Friday the 13th brought only good luck to a whopping dozen ABC pilots that got the green light on an insanely busy afternoon of television news.
Without a doubt, the highest profile pickup was ABC’s fresh take on “Charlie’s Angels,” starring Minka Kelly, Rachael Taylor and Annie Ilonzeh and written by “Smallville” vets Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. The pilot, which was directed by Marcos Siega (“The Vampire Diaries”) was produced by big screen “Angels” star Drew Barrymore.
There are plenty of big names in the new ABC pickups, including Christina Ricci, James Van Der Beek, Tim Allen, Jennifer Morrison, Kerry Washington, Jeremy Sisto, Leslie Bibb, Kristin Chenoweth, Nancy Travis and more.
Here’s a quick breakdown, assisted by The Hollywood Reporter, of the 12 pilots sent to series today…
*** “Charlie’s Angels” – We already told you about this one.
*** “Pan Am” – Christina Ricci takes on her first turn as a series regular in this soap opera set against the backdrop of the lives of a group of pilots and stewardesses (or “flight attendants,” if you want to be period non-specific) working for Pan Am in the 1960s. Oh and apparently they’re also spies. Thomas Schlamme (“The West Wing”) directed the pilot by Jack Ormond.
*** “Good Christian Belles” – Yes, it was formerly titled “Good Christian Bitches.” Based on the book by Kim Galtin, it stars Leslie Bibb as a woman who returns to the Dallas neighborhood where she grew up, fleeing a scandal. Robert Harling wrote the script and Darren Star (“Sex and the City”) produces. The pilot also features Kristin Chenoweth and Annie Potts.
*** “Revenge” – Mike Kelley (“Swingtown”) heads to the Hamptons for a present-day, gender-inverted take on “The Count of Monte Cristo” featuring Emily Van Camp. The pilot was directed by Phillip Noyce (“Clear and Present Danger”).
*** “Once Upon a Time” – “Lost” veterans Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz wrote the script about a woman (Jennifer Morrison) who finds herself in a town where fairy tales are real. Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Carlyle and Josh Dallas co-star. Does it sound a lot like NBC’s “Grimm”? Yes. Does it sound a bit like “District 17,” which NBC didn’t pick up? Yes. And do they all sound a lot like “Fables”? Yes.
*** “Scandal” – On the same day ABC formally cancelled Shonda Rhimes’ “Off the Map,” at least the network picked up her new drama, which features Kerry Washington as professional fixer, whatever that means. Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond!) and Tony Goldwyn co-star in the Paul McGuigan-directed pilot.
*** “The River” – “Paranormal Activity” producers Oren Peli and Jason Blum head to the small screen with the story of a missing adventurer and the family that heads into the Amazon to try to find him. Jaume Collet-Serra (“Orphan”) directed the pilot, which stars Eloise Mumford. We’re encouraged because the script comes from Michael Green (“Kings”) and Michael R. Perry.
*** “Last Man Standing” – Tim Allen and Nancy Travis return to TV for a multi-camera comedy from “30 Rock” veteran Jack Burditt.
*** “Apartment 23” – Yes, there was originally a “bitch” in this title as well. “Good Wife” scene-stealer Dream Walker plays a Midwestern girl who moves to New York City and finds herself with a nightmare-ish roommate (Krysten Ritter). James Van Der Beek plays himself. Nahnatchka Khan and Dave Hemingson wrote the pilot, which was directed by Jason Winer (“Modern Family”).
*** “Work It” – Can you say “21st Century Bosom Buddies”? Amaury Nolasco and Ben Koldyke play out-of-work car salesmen who dress as women to work as pharmaceutical reps. Yes, really.
*** “Suburgatory” – Guess what, y’all? The suburbs are freaky. That’s what a New Yorker (Jane Levy) learns when she moves to the ‘burbs. Jeremy Sisto, Alan Tudyk and Cheryl Hines co-star.
*** “Man Up” – A single-camera relationship comedy from Chris Moynihan about three couples. Sounds a bit like “Happy Endings,” “Perfect Couples,” “Better with You” and “Traffic Light,” right? Indeed.
These pickups mean bad news for a slew of other ABC pilots including the Marc Cherry-created “Hallelujah,” the Angela Bassett vehicle “Identity,” Jenna Elfman’s “Bad Mom” and the literary period procedural “Poe.”
Stay tuned for more information as ABC’s upfront presentation approaches.