CBS is banking on the built-in appeal of existing properties as it plans out its fall schedule, with pickups todays for four dramas – Limitless, Rush Hour, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders and Code Black – and two comedies – Life In Pieces and Angel From Hell. Those series orders are in addition to CBS giving an early pickup to Supergirl two days ago.
Limitless, based on the 2011 Bradley Cooper thriller of the same name, will focus on Brian Sinclair (Jack McDornan), who gains super-intelligence after taking the drug NZT and uses his new gift to solve crimes for the FBI. Jennifer Carpenter of Dexter fame co-stars and Cooper himself may appear in the pilot, passing the torch to McDornan, as the show is expected to serve as a sort of sequel to the feature film. Heavy hitters are involved with this one as well, with the likes of Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Todd Phillips all producing.
Rush Hour, a continuation of the film franchise, “revolves around a stoic, by-the-book Hong Kong police officer (Jon Foo) who is assigned to a case in Los Angeles where he’s forced to work with a cocky African-American LAPD officer (Justin Hires) who has no interest in a partner,” according to the press release. Bill Lawrence and Blake McCormick (Cougar Town) wrote the script, and exec-producers include Brett Ratner and Jon Turtletaub, who also helmed the premiere.
Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders will spin off the popular procedural and focus on a division of the FBI that deals with American citizens imperilled overseas. A February 8 episode of Criminal Minds worked to plant seeds for the spinoff and the order means that renewal chances for the original series are through the roof.
Out of the dramas, Code Black had the rockiest road to a series order. The show had its pilot significantly retooled, losing lead actress Maggie Grace in the process, and Marcia Gay Harden stepped up to star. It’s now set in the busiest, most notorious emergency room in America, where the staff deal with a problematic system while trying to help the most in-need patients.
Nearly 20 comedy pilots were produced this past season, but only two made the cut. Angel From Hell stars Jane Lynch as an eccentric woman who claims to be the guardian angel for a woman named Allison (Maggie Lawson). Though her true past is unclear, the would-be protector forms an unlikely friendship with Allison. It hails from Samantha Who‘s Tad Quill.
Life in Pieces, from Justin Adler (Better Off Ted), is a more ambitious family comedy that’s told through the separate stories of the family members. Dianne Wiest, James Brolin, Zoe Lister Jones, Colin Hanks, Angelique Cabral, Thomas Sadoski and Betsy Brandt make up an unusually high-profile ensemble cast.