Pilot Season Lingo Guide (Including the 'Scary' Second Position), Plus a List of Picked-Up Pilots


Our running update of pilots ordered for the 2012-13 TV season, going network by network (EP = executive producer, W = writer, DIR = the pilot’s director):

1600 Penn (20th Century)
EP/W: Jason Winer, Jon Lovett
EP/W/Star: Josh Gad (Book of Mormon)
CAST: Amara Miller (The Descendants), Bill Pullman, Andre Holland (Friends With Benefits), Brittany Snow, Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg)
A dysfunctional family comedy where the out-of-control oldest son (Gad) returns home and becomes not only it’s biggest liability but also the glue holding everyone together. The twist is that this family resides in the White House.

Justin Kirk

Animal Kingdom (Universal Television/American Work)
EP/W: Brian Gatewood and Alex Tanaka
EP: Scot Armstrong, Ravi Nandan
EP/DIR: Anthony and Joe Russo
CAST: Justin Kirk (Weeds), Tyler Labine (Reaper), Bobby Lee (MADtv)
A single-camera office comedy centered on a House-like veterinarian, who loves animals but usually hates their owners.

Amy Smart

Bad Girls (Warner Bros. TV)
EP: John Wells, Andrew Stern
EP/W: Nancy Pimental
CAST: Amy Smart (Shameless), Karolina Wydra (House), Jurnee Smollett (Friday Night Lights), Tracee Ellis Ross (Girlfriends)
From the producers of Shameless, and adapted from the long-running UK hit series of the same name, Bad Girls follows the ins-and-outs of a group of unlikely women in a federal prison: a scandalous female warden, her new protégé and a host of inmates – some mothers, some friends—who struggle with loyalties to people on the inside and the outside.

Frances Conroy

Beautiful People
W/EP: Michael McDonald
EP: Robert M. Sertner
Co-EP: Kate Garwood
D/EP: Stephen Hopkins
CAST: Frances Conroy (American Horror Story), James Murray, Patrick Heusinger, Andrea Parker, Jud Tylor, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Madisen Beaty, Cody Christian, Ernie Hudson, David Conrad, Tovah Feldshuh
An imaginative and thematically rich ensemble “what if” drama set 10 minutes in the future where families of mechanical human beings exist to service the human population — that is until some of the mechanicals begin to “awaken.”

Jesse Spencer

Chicago Fire (Universal TV, Wolf Films)
EP/W: Derek Haas & Michael Brandt
EP: Dick Wolf, Danielle Gelber, Peter Jankowski
DIR: Jeffrey Nachmanoff
CAST: Eamonn Walker (Oz), Taylor Kinney (The Vampire Diaries), Monica Raymund (The Good Wife), Lauren German (Hawaii Five-0), Jesse Spencer (House), David Eigenberg (Sex and the City), Merle Dandridge (Sons of Anarchy), Teri Reeves
From the writing team of 3:10 to Yuma comes this action-driven drama exploring the complex and heroic men and women of the Chicago Fire Department.

Jason Ritter

County (Universal TV)
EP/W: Jason Katims
CAST: Jason Ritter (Parenthood), Aimee Garcia (Dexter), Michael B. Jordan (Friday Night Lights), Jess Weixler (Medium), Agam Darshi (Sanctuary), Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos)
The series takes us into the lives of a group of young doctors, nurses, and administrators, in a frenetic underfunded and morally compromising LA County Hospital.

Alana de la Garza


Do No Harm
(Univ. TV)
EP/W: David Schulner
EP: Peter Traugott and Rachel Kaplan.
Co-EP/Dir: Michael Mayer
CAST: Alana de la Garza (Law & Order), Mousa Kraish, Steven Pasquale, Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show)
A medical drama about a brilliant neurosurgeon who wrestles with his dangerous alter-ego that threatens to wreak havoc on his personal and professional life.

Roseanne Barr

Downwardly Mobile (20th Century Fox)
EP/W: Eric Gilliland
W/EP: Roseanne Barr
EP: John Argent
DIR: Gail Mancuso
CAST: Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Romy Rosemont (Glee), Mary Birdsong (Reno 911!)
A comedy set in a mobile home park in which Roseanne is the outspoken proprietor and den mother to an array of characters.

Tony Shalhoub

Friday Night Dinner (Howard Klein, Big Talk Television)
EP/DIR: Ken Kwapis
EP/W: Greg Daniels (The Office)
EP: Howard Klein
CAST: David Koechner, Allison Janney, Tony Shalhoub, Kevin Bigley, Gil Ozeri, Gary Anthony Williams (Boston Legal), Aya Cash
Based on the UK format/series, this single-camera about a quirky family that has dinner together every Friday night.

Bridget Regan

The Frontier (Prospect Park)
W/EP: Shaun Cassidy
EP/DIR: Thomas Schlamme
EP: Jeff Kwatinetz, Josh Barry
CAST: Jake McLaughlin (Crash), Bridget Regan (Legend of the Seeker), Al Weaver, Gina Bramhill (Being Human), Ethan Embry (Brotherhood), Megan Ferguson, Erik Jensen (CSI)
In an intense tale of survival a group of disparate travelers embark on an incredible cross-country adventure through the west where danger stalks them at every turn.

Matthew Perry

Go On (Universal TV)
EP/W: Scott Silveri
EP/DIR: Todd Holland
EP: Karey Burke
CAST: Matthew Perry (Friends), Laura Benanti (The Playboy Club), Allison Miller (Terra Nova), Julie White (Law & Order: SVU)
While an irreverent yet charming sportscaster tries to move on from loss, he reluctantly finds surprising solace from the members of his mandatory group therapy sessions.

Kevin Nealon

Isabel (Kapital Entertainment and Universal TV)
EP/DIR: Todd Holland
W/EP: Howard Busgang and Tom Nursall
EP/D: Todd Holland
EP: Aaron Kaplan, Jocelyn Deshenes, Karey Burke
CAST: Kevin Nealon, Sophia Mitri Schloss, Marcia Gay Harden, Abigail Mavity (Zeke & Luther) and Skyler Gisondo (Psych)
Centers on an otherwise normal, angry middle-class family that wrestles with the challenges of everyday life while raising daughter Isabel (Sophia Mitri Schloss) who has magical qualities.

Minnie Driver

Lady Friends (Warner Bros. TV)
EP/W: Kari Lizer
DIR: Scott Ellis
CAST: Minnie Driver (The Riches), Andrea Anders (Better Off Ted), Josh Hopkins (Cougar Town), Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live), Danny Comden (Urban Legend),
What happens between two lifelong girlfriends when one of them gets married and there’s now a new husband in the mix?

Titus Welliver

Midnight Sun
EP/W: Lisa Zwerling
EP: Peter Traugott, Rachel Kaplan, Alon Aranya, Efrat Shmayadron, Minit Toovi, Noah Stollman and Oded Davidoff (creators of the original Israeli series)
DIR: Brad Anderson
CAST: Titus Welliver (Lost), Michael Raymond-James (True Blood), Julia Stiles (Dexter), Emma Bell (The Walking Dead), Michael Raymond-James (Terriers)
Based on the Israeli series Timrot Ashan, aka Pillars of Smoke, the pilot is a thriller following the mysterious disappearance of a group living on a commune in Alaska. It centers on a female FBI cult specialist starts an investigation that uncovers a larger conspiracy. (Described as Twin Peaks meets Northern Exposure meets Lost.)

Ryan Murphy

The New Normal (20th Century Fox/NBC talent)
EP/W: Ryan Murphy and Alison Adler (Glee), Dante Di Loreto
CAST: Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon), Ellen Barkin (The Normal Heart), Justin Bartha (The Hangover), Georgina King, NeNe Leakes (The Real Housewives of Atlanta)
A heartwarming comedy about a blended family of a gay couple and the woman who becomes a surrogate to help them start a family.

Next Caller Please (Lionsgate TV)
EP: Stephen Falk
DIR: Marc Buckland
CAST: Collette Wolfe (Cougar Town), Dane Cook
A single-camera gender comedy focusing on a brash alpha male DJ and his new, plucky, feminist co-host set in the offices of a satellite radio station.

Notorious (Univ. TV/BermanBraun)
W/EP: Liz Heldens
EP: Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein.
CAST: Victor Garber (Alias), Neil Jackson (Make It or Break It), Katherine LaNasa (Big Love), Meaghan Good (Californication), Laz Alonso (Breakout Kings)
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.

Revolution (Warner Bros. TV, Bad Robot)
W/EP: Eric Kripke
EP: J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk
DIR: Jon Favreau
CAST: Tim Guinee (The Good Wife), Billy Burke (24), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), Tracy Spiradakos (Being Human),  Zak Orth (Nurse Jackie), Andrea Roth (Rescue Me) and JD Pardo (Drive)
A high-octane action drama that follows a group of characters struggling to survive and reunite with loved ones in a world where all forms of energy have mysteriously ceased to exist.

Sarah Silverman

The Sarah Silverman Project
W/EP: Sarah Silverman, Dan Sterling and Jon Schroeder (co-exec producer)
EP: Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo
EP/DIR: Ken Kwapis
CAST: Sarah Silverman, Harris Wittels (a version of himself, in a role created for him), June Diane Raphael, Tig Notaro, Ken Leung (Lost)
Loosely based on Silverman’s life and stars the comedian as Susan, a woman readjusting to the single life after a decade-long live-in relationship.

Anne Heche

Save Me (Sony Pictures TV, Original Films)
EP: Neal Moritz, Vivian Cannon
EP/Dir: Scot Winant (Californication)
W/EP: John Scott Shepherd
CAST: Anne Heche (P), Michael Landes, Alexandra Breckenridge (American Horror Story), Heather Burns (Bored to Death), Lamon Rucker, Madison Davenport (Shameless)
The series centers on a woman (Heche) who, after an accident, starts to believe that she is channeling God.

Christine Woods

Table for Three (20th/Kapital Entertainment)
EP/W: Dana Klein
EP: Aaron Kaplan
DIR: Pam Fryman
CAST: Christine Woods (FlashForward), Brenda Song (The Social Network), Nicky Whelan (Scrubs), Scott Bakula (Chuck)
A young woman returns home from overseas to find her father is seriously dating the “mean girl” from her high school.

Mena Suvari

Untitled Hilary Winston Comedy (Sony Pictures TV)
EP/W: Hilary Winston
EP: Jamie Tarses, Julia Franz
DIR: Adam Shankman
CAST: Sarah Wright (7th Heaven), Aubrey Dollar (Point Pleasant), Mena Suvari (American Beauty), Kyle Howard (My Boys), Freddie Prinze Jr. (24)
After being dumped by her fiance, a shy, focused woman leans on her co-workers to help her come out of her shell and plot her revenge.

Jesse Bradford

Untitled Jimmy Fallon Project (Universal Television/Holiday Road)
EP: Jimmy Fallon, Amy Ozols
EP/W: Charlie Grandy
DIR: Scott Ellis
CAST: Zach Cregger (Friends with Benefits), Jesse Bradford (The West Wing), Anthony Anderson (Law & Order), Jamie-Lynn Sigler (The Sopranos), Tempestt Bledsoe (The Cosby Show)
Three 30-something guys enjoy the adventures of parenting despite the fact they haven’t grown up themselves.

Mary McCormack

Untitled Kari Lizer Project (Warner Bros. TV)
EP/W: Kari Lizer (Will & Grace)
CAST: Mary McCormack (In Plain Sight)
Multi-camera comedy centers on Hilary Pfeiffer-Dunne, a high-powered executive who, having dominated the corporate America for years, now faces the biggest challenge of her life when she finds herself unemployed and acting as a full-time mom to her two teenagers.