It's the reality shows that are bunching up at the top of the ratings. But networks continue to show hope for scripted shows - especially at this time of year. Pilot episodes for more than 100 proposed new series are being completed this month as part of the annual effort that will result in rosters of new fall shows.
Only about a third of them will make it; a few others may be held for midseason replacements. All the others will disappear.
And while some new shows are a lock for the fall, including a fourth version of "Law & Order"; a third "CSI," set in New York; and the "Friends" spin-off "Joey," here's a look at some other pilots that may or may not fly into fall schedules:
Actors new to series TV: Macaulay Culkin is featured in a proposed NBC comedy about a brother and sister reunited after growing up in different foster homes. Jeff Goldblum is a financial consultant in therapy, also for NBC. Lewis Black of "The Daily Show" stars as a high school principal in a proposed ABC sitcom. Chris O'Donnell stars in the CBS comedy "The Amazing Westerbergs." Ricki Lake stars as a single mom who runs a bar in a new project from the creators of "Cheers," for CBS.
Marissa Jaret Winokur, the Tony-winning star of "Hairspray" on Broadway, will join French Stewart, Laurie Metcalf and Brenda Vaccaro in "The Furst Family" for ABC, an adaptation of the British hit "The Royale Family."
A more visible British adaptation will be the U.S. version of the acclaimed import "The Office." Steve Carell of "The Daily Show" is in the version by NBC, who fumbled the Americanization of "Coupling" last season.
Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, whose variety show drew 11.4 million viewers Sunday, star in separate ABC projects. He's in "Hot Mom," starring Gina Gershon as a wedding planner; she's in an untitled sitcom about a pop star turned TV newsmagazine reporter.
Odd jobs: Besides "Hot Mom," wedding planning is the business in the ABC drama "DeMarco Affairs" starring Selma Blair and Sabrina Lloyd.
Another rising business in TV pilots is nannies. Gerald McRaney returns in a comedy called "Commando Nanny" for The WB. A drama about nannies in upscale New York, "Gramercy Park" features Samaire Armstrong and Milo Ventimiglia.
NBC's proposed "D.O.T.S." might be the first comedy about meter maids. That network's "Hub," with Heather Locklear, is a drama set behind the scenes at a major airport.
More cops: There's no shortage of crime and mystery solvers amid the pilots. "Keen Eddie" star Mark Valley returns as a private eye in "Harry Green Plus Eugene" for ABC. NBC's "City of Dreams" is a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced private eye saga starring Jimmy Smits. Stanley Tucci is the private eye in Brooklyn in the CBS drama "The Webster Report." Sarah Wayne Callies is the star of "The Secret Service" for ABC. And Fox's "Johnny Zero" is about an ex-con who is a private investigator.
NBC's proposed cop show "Hawaii" comes without the 5-0 in the title. CBS' "Wanted" is about cops in L.A. with Scott Glenn and Yancey Arias. And "Blind Justice" on NBC is, yes, about a seeing-impaired cop.
People from other fields can help solve crimes in pilots, such as an MIT mathematician, as in CBS' "Numbers" or a suburban mom who is a psychic on NBC's "Medium," starring Patricia Arquette. UPN is also developing a series about a teen who works at her dad's detective agency. And a proposed UPN drama about lesbian private investigators is called "Nikki and Nora."
Familiar faces: Stars who made their name in earlier hit series are trying new ones. John Goodman stars in the Chicago family sitcom "Center of the Universe" for CBS. Henry Winkler is in the cast of NBC's "Beverly Hills SUV," a comedy about a dealership. Rob Reiner heads "Everyday Life," about a family of therapists for NBC. Caroline Rhea stars in ABC's proposed "Plan B" about a single working mother. Jennifer Love Hewitt is featured in an untitled ABC comedy about a sports. Tim Daly of "Wings" returns for "Eyes," about a risk-management firm, for ABC. Jane Krakowski is a culinary-school grad in "Taste" for CBS. Andy Richter stars in a sitcom about teen quintuplets for Fox. Jenny McCarthy tries another comedy, "The Bad Girl's Guide," for UPN. Aisha Tyler stars in her own workplace comedy for CBS about moving from fashion to the corporate world.
More stars? Felicity Huffman and Teri Hatcher are among the "Desperate Housewives," a drama for ABC. Robert Forster, most recently with "Karen Sisco" returns in CBS' "Bounty Hunter," heading a father and sons manhunting firm. Dean Cain returns as former Yankees batboy in "Clubhouse" for CBS. Rob Lowe tries again in CBS's "Dr. Vegas," as a casino physician. Christine Lahti stars in the political drama "Jack & Bobby" for The WB. Barbara Hershey returns on "The Mountain" for The WB.
Kim Delaney stars as a witch and single mom in "Sudbury" for CBS. A male witch is the protagonist of Fox pilot "Spellbound." And Kerr Smith plays a record store owner who talks to the dead on the UPN drama "Silver Lake," also starring Sandra Bernhard. And there's a comedy set in a record store too: "Vinyl Haven" on CBS.
Writers and cartoons: Colin Hanks stars with Sharon Lawrence in a sitcom about Joel Stein's days at Time magazine for ABC; Jason Alexander plays writer and popular ESPN commentator Tony Kornheiser in a CBS project.
With "Father of the Pride," a lock for NBC, five other animated shows are under development, including a new one from "Family Guy" creator Seth McFarlane and an animated version of the controversial comic strip by Aaron McGruder, "Boondocks," both at Fox.
Sons of `24': Time is still a conceit in many of the premises. John Stamos stars in a proposed ABC comedy whose first season is one long first date. Jason O'Mara stars in the ABC project "Countdown," in which a SWAT team responds to emergencies in real time. And Fox's "Ricochet" starts at the end of a police case and works backward.
Remaking TV classics: Ready for an update of "Mister Ed"? They're making it for Fox, with Sherilyn Fenn and Sherman Hemsley in the cast. "The Robinsons: Lost in Space" is another new turn on the classic series for The WB, which is also developing a new version of "Dark Shadows." NBC's vampire-hunting saga is called "Transylvania"
Survivor scripted: Just so they are not left out, producers of reality shows are starting to offer their own scripted series in pilots this season, including Mark Burnett of "Survivor" and "The Apprentice" fame, with a saga about shipwrecked students called "Eden" for NBC.
Primed for Prime Time
Familiar faces populate pilot episodes of shows bidding for spots on Fall prime-time schedule
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