TV Pilots 2021: All of the New Network Shows in the Works
The 2020-2021 season has been challenging for networks, thanks to pandemic-related delays in production schedules, but they still need to plan for the future. Welcome to pilot season.
The ones below may not all make it to series, while some that aren’t on this list — those still being shopped around — may end up part of the primetime lineup. Amid the comedies and dramas that could be coming to ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and The CW are some fan-favorite stars and updated takes on some classic shows.
Here, a breakdown of all the pilots in the works for the 2021-2022 season. Be sure to keep checking back for updates. (W=writer, EP=executive producer, D=director)
Abbott Elementary (Comedy) *Ordered to Series*
Cast: Quinta Brunson, Tyler James Williams, Chris Perfetti, Lisa Ann Walter, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Janelle James
W: Quinta Brunson
EP: Quinta Brunson, Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker
Synopsis: In this workplace comedy, a group of dedicated, passionate teachers — and a slightly tone-deaf principal — are brought together in a Philadelphia public school where, despite the odds stacked against them, they are determined to help their students succeed in life. Though these incredible public servants may be outnumbered and underfunded, they love what they do — even if they don’t love the school district’s less-than-stellar attitude toward educating children.
Acts of Crime (Drama)
Cast: Candace Grace, Josiah Cross, Peter Mark Kendall, Molly Price
W: Sam Esmail
EP: Sam Esmail, Chad Hamilton
D: Sam Esmail
Synopsis: A unique spin on the crime procedural.
W/EP: Shawn Vance, Daril Fannin, Jimmy Kimmel
Synopsis: When a Green Beret returns home to Texas from military service, he and his family struggle with the challenges of adopting his new brother, a 12-year-old Russian boy. Inspired by a true story.
Black Don’t Crack (Comedy)
Cast: Sherri Shepherd, Essence Atkins, Tisha Campbell, Tahj Mowry, Beth Grant, Isaiah Mustafa
W: Regina Hicks
D: Kelly Park
EP: Regina Hicks, Viola Davis, Julius Tennon, Larry Wilmore
Synopsis: Three former sorority sisters who lost touch after college reunite during a pivotal point in their lives. They realize sometimes it’s OK to crack and when you do, no one will be there for you like your friends.
Cast: Shannon Woodward, Nicole Richie, Jane Lynch
W: Emily Wilson
EP: Emily Wilson, Sara Gilbert, Tom Werner, Marc Provissiero, Mandy Summers
Synopsis: After being dumped by her boyfriend and kicked out of her apartment on the eve of a big promotion, Amy finds refuge at her mom’s house in the blue-collar neighborhood where she grew up. Amy reconnects with her teenage niece, living there due to Amy’s sister’s latest rehab stint, and resolves to stay when she realizes that her mom and niece aren’t quite equipped to go it alone.
Dark Horse (Drama)
W: William Jehu Garroutte
EP: William Jehu Garroutte, Jessica Goldberg, Peter Traugott, Avi Nir, Alon Shtruzman, Darren Dale, Miranda Dear, Rachel Griffiths
Synopsis: It follows Alex Irving, a passionate Indigenous woman, on her unconventional journey into politics. As Alex reckons with her own troubled past, she juggles obligations to her family, her culture, and a political system that’s never seen anybody quite like her. Based on the Australian series Total Control.
Cast: Eleanor Fanyinka, Brittany O’Grady, Sarah Hyland
W: Brigitte Hales
EP: Brigitte Hales, Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis
Synopsis: A romantic anthology that reinvents fairy tales for a new audience.
Maggie (Comedy) *Ordered to Series*
Cast: Rebecca Rittenhouse, David Del Rio, Nichole Sakura, Angelique Cabral, Leonardo Nam, Ray Ford, Chloe Bridges, Kerri Kenney, Chris Elliott
W: Maggie Mull, Justin Adler
EP: Maggie Mull, Justin Adler, Evan Hayes, Jeff Morton
Synopsis: Based on the short film Maggie by Tim Curcio, Maggie follows a young woman trying to cope with life as a psychic. Maggie regularly sees the fate of her friends, parents, clients and random strangers on the street, but when she suddenly sees a glimpse of her own future, Maggie is forced to start living in her own present.
National Parks (Drama)
Cast: Billy Campbell, Angel Parker, Gerardo Celasco, Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut, Blu Hunt, Guillermo Diaz
W: Kevin Costner, Aaron Helbing, Jon Baird
EP: Kevin Costner, Aaron Helbing, Jon Baird, Barry Jossen, Tana Jamieson, Rod Lake, Ivan Cohen, Ken Halsband, Anthony Hemingway
D: Anthony Hemingway
Synopsis: A small group of elite NPS agents solve crimes while protecting the national parks.
Promised Land (Drama)
W: Matt Lopez
EP: Matt Lopez, Adam Kolbrenner
Synopsis: An epic, generation-spanning drama about two Latinx families vying for wealth and power in California’s Sonoma Valley.
Queens (Drama) *Ordered to Series*
Cast: Eve, Naturi Naughton, Brandy, Nadine Velazquez, Taylor Selé, Pepi Sonuga
W: Zahir McGhee
EP: Zahir McGhee, Sabrina Wind, Tim Story
Synopsis: Estranged and out of touch, four women in their 40s reunite for a chance to recapture their fame and regain the swagger they had as the Nasty Bitches—their ‘90s group that made them legends in the hip-hop world.
Cast: Michael Ealy, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Gabriel Sloyer, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Andrew Richardson, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Kathleen Robertson
W: David Cornue
EP: David Cornue, Erica Messer, Jon M. Chu, Steven Marrs, Courtney Hazlett, Caitlin Foito
D: Jon M. Chu
Synopsis: A character-driven medical drama that follows a pioneering surgeon, Finley Briar, over three distinct decades at the same hospital. With the evolution of medicine as the backdrop, the show explores the interconnected careers, friendships, and romances of Finley and her colleagues, and their tenuous relationship with time.
The Wonder Years (Comedy) *Ordered to Series*
Cast: Elisha “EJ” Williams, Saycon Sengbloh, Dulé Hill, Laura Kariuki, Milan Ray, Julian Lerner, Amari O’Neil, Don Cheadle (narrator)
W: Saladin Patterson
EP: Saladin Patterson, Lee Daniels, Marc Velez, Fred Savage
Synopsis: Inspired by the beloved award-winning series of the same name, The Wonder Years is a coming-of-age story set in the late 1960s that takes a nostalgic look at a black middle-class family in Montgomery, Alabama, through the point of view of imaginative 12-year-old Dean. With the wisdom of his adult years, Dean’s hopeful and humorous recollections show how his family found their “wonder years” in a turbulent time.
Ghosts (Comedy) *Ordered to Series*
Cast: Rose McIver, Brandon Scott Jones, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Richie Moriarty, Danielle Pinnock, Asher Grodman, Sheila Carrasco, Roman Zaragoza, Rebecca Wisocky
W: Joe Port, Joe Wiseman
EP: Joe Port, Joe Wiseman, Mathew Baynton, Jim Howick, Simon Farnaby, Laurence Rickard, Ben Willbond, Martha Howe-Douglas, Alison Carpenter, Debra Hayward, Alison Owen, Angie Stephenson
Synopsis: A struggling young couple’s dreams come true when they inherit a beautiful country house, only to find it’s both falling apart and inhabited by many of the deceased previous residents. Based on the British comedy series of the same name.
Good Sam (Drama) *Ordered to Series*
Cast: Sophia Bush, Jason Isaacs, Skye P. Marshall, Edwin Hodge
W: Katie Wech
EP: Katie Wech, Jennie Snyder Urman, Joanna Klein, Tamra Davis
D: Tamra Davis
Synopsis: A talented yet stifled surgeon embraces her leadership role after her renowned and pompous boss falls into a coma. When he awakens and wants to resume surgery, however, it falls to her to supervise this overbearing blowhard who never acknowledged her talents — and also happens to be her father.
Untitled Tom Smallwood Project (Comedy) *Ordered to Series*
Cast: Pete Holmes, Chi McBride
W: Mark Gross
EP: Mark Gross, David Hollander, Brian D’Arcy James
Synopsis: Based on the life of pro bowler Tom Smallwood, the comedy revolves around a seemingly ordinary man, who, after being laid off from the assembly line at the GM factory, decides to provide for his family by following his dream of becoming a pro bowler.
Wilde Things (Comedy)
Cast: Julie Bowen, Ken Marino, Milan Carter, Jeremy D. Howard, Stephanie Koenig
W: Max Mutchnick, David Kohan
EP: Max Mutchnick, David Kohan
Synopsis: A successful and fiercely independent crisis manager’s world is turned upside down when she decides to let someone into her life for the first time — an 11-year-old girl who she adopts and raises with the occasional help of her fragile, nervous wreck of a sister.
The Big Leap (Drama) *Ordered to Series*
Cast: Scott Foley, Teri Polo, Ser’Darius Blain, Ray Cham, Jon Rudnitsky, Simone Recasner, Piper Perabo, Malory Jansen, Kevin Daniels
W: Liz Heldens
EP: Liz Heldens, Jason Winer, Sue Naegle
D: Jason Winer
Synopsis: Inspired by a U.K. format, it centers on a group of diverse underdogs from all different walks of life who compete to be part of a competition reality series that is putting on a modern, hip remake of Swan Lake. What they lack in the traditional dancer body type, they make up for with their edge, wit and desire to reimagine an iconic story to fit their own mold.
The Cleaning Lady (Drama) *Ordered to Series*
Cast: Elodie Yung, Adan Canto, Vincent Piazza, Ginger Gonzaga
W: Miranda Kwok
EP: Miranda Kwok, Shay Mitchell, Melissa Carter, Michael Offer
D: Michael Offer
Synopsis: Based on the Argentine series La Chica que Limpia, the darkly aspirational character drama follows a whip-smart doctor who comes to the U.S. for a medical treatment to save her ailing son. But when the system fails and pushes her into hiding, she refuses to be beaten down and marginalized. Instead, she becomes a cleaning lady for the mob and starts playing the game by her own rules.
Monarch (Drama) *Straight-to-Series Order*
W: Melissa London Hilfers
EP: Melissa London Hilfers, Michael Rauch, Gail Berman, Hend Baghdady, Jason Owen
Logline: Multigenerational musical drama about America’s first family of country music. The Romans are fiercely talented, but while their name is synonymous with honesty, the very foundation of their success is a lie. When their reign as country royalty is put in jeopardy, Nicky Roman, the heir to the crown — already battling an industry stacked against her — will stop at nothing to protect her family’s legacy.
Pivoting (Comedy) *Ordered to Series*
Cast: Eliza Coupe, Ginnifer Goodwin, Maggie Q, Tommy Dewey, JT Neal
W: Liz Astrof
EP: Liz Astrof, Aaron Kaplan, Dana Honor, Tristram Shapeero
D: Tristram Shapeero
Synopsis: After the death of their childhood best friend, three women are faced with the reality that life is short. In desperate attempts to find happiness, they make a series of impulsive, ill-advised and self-indulgent decisions, strengthening their bond and proving it’s never too late to screw up your life.
This Country (Comedy) *Ordered to Series*
Cast: Seann William Scott, Aya Cash, Sam Straley, Taylor Ortega, Chelsea Holmes, Krystal Smith, Justin Linville
W: Jenny Bicks
EP: Jenny Bicks, Paul Feig, Angie Stephenson, Dan Magnante and original series creators Charlie Cooper and Daisy May Cooper
Logline: A documentary crew goes to a small town to study young adults and their current concerns. Their focus is the daily lives of cousins Kelly (Holmes) and Shrub Mallet (Straley) and their idiosyncratic surroundings. We follow the cousins as they pursue their dreams, confront challenges, and fight each other for frozen pizza. These two don’t have much, but they do have each other. Inspired by the BBC format
At That Age (Drama)
Cast: Adrian Holmes, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Nicole Ari Parker, Brad James
W: Carla Banks-Waddles
EP: Carla Banks-Waddles, Malcolm D. Lee, Debra Martin Chase
Synopsis: An exploration of an African-American family’s legacy. After the Cooper family’s golden child suffers a catastrophic event, seven family members face a foundational shift, make life-altering decisions and deal with deep secrets coming to light.
Crazy for You (Comedy)
W: Rachele Lynn
EP: Lorne Michaels, Seth Meyers, Mike Shoemaker, Andrew Singer, Hilary Marx, Jason Carden
Co-EP: Rachele Lynn
Synopsis: With her life stalling, Daisy re-enters the dating scene only to discover that while she was out of the game, the game sort of, totally, completely changed. Realizing she is a bit rusty at being “normal” and “appealing” on first dates, she’ll need the support of her friends as she strives to succeed while being her true self in today’s quick-to-dismiss dating culture.
W: JJ Bailey
EP: JJ Bailey, John Davis, John Fox
Synopsis: A high-concept, genre procedural revolving around a team of investigators who solve the highest-profile crimes by sending our heroes into the past… in the body of the victim. Assuming the victim’s identity, they must race against time to prevent the crime before it happens.
Cast: Jim Jefferies
W: Jim Jefferies, Suzanne Martin
EP: Jim Jefferies, Suzanne Martin, Sean Hayes, Todd Milliner, Tim Sarkes, Alex Murray
Synopsis: Jim Jefferies plays a fictionalized version of himself — a comedian with a unique and often controversial take on modern life, relationships and co-parenting with his best friend.
Ordinary Joe (Drama) *Ordered to Series*
Cast: James Wolk, Natalie Martinez, Charlie Barnett, Elizabeth Lail
W: Russel Friend, Garrett Lerner
EP: Russel Friend, Garrett Lerner, Adam Davidson, Matt Reeves, Adam Kassan, Rafi Crohn, Howard Klein
D: Adam Davidson
Synopsis: Explores the three parallel lives of the show’s main character after he makes a pivotal choice at a crossroads in his life. The series asks the question of how different life might look if you made your decision based on love, loyalty or passion.
Someone Out There (Comedy)
W: Matt Hubbard, Josh Siegal, Dylan Morgan
EP: Matt Hubbard, Josh Siegal, Dylan Morgan, Emiliano Calemzuk, Gonzalo Sagardia, Javier Veiga
Synopsis: Based on the Spanish series Pequeñas Coincidencias, two set-in-their-ways adults are challenged by very unexpected strangers to become the best versions of themselves in order to find love and possibly each other.
The 4400 (Drama) *Straight-to-Series Order*
Cast: Joseph David-Jones, Khaliah Johnson
W: Ariana Jackson
EP: Ariana Jackson, Anna Fricke, Laura Terry
Synopsis: 4400 overlooked, undervalued, or otherwise marginalized people who vanished without a trace over the last hundred years are all returned in an instant, having not aged a day and with no memory of what happened to them. As the government races to analyze the potential threat and contain the story, the 4400 themselves must grapple with the fact that they’ve been returned with a few…upgrades, and the increasing likelihood that they were all brought back now for a specific reason. Based on the original TV series.
Cast: Kaci Walfall, Alexander Wraith, Cranston Johnson, Camila Moreno
W: Ava DuVernay, Jill Blankenship
EP: Ava DuVernay, Jill Blankenship, Sarah Bremner, Paul Garnes
Synopsis: It follows a teen girl’s journey from her small northwestern town to the heights of the multiverse. When a supernatural event shakes her hometown to the core, Naomi sets out to uncover its origins, and what she discovers will challenge everything we believe about our heroes. Based on the characters from DC.
Cast: Chloe Bennet, Dove Cameron, Yana Perrault, Donald Faison
W: Heather Regnier, Diablo Cody
EP: Heather Regnier, Diablo Cody, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, David Madden
P: Erika Kennair
Synopsis: The Powerpuff Girls used to be America’s pint-sized superheroes, now they’re disillusioned twentysomethings who resent having lost their childhood to crime fighting. Will they agree to reunite now that the world needs them more than ever? Based on the original Cartoon Network animated series and characters created by Craig McCracken.
Untitled Urman/Rothrock/Weir Project (Dramedy)
Cast: Caitlin Kinnunen, Bella Ortiz, Karen Robinson, Joe Regalbuto, Kathleen Chalfant, Maxwell Whittington-Cooper, Abubakr Ali
W: Claire Rothrock, Ryann Weir
EP: Claire Rothrock, Ryann Weir, Jennie Snyder Urman, Joanna Klein
Synopsis: A dramedy about two millennial nuns – a devout true believer, and a new arrival who has yet to take her final vows – who start as strangers and become sisters on a funny, spiritual journey to understand their own faith and place in the Catholic church.