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With the broadcast upfronts around the corner, early cuts of many pilots began to roll in to networks this week. That means buzz is building on some projects, but sources caution that it’s far too soon to declare winners and losers.
Some pilots are still in the lensing or editing process and won’t be delivered for another week or so. With those caveats, here’s a look at what appears to be looking good so far. The marathon week of upfront presentations for the Big Four and CW begins May 11, when Fox and NBC unveil their 2015-16 season plans.
For detailed information on production and creative auspices of this year’s pilots, see Variety.com’s searchable Pilot Scorecard chart.
- Elizabeth Wagmeister and Cynthia Littleton
When you need me I’ll be there… with an all new TVLine Mixtape!
What follows is an array of songs recently featured on your favorite shows, including artist and album information in case you want to add them to your personal collection.
Spoilers abound, and we chose songs we liked — but we always love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.
So peruse our playlist, then hit the comments with your favorite TV tunes. And remember: You can always submit questions or suggestions about TV music on Twitter @RyanSchwartz.
RelatedTVLine Mixtape: Your Favorite Songs From Jane the Virgin, Forever and »
Chicago Fire executive producer-director Joe Chappelle has signed an overall with the companies behind the successful NBC drama series, Dick Wolf’s Wolf Films and Universal TV. Chappelle has emerged as one of the key auspices of the Chicago Fire franchise. He has served as executive producer and director on the mothership series since its launch. He directed the Chicago Fire episode that served as a planted pilot for spinoff Chicago P.D. as well as this week’s episode of C… »
It will be another busy summer for TNT, which on Thursday announced a lineup that features 10 original series for a second straight year.
The young slate features three new series that will bow during the warm-weather months — “Proof,” “Public Morals” and “Cold Justice: Sex Crimes” — as well as three dramas returning for a second season. The Turner network will also be saying goodbye to veteran “Falling Skies.”
TNT’s summer gets under way on Monday, June 8, with the season-four premiere of Mary McDonnell-fronted drama “Major Crimes” and the season-two bow of “Murder in the First” — two shows that were also paired on Monday a year ago. “Murder,” from Steven Bochco and starring Taye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson, will again focus on a single murder investigation throughout the course of the season.
“Rizzoli & Isles,” cable’s most-watched series last summer, returns for its sixth season on Tuesday, June 16. It will be followed at 10 p. »
- Rick Kissell
Under the pact, Forney will continue as co-executive producer and director for all NBC series hailing from Wolf Films and Universal Television, including “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.”
“As head of post-production, Arthur Forney is one of the irreplaceable pieces of the Wolf Films hierarchy,” Wolf commented. “I’ve worked with him every day on every episode we’ve produced for more than two decades. The fact that he has also directed some of the best episodes on all our series is merely icing on the cake.”
Forney, who started his career at Warner Bros., joined Wolf Films in 1988. He has worked on every “Law & Order” branded series, plus “New York Undercover” and the company’s current series, alongside Wolf.
Forney is set to direct »
- Elizabeth Wagmeister
25-year Wolf Films veteran, producer-director Arthur Forney, has closed a new overall deal with Dick Wolf’s production company and Universal TV, where the company is based. Under the pact, Forney will continue as a co-executive producer and director for all of Wolf Films/Uni TV NBC series, including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. Additionally, Forney also heads all of Wolf Films' post production operations. "As head of post production… »
The hefty three-year pact calls for Leight to develop new projects exclusively for the studio. But the deal also allows Leight to continue as showrunner on “Svu” for the coming 2015-16 season.
Leight has been at the helm of “Svu” for Dick Wolf and Universal Television for the past four seasons. He’s steered the long-running show through the departure of original co-star Christopher Meloni and kept it vital anchor series for the Peacock. Sony TV execs spent a long time wooing the hyphenate, but for Leight the deal was contingent on allowing him to stick with “Svu” for at least one more season.
In addition to being an in-demand showrunner, the New York native is an accomplished playwright. He won the Tony Award in 1999 for »
- Cynthia Littleton
Bob Philpott, managing partner of Philpott Bills Stoll & Meeks, died Wednesday night after suffering from a stroke last month, his business partner Steve Bills told The Hollywood Reporter. He was 66. Philpott's clients included Law & Order creator Dick Wolf and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Philpott served in the Marines from 1968-1970, where he trained as a Scout Sniper attached to the First Marine Brigade. He went on to receive an accounting degree from California Polytechnic University in 1974 after leaving the military. See more Hollywood's Notable Deaths of 2015 He joined the business management firm Traubner & Flynn
- THR staff
The mood has been a little dark on NBC this season, but things are about to lighten up. So says Bob Greenblatt, NBC Entertainment chairman, in assessing the network’s performance as the 2014-15 season heads into its final quarter.
The Peacock has had little ratings luck with its new scripted series so far this season. The five dramas launched to date — “State of Affairs,” “The Mysteries of Laura,” “Constantine,” “Allegiance” and “The Slap” — have delivered lackluster numbers and are long shots for renewal.
Greenblatt acknowledges that NBC’s focus on dense, darker conspiracy thrillers such as “State of Affairs,” “Allegiance,” and the upcoming “Odyssey” has been out of step with the kind of material that viewers appear to be looking for in network dramas. That’s been a big handicap, especially as NBC has banked on an all-drama makeover of its Thursday lineup with the relocation of “The Blacklist” to the 9 p. »
- Cynthia Littleton
Bush captioned the pic, "#wcw @LadyGaga, naturally. She Slayed the #Oscars and now she's snuggled up with the #ChicagoFam celebrating love. "The Oscars were amazing, but this!? This is everything." Oh #TaylorKinney you're a lucky man!! #love #congrats."
Gaga lucked out as well, getting a half-million dollar, heart-shaped diamond engagement ring. The couple have been dating since 2011, after Kinney starred in Gaga’s music video for her single "You and I."
It was a big »
Jennifer Salke has renewed her contract as NBC’s entertainment president.
Salke’s new deal, which is believed to run three years, had been expected. The former 20th Century Fox TV exec weathered a rocky first year on the job at NBC to become well regarded within the network and NBCUniversal as a creative leader and manager.
Salke also has a very close working relationship with NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt, whose deal with the Peacock runs through 2017. Salke’s previous three-year contract was to expire in June.
In addition to spearheading scripted programming and development for NBC, Salke oversees the Universal Television studio arm, which has expanded its operations during the past two years in a push to produce shows for non-nbcu outlets.
In a memo sent Tuesday morning to NBC staffers, Greenblatt wrote:
“I’m pleased to share the news that we’ve renewed Jennifer Salke as president of NBC Entertainment. »
- Cynthia Littleton
Oliver Platt has been tapped to co-star in NBC's Chicago Fire planted spinoff, Chicago Med. Platt is joining S. Epatha Merkerson, Yaya DaCosta and Laurie Holden in the ensemble medical drama project whose cast will be introduced in Episode 19 of Chicago Fire this season. Platt will play the intelligent head of psychiatry, Dr. Daniel Charles. The Chicago Med planted spinoff is being conceived and written by Dick Wolf, whose company Wolf Films produces the Chicago Fire/Chica… »
The medical drama will be introduced this season on the 19th episode of “Chicago Fire.”
- Maane Khatchatourian
After years of playing a lieutenant, Law & Order alumna S. Epatha Merkerson is moving to the world of medicine.
The actress will star in the potential Chicago Fire spinoff Chicago Med, which will be introduced this season as an hour of the mothership series.
RelatedYaya DaCosta Cast as Chicago Med Nurse — and Fire Love Interest
Per our sister site Deadline, Merkerson will appear in Episode 19 of Fire as Sharon Goodwin, the head of the hospital which serves as the setting for Med. Though she doesn’t love the politics that go into running the establishment and has little patience for foolishness, »
Warren Christie is ready for a hot time with NBC. Christie, who plays Abby McCarthy’s love interest Will on the Bravo series “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce,” has been cast on the NBC drama “Chicago Fire.” Also Read: ‘Whitney’ Actress Yaya DaCosta Tapped to Star in ‘Chicago Fire’ Offshoot ‘Chicago Med’ The actor will appear on a few episodes of the series, playing a firefighter and childhood friend of Taylor Kinney‘s Kelly Severide. In addition to “Girlfriends’ Guide,” Christie is known for his starring role in the 2011 film “Apollo 18″ and Syfy’s “Alphas,” on which he played Cameron Hicks. »
- Tim Kenneally
Yaya DaCosta is trading in her microphone for a stethoscope. DaCosta, who played troubled singer Whitney Houston in the Lifetime biopic “Whitney,” has been cast in NBC’s proposed “Chicago Fire” spinoff “Chicago Med,” an individual with knowledge of the casting told TheWrap on Monday. Also Read: NBC Lays Groundwork for ‘Chicago Fire’ Spinoff Titled ‘Chicago Med’ The potential spinoff will be given a trial run on Episode 19 of “Chicago Fire’s” current third season, when new characters are introduced. DaCosta will play a nurse named Maggie Seaver, who becomes romantically involved with Taylor Kinney‘s “Chicago Fire” character Kelly. »
- Tim Kenneally
One of the most popular television series of all time may be poised to return to airwaves, with news that NBC is looking at possibly bringing Dick Wolf’s original Law & Order back to the land of the living.
Reboots are all the rage these days; Fox resuscitated Jack Bauer for 24: Live Another Day, and NBC is already wheeling out Heroes for 13-episode miniseries Heroes Reborn, so the idea of making more Law & Order isn’t completely out of left field.
In fact, network brass note that this isn’t the first time they’ve discussed a reboot of its longest-running drama series. However, Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva thinks that movement is happening on that front, with NBC potentially looking at assembling an all-star lineup of heavy hitters from Law & Order‘s past, including stalwarts Chris Noth and Sam Waterston, for a 10-episode limited series.
Law & Order somehow never »
- Isaac Feldberg
NBC may be considering reviving the original Law & Order for a ten-episode limited series. According to Deadline, there's no official plan in place or active development, but there is "movement" on the idea, and both Chris Noth and Sam Waterston have reportedly been approached to reprise their roles. It's not a half-bad idea, really: L&O creator Dick Wolf has three dramas currently on NBC and another in the works, limited rerurns of canceled series are very trendy right now, and America's appetite for crime procedurals remains high. If only there were a way to bring Claire Kincaid back from the dead »
- Margaret Lyons
NBC reaffirmed its devotion to all its veteran drama series yesterday, ordering additional seasons for The Blacklist (season three), Grimm (season five), Chicago Fire (season four), Chicago Pd (season three) and Law & Order: Svu (season 17).
After a lackluster 2014-15 season for the network, it makes sense that NBC would commit to another year with its known quantity series. Jennifer Salke, the network’s entertainment president, released an official statement today, announcing the pick-ups and stating:
“The creative vision of the executive producers who’ve guided these outstanding dramas has been nothing short of incredible. We’re highly appreciative of the passion they bring to their shows at every step of the creative process and we’re thrilled to reward that dedication with these renewals.”
The five shows received NBC’s first scripted renewals for the 2015-16 television season. Still awaiting news of their fates are midseason return Hannibal, which is expected to air this summer, »
- Isaac Feldberg
Excellent news for Red Reddington converts: NBC has picked up The Blacklist for a third season. The second place network also continues to believe in Dick Wolf's cop drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: the Mariska Hargitay starrer earned an incredible 17th season renewal. (Though it's still shy of what the mothership accomplished. Law & Order made it to 20 seasons.) Grimm will also be back for a fifth season, Chicago Fire for a fourth, and Chicago P.D. for a third, NBC announced Thursday. The jury is still out on a few new dramas, however. NBC has yet to decide »
- lynette rice, @lynetterice
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