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Fall TV development: The big picture

Welcome to my annual fall TV development trends post -- and, may I add, the first of several. By mid-March, the major networks -- ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, CW -- have pretty much completed their pilot orders, in anticipation of mid-May announcements. That's exactly two months for each to see the show, and decide whether to go forward.

This morning, some broad trends. Don't worry: If you want more details, keep coming back to TV Zone, and you shall have them. In future posts, I'll be looking at individual trends, what they mean, and -- especially -- individual shows and why they'll probably end up on your screens sometime next fall or midseason. Below, I've given only the bullets. I'll fill in later.

Keep one thing in mind: Most of those ordered pilots -- 80 in all -- will never see the light of day. Roughly half, or 40, will, if the past is any indication. 

Again: 80. That's the big number, and how many pilots (not shows) the networks have ordered. In terms of numbers, it's a biggish one, but not huge, and reflects a network bullishness going into fall 2011.

OK, on to the trends! (And remember, I will be baaack):

What's not hot:

  - Sci-fi (very bad time for this genre)

 - Cop procedurals

What is hot:

  In terms of themes...

 - Men under fire, at home and in the workplace

- Multi-genenerational, dysfunctional families

- Supernatural and magic -- which is by far the hottest trend of the new season; half a dozen show fall into this category

- Historical, or going back in time: Yes, history is hot for the first time in what seems like decades

 - Conservatives: A few shows have conservative characters, and a "few" is a trend.

- People with mixed or faked or double identies. Why? Beats me, but there are a lot off  'em.

 - Doctors. Yes, docs, mostly on CBS.

Big Stars:

Here are some of the names that you'll be hearing a lot about (an abbreviated list, but these are most of the big ones):

 -Tim Allen

-Minka Kelly

-Eric Roberts

- Angela Bassett

- Christine Lahti

- Poppy Montgomery

-Sarah  Michelle Gellar

- Chelsea Handler

- Amanda Peet

-Stockard Channing

-Don Johnson

-Debra Messing

-Rob Corrdry

- Zoe Deschanel

-Ethan Hawke

-Rachel Bilson

Big Shows:

 - "Charlie's Angels"

- "Georgetown"

- "Good Christian Bitches"

- "Pan Am"

- "Poe"

- "Grimm"

- "Prime Suspect"

- "REM"

- "Reconstructin"

- "Smash"

- "Alcatraz"

 - "Wonder Woman"

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