FOX Orders Seven Series, Including Jezebel James, While CBS Begins Staffing Two

With NBC and ABC announcing multiple series orders for their pilots, FOX had to get in the game as well, quietly ordering three dramas and three comedies to series yesterday.

I'm thrilled to report that one of my favorite comedy pilot scripts, Amy Sherman-Palladino's The Return of Jezebel James, has received a series order for fall. The series, which stars Parker Posey and Lauren Ambrose as estranged sisters who reunite when the older, more responsible one (Posey) asks the flaky, irresponsible sib (Ambrose) to carry her baby. It also stars Gilmore Girls' Scott Cohen (remember Max Medina?) and features the series' trademark snap, crackle, and pop witty banter that made Sherman-Palladino a favorite in the Televisionary household.

What else was ordered? The Kelsey Grammer/Patricia Heaton-led Back to You (a.k.a. Action News), which had already received a 13-episode order from FOX earlier this year, was on the shortlist, along with The Rules of Starting Over, starring Craig Bierko and Rashida Jones (sorry, members of Team Karen) as 30-somethings who are forced to re-enter the treacherous waters of dating past 30. Both come from 20th Century Fox Television; Back to You will reportedly be paired with 'Til Death, which has gotten a second season renewal.

On the drama side, the kick-ass Sarah Connor Chronicles, starring Lena Headey, Thomas Dekker, and Summer Glau, got a series order. The series takes place between the second and third installments in the Terminator feature film franchise as Sarah Connor tries to protect her son John, who might be destined to be humanity's last hope in the war against the machines. One problem: there are others who are just as interested in John's survival ... and death as she is. Project comes from Warner Bros. Television. I can't wait to see this pilot next week. Fingers crossed that it's as good as the script I read.

Also ordered: K-Ville, Canterbury's Law, and New Amsterdam, three of my least favorite dramas this development season. K-Ville's been getting some decent buzz in the last few days, but I just couldn't warm up to this story of post-Katrina New Orleans cops, nor to the dopiness of New Amsterdam's plot about a man, cursed with immortality, who works as a cop in New York City, hoping to find his one true love so he can be freed from his prison of eternal life. (Me, I'd rather watch repeats of Angel.) And Canterbury's Law, starring Julianna Margulies, just struck me as yet another yawn-inducing legal drama.

I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that Victor Fresco's comedy pilot, Deeply Irresponsible, gets a green light as well. And I'm intrigued enough by David Eick and John McNamara's Them to want to see more ....

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Meanwhile, over at CBS, things are looking extremely well for drama pilots Cane (formerly known as Los Duques), that stars -- among a cast of dozens -- Jimmy Smits and Rome's Polly Walker as members of warring clans in the sugarcane/rum industry, and Swingtown (starring Grant Show and Jack Davenport). Both shows were reportedly given the go-ahead to start staffing, meaning that an official series order will be forthcoming. Interesting ....

FOX announces its official fall schedule on Thursday, May 17th, and CBS will make its upfront announcements on Wednesday, May 16th. Stay tuned.

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Jace is an LA-based television development and acquisitions junior exec who watches way too much television for his own good and would love a TiVo for every room in the house. (He’s halfway there.) His blog, Televisionary, can be found at televisionary.blogspot.com.