sitcom

Rachel Bilson signs onto Josh Schwartz-produced romantic comedy TV series

Rachel-BilsonHer character arc on How I Met Your Mother might have ended, but Rachel Bilson might be headed back to the small screen: Deadline announced today that the actress is re-teaming with her O.C. producer Josh Schwartz for an NBC rom-com pilot. Though details are scant at the moment, the series is reportedly titled Ghost Angeles and is about an L.A. woman (Bilson) who can see dead people.

In the meantime, Bilson is keeping herself quite the busy bee; she has signed on to the indie comedy BFF Baby an will star opposite Kate Bosworth and Krysten Ritter, who penned the script.

Ghost Angeles makes me ponder what other O.C. pairings might work. Perhaps a Benjamin McKenzie-Adam Brody buddy cop show? What about a Peter Gallagher-Mischa Barton melodrama?

What do you guys think? Does Ghost Angeles sound promising? How do you feel about the Bilson-Schwartz reunion?

Photo: Chris Hatcher/PR Photos

AMC commissions Western TV pilot 'Hell on Wheels,' probably because trains are awesome

great-trainImage Credit: AMCAirplanes are cramped and smell like babies. Cruise ships are cramped and smell like tequila. No, children, if you want to travel in comfort then what you gotta do, see, is hop onboard a train! Trains (or “Ground-Zeppelins,” as they were once called by no one) have been the setting for some of the coolest scenes in movie history: think Cary Grant wooing Eva Marie Saint in North by Northwest, the epic train/car/things-falling-off-a-cliff chase in Wanted, or the underrated WWII action film The Train, in which Burt Lancaster rescues Monet from the Nazis. On TV, locomotives have had less luck: you’ve got Supertrain and… hey, you’ve got Supertrain! AMC is hoping to buck the trend and make trains awesome on the small screen. According to The Wrap, the Mad Men network just commissioned a pilot for a western series focusing on the construction of the first transcontinental railroad. READ FULL STORY

'Pirates' going 3D for Disney, USA grabs two new pilots,

  • USA has picked up two new pilots: Necessary Roughness, about a female sports therapist/divorcée, and A Legal Mind, which follows a bright man who gets a job at a law firm without a college degree. I’ll choose to call the latter Doogie Howser, LP. [THR]
  • Disney plans to shoot 2011′s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in 3D. Barrels of rum that pop out at you? That’s such a tease, Disney. [Variety]
  • Speaking of Disney, the studio has made a seven-figure pitch deal for a live-action re-imagining of Cinderella, which will be penned by The Devil Wears Prada writer Aline Brosh McKenna. Meryl Streep, looking to stretch herself, will sign on to play the glass slipper. [Deadline]
  • Ellen Page will star in a feature based on Cynthia Wade’s short documentary Freeheld. [THR]
  • Wayne McClammy, the director of viral videos “I’m F–king Matt Damon” and “I’m F–king Ben Affleck,” is in talks to direct comedy Desperados. The film, which is being developed for Isla Fisher, follows a woman who travels to Mexico to intercept an indignant email sent to her comatose boyfriend. God, I hate when that happens. [THR]
  • John Hurt has been tapped to star alongside Kirsten Dunst, Kiefer Sutherland, and Charlotte Gainsbourg in Lars von Trier’s disaster movie Melancholia, a “beautiful film about the end of the world,” according to executive producer Peter A. Jensen. Okay, if the world were ending, I wouldn’t just be melancholy. Shouldn’t this film be called Panic-ia? [THR]
  • Relativity Media has acquired sci-fi thriller Skyline, directed by Greg and Colin Strause, who worked on the visual effects for Avatar, Iron Man 2, and 300. The film is set in an L.A. high-rise, where a group of friends discover they are among the survivors after “most of humanity was wiped out by a deadly unknown force.” God, Spencer Pratt’s bulls–t just gets stronger and stronger every day, doesn’t it? [Deadline]

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