ABC’s efforts to revive NBC’s Emmy-winning legal drama have come to an end.
The Disney-backed broadcast network has passed on the sequel that featured original cast members Blair Underwood and Corbin Bernsen. Additionally, Jo Koy comedy Josep will also not move forward this season, though sources say the network remains high on the concept and could redevelop the comedy.
The remainder of ABC’s pilots remain in contention for a possible midseason slot as ABC has a second set of internal screenings scheduled for July as part of its commitment to year-round development. Those remaining in consideration are: comedy The Son-in-Law starring Chris Sullivan (This Is Us); dramas The Company You Keep, featuring Milo Ventimiglia; procedural Will Trent; the untitled Kay Oyegun project (which completed casting this week); and the long-gestating national parks project that has been redeveloped from 2021.
The decisions come after ABC converted three of its pilots – Gina Rodriguez comedy Not Dead Yet, Hilary Swank newspaper drama Alaska spirit The Rookie spinoff featuring Niecy Nash – to series. The network, overseen by Craig Erwich, also has David E. Kelley’s straight-to-series drama Avalon for 2022-23.
ABC has remained increasingly committed to year-round development. Alaska, it’s worth noting, was first ordered in September with Swank attached. The process allows creatives and execs alike more time with scripts and an early jump on castings and directors before the annual frenzy of the January-to-May pilot season.
The pandemic has accelerated the broadcasters’ push for year-round development after Pilot Season 2020 was effectively wiped out by the global production shutdown. That forced networks to pivot to models including script-to-series (Fox) and year-round orders. CBS and NBC, it’s worth noting, both also have pilots that remain in contention for midseason consideration as pickups continue to come in later every year. That limits the amount of casting and production comedies and dramas can complete before the May upfront presentations to Madison Avenue ad buyers. In fact, some of this season’s series orders were made based on sizzle reels and promising footage from dailies reviewed by execs.
As for LA Law, sources say the pilot from Marc Guggenheim (Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow) and made with the blessing of Steven Bochco’s estate and family, did not come in right for this moment. The drama – which was considered a dream project for former attorney Guggenheim – was described as an update the original that sees the venerable law firm of McKenzie Brackman reinvent itself as a litigation firm specializing in only the most high-profile, boundary-pushing and incendiary cases. In addition to Underwood and Bernsen, original star Jill Eikenberry was slated to be a guest star in the drama that featured new characters played by the likes of Toks Olagundoye, Hari Nef, Ian Duff, Juliana Harkavy and Kacey Rohl.
Josep, meanwhile, revolved around a recently divorced Filipino American nurse who attempts to navigate dating, fatherhood and a very Filipino mother who loves to “help.” Koy starred alongside Mia Katigbak, Rory O’Malley, Kimee Balmilero, Tess Paras, Jason Rogel, Kaden Alejandro. Steve Joe (Young Sheldon) penned the pilot, which was exec produced by Koy, Kourtney Kang (Doogie Kamealoha) and Randall Park.
Both LA Law spirit Josep were produced in-house at Disney’s 20th Television.
Keep track of all of the broadcast pilots, castings and series orders with THR‘s handy scorecard. And follow along as all the bubble shows await word on their futures with our renewal guide.