Thursday, May 9, 2013

NBC Picks Up Dramas 'Believe' & 'Crisis' and Comedies 'About a Boy,' 'Sean Saves the World' & 'The Family Guide'

        Thursday, May 8 - NBC is entering into the new series pickup fray with series orders for 2 drama pilots - Alfonso Cuaron & J.J. Abrams' Believe and the Gillian Anderson-Dermot Mulroney fronted Crisis - and 3 comedy pilots - About a Boy from Jason Katims, The Family Guide from DJ Nash and Sean Saves the World starring Sean Hayes. The 5 new series join the previously ordered The Michael J. Fox Show and Dracula on the network's 2013-2014 schedule.

        Based on the best-selling Nick Hornby novel, written/produced by Jason Katims and directed by Jon Favreau comes a different kind of coming-of-age story. Will Freeman (David Walton) lives a charmed existence as the ultimate man-child. After writing a hit song, he was granted a life of free time, free love and freedom from financial woes. He's single, unemployed and loving it. So imagine his surprise when Fiona (Minnie Driver), a needy, single mom and oddly charming 11-year-old son Marcus (Benjamin Stockham) move in next door and disrupt his perfect world. When Marcus begins dropping by his home unannounced, Will's not so sure about being a kid's new best friend, until, of course, Will discovers that women find single dads irresistible. That changes everything and a deal is struck: Marcus will pretend to be Will's son and, in return, Marcus is allowed to chill at Will's house, play ping-pong and gorge on steaks, something his very vegan mom would never allow. Before he realizes it, Will starts to enjoy the visits and even finds himself looking out for the kid. In fact, this newfound friendship may very well teach him a thing or two that he never imagined possible - about himself and caring for others. Also starring are Al Madrigal and Anjelah N. Johnson-Reyes. Katims, Favreau, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Liza Chasin, Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal serve as executive producers. About a Boy is a production of Universal Television, Working Title Films, True Jack Productions and Tribeca Productions.

        It's not every family that's brought closer together by divorce, but then again, the Fishers aren't exactly typical. Take Mel Fisher (J.K. Simmons), for example. Whether it's chopping down trees, showing his daughter how to drive of playing football with his son, he's never let the fact that he's blind slow him down. Then there's Joyce Fisher (Parker Posey), possibly the only mom in Pasadena to smoke a pipe. For her, divorce is like a second coming of age, a chance to be the teen she never was. Just ask '80s-obsessed teenage daughter Katie (Ava Deluca-Verley), whose clothes Joyce is always borrowing - that is, when she's not tagging along with Katie to the mall. At the center of all this is Henry, the Fisher's 11-year-old son. Having always been his dad's eyes, ears and wingman, Henry's less than thrilled when Mel shows up with Elvis, a guide dog... which is also how Henry learns about the pending divorce. Awkward. While reluctant to the changes this "big ball of fur" would bring, it's through the adult Henry's voice-over (done by Jason Bateman) that we find out his parent's split would "allow all of us to finally discover... who we needed to be." the half-hour comedy is executive produced by DJ Nash, Bateman and Jim Garavente. The pilot is directed by David Schwimmer. The Family Guide is a production of Universal Television and Aggregate Films.

        Sean (Sean Hayes) is a divorced gay dad who juggles a lot - his successful but demanding career, offbeat employees, pushy mom Lorna (Linda Lavin), and weekends with his teenage daughter, Ellie (Sami Isler). So when his 14-year-old bundle of joy moves in full-time, it's a whole new world. Never one to do anything halfway, Sean's intent on being the best dad ever, so he loads up on parenting how-to books and plans Pinterest-worthy family dinners. But it seems his company's new owner had decided Sean and his team should work longer hours, putting a damper on his homemaking plans and throwing a kink in Sean's perfectly constructed work/life balance. Ellie, a normal girl who wants to hang with her friends and eat on the run, sees this development as a plus. She loves her dad, but he's clearly going overboard. From keeping his boss happy, his employees motivated and enduring his mother's tactless "advice" to raising a smart, grounded and healthy kid, it's going to be a growing experience, to say the least. But if anyone can handle it all, it's Sean. Thomas Lennon, Lindsay Sloane and Echo Kellum also star. From executive producers Hayes and Todd Milliner, executive producer/director James Burrows and writer/producer Victor Fresco, Sean Saves the World is a production of Universal Television and Hazy Mills Productions.

        From writer/producer Rand Ravich and starring Dermot Mulroney, Gillian Anderson, Lance Gross and Rachael Taylor comes an emotionally charged, action thriller. It's field trip day for the students of Ballard High School, a place that educates the children of Washington, D.C.'s elite, top-of-their-industry CEOs, international diplomats, political power players and even the president's son. But when their bus is ambushed on a secluded rural road, the teenagers and their chaperones are taken, igniting a national crisis. Now with some of the country's most powerful parents at the mercy of one vengeful mastermind, the question arises: How far would you go and what would you become to ensure your child's safe return? With so many parents and dignitaries put into play with nowhere to turn and no one to trust, this unthinkable scenario grows from the select families at risk to an entire nation at stake. Also starring are Stevie Lynn Jones, Halston Sage, Joshua Erenberg, Max Schneider, James Lafferty, Max Martini and Michael Beach. Ravich, Far Shariat and Phillip Noyce, who directed the pilot, serve as executive producers. Crisis is from 20th Century Fox Television.

        Levitation, telekinesis, the ability to control nature, even predict the future. Since she was two years old, Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) has had gifts she could neither fully understand, nor control. Raised by a small group known as the "True Believers," the orphaned girl has been safeguarded from harmful outsiders who would use her forces for personal gain. But now that she is 10, her powers have become stronger, and the threat has grown more dangerous. With her life and future now in jeopardy, the "Believers" turn to the only person they see fit to be her full-time protector. That is, once they break him out of jail. Tate (Jake McLaughlin), a wrongfully imprisoned death row inmate who's lost his will, is initially reluctant - until he witnesses one of her extraordinary abilities. Bo sees people for who they truly are... and who they may become. Tate and Bo begin their journey, one in which trust must be earned. Traveling from city to city, every place they stop and everyone they meet will be changed forever. But they'll have to keep going to stay one step ahead of the sinister forces after Bo's power... because it will take a miracle to keep them safe forever. The powers of a young girl may hold the fate of our world. Also starring are Kyle MacLachlan, Delroy Lindo, Jamie Chung, Sienna Guillory and Arian Moayed. From executive producer J.J. Abrams and executive producer/writer/director Alfonso Cuarón, Believe comes from Warner Bros. Television and Bad Robot Productions.