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Pilots update! Latest buzz on Gellar, Sutherland, Allen projects

Pilots For Fall 2011

(Anthony G. Moore/PR Photos; Bob Charlotte/PR Photos; Albert L. Ortega/PR Photos)

We’re only a couple of weeks away from broadcasters unveiling their fall schedules and intriguing pilots are emerging as front-runners to land coveted series orders.

Of the two most high-profile super-girl-power pilots, ABC’s Charlie’s Angels has ridiculously strong odds; we’re told its screenings have gone very well. NBC’s Wonder Woman is considered less certain despite heavy online interest in the costume. Should the David E. Kelley project make the cut for fall, it will be interesting to see if the Peacock grants his request to to air the pilot commercial free (but with a sponsor, no doubt).

Fox’s Touch will likely bring Kiefer Sutherland back to the network as the father of an autistic child who can predict the future. The drama written by Tim Kring (Heroes) is considered so strong that it retains front-runner status despite the fact there’s no pilot; It won’t shoot until this summer to accommodate Sutherland’s schedule (he’s been appearing on Broadway and, we hope, getting that 24 movie ready for a 2012 premiere). Though Alcatraz has generated fan interest because it’s re-teaming uber-producer J.J. Abrams and Lost star Jorge Garcia, it may not get a spot. Why? The network has several high-concept dramas in the works (hi, Terra Nova!) with limited slots to fill and other projects are getting a strong response. While another heavy buzz genre project, Locke & Key, is said to look great, but plays a bit slow.

Speaking of remake, NBC’s version of the UK hit Prime Suspect starring Maria Bello – looks like a sure thing, as does Smash, the Peacock’s Glee-style musical series produced by Steven Spielberg (In fact, we hear Will & Grace’s Debra Messing rocks the crap out of this pilot). Of NBC’s two most fantastical projects, the fairy tale series Grimm is looking more promising than Ron Moore’s magic cops drama 17th Precinct.

CBS’ doesn’t have much real estate to fill (which, the network notes every year, is a “luxury” problem). Their latest cop drama, Rookies, produced by Robert De Niro, is considered a frontrunner, though we’re hearing CBS loves Sarah Michelle Gellar but only likes her pilot, Ringer. Dang? Meanwhile the brass is said to like Poppy Montgomery in the cop procedural The Rememberer (and yes, we think the title is painful, too).

Over at ABC, the pilot shoot for Tim Allen’s new sitcom went extraordinary well and is considered a slam dunk for fall (it’s from 30 Rock scribe Jack Burditt). James’ current obsession, the Edgar Allan Poe-as-crime-fighter-drama called Poe, is getting a lukewarm reception, with Chris Egan looking inappropriately hot in the lead (Counters Lynette: Is that really possible?). One of the less splashy drama titles, the Angela Bassett police drama Identity, is getting strong buzz. Things aren’t looking too great for Marc Cherry’s semi-musical Hallelujah, but soap Good Christian Bitches has more than a prayer of landing a slot (and not a chance in hell of keeping its title).

More updates/rumors as they come in.

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