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2007 tv pilots May 16, 2007

Posted by sindhub in "the gaze", motherhood, opting out, race, The TV Set, tv, women in television.

I was looking at TV pilots for the 2007-2008 television season, and I was struck by how many pilots related to ‘girl power,’ especially the idea of a supermom who balances work and family.  It’ll also be interesting to see how many of them actually get picked up by the networks, and if the number that are picked up is proportional to how many were created.  Here are some examples (there are probably a lot more, but I thought these were particularly relevant):


  • Mr. and Mrs. Smith: based on the blockbuster movie
  • Cashmere Mafia: “Sex and the City creator Darren Star is back to New York in this new dramedy pilot, about four female executives, friends since college, who support one another through the trials and tribulations of work, family, and everything else life in New York City throws at them.”
  • Women’s Murder Club: “A series of mystery books by James Patterson was the inspiration for this new series, which tells the story of four women who work together to solve some of the most confounding murder cases out there. Their jobs as a homicide detective, a medical examiner, a newspaper reporter, and an assistant district attorney give them a formidable range of skills, and their strong friendship provides basis for the teamwork that’s necessary to crack each case.”
  • The Middle: “This new comedy series uses a mother’s point of view to shed light on the lives of a middle-class family in the Midwest.”
  • Untitled Rina Mimoun Project: “A lawyer, Annie (Alyssa Milano of Charmed), and her infant son move from Boston to her hometown of Charleston, SC where she must deal with her eccentric family while adjusting to her new job at her father’s law firm.”
  • Football Wives: “Based on the cult British soap Footballers’ Wive$, this remake chronicles the exciting and dangerous lives of three wealthy women, Donna, Tanya and Chardonnay, all wives to superstar footballers. Updated for the US by Ugly Betty’s Marco Pennette, ABC’s remake promises to retain the trashy, high-camp drama of the original series, whilst adding its own unique charm and flare to the premise.”
  • Judy’s Got a Gun: “A woman seeks balance between her life as a single mom and her job as a suburban detective.”
  • Traveling in Packs: “Three single women decide they’re sick of being alone…so they all move in together!”
  • Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: “Can a ‘nice girl’ make it big in the world of bloodthirsty corporate sharks? This new comedy aims to find out!”
  • See Jayne Run: “A tough-as-nails investment banker strikes an indelicate balance between career and motherhood.” 


  • Untitled Stiller & Taylor Project: “A comedy about a famous actress struggling to balance her fame and career with the demands of her close-knit family.”


  • Lipstick Jungle: Based on the novel by Sex & the City writer Candace Bushnell, “Lipstick Jungle tracks three powerful career women who are willing to do almost anything for success in the business world. Their thirst for achievement is sure to get them where they want to go–but at what personal cost?”
  • Winters: “In a traditionally male-dominated world, one female police officer finds her place at the center of this new drama for NBC.”
  • The Bionic Woman: “Jamie Sommers is a young woman working as bartender and raising her teenage sister, Becca. When she is hit by a car and seriously injured. Her only hope becomes an experimental and top secret procedure. But this salvation comes at a high price.”


  •  The Return of Jezebel James: “Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of Gilmore Girls, brings us this multi-camera comedy about how two estranged sisters who are polar opposites try to raise a baby together.  Boston Legal’s Parker Posey was cast in the lead role in this comedy pilot as Sarah Tomkins. Sarah is an intelligent, optimistic and determined woman who has it all. She’s a successful editor of children’s books with a very helpful assistant Buddy (The Good Shepherd’s Michael Arden) who keeps her life together. Also she has a steady, no-strings-attached relationship with businessman Marcus Sonti (Gilmore Girls’s Scott Cohen) a confirmed bachelor.  At the same time Sarah’s father, Ronald (Trump Unauthorized Ron McLarty) always reminds her that although she has the perfect job and boyfriend, something is missing in her life. When Sarah comes home from work she feels alone and she is also not getting any younger, so she decides to get pregnant. But the doctor soon tells her that she cannot have children, so Sarah begins an alternate plan. When she can’t find anyone she can count on to have the baby for her, she turns to her estranged sister Coco (Six Feet Under’s Lauren Ambrose). Coco refuses at first, but when Sarah mentions that she has turned Jezebel James, Coco’s imaginary childhood friend, into a story book, Coco begins to take her sister’s idea more seriously. Coco thinks about her current living status on her friend’s couch and decides to go ahead with her sister’s plan.
  • When Women Rule the World: “FOX takes a look at what would happen if gender roles are turned upside down. Participants will go to a remote, primitive location where they will be tasked with creating a new society where women are in charge and men are subservient.”
  • Revenge: “Fed up with the trials and tribulations of dating life, three female friends set out on a mission of justice against all the men who’ve done them wrong.”
  • The Hot Years: “Four hard-partying young women plow headfirst through their twenties in this age of online dating, celebrity exploits, and sexual experimentation…but they’re about to realize that if they want to grow up, they’ll have to make some major changes.”

The CW

  • Crowned: “Crowned is an eight episode reality program where mother-daughter teams compete to win a beauty pageant title.”
  • Gossip Girl: “Based on the popular book series of the same name, this drama gives viewers a peek into the world of privileged teenagers on an elite private school in New York City.”
  • I am Paige Armstrong: “After becoming fed up with her boss’ morally suspect wheeling and dealing, a brilliant and idealistic congressional aide does the only thing she can to fight ‘the man:’ run against him!”
  • Hell on Earth: “Dawnn Lewish, Kim Coles, and Lamont Thompson star in this comedy about a spoiled, bratty girl who is killed in a bus accident and granted a second chance at life…as a normal girl from a working-class neighborhood.”
  • M.I.L.F. and Cookies: “Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, among others, will executive produce this comedy pilot about a group of sexy single moms all living in the same apartment complex. The story will be told through the eyes of a very observant security guard.”

And as a side, I was kind of disappointed by the lack of nonwhite characters, but especially nonwhite leads, in these pilots.  There were some pleasant surprises (like while looking around some more online I found out that there were many more Asian/Asian-American characters than I had expected [e.g. Lucy Liu in Cashmere Mafia and Lindsay Price in Lipstick Jungle, both seemingly exactly the same show, oddly enough], and there was the one about a multigenerational Latino family, as well as Frangela), buuut I’m willing to bet that the more ‘colorful’ ones won’t get picked up.  See this LA Times article about how ABC wants to tell a story of race relations through Cavemen…even though it canceled The George Lopez Show.


1. ajaramillo - May 16, 2007

Wow..never realized how big girl power was getting! I’m really excited for Mr. and Mrs. Smith and some of the other shows, but I was pretty upset over ABC’s decision to cancel The George Lopez Show. It almost seems like you can’t have both multiculturalism and girl power at the same time.

2. sindhu - May 16, 2007

Yeah, the lack of leads who are women and nonwhite is disappointing. I was thinking about this today in terms of Heroes (one of the breakout hits this season, as well as my current favorite). Of the ensemble cast, there are only two female leads–both of whom are white and blonde. And it gets more stereotypical, with one of them being an underage cheerleader and the other literally representing the madonna/whore complex with her split personality (she’s an Internet stripper, but also a mom, and her ‘other’ more dangerous personality comes out when she looks at herself IN THE MIRROR *Lacan moment*). But yeah, the ONE woman of color they had was killed off early on. And it seems like the fates of the lead white characters/actors are more certain (in terms of remaining on the show) than those the nonwhite characters/actors. I think Heroes is probably one of the more ‘diverse’ shows out there, and I think it’s done a good job of incorporating diverse characters into the show without tokenism (especially the Asian characters), but that’s why this makes this all the more disappointing.

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