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The Eye Network Previews Upcoming Projects

By Carolina
April 4, 2005 - 5:19 AM

With the new fall season just around the corner, CBS is offering a sneak peak at some of the shows that may potentially become CSI neighbors for the upcoming year.

The network is currently reviewing a diversity of pilots for comedy, drama, and reality shows. Pilots, which are test episodes of TV series, are new shows' sole hope at grabbing the few but certainly coveted spots that become available for the new fall season. It is not uncommon for networks to order more pilots than it can handle, as many of them will never make it to air, and The Eye already seems to have its hands full.

Reality shows such still bring high ratings for CBS, and the network is currently looking at three new pilots. Reunion, hosted by Melissa Gilbert of Little House on the Prairie, will help its participants locate lost family members. The pilot is produced by reality veterans Arnold Shapiro and Allison Grodner, who both produce Big Brother. Groder is also producing the pilot for Crossroads, a show that will ask "what if" and show participants what their lives might have been like had they chosen a different path. The third show, Shenanigans, will work backstage at a chain restaurant to follow the lives of the staff, some of whom are improv performers. The show comes with an impressive list of producers, which include Ben Silverman, of The Restaurant, Cheers'sPhoef Sutton, Scott Hallock (Scare Tactics), Kevin Healey (Who's Your Daddy) and Howard Owens.

Sitcoms are an endangered species on television these days, but CBS is looking to remedy that. Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Alyson Hannigan signed on for the pilot of How I Met Your Mother, a comedy that will see a middle-aged man remember his single days. Neil Patrick Harris, known to fans for his starring role on Doogie Howser, M.D., and Jason Segel, of Freaks and Geeks, have also been added to the ensemble. Jenna Elfman, of the now long-gone Dharma and Greg, has also signed on for a comedy pilot called Everything I Know About Men. The sitcom, which is based on the British series According to Bex, will see the life of an assistant at a marketing firm who tries to figure out what goes on through the heads of the men in her life. Tiffany Thiessen, from the still popular Saved By The Bell, will also try out her luck with an untitled Yuspa-Goldsmith project about a New York couple adjusting to parenthood. Thiessen will play opposite Darren Ritchie.

Family troubles continue to be the comedic flavor of the year. Jonathan Silverman recently signed to be on an unnamed Marsh McCall pilot about three brothers who have to take care of their eccentric professor father. Julia Louis-Dreyfus will also give television another try. The actress is on board for the pilot Old Christine, which revolves around a single mother dealing with life after divorce. Clark Gregg will join Louis-Dreyfus as her character's ex-husband. Susie Essman, of Curb Your Enthusiasm, is also working on an untitled pilot about a newlywed woman who returns to her suburban home after life in the city. The project also includes television veteran Stacy Keach, who will play Essman's father and is better known for his starring role in the 80s series Mike Hammer.

The pilots for drama series are fewer but promising. John Leguizamo is on board for an untitled drama pilot by Diamond-Weisman about a sports agent trying to juggle his hectic work schedule and domestic life. In the legal department, Eric LaSalle and Sally Field are joining forces in the pilot for Conviction, which will focus around the life of a defense attorney turned district attorney. The Eye will also tackle current events with The Unit, a pilot about a group of secret agents that focus on keeping the country safe from terrorism. Joining the drama league are Quantico, which will see the work of FBI agents in D.C., Commuters, which will focus on romance and infidelity in the New York City, and 3 lbs, a medical drama that will revolve around the life of a surgeon and stars The Practice's Dylan McDermott.

With so many shows hoping to get on board for CBS's new season, the network's schedule may seem like a tight fit, but spots for few of the lucky ones that will make it to air are already available. The shows Center of the Universe, Clubhouse, Dr. Vegas, and Everybody Loves Raymond have already been cancelled, while Joan of Arcadia, JAG, and Yes, Dear are in danger of being removed off the air due to weak ratings. All three CSIs are still waiting for renewal but are currently not in danger of cancellation.

To take a sneak peak at some of the pilots currently under consideration by CBS, visit Mediaweek and Zap2It.

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