By Vanessa Martinez | Shadow and Act May 8, 2014 at 10:08PM
EDITOR'S NOTE: This list will be updated and republished as each announced project is given a series order - meaning, there's a high probability that it'll end up somewhere on next season's TV lineup. Those that have been given series orders are marked accordingly.
In rather early anticipation for 2014's Fall Season TV's slate - official announcement on actual pilots that have been picked up by networks hasn't been released - we've compiled a rather thorough list of fall's upcoming shows divided by their respective Networks.
Those TV series beginning this spring and summer are not included, like Zoe Saldana's starring turn in the NBC mini-series remake Rosemary's Baby (May 11), Halle Berry as an astronaut in the CBS sci-fi series Extant (July 2) and STARZ's 50-Cent produced drama series Power, which stars Omari Hardwick and Naturi Naughton (June 7).
Here are projects in development - that we know of - about and/or centering on black characters. We've also included upcoming shows with black characters in a supporting role. Keep in mind that the list isn't exhaustive, and that it'll be continuously updated as new announcements are made.
So, what might we have to look forward to? Take a look!
American Crime - John Ridley writes and executive produces the drama series which follows a racially-charged murder case and the trial that follows. [SERIES ORDER]
An American Education - Rosie Perez has booked a starring role opposite Jack Whitehall in the comedy pilot, which is based on the BBC series Bad Education (no relation to the Pedro Almodóvar 2004 movie). The original series also starred Jack Whitehall as young teacher Alfie Wickers – "the worst teacher ever to grace the British education system" – at the fictional Abbey Grove School, in Watford, Hertfordshire. In the American TV remake, the character will instead be a British transplant teaching within the San Diego public school system. Rosie Perez has signed up to play Rita Gomez, the school’s tough-as-nails Vice Principal, who rules with an iron fist, and who Alfie is intimidated by.
Black-ish - Kanya Barris' half-hour scripted comedy - written by Barris (The Game) - stars Anthony Anderson, and is produced by Laurence Fishburne’s Cinema Gypsy production company. To be based on Barris' own life (loosely), Black-ish will follow an upper-middle class black man, intent on raising his kids with some sense of cultural identity, in the face of an assault of constant contradictions and obstacles coming from various directions, insisting that his children be color-blind. [SERIES ORDER]
The Club - From Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich, The Soloist) comes the drama series centered on the different classes that inhabit a private country club. Boris Kodjoe will co-star as Deacon Harris, an NFL Hall of Famer and new member of the club.
Forever - the drama pilot starring Barbara Eve Harris centers on New York City’s star medical examiner, who also happens to be immortal. Harris has signed up to play a Lt. Roark, an NYPD veteran who runs the unit where the medical examiner works. It's worth noting is that, the role originally was written for a male character.
Galavant - Luke Youngblood has joined the cast of the comedy fairytale pilot, penned by Dan Fogelman. Youngblood joins a cast that includes Joshua Sasse in the lead role, Karen David, and Mallory Jansen, in a project that centers on handsome Prince Galavant and his quest for revenge over the evil King Richard who stole his one true love, the beautiful Madalena (played by Mallory Janesen). Youngblood has signed up to play a Galavant’s squire Sid, whose tasked with picking up Galavant's pieces during his struggles. The young actor was most recently seen in NBC's Community.
How To Get Away With Murder - Written and executive produced by Peter Norwalk (Grey's Anatomy) and produced via Shonda Rhimes' Shondaland production company, with her partner Betsy Beers, Murder is described as a sexy, suspense legal thriller that follows brilliant criminal defense attorney Annalise DeWitt, played by Viola Davis, and her ambitious law school students who become entangled in a murder mystery that could have major ramifications on their entire university as well as change the course of their lives. Rounding out the cast are Aja Naomi King, Matt McGorry, Alfred Enoch, Karla Souza, Jack Falahee and Charlie Weber. [SERIES ORDER]
Keep it Together - The comedy pilot by Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan (Community, Scrubs) and executive produced by Kevin Hart, will give audiences a candid look at the life of a couple after their divorce, as they try to rebuild their relationship as friends, for the sake of their children. Mandy, played by Ryan Michelle Bathe, is post-divorce girlfriend, and an optimist who may have gone over her skis when she encourages Derek, played by Romany Malco, to make peace with his ex-wife, played by Love That Girl's Bresha Webb.
Warriors - the medical drama is inspired by the Walter Reed Military Medical Center, and follows the best and brightest military doctors and nurses as they practice trailblazing medicine. Courtney B. Vance will play a Navy Lt. Hennessey Fiske, who's described as an orthopedic surgeon with a specialty in neurology, and a resident genius. Vance joins Eloise Mumford, the only other actor cast in the pilot thus far.
Black Jesus - the live action scripted comedy, produced by Aaron McGruder, stars newcomer Gerald "Slink" Johnson (Grand Theft Auto V) as black Jesus, who is living in present day Compton, CA on a daily mission to spread love and kindness throughout the neighborhood, with the help of his small but loyal group of downtrodden followers.
The After - Produced by Chris Carter and co-starring Aldis Hodge, the show revolves around 8 strangers who are thrown together by mysterious forces and must help each other survive in a violent world that defies explanation. Hodge co-stars alongside Andrew Howard, Arielle Kebbel, Jamie Kennedy, Sharon Lawrence, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Adrian Pasdar, and Louise Monot. [SERIES ORDER]
Bosch - Based on Michael Connelly’s best-selling Harry Bosch series, the show follows a relentless LAPD homicide detective as he pursues the killer of a 13-year-old boy while standing trial in federal court on accusations that he murdered a suspected serial killer in cold blood. Bosch is played by Titus Welliver (Argo, The Good Wife). Jamie Hector co-stars as Bosch's partner. [SERIES ORDER]
Hand of God - Produced by Ben Watkins (Burn Notice), the drama series follows Judge Harris Pernell (Ron Perlman), a hard-living, law-bending married man with a high-end call girl on the side who has a religious awakening and starts hearing voices that could be God speaking to him. Andre Royo co-stars in the pilot as the slick, smart, gregarious, and greedy mayor Robert "Bobo" Boston, while Emayatzy Corinealdi plays the high-end call girl/confidante, Tessie.
Bombingham - “The fragile peace in present-day Birmingham," the scripted drama, helmed by Alexander Woo, is set in Alabama, and centers on when a "murderer from 1963 is discovered and buried demons from the Civil Rights Era resurface."
No Money Down - In the comedy series starring Wyatt Cenac and written/produced by Cenac, follows a guy "who bottoms out and begins working at an Austin car dealership with a variety of personalities."
America's Intruders - the show follows an ex-cop forced to confront his past when he opens an investigation into the disappearance of his wife. Tory Kittles will play Gary Fischer, described as an attorney friend of the ex-cop, who assists in the investigation. [SERIES ORDER]
The Interceptor - the drama series, directed by Farren Blaburn (Luther) and produced by Tony Saint, follows a state of the art law enforcement team, known as UNIT, whose mission is to hunt down Britain’s most dangerous and ruthless criminals. O.T. Fagbenle (Doctor Who, EastEnders) will play Ash, a new recruit to the UNIT, whose dream is to bring down the biggest of those criminals. Trevor Eve will play Roach, a ruthless criminal and Ash’s main target; Jo Joyner will play Ash’s wife; Robert Lonsdale will be Ash’s partner and best friend. [SERIES ORDER]
BRITISH SKY ARTS
Psychobitches - the drama, co-written by Jeremy Dyson (The League of Gentleman), stars Rebecca Front as the unnamed therapist trying to get to the bottom of the deep-seated issues in the lives of various famous women. Zawe Ashton co-stars.
NCIS Spinoff - the series set in the NCIS New Orleans office handles cases from in the Southeastern section of the USA. CH Pounder will play a Dr. Wade, the Medical Examiner, described as eccentric, smart, and deeply-rooted in Louisiana. Scott Bakula and Zoe McLellan also star.
Wall Street-Set (Unnamed) - written by Taylor Elmore and Ben Cavell (Justified), the drama series centers on a smart and sophisticated Wall Street hedge fund trader who served his country in Iraq and wants to do good. Sophie Okonedo plays Bryce, a woman who's deeply committed to her work as an assistant attorney general, tasked with the responsibility of heading a task force investigating Wall Street firms.
Legends (Urban Animated Series) - Created and developed by Brad Ableson (The Simpsons), Michael Starrbury (The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete), Mike Clements, and producers Quinn Hawking and Josiah Johnson, who are UCLA basketball benchwarmers themselves, and will also voice the characters Jamal (Hawking), Grover and Milk (Johnson). Ableson and Starburry are serving as exec producers along with Bento Box’s Clements and studio founders Scott Greenberg, Mark McJimsey and Joel Kuwahara. The animated series follows the exploits of three high school basketball players who are legends (in their own minds, at least). "Best buds and perpetual benchwarmers, the freshmen pals Jamal, Grover and Milk try and fail to make an impression at Bluford High, both on the court and with their peers.
Flash - Candice Patton (likely best known for her appearance on The Game) has joined Jesse L. Martin in The CW's Flash pilot, which stars Grant Gustin as Barry Allen aka The Flash. Patton has signed up to play Iris West, daughter of Detective West (Jesse L. Martin's character), a respectable, blue-collar cop and surrogate father to Barry Allen/The Flash. Iris West is also Allen's best friend. The show is actually a spin-off of The Arrow, and will be executive-produced by Arrow executive producers Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti, as well as DC Comics' Geoff Johns.
Dead Fox (Adaptation of BBC3 Series) - the comedy/mystery series stars Jane Krakowski as Helen, a woman wrongfully convicted of murdering her boss and depending on her train wreck of a sister to prove her innocence. Cedric Yarbrough Yarbrough will play Helen's schlumpy lawyer, Tony.
Empire - the drama series is penned by Danny Strong and produced by Brian Grazer. Lee Daniels will direct Terrence Howard, who plays Lucious Lyon, a charismatic, but tough chief of a record label titled Empire Entertainment, which is on the verge of an IPO. Taraji P. Henson will play Cookie Lyon, the ex-wife of Lucious Lyon, who's described as a "total badass" with a prison record (she served 17 years for dealing drugs, and used the money to help finance Lucious' growing music empire, when it was still in its early days). She's now out of prison, and has come for what's hers! Jussie Smollett will play their son, Jamal, a fledgling rapper himself, who, is also gay - something that Lucious, the father, has a problem with. And Macy Gray will appear as Tasha, a woman having an affair with Bryshere Y. Gray's character, Hakeem Lyon, Lucious' other son, the youngest of the two, and Lucious' favorite, and the frontrunner to take over his father's empire. [SERIES ORDER]
Fatrick - From co-creator/executive producer Nahnatchka Khan, the show follows a thirty-something man named Patrick, who was once the chubby neighborhood kid his peers teasingly referred to as Fatrick (as in the title), who realizes that his life isn’t quite where it should be. Ray Ford has signed up to play Patrick's long-time best friend Maurice (Dante Hoagland plays 12-yr old Maurice), who's known him since his "Fatrick” days, and now serves as his therapist.
Gotham - Jada Pinkett Smith is returning to TV to co-star in the FOX TV 1-hour drama project which has a series commitment at the network. Gotham is based on characters published by DC Comics, which explores the origin stories of Commissioner James Gordon and the villains that made Gotham famous. Pinkett Smith will play a character named Fish Mooney, a key villain in the series, who is described a sadistic gangster boss and nightclub owner, with street smarts and almost extra-sensory abilities to read people like an open book. Further, she's said to be imposing and hotheaded, and not one to be crossed! Pinkett Smith joins other series regulars: Ben McKenzie as James Gordon, Donal Logue as Detective Harvey Bullock, Zabryna Guevara as Captain Essen, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean, Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth and Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot (aka The Penguin). [SERIES ORDER]
Gracepoint - Kendrick Sampson (The Vampire Diaries) has booked a role in the 10-hour miniseries, which is a remake of UK’s Broadchurch - a series that earned critical acclaim, including BAFTA nods, and centers on the investigation into the murder of a young boy in a British seaside town. Sampson joins lead David Tennant, in the series, to play a character named Dean Iverson, who works busing tables at his uncle’s restaurant, while saving money hoping to eventually pay for college. He is also in a relationship with a character named Chloe, whose parents (played by Michael Pena and Virginia Kull) don't approve.
Hieroglyph - Set in ancient Egypt, the series is said to be combo of fantasy and reality, and will follow a notorious thief who leaves prison to serve the Pharaoh - a move that places him amid lots intrigue within palace walls; sex, crime, the usual. Playing Pharaoh will be British/South African actor Reece Ritchie (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Hercules). Condola Rashad will play Nefertari - "a rare beauty who intimidates even the strongest of suitors… and she knows it," described by Fox. Travis Beacham, Peter Chernin, Katherine Pope and Miguel Sapochnik are executive producers. 20th TV and Chernin Entertainment will produce.
Red Band Society Pilot - A remake of the lauded Spanish series Pulseras Rojas, created by Albert Espinosa. The show, penned by Margaret Nagle (Boardwalk Empire), draws on Espinosa's childhood experiences as a hospital patient. It tells the story of a group of Catalan children and teenagers who meet as patients in the children's wing of a hospital. Octavia Spencer will play a Nurse Jackson, who's described as an tough, intuitive nurse who's very good at her job. But despite her hard exterior, she is very sympathetic to the kids on her ward. [SERIES ORDER]
Untitled - scripted TV comedy series based on the life of Judge Greg Mathis from Warner Bros TV and Ellen DeGeneres' company, A Very Good Production. Written by brothers Todd Jones and Earl Richey Jones (Johnson Family Vacation, In Living Color), the show will follow the life of a thug-turned-judge who is in full control of his courtroom, but has zero control over the 4 children he's raising at home with his wife.
American Horror Story: Freak Show - Set in Jupiter, Florida, in 1950, Freak Show finds Jessica Lange playing a German ex-pat who is managing one of the last freak shows in the USA. Her group of freak show performers include Angela Bassett along with returning stars, Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, and Frances Conroy - all acts whom Lange’s character has rescued, and who will do anything to make sure that their business sticks around. [SERIES ORDER]
Untitled Project - From Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin, the half-hour comedy series will star Riddle and Salahuddin as two young reporters trying to make it big in Atlanta.
Babylon's Field - set in a place called Babylon, NY, the dead are coming back to life, as their bodies regenerate, and they grow stronger than the living, leading to the scary suggestions that they just might be the next step in human evolution. Megan Good plays a Dr Janine Beltran, local to Babylon, NY, who has "an edge to her," and S. Epatha Merkerson will play Pearl Montoya, Janine’s (Meagan Good's) stepmother. Oddly enough, in Deception, she played Good's mother.
Feed Me - starring Mary Louise Parker, the comedy focuses on a dysfunctional family that co-owns and operates a restaurant. Toks Olagundoye (The Neighbors) stars as Meryl, the serious girlfriend-turned-fiancee of one of the family's grown siblings.
Marry Me - the comedy centers on a young couple who get engaged, and quickly realize being potentially married isn't all that they expected it to be. Tim Meadows will play a character named Kevin, who's one of two gay fathers of the soon-to-be bride. [SERIES ORDER]
Mason Twins - the comedy tells the story of two fraternal twin sisters, who reunite after being estranged since high school. Windell Middlebrook will play a character named Chance, who's described as an unkempt gay man who was one of the twins' best friend in high school.
Mr. Robinson - written by Owen Ellickson (supervising producer for The Office) and executive produced by Greg Daniels, the comedy series follows a talented musician (played by Craig Robinson) with rough edges, who adjusts to his new life as a music teacher in a big-city middle school, where he encounters teacher politics and the temptations of single moms. Larenz Tate plays Craig's character's brother - and partner in the duo's band called The Filthy Gentleman - further described as a charismatic lady-killer who has never held a regular job, thanks to his musical talents, and who thinks Craig's dedication to his students is a waste of time. Amandla Stenberg plays a spunky, fearless and smart 8th grader, desperate to learn to sing despite the fact that she can't, with Craig's character reluctant to teach her.
The Mysteries of Laura - based on a popular Spanish series, the crime drama stars NBC alum Debra Messing as Laura, a homicide detective navigating life and love. Laz Alonso co-stars as Billy, her partner in crime.
One Big Happy - the comedy follows two childhood friends - a lesbian played by Elisha Cuthbert, and her straight male best friend, played by Nick Zano - who have been living together for some time, while trying to have a baby via artificial insemination. They finally get pregnant, just as the man meets and impulsively marries the love of his life, played by Kelly Brook. Chris Williams plays Roy, a former college football player, now married, who misses the freedom of his single lifestyle.
State of Affairs - the show is about a CIA officer, Katherine Heigl, "who becomes President Roberta Payton's (Alfre Woodard) daily briefer, assuming responsibility for targeting America's most critical threats while navigating the unique lifestyle that comes with such a high-powered job." The twist is that Heigl’s character is also President Payton’s late son’s ex-girlfriend. Leslie Odom Jr. is also in the cast, playing a character named Mitchell Manning, who's Chief of Staff to the President. Joe Carnahan, who directed Smoking Aces, The A-Team and The Grey, will direct the pilot and will also be its executive producer if the network orders it into series. [SERIES ORDER]
Taxi Brooklyn - directed by Olivier Megaton and produced by Luc Besson the comedy series follows Detective Caitlyn Sullivan, who is investigating the death of her father, an NYPD veteran. She is demoted to foot patrol for her recklessness behind the wheel, and thus teams up with the highly-skilled and charming cab driver named Leo Romba, played by Jacky Ido. Detective Sullivan finds out that Leo is an undocumented immigrant and essentially offers him help with his residency papers in exchange for his driving prowess and use of his taxi. So he becomes her driver and partner of sorts, as they race through NYC streets solving cases.
Tin Man - written by Ehren Kruger, the thriller centers on a robot played by Patrick Heusinger, who is accused of killing his creator. Vondie Curtis-Hall will play a veteran homicide detective who is brought in to investigate the murder.
Untitled Project - produced by Tom Werner, the comedy will star Bill Cosby as the head of a multi-generational family, not-so unlike his past comedy series, Cosby Show and Cosby, which aired on CBS years after the Cosby Show ended its successful run on NBC.
Untitled Project - produced by Wanda Sykes and Page Hurwitz, the developing a yet-to-be-titled comedy project for Nickelodeon's NickMom nighttime comedy block for mothers. The deal comes on the heels of Sykes/Hurwitz signing a first-look deal with NBC/Universal TV to develop and produce unscripted projects.
Single Moms Club - the 1-hour drama series which follows a group of single mothers from different walks of life brought together by an incident at their children's school. The mothers bond and create a support group that helps them find comedy in the obstacles of life, and inner strength to overcome their personal challenges. Tyler Perry's "Single Moms Club" is written, produced and directed by Tyler Perry and is produced by Tyler Perry Studios. [SERIES ORDER]
Survivor's Remorse - written by Mike O'Malley (Shameless), the drama follows Cam Calloway, a basketball phenom in his early 20’s who is suddenly thrust into the limelight after signing a multi-million dollar contract with a professional basketball team in Atlanta. Cam, along with his cousin and confidant Reggie Vaughn, move to Georgia to start Cam’s journey to success. The two confront the challenges of carrying opportunistic family members and their strong ties to the impoverished community that they come from. Cam, Reggie and a group of supporting characters wrestle with the rewards and pitfalls of stardom, love and loyalty. Jessie T. Usher plays Cam Calloway, Ronreaco Lee plays Reggie Vaughn, Erica Ash plays M-Chuck, the sister of Cam Calloway, and Tichina Arnold plays Cassie, Cam’s mother. They join Teyonah Parris who plays Reggie’s wife Missy. Mike Epps plays the uncle of main character Cam Calloway (Jessie T. Usher), who moves from the projects to the family mansion once his nephew scores a huge pro contract. The series will be produced by LeBron James, Tom Werner, Mike O’Malley, Maverick Carter and Paul Wachter. [SERIES ORDER]
Tribeca - the TBS comedy pilot, which hails from funnyman Steve Carell and his wife, Nancy Carell, described as a satirical look at a police procedural with Rashida Jones starring as Angie Tribeca, an outspoken veteran of the LAPD’s elite RHCU (Really Heinous Crimes Unit). Deon Cole (Barbershop) also co-stars, playing Officer DJ Tanner, head of the K-9 unit. Rashida Jones' real life parents, Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton, will play her on-screen parents in the series. [SERIES ORDER]
Guilt By Association - the drama hails from former prosecutor Marcia Clark, who gained fame as the head prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson murder case. The series will be based on a book she wrote. Guilt By Association centers on a Deputy District Attorney in the Special Trials Unit of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, who works closely with a tough female LAPD detective and female prosecutor. Rose Rollins will play the latter.
Proof - the drama/supernatural series will star Jennifer Beals as a brilliant but somewhat jaded female surgeon, still struggling with the devastating death of her son, who begins investigating cases concerning reincarnations, haunting, out-of-body experiences, and other supernatural phenomena. Joe Morton will play Dr. Charles Russell, the tough and intimidating chief who runs the hospital where Beals' character works. [SERIES ORDER]
Public Morals - written/directed by Ed Burns and executive produced by Steven Spielberg, the crime drama is set in New York City’s Public Morals Division, during the late 1960s, where cops walk the line between morality and criminality, amid temptations that come with the job.Burns stars as one of the better cops, who is determined to raise his kids on the straight and narrow, within the filthy world in which he works. Ruben Santiago-Hudson has signed up to play his boss, Lt. King, who's described as a womanizing bad-ass, who's also loved and respected by his peers and underlings.