Bookish TV – the pilot season so far

With pilot orders coming fast and furious from the nets (a pilot order is when the nets decide to shoot the first episode), we’re starting to get a hazy glimpse of what could be coming to TV next year – but remember, a pilot order is no guarantee, it just means the show is in the running for a series pick-up.

So here’s what’s been happening in Book to TV land:

Good Christain Bitches

EP/W: Robert Harling
Based on: The eponymous novel by Kim Gatlin

Logline: Desperate Housewives in Dallas, or a grown-up Mean Girls, centering on Amanda Vaughn, a recently divorced mother of two who moves back to the affluent Dallas neighborhood where she grew up to get a fresh start, but finds herself in the whirling midst of salacious gossip, Botox, and fraud.

You can almost hear the pitch: A sudser with southern accents!

Once Upon A Time

EX/W: Adam Horowitz & Edward Kitsis
Based on: Famous fairy tales

Logline: An evil witch drops the enchanted forest into the human world after becoming annoyed by all the happy endings. There the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, now a social worker, must try to restore happy endings to a cast of characters that brings to mind famous characters of literature.

You can almost hear the pitch: Fairy tales! Who cares that there are a gazillion fairy tale features coming? When has Hollywood ever not beaten a trend to death?!?


EP/W: Chris Hollier
Based on: You guessed it, the works of Edgar Allen Poe

Logline: Set in 1840’s Boston, Poe uses unconventional methods to investigate dark mysteries. Mixing many of Poe’s characters, stories, themes and dialogue together in a world where Poe can use his “sixth sense” to see the demons and spirits he writes about.

You can almost hear the pitch: It’s a cop drama, but period! Like Sherlock Holmes, but with Poe!


EP/W: Mike Kelley
Based on: The Count of Monte Cristo

Logline: A contemporary re-imagening of Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, which explores the classic tale from a female perspective and chronicles the story of a mysterious young woman who comes to the Hamptons to exact revenge on the people who destroyed her family.

You can almost hear the pitch: It’s a gothic soap!

How to Be A Gentleman

EP/W: David Hornsby
Based on: John Bridges’ How To Be a Gentleman: A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy

Logline: A buddy comedy about an uptight guy learning to live his life with the help of his old high school classmate.

You can almost hear the pitch: More a talent buy – David Hornsby is also behind It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia


EP/W: William Laurin & Glenn Davis
Based on: Alright, so it’s not based on a book, but it’s obviously inspired by the zombie lit explosion

Logline: Two sisters who come of age and face off against one another amidst the beginning of a zombie uprising. In centers on the older sister, who is a public defender.


EP/W: Richard Hatem
Based on: Again, not based on a book but clearly leaning on the booming YA angel trend

Logline: A dedicated young female attorney and a former angel, Dashiel Coffee, only recently turned human, tackle cases together at the attorney’s legal aid clinic – she saves clients’ butts while he saves their souls.  As an angel, Dash never experienced feelings or emotions, and his “awakening” is a big part of the series, sometimes to hilarious effect.

You can almost hear the pitch: It’s like Cupid, but with an angel! A feel good show with a blossoming romance!

Nine Lives

EP/W: Dan Berendsen
Based on: The Nine Lives of Chloe King by Celia Thomson

Logline: A teenager  with heightened abilities (super speed, agility, hearing…claws) discovers she’s being pursued by a mysterious figure.

You can almost hear the pitch: It’s like Roswell & The Vampire Diaries meets Smallville!

Secret Circle

EP/W: Kevin Williamson, Andrew Miller
Based on: The eponymous series by L.J. Smith

Logline: A young woman moves to a new town and discovers that not only is she a witch and part of a secret coven, but she’s also the key that will unlock a centuries-old battle of good versus evil.

You can almost hear the pitch: It’s The Witchy Diaries!

The Great State of Georgia

EP/W: Jeff Greenstein / W: Jennifer Weiner (author of In Her Shoes)
Based on: It’s not based on a book, but hey, an author wrote it!

Logline: Georgia (Raven Symone), an exuberant curvy performer from the south, and her science geek best friend Jo (Majandra Delfino) try to make headway in New York City.

You can almost hear the pitch: Feel good girly fun! About learning to accept yourself!

The Finder (FOX)

EP/W: Hart Hanson
Based on: The Locator series by Richard Greene

Logline: A former military policeman who can find anything

You can almost hear the pitch: You wanted a Bones spin-off, FOX? Done.

Locke & Key

EP/W: Kurtzman/Orci
Based on: The comic series by Joe Hill

Logline: Nina Locke (Miranda Otto) and her three children, Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode, after the brutal murder of Nina’s husband Rendell Locke, return to Keyhouse, his old family home in Massachusetts. There they are pestered by an evil entity named DODGE that’s determined to hold the family hostage one way or another until it gets what it wants.

You can almost hear the pitch: It’s a comic book property – need we say more? (And actually Locke & Key already has a series commitment from FOX – though FOX can still back out if they don’t like the pilot)

Weekends at Bellevue

EP/W: Lisa Zwerling
Based on: The memoir by Dr. Julie Holland

Logline: Follows the weekend physician in charge of the psychiatric emergency room at the oldest public hospital in the United States.

You can almost hear the pitch: Like House, but with a lady shrink!

17th Precinct

EP/W: Ron Moore
Based on: It’s not based on a book, but definitely inspired by the Urban Fantasy explosion

Logline: An ensemble police drama (a la Hill Street Blues) set in the fictional town of Excelsior where magic and supernatural elements rule over science.

You can almost hear the pitch: It’s Harry Potter for adults! A cop drama, but with magic!

Are you there, Vodka? It’s me, Chelsea

EP/W: Dottie Zicklin and Julie Larson
Based on: The eponymous book by Chelsea Handler

Logline: A 20-something woman who has a very honest and provocative point of view on dating, friends and family

You can almost hear the pitch: Sex in the City!


EP/W: Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt
Based on: You guessed – the Grimm fairy tales

Logline: Dark but fantastical cop drama about a world in which characters inspired by Grimm’s Fairy Tales exist.

You can almost hear the pitch: It’s a cop drama, but with fairy tales!

My Life As An Experiment

EP/W: Cathy Yuspa, Josh Goldsmith
Based on: The book by A.J. Jacobs

Logline: A single-camera comedy about a magazine writer who immerses himself and his family in unusual situations for his stories, which always reflect back on his marriage.

You can almost hear the pitch: Jack Black is producing, that’s all they needed to hear

Wonder Woman

EP/W: David E. Kelley
Based on: The comic/TV show

Logline: A modern reimagining of Wonder Woman.

You can almost hear the pitch: Nope, I’ve got nothing. David E. Kelley? Why would you give Mr. Law Show a superhero property? (scratches head)

House of Lies

EP/W: Matthew Carnahan
Based on: The eponymous book by Martin Kihn

Logline: House of Lies is a subversive, scathing look at a self-loathing management consultant from a top-tier firm. Cheadle will star as Marty, a highly successful, cutthroat consultant who is never above using any means (or anyone) necessary to get his clients the information they want. Bell will play Jeannie Van Der Hooven, a razor-sharp, Ivy-League graduate who works at Marty ‘s firm.

You can almost hear the pitch: It’s topical, it’s smart, it’s edgy! It’s SHOWTIME! (And rumors have it looking VERY good for a series order)

And there you have it, at least so far. I’ll be updating as things develop…