Every year scores of television pilots are green-lit and produced on the off chance that they will make it to prime-time. The majority of them never get past episode one. For the fall 2012 lineup, more than 80 pilots have been beefing up to compete for a shot on one of the networks. That number will usually whittle down to fewer than ten when all is said and done.
With the 80 pilot concepts that were released to the Hollywood Reporter, at least five are about strong women with crazy sides working in some governmental agency, four revolve around a grown person moving back home with their parents, three about nerdy friends and their quest for cool, two takes on Beauty and the Beast and far too many soap operas set in the sweet ol' South. Most of these 80 pilots will fall flat before they even get off the ground; however, there are a few that we are super excited about and have our fingers crossed will make it through the first round of eliminations.
Counter Culture Logline: Three aging sisters run their West Texas family diner together, with sibling dynamics always getting in the way. Cast: Delta Burke, Doris Roberts, Margo Martindale (second position to A Gifted Man), Luis Guzman, Kerri Kennedy
Hello, Delta Burke! We've missed you so. Will this be a Sugarbaker-style, West Texas diner? We hope so. With Doris Roberts, Everybody Loves Raymond's naggy and persistent mother, Margo Martindale, who shined as Mags in Justified, and Luis Guzman, who just needs to say hello to be hilarious, how can this not be a hit show?
Only Fools and Horses*
Logline: Based on the British format, the comedy chronicles the misadventures of two streetwise brothers and their aging grandfather as they concoct outrageous, morally questionable get-rich-quick schemes in their quest to become millionaires. Cast: Wendi McLendon-Covey, John Leguizamo, Christopher Lloyd, Dustin Ybarra, BJ Bales.
Firstly, the British version of this show, with the same title, was a huge hit in the U.K. In fact, despite the show officially ending in the early '90s, fans have been so demanding that there have been one-off Christmas specials for years since its end date. If the U.S. version can keep the UK appeal, this show might work. Secondly, can we just say Christopher Lloyd? Doc Brown needs a good comeback.
The Smart One
Logline: A brilliant and successful woman (Portia de Rossi) who begrudgingly goes to work for her less-brainy but more popular sister -- a former beauty queen, weather girl and now big-city mayor. Cast: Portia de Rossi, Malin Akerman, Jean Smart, David Arquette, Matt Oberg, Stephanie Beatriz
By the logline alone, we would not think much of this show. We can already hear the canned laughter over the traditional stupid blond-type jokes. However, Portia de Rossi rarely picks a stinker and her comedic timing might be strong enough to get this thing moving. Plus, her girlfriend Ellen DeGeneres is involved. We will definitely tune in for this one, if for nothing else than to give the ladies some support.
Logline: Revolves around the opening of the first luxury hotel in New York in 1895 and the intermingling of love, treachery and disdain between the classes set against a backdrop of vicious family rivalries, scandalous secrets and conflict and co-mingling of the classes. Cast: John Barrowman, Matt Long, Maury Sterling, Brigid Brannagh, Brian F. O'Byrne, Blythe Danner, Sarah Bolger, Madeline Zima, Matt Lauria
A period piece set in New York in a fabulous hotel sounds like the beginning of a show we could get into. If Downton Abbey has any influence over the concept, then we like the idea even more. Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes is producing and while that show saw its eventual decline, it was pretty juicy for a spell. We hope for amazing costumes, saucy affairs and lots of underground ragtime.
Untitled Louis C.K., Spike Feresten
Logline: An ensemble comedy revolving around young people as they try to achieve their creative dreams in these tough financial times. Cast: Dan Byrd (second position to ABC's Cougar Town), Ashley Tisdale, Ann Guilbert, Patti Murin
We will watch anything Louis C.K. does, ever. Even if he is standing online at Krogers picking his nose; we will watch him, even if that's creepy.
Logline: The proprietor of a mobile home park serves as a surrogate mother to all the unique people who live there in a challenging economy. Cast: Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Romy Rosemont, Mary Birdsong, Salli Richardson, Greg Cromer
Dare we daydream of a Roseanne Barr and John Goodman reunion à la Roseanne circa 1994? Will they be married? Will they just be friends? Will the real Becky ever make a guest appearance? If this show is even the slightest bit like the hit show the two starred in for so many years, it might just save NBC. Or it could be a total disaster. Really, it could go either way.
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Susan 313 (previously the untitled Sarah Silverman project)
Logline: Revolves around a woman readjusting to single life following a decade-long live-in relationship. Loosely based on Silverman's life. Cast: Sarah Silverman, Jeff Goldblum, Harris Wittels, June Raphael, Tig Notaro, Ken Leung
Another comedian we put a lot of stock in is Sarah Silverman. Her Comedy Central show was superb, but how will she fare on network television where racist comments and vulgarity won't fly? We will be the freakin' judge of that.
Logline: An opulent soap in which a female detective returns undercover to the wealthy family she grew up in -- as the maid's daughter -- to solve the murder of the notorious heiress who was once her closest friend. Cast: Meagan Good, Tate Donovan, Victor Garber, Neil Jackson, Katherine LaNasa,
Just reading the logline of this pilot got us confused and discombobulated. She comes back to her home to pretend to be her maid's daughter? And Tate Donovan is there? What? We will tune in for this show if for no other reason than it sounds ridiculous, and everyone can use a good, trashy, convoluted soap involving rich people sometimes.