TV observers know that while upfronts are the week after next, it's actually next week that ends up being the nonstop maelstrom of renewals, pickups and cancellations.
NBC, which will already get a headstart on the upfront week by announcing its full schedule next weekend, also decided to get a headstart on series pickups, ordering three drama pilots to series on Friday (May 1) afternoon.
Leading the way was no-brainer pickup “Chicago Med,” joined by “Blindspot” and “Heartbreaker.”
Let's get to what's what:
“Chicago Med” is, of course, the third head in NBC and Dick Wolf's expanding Windy City Procedural Hydra, having been spun off from “Chicago Fire” earlier this spring. The cast includes Oliver Platt, S. Epatha Merkerson, Laurie Holden, Nick Gehlfuss and Yaya Dacosta.
Even if you missed the nested spinoff episode, you really can guess what “Chicago Med” is about. In addition to the Chicago shows, Dick Wolf now has four dramas at NBC, including “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”
Speaking of absurdly prolific producers, “Blindspot” comes from executive producer Greg Berlanti, currently represented on NBC with “The Mysteries of Laura,” but also behind The CW's “Arrow,” “The Flash” and the expected spinoff from those two DC properties.
“Blindspot” was created by “L.A. Complex” mastermind Martin Gero and stars “Thor” veteran Jaimie Alexander as a naked Jane Doe who turns up in Times Square with no memories and the name of FBI Agent Kurt Weller tattooed on her back. Sullivan Stapleton plays Weller in what becomes a vast international plot.
The pilot, which was directed by Mark Pellington, also stars Audrey Esparza, Rob Brown, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Ukweli Roach and Ashley Johnson. And if you don't figure this sucker is going to be paired with “The Blacklist” (or, alternative, set to air as a “Blacklist” proxy after “The Voice” in the fall), well… Stay tuned!
Finally, “Heartbreaker” is another medical procedural that serves as “The Slap” star Melissa George's triumphant return to NBC. In a picture perfect example of the Vocational Irony Narrative, George plays a world-renowned heart surgeon with a racy personal life.
Dave Annable, Don Hany, Shelley Conn, D.L. Hughley, Jamie Kennedy, Maya Erskine, J. Louis Mills and Joshua Leonard also star in “Heartbreaker,” which comes from writer Jill Gordon and pilot director Robert Duncan McNeill.
NBC ordered the Jennifer Lopez drama “Shades of Blue” last February, while the Eva Longoria comedy “Telenovela” was picked up in January. Oh and “Coach”! NBC has the unrequested resurrection of “Coach”!
Stay tuned for so much more pre-upfronts TV news over the next week.
And check out my BubbleWatch 2015 gallery below for regular updates: