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THE TV COLUMN

Pilots keep networks busy guessing, contemplating

By Michael Storey

This article was published March 13, 2014 at 2:58 a.m.

katherine-heigl-shown-in-her-famous-2006-greys-anatomy-death-bed-scene-with-jeffrey-dean-morgan-is-in-an-nbc-pilot-playing-a-cia-presidential-adviser

Katherine Heigl, shown in her famous 2006 Grey’s Anatomy death bed scene with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, is in an NBC pilot playing a CIA presidential adviser.

What will you be watching next fall?

Fall may seem like a long way off, but now is the time the networks are getting ready. Programmers and executives have held the pitch meetings, pored over scripts, read treatments and outlines, and made their decisions.

It’s the annual frenetic pilot season in Hollywood.

The networks have ordered up almost 100 pilots for consideration. Of those, a select few will make each network’s fall lineup. Others will be held for midseason, but most will end up in the dust bin of “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Thanks to TV Guide, we have a handy list of what’s out there on the table. There’s no guarantee any of these will make the final cut, but here are a few of the shows up for consideration that I found intriguing.

CBS PROJECTS

Madam Secretary. A drama with Tea Leoni as a maverick secretary of state. Tim Daly will co-star.

NCIS: New Orleans. Same premise; new town. This spinoff stars Scott Bakula, Zoe McLellan, Lucas Black, CCH Pounder and Paige Turco.

How I Met Your Dad. A How I Met Your Mother spinoff follows Sally (Greta Gerwig), who is ready for a fresh start.

More Time With Family. Stars comedian Tom Papa as a father who makes a career change. Co-stars Alyson Hannigan, Joe Pantoliano, Cyrus Arnold and Jack Gore. Executive producers include Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

The Odd Couple.A modern take on the Neil Simon play stars Matthew Perry (Friends).

Save the Date. Psych’s Maggie Lawson books a wedding venue, then has a short time to actually meet Mr. Right. Michelle Trachtenberg, Julie White, Brian Howe and Tom Bennett co-star.

ABC PROJECTS

Forever. Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd) is a medical examiner who happens to be immortal. Judd Hirsch costars. (By the way, Gruffudd’s Welsh name is pronounced YO-ahn Griffith.)

How to Get Away With Murder. From Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal), this is a “sexy legal thriller” with Viola Davis as a criminal defense professor.

Warriors. Military doctors and nurses practice trailblazing medicine. The large cast includes Morena Baccarin (Firefly, Homeland) and Courtney B. Vance (Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Closer).

Galavant. A fairy tale musical with a handsome prince (Joshua Sasse) out for revenge against the king (Psych’s Timothy Omundson) who stole his one true love (Mallory Jansen).

Irreversible. David Schwimmer (Friends) and Jessica Knappett are an eccentric, self-absorbed couple.

Saint Francis. Long Island cop (Michael Imperioli) deals with his single sister’s pregnancy. Paget Brewster plays his wife.

CW PROJECTS

The Flash. A spinoff of The Arrow, the drama stars Jesse L. Martin, Tom Cavanagh, Candace Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Rick Cosnett, Carlos Valdes, Michelle Harrison, John Wesley Shipp and Grant Gustin as The Flash.

iZombie. Based on the DC Comics series, a med student turns zombie, gets job in coroner’s office, eats brains, absorbs their memories and solves murders. Alexandra Krosney is the crime-fighting zombie.

FOX PROJECTS

Gotham. Batman prequel features Benjamin McKenzie as Detective James Gordon and David Mazouz as young Bruce Wayne.

The Middle Man. Ben Affleck executive-produces this drama about an FBI agent, the Italian Mafia and the Irish Mob.

Cabot College. Tina Fey is among the executive producers of this comedy about an all-female New Hampshire college opening its doors to four men. Margaret Cho, Fortune Feimster, Bonnie Dennison, Ely Henry, Asif Ali, Jack Cutmore-Scott and Brandon Jones will star.

No Place Like Home. Jane Kaczmarek is a longtime single mom who marries David James Elliott. He moves in with his three teens. Hilarity ensues.

NBC PROJECTS

Constantine. DC Comics character Constantine (Matt Ryan) defends humanity from the gathering forces of darkness. Harold Perrineau, Lucy Griffiths and Charles Halford also star.

Mysteries of Laura. Debra Messing is a homicide detective juggling an ex-husband and twin boys.

Salvation. Ashley Judd in a drama that explores faith, family and corruption.

State of Affairs. Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy) is a CIA presidential adviser with a complicated personal life.

Bad Judge. Kate Walsh is “a sexually unapologetic woman” who is also a judge who “plays with the law.” Executive producers include Will Ferrell and Anne Heche.

Old Soul. Natasha Lyonne (Orange Is the New Black) is an aide at a retirement home that includes Fred Willard, Ellen Burstyn and Rita Moreno. Amy Poehler will executive-produce.

One Big Happy. From executive producer Ellen DeGeneres, this comedy is about a gay woman (Elisha Cuthbert) and her straight best friend (Nick Zano) who decide to have a baby together. Things go awry.

The Pro. Rob Lowe is a former tennis champion reunited with his ex-doubles partner. Hilarity ensues.

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email:

mstorey@arkansasonline.com

Weekend, Pages 34 on 03/13/2014

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