Year of the woman makes a statement

By Published on .

Mix a bit of Sarah Michelle Gellar's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Jessica Alba's "Dark Angel" and Calista Flockhart's "Ally McBeal," and that's the prescription for a bevy of women-empowered series in development for the TV networks' 2001-02 season prime-time lineups. * With women presumably gaining more leverage from men over the TV remote control, an increasing number of scripted comedies and dramas are being tailored to female leads. Estrogen-powered dramas such as UPN's "Jen-X"; NBC's Peta Wilson project, titled "Harry Stone," and "Watching the Detectives," a criminal investigation series; 's coed-turns-spy drama "Alias"; and Fox's "Emma Brody" lead the charge.

"In recent years, it's fair to say women dictated some of the hit dramas, like `Buffy the Vampire Slayer,' `Dark Angel,' `Providence,' `Judging Amy' and `Ally McBeal,' with men often coming along for the ride," says Carolyn Finger, VP of, an Internet database tracking TV series.

"I don't know if there is a unified, concerted effort to put women in the forefront of most dramas and comedies, but it might be one of those sleeper trends where the joint is being overrun by dames."

Women also are well-represented on the comedy side. The WB, characteristically a strong draw with young women, has a half-dozen female comedies under consideration. Among those are a remake of the 1970s Saturday morning series "Electra Woman & Dyna Girl" and the Reba McEntire-led embattled-housewife sitcom "Sally."

In other trends, it appears that NBC's widely acclaimed "The West Wing" is providing inspiration for the studios and networks to develop other dramas set in lofty institutions like the U.S. Supreme Court. Two Supreme Court dramas are in the works--"The Court" (starring Sally Field) on and "First Monday" (James Garner) on CBS.

"What `West Wing' has shown is that character-driven material set in alternative venues--other than police and medical dramas--can work on the networks," Ms. Finger says.

This year's pilots include:



"Alias" (Touchstone Television). A woman juggles her life as a college coed and spy. J.J. Abrams produces.

"The Big House" aka "Being Brewster" (Touchstone). Family with seven children, described as " `Eight Is Enough' with an edge." Kerry Ehrin and Nena Rodrigue produce. Script funding came from the Family Friendly Programming Forum, the consortium of 40-plus advertisers behind the similar script development of the WB's "Gilmore Girls."

"The Court" (Touchstone). Follows clerks working in the U.S. Supreme Court, starring Sally Field and Alicia Witt.

"Metropolis" (Granada Television, Twentieth Century Fox, Touch-stone). Soap about six friends five years after graduation from college, starring Keith Carradine.

"Philly" (Bochco Productions, Paramount Domestic Television). Kim Delaney stars as a divorced single mother who begins law practice. Steven Bochco, Kevin Hook and Allison Cross produce.

"Silicon Follies" (Touchstone, Imagine Television). Soap set in high-tech world of Silicon Valley. Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Tony Krantz, Betty Thomas and Sandy Isaacs produce.

"Thieves" (Warner Bros. Television Distribution). Romantic dramedy starring John Stamos, about a pair of master thieves who now steal things for the U.S. government.

Untitled Charles Randolph project (Twentieth Century Fox, Jersey TV). A twentysomething woman is a rising star at dot-com company until its CEO wants to impose Wall Street-style discipline on the staff.


"The Back Page" (Studios USA). A workplace buddy comedy set at a newspaper.

"Born in Brooklyn" (Studios USA). A thirtysomething couple--he's a lawyer, she's a book editor--copes with work and their first child.

"Criminal Mastermind" (Brad Grey TV). Bumbling criminal Mike Mastermind recounts a botched crime to a new cellmate in each episode. Brad Grey and Paul Simms produce.

"Dog Days" (Carsey-Werner-Mandabach). Animated series about a man and his talking dog.

"HMO" (Imagine Television, Touchstone). Doctors trying to work within constraints of an HMO, starring John Cleese and Tim Dutton. Peter Tolan and Lauren Corrao produce.

"Kiss the Bride" (Artists Television Group). Newlyweds return from honeymoon to find their best friends are breaking up.

"Mark of Greatness" (Touchstone). Stuntman becomes a school teacher. Pam Brady produces.

"Me & My Needs" (Touchstone). Neurotic thirtysomething woman trying to survive perils of New York. Nina Wass, Gene Stein and Judy Toll produce.

"Men in the Kitchen" (Touchstone, DreamWorks). Jeffrey Tambor and Daryl Mitchell star as TV cooking show hosts who are often at odds.

"My Wonderful Life" (Touchstone). Single mom has to balance her personal life and job as a nurse, based on a British series.

"North Hollywood" (DreamWorks). Two college buddies graduate and move to Hollywood to be writer/director/actors; one is successful, the other struggles.

"Bob Patterson" (Twentieth Century Fox, Touchstone, Angel Ark Productions). Jason Alexander stars as a motivational speaker whose own life is more messed up than his clients'.

Untitled James Belushi project (Touchstone, Brad Grey). Family comedy with the "SNL" alumnus playing a father of three kids.

Untitled Mitch Rouse project (Touchstone). Two childhood friends leave a small town in the South for Chicago.

"The Web" (Touchstone). Behind the scenes at a TV network. Peter Tolan and Lauren Corrao produce.


"Wayne Brady Sketch Show" (Touchstone, Brad Grey). Sketch comedy show starring "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" regular Wayne Brady.

"The Runner" (Touchstone, Live Planet Productions, Pearl Street Productions). A single contestant (the runner) crisscrosses specific geographic areas in race across the country (in 30 days) and against an entire nation of average-citizen and professional bounty hunters. Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Roger Goodman, Sean Bailey and Chris Moore produce.

Untitled Geoffrey Fieger legal reality project (Renegade Productions). Series specializes in civil cases, focusing on relationship between clients and lawyers. David Garfinkle and Jay Renfroe produce.


Untitled Chris McQuarrie project (Touchstone). Man with a shady past works to right society's wrongs. Chris McQuarrie, Heather McQuarrie and David Hoberman produce.

Untitled Ronn & Scherick project (Touchstone). Billed as modern-day "Rockford Files." Jay Scherick, David Ronn produce.



"The Agency" (Radiant Productions, CBS Productions). Inside the world of the CIA.

"Destiny" (Big Ticket, CBS Productions). Series, set in real time, that follows a character going through an emotional crisis. John Herzfeld produces.

"The Education of Max Bickford" (Twentieth Century Fox, CBS Productions). Richard Dreyfuss stars as a history professor going through a midlife crisis.

"First Monday" (Paramount, Bellisario Productions). Justices in the U.S. Supreme Court, starring James Garner, Joe Montegna, James Whitmore and Hedy Burress.

"The Guardian" (Columbia TriStar International Television, CBS Productions). High-price attorney is convicted on drug charges and then must work as child advocate.

"The Heart Department" (Columbia TriStar). Romantic dramedy set in cardiac unit of San Francisco hospital.

"HRT" (Columbia TriStar, CBS Productions). Adventures of a hostage rescue team.

"Hudson County" (Artists Television Group). Lawyer wife (played by Linda Fiorentino) and ex-cop husband solve crimes in a small town. Tom Fontana and Jorge Zamacona produce; Barry Levinson directs pilot.

"Sam's Circus" (Columbia Tri-Star). Ensemble World War II drama.

"The Second Act" aka "The Senator" (Warner Bros., John Wells Productions). Ex-senator, played by James Cromwell ("Babe," "RKO 281") returns home to reconnect with family. John Wells and Lydia Woodward produce.

"Wolf Lake" (CBS Productions, Big Ticket Television). Dramatic adventure series about werewolves in Seattle, starring Lou Diamond Phillips and Tim Matheson.


"Baby Bob" (Viacom, Paramount). Based on popular Internet featurettes about a talking baby. Judd Pillott and John Peaslee produce.

"Blind Men" (Regency, Granada, CBS Productions) Competing window-blinds salesmen.

"Community Center" (Twentieth Century Fox, Acme Productions). Newly separated dad, played by Daniel Stern, works at a community center.

"The Kennedys" (Columbia TriStar/Granada). Randy Quaid heads up British-derived comedy about a working-class family.

"Late Bloomers" (Artists Television Group). An ensemble of middle-age men share their gripes about life and love.

"Life With David J." (Twentieth Century Fox, Acme Productions). Based on David Nash's stand-up routine focusing on his overbearing parents and new marriage.

"Loomis" (Twentieth Century Fox, CBS Productions) Cheri Oteri stars as a celebrity in a small town, wrestling with her dysfunctional family.

"Mr. Life" (Columbia TriStar, Brad Grey TV). Nick Turturro heads family who owns an Italian restaurant in New York.

"Say Uncle" (Twentieth Century Fox). Gay man (Ken Olin) finds his life turned upside down when he inherits his niece and nephew. Steve Levitan and Jeffrey Richman produce.

"Seven Roses" (Paramount). Eccentric family of actors, headed by Brenda Blethyn, takes over running a New England inn and restaurant. Christopher Lloyd and Joe Keenan produce.


"The Amazing Race" aka "Race Around the World" (Touchstone, CBS Productions, Bruckheimer Films). Eleven teams of two people race around the world--facing a variety of physical and mental challenges along the way--to ultimately be the first team to reach the final destination and a $1 million grand prize. Set to air in summer 2001. Jerry Bruckheimer and Bertram Van Munster produce.

"Big Brother 2" (Endemol Entertainment, Arnold Shapiro Productions). A revived summer 2001 version of the Dutch format reality series that originally premiered on CBS last summer. Essentially format remains the same; contestants are required to live in a house together for several months, but housemates will vote each other out rather than viewers calling in to a toll-free phone number.

"Love Stories" (View Film). Reality-based relationship show that follows three actual couples dealing with different issues. The series will show each couple working through their differences in a documentary style. Harry Gantz and Joe Gantz produce.

"U.S. Justice" (Omnibus Produc-tions, Lion Television). Follows actual cases as they go through all phases of the judicial system.


"Ellen, Again" (Artists Television Group). Return of Ellen DeGeneres as an urbanite who moves to small town. Carol Leifer, Mitchell Hurwitz and Ellen DeGeneres produce.



"American Soap" (Regency, Twentieth Century Fox). Young man enrolls in a prestigious university and stumbles into a dark secret shared by a group of friends.

"Ball & Chain" (Twentieth Century Fox). Husband and wife about to divorce discover they have super powers that only work if they stay together.

"Emma Brody" (Twentieth Century Fox, Jersey Television). Arijas Bariekis stars as a woman who joins the U.S. Embassy in London. Jim Parriott and Danny DeVito produce.

"Close to Home" (Warner Bros.). Overachieving 19-year-old girl throws a wrench in her well-planned college life when she impulsively marries a local crook.

"Forever Young" (Columbia TriStar). Great-looking, arrogant actor in a TV cop show is drummed out of Hollywood and takes a job as a P.I. in the Hamptons. Barry Sonnenfeld, Barry Josephson, Elmore Leonard and Alex Gansa produce.

"In the Weeds" (Regency, Studios USA). Ensemble of young men and women who work in a hip restaurant and all aspire to different careers. Michael Rauch and Josh and Jonas Pate produce.

"One Ocean Drive" (Artists Television Group). Ensemble of young adults working in a hip beachfront hotel in Los Angeles. Darren Star and Jeff Rake produce.

"Pasadena" (Brad Grey TV, Columbia TriStar). Secrets surface when brothers and sisters fight among themselves to take over the family's media empire. Brad Grey, Mike White and Diane Keaton produce.

"Third Degree" (Studios USA). Down-to-earth guy and a sophisticated young woman meet at a university of criminology and join forces to solve mystery cases.

"Twenty-Four" (Twentieth Cen-tury Fox, Imagine Television). Team of government agents looking to foil an unfolding assassination plot played out in real time. Joel Surnow and Bob Cochran produce.

"When I Grow Up" (Paramount). Young woman, dumped by her older husband, partners up with a man who investigates romantic infidelities, a la "Moonlighting." Glen Gordon Caron and Ron Schwary produce.


"Anything Can Happen" (Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox). Andy Richter stars as a writer of manuals for an industrial company and tells stories about how he wishes his life would turn out.

"Bev" (Regency, Twentieth Cen-tury Fox). Three-time divorced mother of three decides to stop running away and settle down in the judgmental community of Plymouth, Mass.

"Greg the Bunny" (Twentieth Century Fox) A sock puppet named Greg the Bunny hosts his own children's TV show and his agent/roommate Jimmy is hell-bent on making him a superstar. Steve Levitan, Neil Moritz, Mark Rossen, Dan Milano, Spencer Chinoy produce.

"Bernie Mac Show" (Regency, Twentieth Century Fox). Stand-up comedian and husband Bernie Mac takes in his sister and her three young kids while she deals with her drug problem.

"Monsignor Martinez" (Twentieth Century Fox). Live-action comedy about a crime-fighting Mexican priest who comes to America, based on an animated character from "King of the Hill." Jim Dauterive, Mike Judge and Greg Daniels produce.

"More, Patience" (Columbia TriStar). A 30-year-old neurotic therapist living in Manhattan keeps sleeping with the husband she's in the process of divorcing. Jed Seidel, Maya Forbes and Gavin Polone produce.

"Nathan's Choice" (Warner Bros.). An interactive comedy about a college graduate who faces different moral choices. Series is shot with two second acts, with audience voting on the ending. Chuck Lorre produces.

"The Ruling Class" (Twentieth Century Fox, Imagine Television). Story of the worst high school ever, as seen through the eyes of the new kid, who quickly becomes part of the gang. Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein produce.

Untitled Paul Simms project (Brad Grey TV). Four twentysomethings gather at a restaurant to share their wild stories of trying to make it in Hollywood. Paul Simms produces.

"What's Up With Peter Fuddy?" (Studios USA). Domestic life of insurance adjuster Peter Fuddy is examined by a network talk show devoted to dissecting the minutiae of his daily activities.


"Dog Town" (Regency). Animated comedy about talking dogs. Steve Dildarian produces.

"Endgame" (Fox Television Studios). Hybrid scripted/reality series, described as "Twin Peaks" meets MTV's "Real World," which brings a group of people together to a real small town to solve a fictional mystery. The town is a mixture of actual locals and actors who have been hired to perpetuate the mystery.

"Viva Variety" aka "Reno 911" (Twentieth Century Fox, Jersey Television). Live sketch show, based on the former Comedy Central show.


"Honey Vicaro" (Twentieth Century Fox, Regency). Jenny McCarthy returns to TV as a 1960s crime-fighting TV vixen whose show was canceled ahead of its time. The "lost" episodes are just now seeing the light of day.



"Chestnut Hill" (NBC Studios). A retiring surgeon general takes over his dead son's medical practice and raises his grandchildren as well. John Masius and Bob DeLaurentis produce.

"Crossing Jordan" aka "Female Coroner" (NBC Studios). No-nonsense female coroner in Boston.

"Harry Stone" aka "Fair Play" (Warner Bros.). Peta Wilson, star of "Le Femme Nikita," takes on the true-life story of criminal investigator Sheila Balkan.

"Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (Studios USA). Starring Vincent D'Onofrio, series offers criminals' perspective of the law enforcement and judicial process. Dick Wolf and Rene Balcer produce.

"Anne Rice's Earth Angels" (Twentieth Century Fox, Imagine Television). Angels walk the Earth, dedicated to saving human souls. Anne Rice, Toni Graphia and Thania St. John produce.

"U.C." aka "Undercover Blues" (Twentieth Century Fox, Jersey TV) Elite undercover unit of the Los Angles Police Department. Shane Salerno, Michael Shamberg and Danny DeVito produce.

"Watching the Detectives" (Warner Bros., Bel Air Entertainment). Based on true-life story about female P.I. in New York, starring Jenny Garth.


"Bliss" (Warner Bros.). Based on Debi Gutierrez's life as a comedian.

"Count Me In" (NBC Studios). Ensemble family comedy where the woman is breadwinner and the man is an artist.

"Emeril" (NBC Studios). A fictional behind-the-scenes comedy with TV chef Emeril Lagasse. Harry Thomason and Linda Bloodworth Thomason produce.

"Everything but the Girl" (NBC Studios). Ensemble comedy told from the point of view of four single men.

"Grown Men" (Warner Bros.). Divorced 38-year-old father moves into his 20-year-old son's apartment.

"Inside Schwartz" (Twentieth Century Fox). Male sports fanatic re-enters the dating scene after a long absence.

"Last Dance" (Warner Bros.). LAPD bomb squad expert (David Keith) falls in love with movie star (Paget Brewster) recovering from alcoholism at the Betty Ford Center. Chuck Lorre produces. James Burrows directs.

"Leap of Faith" (NBC Studios). A young woman who has a premarital fling re-examines her life priorities. Jenny Bick and Vic Kaplan produce.

"Neurotic Tendencies" (Paramount, Grammnet Productions). New York woman falls in love with L.A. man and moves West with three friends in tow. Kelsey Grammer, Jeff McCarthy, Wayne Page and Arlene Sorkin produce.

"Scrubs" (NBC Studios, Touchstone). Comedy set in a medical school. Bill Lawrence produces.

"Second to None" (Columbia TriStar, Nuance Productions). Two divorcees optimistically approach love. Paul Reiser, Paula Marshall and Betsy Thomas produce.

"True Love" (Paramount). Comedy about couples putting up with each other's foibles. Judd Pillot and John Peaslee produce.

Untitled Drew Carey project (Warner Bros.). Accountant goes to work for a rock star and becomes enamored with show-biz glitz. Drew Carey, Sam Simon and Bruce Helford produce.

Untitled Julia Louis-Dreyfus project (Carsey-Werner-Mandabach). Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays a lounge singer. Ms. Louis-Dreyfus and husband Brad Hall produce.

Untitled Sisqo project (Big Ticket TV). R&B singer Sisqo plays a guy who wins a reality show and moves to Hollywood to team up with comedian Bob Newhart to co-star in a fictional TV sitcom.

"What Are You Thinking?" (Touchstone, Columbia TriStar). A married comedy writer works on a late-night TV talk show, starring Hank Azaria. Hank Azaria and Seth Kurland produce.


"Destination Space" aka "Destination Mir" (Mark Burnett Productions). Mr. Burnett is working on salvaging concept after the space station Mir crashed to Earth.

"Trial & Error" (Studios USA). An unscripted reality/drama series that follows the professional and personal lives of five first-year assistant district attorneys in a medium-size city.


"A Better Understanding" (NBC Studios). A couple in their 40s whose lives resemble the lives of their children who are in their 20s.

"Tikiville" (Twentieth Century Fox). Father reappears after 14-year absence to renew relationship with his child. Jamie Tarses, James Burrows and Dottie Dartland-Zicklin produce.



"The Dead Zone" (Lions Gate Television). Adaptation of Stephen King's novel of the same name.

"Jen-X" (Spelling Television). Twentysomething woman discovers she has been empowered with cybernetic enhancements, but adversaries want to exploit her. Duncan Kennedy produces.

"Mystery Men" (Viacom, Dark Horse). Based on the comic book series "Mystery Men." Chris Black produces.

Untitled Morgan Gendel project aka "Stop at Nothing" (Spelling Television). Two wealthy socialites work undercover for the FBI. Morgan Gendel produces.

Untitled Michael Steinberg project aka "The Immigrant" (Dream-Works). An original perspective of the young immigrant experience in America.


"Doomsday" (Film Roman) Radio shock jock Howard Stern's long-anticipated sci-fi comedy.

"Life as We Know It" (Paramount). Three twentysomething male buddies who avoid traditional 9-to-5 jobs at all costs.

"One on One" (Greenblatt Janollari Studio). Antics of a precocious 13-year-old who comes to live with her single father.

Untitled Mike Epps project (Paramount). Mike Epps stars as a 25-year-old who taps into his entrepreneurial side after spending years slacking with his buddies.

"Whatever" (Greenblatt Janol-lari). A single-camera comedy written solely by 19-year-old Jarrett Grode, offering an authentic and edgy look at high school life.


"Ambush TV" (Castle Rock Entertainment). A "friendly" ambush-style game show with MTV "Road Rules' " Tim Beggy as host.

"Manhunt" (Paramount, World Wrestling Federation Entertain-ment). A summer 2001 reality series set in Hawaii, in which a team of WWF "bounty hunters" will attempt to capture contestants who are their "prey."

"Single Girls" (Stone-Stanley Entertainment). Based on British format, this summer 2001 reality series has been described as " `Sex & the City' (HBO) turned inside out," where four single women battle one another for Mr. Right.



"Dead Last" (Warner Bros.). A collection of rock band members who are cursed with seeing ghosts, euphemistically billed as "Scooby Doo" meets "The Sixth Sense."

"Deep" (Spelling Television). Updated version of the 1968 TV series "The Mod Squad," with recent LAPD graduates entering an undercover unit. Peter Steinfeld, Aaron Spelling and E. Duke Vincent produce.

"Glory Days" (Miramax Television). Burned-out writer bolts the big city for a return to his small-town home.

"Murphy's Dozen" (Warner Bros., New Line). Family with 12 kids.

"Smallville" (Warner Bros., Tollin-Robbins). Adventures of 15-year-old Clark Kent, as he starts to learn of his superpowers.

Untitled Clark Brothers Project (Warner Bros.). In vein of "The Partridge Family," show centers on six musical brothers who move from Florida to L.A. to seek fame and fortune.


"Bad Haircut" (Warner Bros.). Based on Tom Perotta's collection of stories about kids coming of age in '70s and '80s New Jersey.

"Boyer Brothers" (Michigan J. Frog Productions, Will Vinton Studios). Computer-generated comedy about two underachieving brothers.

"Cedric the Coach" (Artists Television Group). Cedric the Entertainer ("Kings of Comedy"), now a Budweiser pitchman, takes his turn as coach of an NBA team.

"Electra Woman & Dyna Girl" (Michigan J. Frog Productions, Artists Television Group). Remake of the '70s Saturday morning series about a female dynamic duo. Sid and Marty Krofft produce.

"Gene Pool" (Columbia TriStar). Scientist who balances work in his lab with raising his smart young daughter.

"I Do" (Warner Bros.). Four married couples who are best friends deal with life and love when one holdout bachelor becomes engaged.

"In Your Dreams" (Paramount). Widowed, single father supporting two daughters. Jonathan Katz produces.

"Maybe I'm Adopted" (Warner Bros., Touchstone). A 15-year-old girl starts finding her identity, only to realize her family is nuts. Suzanne Martin produces.

"The Misadventures of Fiona Plum" (Studios USA). Young witch from England moves to America to work as a nanny for a family of mortals. Jonathan Prince produces.

"My Family Is Whacked" (Artists Television Group). A family comedy.

"Sally" (Twentieth Century Fox, Acme Productions). Country crooner Reba McEntire plays a Texas housewife who discovers her husband has a pregnant mistress and her daughter is pregnant by the star of the high school football team.

"Slacker Cats" (Michigan J. Frog Productions, Will Vinton Studios) Foamation series about talking kitties.

Untitled Weitz Brothers project (DreamWorks). A new take on "The Odd Couple," with a British man becoming roommates with a "regular American guy." Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz and Danny Zucker produce.

"Witchright Hall" (Viacom). A spinoff series from "Sabrina, the Teen-age Witch," which focuses on her cousin Amanda's initiation at a school that teaches witches how to behave in a world of mortals.

"The Young Person's Guide to Becoming a Rock Star" (Warner Bros.). A 19-year-old boy starts a garage band and discovers achieving fame is not as easy as its looks. John Riggi produces.


"Elimidate Deluxe" (Telepictures Productions). A summer 2001 game show, billed as "Survivor" meets "The Dating Game," where a female contestant dates a number of different men until she finds the one she loves.

"Jamie Foxx Variety Show" (Warner Bros.). A sketch comedy show hosted by Mr. Foxx.

"Lost in the USA" (Bunim-Murray Productions, Artists Television Group). Contestants race across the country to win up to $3 million in prizes.

"No Boundaries" (Lions Gate Television, ConnQuest Produc-tions, Ford Motor Co.). Based on a Norway series format ("71 Degrees North") where a group of 15 contestants compete in a rugged outdoor voyage. In lieu of the WB paying a license fee, production costs are being underwritten by Ford in exchange for commercial time and product placement.

"That's Incredible" (Studios USA, LMNO Productions). A revival of the 1980s reality show.

Untitled Jamie Kennedy project (Michigan J. Frog Productions). Pilot for a reality/comedy series starring Jamie Kennedy.

Mr. Freeman is a senior editor at Electronic Media. Sources:, broadcast networks, studios and producers.

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