ABC Pilot Watch: Comedies ‘Public Defenders’ & ‘Motherland’ Remake ‘Keeping It Together’ & Dramas ‘The Hurt Unit’ & ‘Judgement’ Not Moving Forward
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ABC is passing on its pilots.

The network has passed on Anthony Anderson-fronted Public Defenders and Ellie Kemper-led Keeping It Together, which is a remake of British comedy Motherland, as well as dramas The Hurt Unit, starring Melissa George and Ben McKenzie, and Judgement starring Sex/Life’s Sarah Shahi.

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ABC Signature is, however, planning to shop The Hurt Unit to other networks and platforms, while 20th Television will be shopping Public Defenders and Judgement.

The move comes as it still has decisions to make on series Home Economics and The Rookie: Feds as well as The Good Lawyer, which was a backdoor pilot spinoff of The Good Doctor.

Last month, ABC handed a series order to Drew Goddard’s pilot High Potential, starring Kaitlin Olson. The project, which is based on the popular French detective series HIP, was the clear front-runner all development season.

RELATED: 2023 ABC Pilots & Series Orders

The decision to pass on its pilots also comes after it made the majority of its pickup and cancellation decisions last month, despite a strike contingent fall schedule featuring unscripted shows. The Hurt Unit and Judgement were likely harmed by ABC’s pickup of 9-1-1 after Fox canceled it. For the former, it sits in the medical genre and for the latter, it eliminated one of the possible drama slots even though ABC canceled Big Sky, The Company You Keep and Alaska Daily.

It’s a busy day in the broadcast television business; earlier today, NBC handed a series order to Justin Spitzer’s comedy pilot St. Denis Medical and canceled Young Rock and Grand Crew.

Single-camera comedy Public Defenders stars Anthony Anderson. It landed a pilot order in January and comes from Acapulco and Duncanville writer Eddie Quintana and McG.

The project, which is produced by 20th Television, followed four inexperienced public defenders, up to their earholes in student loan debt, who work tirelessly to keep their clients out of jail. Along the way, they have to rely on each other to navigate their first defendants, the absurd court system, and the copy machine that always jams. 

Anderson plays the public defenders’ boss and it also starred Erika Henningsen, Arturo Castro, Kimrie Lewis, Natasha Lopez and Isaiah Dòdó-Williams in the pilot, which was written by Eddie Quintana and directed by Randall Einhorn.

Quintana exec produced with McG, Mary Viola and Corey Marsh from Wonderland Sound and Vision.

Keeping It Together (fka Drop-Off) is a remake of the BBC’s British comedy Motherland.

The project, which landed a pilot order in March, starred Ellie Kemper as Julia, a working mom for whom nothing is working so she goes looking for her village. With the help of new friends Calvin, played by Karan Soni, and Liz, played by Michaela Conlin, Julia discovers she just might succeed at balancing work and parenting from time to time. This is a comedy for anybody who’s dropped their kids at school, breathed a sigh of relief … then realized it’s Sunday.

Judy Greer also starred.

It comes from from writer Julieanne Smolinski, Sharon Horgan and Clelia Mountford’s Merman Television, Paul Feig’s Feigco Entertainment, Lionsgate and ABC Signature.

Michael Showalter directed the pilot and executive produces alongside Smolinski, Kemper, Horgan, Mountford, Stacy Greenberg and Kira Carstensen for Merman Television, Paul Feig and Dan Magnante for Feigco Entertainment as well as Holly Walsh and Helen Serafinowicz.

The Hurt Unit comes from Promised Land creator Matt Lopez and former SEAL Team showrunner John Glenn with The Amazing Spider-Man and (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb helming the pilot.

It follows a highly skilled team of trauma surgeons and nurses who race into the field to treat the patients who won’t make it to the hospital in time. When the sick and the injured can’t get to the ER, the Hurt brings the ER to them.

Melissa George stars as the female lead alongside Ben McKenzie, Ashley Romans, Michelle Ortiz and Augustus Prew.

Lopez, who has an overall deal with ABC Signature, which is the studio, and Glenn wrote and exec produced with Webb also exec producing.

Finally, legal soap Judgement, which comes from former Charmed showrunner Joey Falco, was handed a pilot order in December.

The pilot was headlined by Sex/Life star Sarah Shahi and played out over two timelines. Fifteen years from now, a woman, played by Shahi, being vetted for a Supreme Court seat recounts her experience at a prominent D.C. law firm in 2023, where the only thing more controversial than the cases was her messy love life, caught between two feuding brothers, played by Reid Scott and François Arnaud. Now, with a Supreme Court seat on the line, all of her darkest secrets are at risk of coming out, threatening her nomination, her reputation, and her marriage.

Portia Doubleday, Christine Adams and Ken Kirby also starred.

20th Television is the studio, with Melvin Mar, Jake Kasdan and Jordan Cerf also exec producing alongside Falco.

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