Upfront Buzz: FOX May Call 'Primary's' Number


It's generally a good sign when a network tells you that your pilot is okay to start hiring writers and planning for the season.

So, if the showbiz trade papers are right, the folks behind FOX's drama "Primary" should be feeling pretty happy right about now. According to those reports, the drama about a pair of hostage negotiators (Ron Livingston and Rosemarie DeWitt) who balance work and a burgeoning personal relationship is on the way to earning a spot on FOX's lineup for next season.

The buzz on which pilots will make the cut for 2006-07 is starting to build, as we're 10 days from the start of the upfronts, the broadcast networks' annual unveiling of their lineups and sales pitch to advertisers.

Some of the fun has been taken out of the guessing game this year with the early pickups of several shows, including three dramas at NBC, a pair of shows at FOX ("Vanished" and "'Til Death") and the ABC comedy "In Case of Emergency." A CBS comedy called "The Class" has been in that category for most of the development season, but the trades have backed off that description slightly; both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter do, however, still say a pickup of "The Class" is all but a formality.

Of the shows that haven't yet been officially greenlit, "Primary" is near the top of the list of contenders. The NBC dramas "Heroes" and "Friday Night Lights" are also looking good, and at ABC, murder mystery "Secrets of a Small Town," the untitled Steinbergs hostage drama and family soap "Brothers & Sisters" are among those in the drama mix.

The comedy crystal ball is a little bit cloudier, although both trades mention NBC's "20 Good Years," starring John Lithgow and Jeffrey Tambor, as a possibility. NBC is also said to be high on "Community Service," a single-camera show with Jay Mohr. ABC is taking long looks at "Help Me Help You," which stars Ted Danson as a therapist; "Him and Us," a comedy executive produced by Elton John; and the Rob Burnett-Jon Beckerman show in which a group of guys led by Donal Logue plans to rob Mick Jagger.

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