Pilot Success Often Akin to Needles in Haystacks

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Decision time is looming for most of this year's crop of network pilots.

It's also time for intense lobbying by studio chiefs on behalf of their potential new series. At stake: bragging rights over the title of top network series supplier for the 1999-2000 TV season.

The top supplier trophy is fairly useless -- after all, getting the most shows on the air doesn't mean those shows will stay on the air -- but in the competitive world of TV, executives are anxious to find out how the dust settles.

Twentieth Century Fox Television is expected to pull ahead of perennial No. 1 Warner Bros. Television this year, while Touchstone Television, which has quite a few projects lined up at sibling network ABC, is also expected to make a strong showing.

Here's a studio-by-studio account of this year's pilot orders.

Big Ticket


"Gary & Mike" (Fox) From Fax Bahr and Adam Small. Alternative claymation-style sitcom about two teens hitting the cross-country road.

"Mo'Nique" (UPN) "Moesha" spinoff starring Countess Vaughn reprising her role as Moesha's best friend, Kim.

"The Next Big Thing" (CBS) From Brad Hall. Sara Gilbert stars as a young writer who works at a late-night comedy show.

Steven Bochco Productions


Mr. Bochco and Paris Barclay. Diverse cast set in an urban hospital. Probably for midseason.



"Baxter & Sons" (NBC; co-production with NBC Studios) From Andy Gordon and Eileen Conn. Sitcom about dysfunctional family with three daughters.

"Sammy" (NBC; co-production with NBC Studios) David Spade voices this animated sitcom based on his early family life. Possible for January 2000.

"Work With Me" (CBS; co-production with CBS Productions) Nancy Travis stars in this sitcom about married lawyers working together.

Buena Vista


"Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" (ABC) Based on the top-rated British trivia game show; people win $1 million by answering questions.



"God, the Devil and Bob" (NBC; co-production with NBC Studios) From Matthew Carlson. Animated sitcom featuring the voices of James Garner, Robert Downey Jr. and French Stewart.

Untitled Joan Cusack project (ABC) From Eric Gilliland. Sitcom starring Ms. Cusack. 13 episode commitment.

Castle Rock


"The Hall" (CBS) Drama about a big-city mayor's office.


"The Downtowners" (WB) From Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein. Animated sitcom about two young slackers in the big city who must adjust when one guy's kid brother moves in.

Cats Hit/3 Arts Entertainment


"Safety School" (NBC) From the comedy troupe Broken Lizard. Sitcom about a guy who's expelled from an Ivy League college and forced to go to his hometown college.

CBS Productions


"Allies" (CBS; co-production with Paramount) From Michael Nankin and Anita Addison. Young Frenchwoman takes in a downed American bomber in this World War II-set drama.

"Falcone" (CBS; co-production with Columbia TriStar) From Mark Johnson, Barry Levinson, John Lee Hancock and Peter Guber. Jason Gedrick stars in this mob drama based on the film "Donnie Brasco."

"Now and Again" (CBS; co-production with Paramount) From Glenn Gordon Caron. Man killed in an accident is given a new, younger body by the government.

"St. Michael's Crossing" (CBS) Drama about a real-life center that houses cops and firefighters together.

"Shades of Gray" (CBS; co-production with Twentieth) Amy Brenneman stars as a juvenile court judge who, with daughter in tow, must move in with her mother.


"Grapevine" (CBS) Remake of the early '90s series from David Frankel. Romantic sitcom about three singles in Miami.

"Ladies' Man" (CBS; co-production with Columbia TriStar) From Chris Thompson. Alfred Molina stars as the lone guy in a houseful of women.

"Partners" (CBS; co-production with Columbia TriStar) Daniel Stern is a Chicago police detective whose partner is his childhood best friend.

"Work With Me" (CBS; co-production with Brillstein-Grey) Nancy Travis stars in this sitcom about married lawyers working together.

Columbia TriStar


"Cruel Intentions" (Fox) From Roger Kumble and Neal Moritz. Based on the hit movie about teens living a "Dangerous Liaisons" lifestyle.

"The Expert" (CBS) Steven Weber and Paget Brewster are a district attorney's office investigator and female prosecutor forced to work together.

"Falcone" (CBS; co-production with CBS Productions)."

"Family Law" (CBS) From Paul Haggis. Lawyer must rebuild her law firm from scratch when her husband leaves and takes their clients with him.

"Partners" (CBS) From Chris Keyser and Amy Lippman. Relationship drama about the private lives of cops.

"Secret Agent Man" (UPN) From Barry Sonnenfeld and Barry Josephson. A drama about hipster secret agents a la "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."

"Time of Your Life" (Fox) From Chris Keyser and Amy Lippman. "Party of Five" spinoff has Jennifer Love Hewitt searching for her birth parents in New York.

"Traffic" (Fox) Drama about young reporters at a San Francisco extreme-style magazine.

"Young Americans" (WB; co-production with Mandalay) An all-boys prep school faces off with the blue-collar town around it.


"Action" (Fox) From Joel Silver and Chris Thompson. Sitcom about an eccentric film producer.

"Daddio" (UPN) "Malcolm & Eddie" spinoff features Coolio as the father of three rambunctious kids.

"Foursome" (UPN) From Jon Favreau and Larry Charles. Ensemble sitcom about young people living in Los Angeles.

"Grown Ups" (UPN) Jaleel White stars in this sitcom about a confused guy in his early 20s.

"Ladies' Man" (CBS; co-production with CBS Productions).

"Partners" (CBS; co-production with CBS Productions).

"Shasta McNasty" (UPN) From Neal Moritz. Single-camera sitcom about three young men who front a mediocre hip-hop group.

"The Unbelievables" (Fox) Comedy about second-string superheroes who just aren't quite household names and don't get the plum assignments.



"Bellevue" (ABC; co-production with Imagine). From Peter Berg. Four doctors toil at a mental institution.

"Brookfield" (ABC) From Greer Shepherd, Michael Robin and 22-year-old USC junior Josh Schwartz. Drama set in a boarding school.

"Brutally Normal" (WB) From Greer Shepherd, Michael Robin, Tommy Swerdlow and Michael Goldberg. High school drama.

"Monk" (ABC) Farcical dramedy in the style of Inspector Clouseau.

"Mulholland Drive" (ABC; co-production with Imagine) From David Lynch. Quirky "Twin Peaks"-esque drama about good and evil women in L.A. With Laura Harring and Naomi Watts.

"Once Again" (ABC) From Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz. Sela Ward and Bill Campbell star in this drama about a romance between two recent divorcees.

"Popular" (WB) From Greer Shepherd and Michael Robin. Drama about the most- and least-popular kids in school.


"30" (ABC; co-production with Imagine) From indie filmmaker Noah Baumbach. Ensemble comedy about three men in their thirties.

"Agro and York" (Fox; co-production with Imagine) Sitcom about puppets in space.

"Babes in the Woods" (ABC) From Lona Williams and Vic Kaplan. Three women live in Chicago.

"Being Dunbar" (Fox) From Tim Doyle, Ric Swartzlander and Matt Berry, about an off-the-wall American family.

"Clerks" (ABC; co-production with Miramax) From Kevin Smith and Dave Mandel. Animated version of Mr. Smith's low-budget indie flick.

"Eli's Theory" (WB; co-production with Imagine) Sitcom about a genius kid.

"Sagamore" (WB) From Carol Heikkenen and Tim Doyle. Sitcom about a house of students at a New York college.

"Student Affairs" (UPN; co-production with Imagine) From brothers Adam, Jordan and Scott Fields. An hour-long spoof of soap operas, set at a university.

"Talk to Me" (ABC) Female radio host ends a five-year relationship.

"Thanks" (CBS) Cloris Leachman and Timothy Dutton are pilgrims living in the New World in this 1600s-set sitcom.

Untitled Jim Breuer Project (Fox) The "Saturday Night Live" alum is newly married, living in Long Island and dreaming of an acting career.

Untitled Sketch Show (ABC) From Bob Simonds and Joel Gallen. Saturday night sketch show, possible for this summer. Six episodes.


"Detroit Receiving" (ABC) From Bunim-Murray Productions. "Real World"-esque hour-long look at a young medical resident at a Detroit hospital.



"Freaks and Geeks" (NBC) From Judd Apatow. '70s-set high school drama.

"The Others" (NBC; co-production with NBC Studios) From John Brancato and Michael Ferris. Paranormal thriller about a New England college freshman with psychic abilities.


"Anna Says" (ABC; co-production with Lottery Hill) From Michael J. Fox and Scott Winant. Tracy Pollan plays a gossip columnist.

"The Duplex" (NBC) From Alec Berg and Jeff Schaffer. Two childhood buddies move from the Midwest to the East.

"Legal Aid" (CBS) Sitcom about lawyers who defend the guilty in New York.

"Sick in the Head" (Fox) From Judd Apatow. Recent psychology graduate (David Krumholtz) shares office space with a conservative Dr. Laura clone (Andrea Martin).

"Sugar Hill" (ABC) From Gary David Goldberg, starring Charlie Sheen and Duane Martin. Ensemble sitcom set in a New York police precinct. 13 episode commitment.

Fox TV Studios


"Wake Up America" (Fox) Morning news show parody featuring life-size puppets.



"Cold Feet" (NBC; co-production with NBC Studios) Drama about three thirty-something couples.



"Chicks" (Fox) From Carol Leifer. Three twenty-something roommates navigate life in L.A.

"Heat Vision and Jack" (Fox) From Ben Stiller. Alternative sitcom about a NASA scientist (Jack Black) who accidentally turns into the smartest man in the world and his best friend -- who's accidentally turned into a motorcycle (voice of Owen Wilson).

"The Guide" (ABC; co-production with Twentieth) Christine Taylor and Michael Vartan star in this '90s romance between 20-somethings named Jack and Jil.

"Oh, Grow Up" (ABC) From Alan Ball. Thirty-something ex-college roomies live together in Brooklyn.

Jim Henson Co.


"Master of Horror and Suspense" (NBC; co-production with NBC Studios) Drama about a horror writer. Starring Michael McKean.



"Bellevue" (ABC; co-production with Touchstone).

"Mulholland Drive" (ABC; co-production with Touchstone).


"30" (ABC; co-production with Touchstone).

"Agro and York" (Fox; co-production with Imagine).

"Eli's Theory" (WB; co-production with Touchstone).

"Student Affairs" (UPN; co-production with Touchstone).



"Killer App" (Fox; co-production with Twentieth).



"Young Americans" (WB; co-production with Columbia TriStar).

Michigan J. Productions


"The Force" (WB) Drama about young cops who fight crime on the street while not on duty. With Jamie Luner and Flex Alexander.


"Minor Threat" (WB) Teen sitcom about an intense sibling rivalry between two brothers.



"Clerks" (ABC; co-production with Touchstone).

"Wasteland" (ABC) From Kevin Williamson. Six college pals begin their post-collegiate lives in New York.

MTV Productions


"Chaos Theory" (NBC; co-production with Paramount) From Kip Koenig. Relationship dramedy about three sisters and their family in a college town.

"Dodge's City" (UPN; co-production with Paramount) From Ken Sanzel. Drama about an "extreme" private investigator in his 20s.

NBC Studios


"Cold Feet" (NBC; co-production with Granada) Drama about three thirty-something couples.

"Master of Horror and Suspense" (NBC; co-production with Henson) Drama about a horror writer.

"Merlyn" (NBC) Drama about a young man who discovers he's descended from the legendary wizard Merlin.

"The Others" (NBC; co-production with DreamWorks) From John Brancato and Michael Ferris. Paranormal thriller about a New England college freshman with psychic abilities.


"Baxter & Sons" (NBC; co-production with Brillstein-Grey) From Andy Gordon and Eileen Conn. Sitcom about dysfunctional family with three daughters.

"The Expendables" (NBC) Sitcom about crash test dummies.

"God, the Devil and Bob" (NBC; co-production with Carsey-Werner).

"M.Y.O.B." (NBC) Wisecracking teen finds her biological aunt after her adoptive parents die. With Elizabeth Perkins and Nicki Aycox.

"Sammy" (NBC; co-production with Brillstein-Grey). David Spade voices this animated sitcom based on his early family life. Possible for January 2000.

"Thicker Than Water" (NBC) From Steven Koren. Sitcom about a med school dropout, featuring Valerie Harper.

Untitled Mike O'Malley Project (NBC) Sitcom starring comedian Mike O'Malley as a man who decides to grow up.



"68" (ABC) FBI drama set in the turbulent year 1968. With Dylan Walsh and Jason London.

"Allies" (CBS; co-production with CBS Productions).

"Chaos Theory" (NBC; co-production with MTV Productions).

"Dodge's City" (UPN; co-production with MTV Productions).

"Now and Again" (CBS; co-production with CBS Productions).

"Special Unit 2" (Fox) From Evan Katz. Secret police team who chase humanoid monsters in New York.


"All About Us" (CBS) From Barry Kemp and Robin Schiff, starring Grant Shaud and Jason Beghe. Sitcom about married couples and their friends.

"People Who Fear People" (ABC) From Victor Fresco. Sitcom about four paranoid guys who live in New York.

"The Super" (CBS) From Dan Staley and Rob Long. Sitcom about a building superintendent and his wealthy socialite girlfriend.



"Mondo Picasso" (Fox) "Pulp Fiction"-esque look at undercover cops in Miami who solve crimes in their own unique way.



"Quints" (UPN) From Meg Ryan, Heather Thomas and Nina Sadowsky. Animated show about five sisters, described as "South Park" with girls.

Pursuit Productions


"Young Cops" (ABC) From Paul Stojanovich. Seven twenty-something cops brought together to live as roommates and work as partners.

Regency TV


"Roswell High" (Fox; co-production with Twentieth) From Jason Katims. '50s-set drama about three teen aliens who escape from the Roswell UFO crash and their three human friends.

Untitled Young Cop Project (Fox) From F. Gary Gray and others. Upper middle-class Philadelphia 19-year-old is an urban cop by day.


"Malcolm in the Middle" (Fox) Sitcom about a 9-year-old genius and his family.



"Forbidden Island" (UPN) Youthful, sexy ensemble have crash landed on an island full of sci-fi horrors.

"Safe Harbor" (WB) From Brenda Hampton. Drama geared toward post-"7th Heaven" time slot about a widower raising four boys in Florida. With Gregory Harrison and Rue McClanahan.

Studios USA


"DC" (WB) From Dick Wolf, about the lives of young people living together in the nation's capital. With Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Mia Kirshner.


"Sex Crimes" (NBC) "Law & Order" spinoff from Dick Wolf about the sex crimes unit in New York.

"True Love" (ABC) Adam Goldberg and Julie Delpy star as New Yorkers in love.

Twentieth Century Fox


"Angel" (WB) From Joss Whedon. "Buffy" spinoff starring David Boreanaz, whose character moves to Los Angeles to save lost souls.

"The Caseys" (UPN) From Michael Steinberg and Stu Segall. Drama about a young family that adjusts when their father becomes wheelchair-bound.

"Dark Angel" (Fox) From James Cameron and Charles Eglee for midseason 2000. Futuristic drama about a genetically enhanced human prototype.

"Get Real" (Fox) From Clyde Phillips and Scott Winant. Nuclear family drama starring Debrah Farentino.

"Harsh Realm" (Fox) New Chris Carter drama based on the comic book about a kid lost in a computer-generated universe. Starring D.B. Sweeney, Scott Bairstow and Samantha Mathis.

"Roswell High" (Fox; co-production with Regency) From Jason Katims.

"Shades of Gray" (CBS; co-production with CBS Productions).

"Snoops" (ABC) From David E. Kelley. Four private investigators rely on high technology in L.A. Stars Gina Gershon and Paula Marshall.

"The Wonder Cabinet" (Fox) From Glen Morgan and James Wong. Drama about a group of young doctors brought together by a mysterious man.


"Barnyard Animals" (Fox) Alternative series from Steve Oedekerk.

"The Big D" (NBC; co-production with 3 Sisters Productions) From Chuck Lorre, directed by James Burrows. For midseason 2000. Comedy about a man who lives life to the fullest after learning his days are numbered.

"The Freshmen" (Fox) For midseason 2000. Animated sitcom about buddies in college.

"The Guide" (ABC; co-production with Greenblatt-Janollari) Christine Taylor and Michael Vartan star in this '90s romance between two twenty-somethings named Jack and Jil.

"Helmet Heads" (WB) Sitcom about a pair of mismatched wannabe astronauts in Houston.

"Jeff of the Universe" (Fox) From David Mirkin. A man finds out he's actually been predestined to be a warrior to fight evil in the universe.

"Stark Raving Mad" (NBC) From Steve Levitan. Geared for a Tuesday or Thursday time slot. "Odd Couple"-esque sitcom about a horror writer and his neurotic editor. Starring Tony Shalhoub. 13 episode guarantee.

"Titus" (Fox) From Jack Kenny and Brian Hargrove. Alternative comedy, with comedian Christopher Titus and material from his one-man show "Norman Rockwell is Bleeding."

"Then Came You" (ABC) From Betsy Thomas and Jeff Strauss. Romantic comedy about an older woman and a younger man.

"TV Funhouse" (Fox) From Robert Smigel, based on his "Saturday Night Live" shorts. Alternative series about edgy clown Prozo (Mr. Smigel) and his sidekicks, who introduce animated shorts. Likely for late-night.



"The Disciples" (UPN) From Steve DeJarnatt, Don Michael Paul and Kirk Wong. Ensemble action about a martial arts security force in Miami.


"In the Bleachers" (Fox) Animated sitcom based on the comic strip.

"Stuckeyville" (CBS; co-production with Worldwide Pants) From Rob Burnett, Jon Beckerman and David Letterman. Thomas Cavanaugh stars as a man who moves to Ohio after losing his wife and job in the same day.

Warner Bros.


"Jack and Jill" (WB) From Mark Canton and Randi Singer. Romantic comedy about a jilted bride who moves to New York. With Ivan Sergei and Amelia Heinle.

"The Opposite Sex" (Fox) Three guys enroll when an all-girls school goes co-ed.

"Outreach" (WB) From Neal Baer. Drama set in a Venice, Calif., family health clinic. With Rob Estes, Keith Carradine and Ming-Na Wen.

"Sherman Oaks" (CBS) Serial drama focusing on families living on Ventura Boulevard.

"The Strip" (UPN) From Joel Silver, Al Gough and Miles Millar. Action drama about two ex-cops who head a private security force in Las Vegas.

"Third Watch" (NBC) From John Wells, about the work of paramedics before they hit the hospital.

"The West Wing" (NBC) From John Wells and Aaron Sorkin. D.C.-set dramedy about young White House workers. Starring Rob Lowe and Martin Sheen.


"Bluesville" (WB) Animated sitcom based on the comic strip "Baby Blues." Featuring the voices of Julia Sweeney and Mike O'Malley.

"Martin & Claudia" (WB) From Shana Larsen. Romantic comedy.

"Easy Living" (ABC) Family comedy from the male point of view.

"Odd Man Out" (ABC) From Ed Decter & Jon Strauss. A teen-age boy, his mom and three sisters.

"Saving Graces" (WB) Sitcom about two suburban teens named Grace.

Untitled Nick Cannon Project (WB) From Bentley Evans and Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment. Sitcom with young comic Nick Cannon as a teen who moves to his dad's military base. Slated for mid-season.

Untitled Nikki Cox Project (WB) Sitcom starring "Unhappily Ever After" star Nikki Cox. Slated for mid-season.

Worldwide Pants


"Stuckeyville" (CBS; co-production with Viacom Productions).

No Studio Attached


"The Beat" (UPN) From Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson. "Diner"-like drama about rookie cops in Manhattan. 13 episode order, likely for midseason.


"Closed Circuit" (UPN) From the Groundlings comedy troupe. Old video clips are

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