National Geographic introduces Saints & Strangers

National Geographic Channel is developing an original drama that explores the story behind the founding of America.

National Geographic Channel

National Geographic Channel

Saints & Strangers (wt) will follow the 101 men, woman and children who came to America aboard the Mayflower in search of a new life in an unexplored land.

Half were pilgrims, religious separatists who abandoned their previous lives for religious freedom and an opportunity to create a new social order built on their values. The other half were mostly single males looking for financial opportunities or the chance to escape their old identities or criminal pasts.

Their struggles will be portrayed alongside their relationship with the Native Americans.

The four-hour miniseries is produced by Sony Pictures Television and Little Engine Productions.

Grant Scharbo, Gina Matthews, Teri Weinberg and writer Eric Overmyer are the executive producers. Seth Fisher is also a writer on the project, which is based on a script by Chip Johannessen and Walon Green.

It will air this autumn.

Nat Geo unveils Killing Jesus cast

Kelsey Grammer is starring in National Geographic Channel’s forthcoming drama Killing Jesus.

National Geographic Channel

National Geographic Channel

Produced by Scott Free Productions, it will chronicle the life of Jesus of Nazareth though the retelling of the intense political, social and historical conflicts during the Roman Empire that ultimately led to his death.

Based on the best-selling book of the same name by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, Grammer appears alongside Stephen Moyer, Haaz Sleiman, Rufus Sewell, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Eoin Macken, John Rhys Davies, Abhin Galeya, Stephanie Leonidas, Heather Moran, and Charlie Parsons.

Killing Jesus will air on Nat Geo in 2015 in 171 countries and 45 languages, and in Spanish on Nat Geo Mundo. It is executive produced by O’Reilly, Ridley Scott, David Zucker, Mary Lisio and Teri Weinberg.

US Upfronts 2013/14: NBC

NBC has picked up eight new dramas for its 2013/14 schedule, including new JJ Abrams show Believe.



The Blacklist, Ironside and the previously announced Dracula will air this fall, while another previously announced series, Crossbones, will follow in midseason with new series Believe and Crisis.

Chicago PD, the spin-off from freshman hit Chicago Fire, and The Night Shift have been ordered for an as-yet unscheduled midseason debut.

Among the returning dramas, Grimm gets a third season, there is a fifth season of Parenthood, second seasons for Revolution and Chicago Fire, and a 15th season for Law & Order: SVU.

A decision on Hannibal has yet to be made.

Believe is from executive producers writer/director Alfonso Cuaron, Mark Friedman, JJ Abrams and Bryan Burk. It is produced by Warner Bros Television and Bad Robot Productions. The story follows an orphaned girl with special powers who raised by a group called the True Believers, who when she is ten is passed into the care of a wrongfully imprisoned death row inmate, who must first break out of prison.



The Blacklist is from executive producers writer Jon Bokenkamp, John Eisendrath, John Davis and John Fox. It is produced by Sony Pictures Television and Davis Entertainment. The story is about one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives who mysteriously surrenders and vows to help catch a deadly terrorist on condition that he speaks to an FBI profiler fresh out of training.

The Blacklist

The Blacklist

Chicago PD, a spin-off from Chicago Fire, is set among the staff of District 21 of the Chicago Police Department. It is executive produced by Dick Wolf, Matt Olmstead, Michael Brandt, Derek Haas, Peter Jankowski, Danielle Gelber and director Joe Chappelle. It is produced by Universal Television and Wolf Films.

Chicago PD

Chicago PD

Crisis is about a national crisis that ignited when a school bus containing the children of some of the country’s most powerful people, including the president, is ambushed. Produced by 20th Century Fox Television, it is executive produced by writer Rand Ravich, Far Shariat and director Phillip Noyce.



Crossbones is a period drama set in 1715 about Blackbeard the Pirate and his army of thieves, outlaws and miscreant sailors and an undercover assassin sent to bring them down. Writers Neil Cross, Walter F Parkes, Laurie MacDonald and Ted Gold executive produce the series, which is produced by Universal Television, Parkes/MacDonald Productions and Georgeville Television.



Dracula, set in the 19th Century, sees the classic character arrive in London posing as an American entrepreneur who has plans to take revenge on those who  cursed him with immortality centuries earlier. The Sky Living co-commission is executive produced by writer Daniel Knauf, Tony Krantz, Colin Callender and Gareth Neame, and produced by Flame Ventures, Playground Entertainment, Universal Television, NBCUniversal International Television Production and Carnival Films.



Ironside is a remake of NBC’s original 1967-75 series about a cop who is determined to bring criminals to justice, despite being paralysed years earlier when a bullet shattered his spine, confining him to a wheelchair. Writer Michael Caleo, Teri Weinberg, John David, John Fox, Ron West and David Semel executive produce for Universal Television, Davis Entertainment and Yellow Brick Road Productions.



The Night Shift is a medical drama about the men and women who work overnight at San Antonio Memorial Hospital. It is produced by Sony Pictures Television and executive produced by Gabe Sachs, Jeff Judah and Pierre Morel.

The Night Shift

The Night Shift

The full list of NBC pilots from this development season can be seen here.

Source: NBC

US pilots 2013/14: NBC

This is the fifth of five round-ups detailing the drama pilots ordered by the big five US networks for consideration for the 2013/14 season.

Each network subsequently announces which pilots have been ordered to series during their individual Upfronts presentation in May.

Last up is NBC, which has ordered 11 drama pilots:



After Hours

A drama following Army doctors working the late shift at a San Antonio hospital.

Gabe Sachs, Jeff Judah and Pierre Model executive produce for Sony Pictures Television and Sachs/Judas Productions.


A convict is charged with protecting a young girl with superpowers.

Alfonso Cuaron, Mark Friedman, JJ Abrams and Bryan Burk executive produce for Warner Bros Television and Bad Robot Productions.

The Blacklist

A notorious criminal mysteriously gives himself up and offers to give up everyone he has worked with, but he will only work with one FBI agent.

Jon Bokenkamp, John Eisendrath, John Fox and John Davis executive produce for Sony Pictures Television and Davis Entertainment.


An orphaned girl is caught in a feud between two warring families and discovers she must defeat her mother in mortal combat if she wants to lead a normal life.

David Granziano, Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey executive produce for Universal Television and Film 44.

The Hatfields & McCoys

A death reignited a feud between two families, set in present day Pittsburgh.

John Glenn, Charlize Theron, AJ Dix, Dawn Olmstead and Beau Flynn for ABC Studios, Beau Flynn Productions, Tower Hill, Grady Girl Productions and Denver and Delilah Productions.

I Am Victor

Based on Jo Nesbo’s forthcoming book about a divorce lawyer with a unique view on relationships.

Mark Goffman, Katie Jacobs, Daniel Rappaport, Meghan Lyvers, Jo Nesbo and Nicholas Salomonsson executive produce for Universal Television.


A remake of the 1960s detective series about a wheelchair-bound cop.

Michael Caleo, David Semel, Teri Weinberg, John Davis and Jon Fox executive produce for Universal Television, Davis Entertainment and Yellow Brick Road.

The Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

A drama about a murder in California and the secrets exposed in its aftermath.

Sascha Penn, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman executive produce with co-executive producers KristieAnne Reed and Mark Pellington for Warner Bros Television and Jerry Bruckheimer Television.

The Sixth Gun

A supernatural Western based on the graphic novel about six mythical guns, each with other-world powers.

Carlton Cuse, Eric Gitter and Andy Borne for Universal Television and Oni Press.

Untitled Rand Ravich project

Washington’s most powerful people are caught in an international conspiracy.

Rand Ravich and Far Shariat executive produce for 20th Television.


A modern day follow-up to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland about a girl who wages war against the Queen of Wonderland, the original Alice.

Anthony Zuiker, Matt Weinberg, JoAnn Alfano and Margaret Riley executive produce for Universal Television, Dare to Pass and Brillstein Entertainment.

Source: Futon Critic / The Hollywood Reporter