Television's new fall lineups won't be unveiled until May, but Hollywood is already making predictions about which pilots will become full-fledged shows. Here are some projects that are generating heat.
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
NBC has penciled in this drama from West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin about the backstage doings of a famous sketch-comedy show à la Saturday Night Live. Sorkin's mighty pen, and a cast that includes Matthew Perry and Amanda Peet, are bound to attract interest. But what does that mean for Tina Fey's proposed sitcom, also in an SNL-type setting (and costarring Alec Baldwin)? "NBC would never order a comedy and a drama version of the same show," says a studio exec.
CBS has landed two-time Oscar nominee James Woods to play a Johnnie Cochran-style Los Angeles defense attorney who decides to use his powers for good as a prosecutor. Spike Lee is directing the pilot episode. One agent says, "You can totally see the series potential in it." Jeri Ryan (The O.C.), Lindsay Frost (Crossing Jordan) and Sam Page (Point Pleasant) round out the cast.
Brad Garrett didn't get his Everybody Loves Raymond spin-off, and some say that's a good thing now that he's been cast in a funny domestic comedy about two couples one married for 20 years, the other newlyweds (American Pie's Eddie Kaye Thomas is Garrett's younger, less cynical counterpart). "Fox wants this to be a huge hit because it was really a coup for them to get Brad," according to a studio exec.
Secrets of a Small Town
There is good buzz surrounding this eerie ABC drama about the murder of a teen girl in a quiet town where nearly everyone has a skeleton in their closet. It will remind viewers of Twin Peaks. Angie Harmon (Law & Order), Denise Richards (Wild Things) and Tyler Christopher (Into the West) are in the cast.
A Lost-like ensemble drama about ordinary people who discover they have extraordinary powers, Heroes is getting early raves. The cast includes Greg Grunberg (Alias), Milo Ventimiglia (Gilmore Girls), Adrian Pasdar (Profit), Ali Larter (Final Destination 2) and Hayden Panettiere (Commander in Chief). One competitor who read the script says, "I cannot imagine this show not being picked up by NBC."