ABC Orders Five Pilots to Series

Mid-season is going to be a busy time on the ABC schedule–the network has picked up three new dramas and two comedies, including Rob Thomas’ Cupid and the police procedural Castle, starring Nathan Fillion.

Development has been delayed this year due of the writers strike, and ABC has only one new scripted series on the schedule this fall (Life on Mars). The five newcomers will join returning series Lost and Scrubs (making the jump from NBC to ABC) and new animated half-hour The Goode Family at mid-season.

Castle stars Fillion (formerly of the quickly-canceled Fox series Drive and Firefly) as a novelist who helps the NYPD solve murders. (No, really, that’s what it about.) Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Susan Sullivan and Stana Katic co-star in this “comedic procedural” from exec producers Armyan Bernstein, Rob Bowman and Laurie Zaks. The word comedic in there gives me some hope, since a little dash of comedy is often just the thing to make an otherwise dull procedural zing (see House, Life), and Fillion’s comedic talents are nothing short of exceptional. Let’s hope he has better luck at the Mouse House than he’s had on Fox.

Cupid is a reinvention of exec producer Rob Thomas’ (Veronica Mars) 1998 romantic comedy about a man who claims to be Cupid (as in the actual Roman god of love) and the therapist assigned to suss out if he’s crazy. Bobby Cannavale and Sarah Paulson will step into the roles originated by Jeremy Piven and Paula Marshall. The original Cupid was outstanding, so let’s hope Thomas can recreate the magic.

The Unusuals is another comedy-tinged drama set inside the NYPD, but this one’s an ensemble about a quirky police precinct. Harold Perrineau (guess we won’t be seeing much more of Michael on Lost), Amber Tamblyn, Jeremy Renner, Adam Goldberg, Kai Lennox and Terry Kinney star in this series from Noah Hawley and Peter Tolan.

Half-hour comedy Better Off Ted stars Jay Harrington as an office worker attempting to move up the corporate ladder. Portia de Rossi and Andrea Anders also star in this series from Victor Fresco (of the late, lamented Andy Richter Controls The Universe).

And finally there’s Single With Parents, another half-hour starring Alyssa Milano as a woman juggling her career with family and friends (played by Annie Potts, Beau Bridges and Amanda Detmer). Eh.

ABC has a few other projects in the works that may yet see the light of day as well. The buzzworthy Prince of Motor City and Captain Cook’s Extraordinary Atlas are both rumored to be still in the running for pick-up.

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