ABC Picks Up "Flash Forward" Drama

Thursday, May 14, 2009

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - ABC has officially picked up "Flash Forward," a drama starring Joseph Fiennes.

The show, which already is being promoted on the network, received a 13-episode order Friday night.

Based on Robert J. Sawyer's novel, the series chronicles the aftermath of a global event in which everyone in the world blacks out for 2 minutes, 17 seconds and has mysterious visions of six months into the future.

Originally developed at HBO, which retains a piece of any profits, "Flash" landed at ABC after heated bidding with Fox. From the get-go, it has been considered compatible with the network's hit "Lost" and a potential successor to the mystery drama, which is heading into its sixth and final season.

Not surprisingly, ABC two weeks ago launched a teaser promo campaign for "Flash" during "Lost." The new series is expected to launch in the fall.

ABC has been the most aggressive among the broadcast networks this year in handing out early series pickups to its strongest pilots.

The order for "Flash" came hours after the network brass screened it to a strong reception. It follows ABC's Thursday pickup of the new comedy "Modern Family."

In addition to Fiennes, the "Flash" cast includes Sonya Walger, John Cho, Jack Davenport, Brian F. O'Byrne, Courtney B. Vance, Christine Woods, Zachary Knighton and Peyton List.

With ABC's pilot screenings slated to wrap Monday, other hot prospects at the network include the mystery drama "Happy Town" and prolific producer Jerry Bruckheimer's "The Unknown," both enjoying rave reviews. Also going strong are the Courteney Cox-starring comedy "Cougar Town" and the contemporary witch take "Eastwick."

"V," an update of the 1980s miniseries, is heading into its Monday screening with a strong buzz, with the dramas "Empire State" and "Limelight" also in contention.

On the comedy side, the Patricia Heaton vehicle "The Middle," which was filmed months ago, is picking up heat after a solid screening.

Three other pilots have the strong presence of stars going for them: Alyssa Milano ("Romantically Challenged"), Kelsey Grammer (an untitled project) and Cedric the Entertainer ("The Law").


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