Pilot Scoop: ABC Orders Revenge-Esque Drama Betrayal, New Soap Venice and 2 Others

logo-abc-300ABC has jumped into the Tuesday-night pilot frenzy, ordering four new projects including an hour drama from ER‘s David Zabel and a half-hour comedy exec-produced by Office scribes Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, TVLine has learned.

The Zabel project, Betrayal, centers on a beautiful but unhappily married female photographer who begins a torrid affair with a lawyer for a powerful family. When he turns out to be defending a murder suspect who is being prosecuted by her husband, the relationship and the case begin a spiraling series of betrayals with cataclysmic results for everyone involved.

Eisenberg and Stupnitsky’s prospective sitcom, Pulling, follows three dysfunctional women in their 30s living their lives the way they want, even if society tells them they should have it all figured out by this point.

Other ABC pilots receiving production orders Tuesday…

* The Returned, a drama from The Killing‘s Aaron Zelman, asks the provocative question, “What happens when the people you have mourned and buried suddenly appear on your doorstep as if not a day’s gone by? The lives of the people of Aurora are forever changed when their deceased loved ones return.”

* Venice, a Romeo and Juliet-esque soap written by Without a Trace‘s Byron Balasco, focuses on two rival families living in “California’s most seductive ‘city'” and the forbidden and dangerous romance that emerges between them.

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  1. Lo says:

    Um, The Return should really consider changing the name Aurora. Just reading that left a bad taste in my mouth, regardless of the intent…

    • kjess says:

      I thought the same thing. I actually gasped when I read that. Totally insensitive.

    • Sara says:

      Yeah that was my first thought too. And considering it’s been quite a few months since that tragedy, the show has had plenty of time to change the name

    • mia says:

      Completely agree. I feel uncomfortable with the name

    • Elyse says:

      i had the same thought. not cool to use Aurora like that.

    • Temperence says:

      Yeah, I’m not with you. The script was written well before, and well, life goes on. The bad tatse in your mouth should come from the (so far) inaction of our political leaders to deal with the restoration of the mental health safety net that Republicans hacked out of the state budgets because it was an easy cut to a practically defenseless group.

      • Sara says:

        Or maybe the bad taste should come from wondering if the name of the town combined with the premise of the show could potentially upset people who lost loved ones in that tragedy? This show has nothing to do with politics

    • Jay says:

      The town in the show is called Arcadia not Aurora. They made a mistake on this article

  2. Eric says:

    Is Super Fun Night still in development? I’m a little worried that a pilot hasn’t been ordered yet.

  3. Kalee says:

    Revenge, Deception, and now Betrayal. At this thesaurus rate, we’ll have a show titled “Flimflam” yet!

  4. Jacqueline says:

    With all of these possible pilots, I hope there is diversity among the cast and they’re not too vanilla or have the one token character.

    • Jayme says:

      It should not matter the race what should matter is who is best for the show maybe that means there all white or maybe that means there all non white.

      • Victoria says:

        It DOES matter. Life is not all white or all nonwhite. Shows should reflect that. Having a diverse cast and finding who’s best for the show are not mutually exclusive. There’s so many talented actors out there. It should be easy to have a strong and talented cast that is diverse.

        • Me says:

          Color of skin is not the only way to be diverse and not every show has to be diverse in the main characters. Culturally diverse main characters should be enough sometimes. I think they did a good job picking characters for Betrayal. Now getting even more diverse as they bring in more characters as the show continues would be just fine too. PS try getting a show with just black people in it to be more diverse.

  5. Solitaire says:

    …is it just me or does The Returned sound a lot like ’07’s Babylon Fields? Let’s hope it’ll have similar quality and, unlike that one, make it to series.

  6. Britta Unfiltered says:

    ABC: Forget Lifetime. We’re the new television for women.

    • eridapo says:


      Just reading the summaries for the pilots makes me not want to watch them..

    • Nero theTVFiddler says:

      Very good point, and very true – who needs Lifetime? But it is ABC – their focus is on their core audience, which is women. However, for us guys who like to watch pretty women doing crazy [good crazy] things: Revenge, Happy Endings, Apt 23 [RIP], Nashville, Castle, BoP, Grey’s, PrivPractice [RIP], Suburgatory, soon to be ‘Living w/Parents’, etc., I guess I figure, what the hell – we go with it. So-ooo, bring on ‘Pulling’ [?] … Pulling ? We may see a name change there by September.

  7. Scarab says:

    There’s already a soap (award winning web series) called Venice that’s produced/directed by Crystal Chappell.

  8. Jessie says:

    ABC just loves squeezing out an original idea or taking one and the producing the same 10 shows. Hey Castle meet Bones…

    • mia says:

      While I do agree with you, I think Castle and Bones are *very* different shows. Castle has more whimsey to it, does sillier cases and is pretty family-friendly. Bones is not; its significantly darker and more graphic. So while they are both crime-romance-proceedurals, they are very very different and attract different audiences as a result

  9. Elena says:

    Will these shows air in the fall or as mid-season shows? Also, because a pilot is ordered doesn’t mean it will necessarily be picked up, correct?

  10. cj says:

    Meh. none of these will last. Prime examples of Hollywood doing favors. Also, NBC nothing but crass using auroral.

  11. kavyn says:

    I really have no desire to watch any new pilots from ABC after how poorly they treated 666 and Don’t trust the B. I’m glad they’re at least giving Last Resort and fair end and not send that show to summer too.

    The Returned is the only interesting concept out of the bunch but I’d need to see a trailer or something before I could decide. The rest sound bad.

  12. Bella says:

    Really… The only venice I watch is on the web…. Venice the series!

  13. marsha8of9 says:

    I think you need to rethink the title of one of your shows. For the last four years we’ve been watching a show titled Venice The Series on the web. Please don’t confuse your audience into believing you’ve brought on this excellent, Emmy Award winning program and then give them something else. Venice the Series however would be an excellent addition to your line-up…just not the one you’re promoting here.

  14. shoreali says:

    I got excited for a minute when I saw the news on the show Venice but quickly realized it was not the current Emmy award winning show Venice the series which is on the web. ABC or someone should check into this as seems like this new show shouldn’t be able to take on an existing shows name. By the way the plot sounds a litte like Venice’s production companies, Open Book Production’s, other show called The Grove about two families.

  15. teeanne says:

    There is an excellent Emmy award winning web series called Venice the Series. When I saw this article I thought ABC had picked it up to show on the network. Venice the Series is produced by Open Book Productions.ABC should check this web series out. Thank you.

  16. Open Book Production has already produced 3 seasons of venicetheseries.com …Is your pilot a spinoff of this award winning webseries ?

  17. Caroline says:

    The returned sounds a lot like the amazing French show, Les Revenants.

  18. Mary Jolley says:

    The only Venice I’m interested in watching is the one I currently watch on the web produced by Open Book Production and the highly talented Crystal Chappell. Please reconsider the name of this show as not to confuse people with the Emmy award-winning VeniceTheSeries

  19. anil says:

    Oh god. This is getting too old already. Revenge, Scandal, Deception, Betrayal.
    Next they’ll order another one called :sabotage…if that hasnt been used already lol.

    Im upset with ABC. They’re ruining Revenge by putting it iagainst football and grammys. What loser network does that? So DUMB!

  20. Ana says:

    I’m such an ABC fan. They are my number 1 network but good lord, what is up.with the people in programming? More soaps? Because they are working out so well. And these concepts are beyond weak. Revenge has done well enough but let’s be honest, its not a ratings magnet. Neither is Nashville. So instead of rethinking their strategy they are going to continue to replicate it? And these comedies? Nope. Please hire a new programming director…

  21. Marco says:

    Is The Returned an American remake of the French show Les Revenants or of the unaired pilot Babylon Fields? Because it seriously sounds like both.

  22. cthulu says:

    The Returned seems like a rip off of the 07 pilot Babylon Fields. Are any of the originators of that involved? If not seems like theft.

  23. gerigofrench says:

    In France, there is a show called Les Revenants (which literally translates into the returned), and which has exactly the same premise and story line. The first season has already aired and was very well received. Is this show a copy-paste of that one? The French version is based on a book. Is this series a US adaptation of the French one?

  24. Joe says:

    Not interested in abc shows anymore the treat their shows and viewers like poop ( rip 666 , the last resort and apt 23 )

  25. Jason Spore says:

    The Returned also sounds like it could be a bit of a ripoff of the Image Comics series Revival by Tim.Seeley and Mike Norton…..its a fantastic comic.

  26. Ryan says:

    I liked The Return when it was on air and called The 4400.

  27. sarah says:

    I am interested in all 3!

  28. Jason says:

    WHen will the SHIELD series start. And the Star Wars live action series?

    • Nero theTVFiddler says:

      Regarding SHIELD [the Joss Wheden pilot for ABC], it will be one of the series on the ABC pilot list this spring, and if ABC picks the show up for series production in May, then I’m assuming we’d see the first episode/pilot this coming Fall on the ABC primetime schedule. General consensus here via TVLine readers is that the show would land either at 9pm on Sunday, or 8pm on Thursday.

  29. Sue M says:

    Pulling was a UK series so I guess this one is a remake of that, same with the Gavin and Stacy remake which was been picked up as Friends & Family on another network, so I suspect the Returned is a remake of the French show. It seems to happen a lot in the US with mixed success rates – seems to me it usually doesn’t work because they strip out all that was unique about the original show!

  30. Daniel says:

    ‘Betrayal’ is not going to be like ‘Revenge’ or ‘Deception’ , trust me on this one. It is based on a Dutch tvseries, it was a major hit and won a few big prizes. I’m so excited right now

  31. Naomi says:

    Just a clarification Venice and Venice The Series are two different titles. Make no mistake no one will be confusing the two as Venice The Series is a poorly written badly acted WEB show that fans must pay money for. Venice however will be amazing and quite popular. No contest.

  32. ap215 says:

    I disagree about Venice being poorly written & badly acted i watched the show for 4 years & the folks there as well as Crystal do an effectively good job running the show they even won an emmy for Special Class Short Format it would’ve been nice if the folks at Disney gave this show a chance but no such luck.

  33. Junebuggnc says:

    Those of you knocking Venice The Series should watch the episode that was submitted for their Emmy win (previous seasons are available on YT). Several actors gave outstanding performances and one in particular, IMHO, it was her best work ever. She went places no other show or film ever did for her and probably never will. Those of you who are V fans know who I’m talking about. And ya know….the fact that we pay to see Venice The Series says a lot….it’s worth it, we know all of our bases will be covered….drama, comedy, a love story, eye candy, a touch of skin and more importantly the freedom to tell a story without restrictions!

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