By Nellie Andreeva
June 26, 2020
EXCLUSIVE: As NBC made decisions on its 2021 pilot slate earlier this week, the network has followed up with casting decisions for most of the pilots on the slate, impacted by the coronavirus pandemic-related production shutdown. They come as the original pilot cast options expire June 30.
Of the two drama pilots put on a path to a series order, La Brea has released its entire cast with the exception of two of the leads, Natalie Zea and Zyra Gorecki.
La Brea, from Keshet Studios and Universal TV, had its script order upped to six this week. With six completed scripts, La Brea will be in consideration for a straight-to-series order. If it gets a green light, production on the series is eyed for 2021, so the network and the studio have opted not to hold the entire cast for at least seven more months, which would be costly. In case of a pickup, I hear NBC would likely reach out to other original cast members to invite them to rejoin the series if they are available.
There has been no decision yet on the cast of Debris, which is in consideration for a series pickup that could come before the actors’ options are up next Wednesday, I hear.
As Deadline reported, the project, from Legendary TV, was believed to be the 2020 broadcast drama pilot with the most footage in the can before all Hollywood production shut down in mid-March. The producers were able to edit together the material, complementing the actual footage with additional visuals in the vein of how The Blacklist completed its unfinished episode, and the finished product has received a positive reaction at NBC.
Of the other 10 NBC 2020 pilots, the network has extended through the end of September the options on the actors from the five pilots set to shoot later this year once production can safely begin: dramas Langdon and Ordinary Joe and comedies Night School, Grand Crew and American Auto.
Not picked up are the casts of the five pilots rolled over into next year’s development season: dramas At That Age and Echo and comedies Crazy for You, Jefferies and Someone Out There. Like with La Brea, actors from these pilots could be invited back if available in case the pilots go into production next spring.
In La Brea, written by David Appelbaum, when a massive sinkhole mysteriously opens in Los Angeles, it tears a family in half, separating mother (Zea) and son from father and daughter (Gorecki). When part of the family find themselves in an unexplainable primeval world alongside a disparate group of strangers, they must work to survive and uncover the mystery of where they are and if there is a way back home.
The La Brea pilot was directed by Thor Freudenthal. Freudenthal is repped by Gersh, the Gotham Group and attorney Rob Szymanski.