Pilots, pilots, and more pilots

‘Tis the season for the networks, after sifting through many, many fine pitches and scripts, to pick the crappiest ones and film pilots to inflict on us come fall.  Find out what to avoid, and what just might be good, plus news about shows you already like!

So, Medium is a success… let the rip-offs begin! CBS is working on Ghost Whisperer. It’s about Melinda (played by Jennifer Love Hewitt) who can see dead people and helps them cross over to the other side. She’s married to Jim, a squeamish paramedic who also may have special skills.

The WB is taking a more “Constantine” approach with Supernatural. Sam and Dean are the sons of ghost trackers who must battle the forces of darkness when his father disappears.

FOX is also going a bit “Hellblazer” with Briar and Graves, about a defrocked priest and a surgeon whose brother is possessed by the devil. The priest and the doctor go on to fight the battle for good and evil. I have a better idea, why not bring back Brimstone!

Brannon Braga is working on Threshold for CBS. It’s about a spacecraft that lands on earth, and the tensions between the government, military and scientists that make up the first contact team.

The Kathy Reichs’ “Tempe Brennan” books are the basis for a new series on FOX. If you haven’t read them, Tempe’s a forensic anthropologist, a bone detective, who is on call for cases all over the country.

The Commuters is about a group of thirtysomething suburbanites and their secret lives both with their families and at work in the city. Also on CBS.

David Mamet is producing The Unit for CBS, about an elite Special Forces team fighting terrorism. It’s based on the book “Inside Delta Force” by Eric Hanley.

CBS is home to the CSI family. In Miami, a plane full of money crashes with a dead body also on board. Also, a former skateboarder who runs a videogame company may have killed an employee. In Vegas, a man is found crushed to death during a Fat Convention and an Indian woman sets herself on fire. And, a flight attendant is found raped and murdered in a cheapo, off-strip motel. In New York, an Internal Affairs investigator should be investigating himself and a human statue performer is really not moving at all because he’s dead.

Speaking of skateboarding, Jason Lee is working on a show for NBC. He plays the title role in My Name is Earl. Earl is a white trash loser who finds out about karma and attempts to right every wrong he’s done to try and turn his luck around.

J.J. Abrams’ new show for ABC is called The Catch. Don Rickles is already cast, as is Greg Grunberg and Kym Whitley.

ABC is also piloting In Justice, about a group of lawyers who re-open cases where people were unjustly accused or convicted.

Aidan Quinn is Daniel in The Book of Daniel, about a man who talks to Jesus, who is a character on the show, to help deal with his daily problems. Yes, I realize this sounds much like another show, but this isn’t surprising, is itr

Chris Kattan is filming a pilot for ABC. He’s a consumer reporter for the local news whose wife has just left him. Now that sounds funny. Not as funny as a show about Mango, though.

In Episode 19 of The West Wing, the Santos campaign continues, and Donna fools around with Hoynes’ issues director. Vinich gets at running mate in episode 20–Governor Ray Sullivan is a pro-life, family values Governor of West Virginia.

Larry Miller is starring in Uncommon Sense for NBC. It’s a Raymond like family comedy, but will everybody love it?

On Two and a Half Men Charlie’s gay colleague assumes Charlie is gay. Charlie plays along for business reasons, taking Alan to a party and calling him his life partner.

UPN is bringing us Triangle, about a doctor whose wife disappears in the Caribbean. He’s heartbroken and can’t leave the island until he solves it’s mysteries. Also piloting at UPN is Wildlife about promiscuous twentysomethings in Silverlake, California. It will be narrated as if it were a nature documentary.

Enterprise is winding down with an episode directed by LeVar Burton. #96 is called “Demons”, and a kidnapper poses as a med tech and snatches Trip and T’Pol’s child. Yeah, I said their child.

Dr. Pratt gets a new girlfriend on E.R.. Her name is Olivia and she is an anti-gang crusader who sees the kids she’s trying to help end up in the hospital.

Ken Olin is working on Lennie Rose for ABC. Lennie is an alcoholic waitress/singer in Manhattan. She’s dating a bartender, but it’s another waiter at the restaurant who truly loves her.

It’s Inconceivable that NBC thinks a show about a fertility clinic will fly. Actually, it’s not, but it’s the obvious play on the name. The two doctors that run the clinic are divorced parent. Divorced from each other.

On JAG, officers visit a town grieving the loss of several of their native sons in Iraq. They JAG team ends up on a case when a man who knew the victims commits arson.

Kyle Smith’s book Love Monkey is the basis for a pilot for CBS. Tom is a record company executive who loses his job and girlfriend on the same day. He tries to save his career and his relationship, but his friends think all his plans and schemes suck.

A serial rapist will be terrorizing women during season 4 of The Shield.

Realtors are the subject of Hot Properties, a pilot for ABC. Being married to a realtor, I can say that this will be fascinating! NOT! They try and sex it up with the realtors being sexy women looking for love and commissions.

NBC loves Faron Hitchman. He’s a cute slacker who is marrying into a mafia family. Both the bride’s and groom’s families disapprove of each other.

NBC is also in a World of Trouble with their new show about and FBI team who travels the world to help U.S. citizens in trouble abroad.

Kevin Hill must defend a Wiccan witch who is using her religion to spook her boss.

Sci Fi channel, the motards that cancelled “Farscape,” are working on a new show called Eureka. Eureka is a town populated by geniuses where physics is unraveling.

Antoine Fuqua is directing Murder Book. Billy Gilroy heads a special unit and has solved 19 murders in a row. The 20th, however remains unsolved and that fact has completely unraveled Billy and caused his wife to leave him.

Screw you plumber! Desperate Housewives gets a new single man on the block. He’s a construction worker named Bill. Also, a deaf woman and her hearing husband and child move in the ‘hood.

Not only do we have Desperate Housewives, but we have Soccer Moms. The moms moonlight as private eyes.

Joan helps connect Adam with an amazing young artist on Joan of Arcadia.

Aaron Spelling is producing Ball and Chain for FOX. A brother and sister run a Vegas wedding chapel with the help of their deceased father’s mistress. He’s also creating Crazy about Sophie, a young psychologist on the edge of her own breakdown.

Underage prostitution casts a pall over Las Vegas when a 16 year old girl is used to bait a Senator. A man who is the youngest in a long line of gamblers finds out he may be the first in his family to not be one.

Ick, ick, ick. The N.C.I.S. crew receives a package with two, blue eyes in it.

Ick, ick, ick, again. On House a woman with a 25 pound tumor won’t let them remove it because her lovers find her body attractive.

Numbers takes on a cold case when a murder file is re-opened. A pregnant woman was killed and her husband feels the right man is behind bars. The convicted man’s mother convinces Don otherwise.

UPN is filming The Lot, about childhood friends, now an actress and a filmmaker, who work day jobs on a studio lot.

It’s the Boston Public of Middle Schools on NBC. Filmore Middle is an at-risk school for pre-teens, and the show follows it’s teachers and students, including Adam, who is pulled directly from Rushmore and is the founder and president of Filmore’s many clubs and who puts on ambitious plays.

On Everwood, Dr. Abbot treats Kyle after a terrible hunting accident, and Andy and Ephram go back to New York where old friends comment that Ephram looks happy for the first time ever.

Jamie Tarses is backing an untitled pilot for ABC about single thirtysomethings that reads exactly like “Friends,” well, except for the lesbian, who is a regular cast member instead of only being trotted out for sweeps month.

Finally, someone who she respects calls out Grace on Jack and Bobby. He ex is a cabinet member of Bill Clinton’s, and he comes back to PSU to be honored. He refuses the offer because of Grace’s affair with Tom, and he tells her how disappointed he is in her behavior.

Have I mentioned that Eric’s replacement is being cast on That 70’s Show? Charlie is the son of a buddy of Red’s. He moves in while his dad is away on business.

Yay! Shaun Cassidy! He’s creating Invasion about strange creatures found in Florida after a hurricane.

Five fraternity brothers are Grown Men, but they can’t figure out how they got that way on the WB.

The WB also brings us Pepper Dennis, about a TV reporter who wants to become an Anchorman.

The Charmed ones must keep Pandora’s Box safe as it travels to it’s new guardian, a college student named Hope.

FOX is tweaking its Lottery winner show that may be called Ticket to Ride. Twenty people, some who know each other, some who just happen to be there at the time, chip in a buck a piece and end up splitting a huge lottery prize. The show follows their lives after they each become twenty million dollars richer.

Matt LeBlanc is producing The Prince about Zach, a rich young kid who just parties and gets in trouble until his older brother dies and he must decide if he wants the responsibilities of being the oldest, next in line for the business.

Lloyd Leaf’s life changes when he gains another family in his 30’s as he finds out he’s adopted in Adopted on ABC.

Marta Kaufman is producing a show for the WB about the four Gudino sisters. Thirtysomething Anne is single, twentysomething Ginnie is a workaholic now accidentally pregnant, twenty year old Marjee is a stressed out drama queen and nineteen year old Rose is in college and figuring out her life.

Another reason not to move home and live in the family basement, Joel graduates college and moves home, only to become part of his parents divorce. They get Joint Custody of him and hilarity ensues on ABC.

The Crumbs are two brothers, one gay and one straight, who take over the family business on ABC. I’m sure hilarity ensues here, too.

Jhoni Marchinko is writing Blue Skies for NBC about Sarah, a single lifeguard who has been lying to her family about her wonderful life because she lives on the other side of the country from them. She makes L.A. sound too good, though, as her whole family decides to move there.

Rich Appel is writing a pilot for CBS about a set of divorced parents who start dating again. Other people. Not each other.

On N.C.I.S. a petty officer is murdered backstage at a bikini contest.

WB is piloting Mermaid, which is basically “Splash.” OK, it’s exactly “Splash.”

ABC is working on Play Mates, about parents who show that they need to learn the same stuff as their pre-schoolers about sharing, anger and self-esteem.

And, finally, the Law and Order round-up. Can you hear the headlines rippingr On “Criminal Intent,” a man who donates organs finds one of his recipients to be unworthy so he takes the kidney back. On regular “Law & Order,” an angry chef whose show is being cancelled kills the head of the FOOD network. On “Trial by Jury,” a convict is exonerated when fingerprint evidence is found out to be a fake. On “SVU,” eugenics rears its ugly head. And on the pilot for “Parking Control Detail,” Mazursky almost starts an international incident when he accidentally tickets a foreign diplomat’s Mercedes. Okay, I made that last one up. Or did I?