Upfront Buzz: 'Heroes,' Fey Looking Good at NBC


After five seasons at the helm of NBC's "Crossing Jordan," series creator Tim Kring is giving up day-to-day oversight of the show. Which is good news for the likes of Greg Grunberg and Ali Larter.

Grunberg and Larter, see, are two of the stars of Kring's NBC pilot "Heroes," and the showbiz trade papers report that Kring is ceding show-running duties on "Crossing Jordan" to concentrate more on that show. That's as good a sign as any, short of an actual announcement, that NBC will give "Heroes," about a group of people discovering they have superpowers, a pickup for the 2006-07 season.

(Jon Cowan, Robert Rovner and Kelly McCormick will take over for Kring at "Crossing Jordan," by the way. Kring will retain his executive producer credit.)

NBC is first up at next week's upfront presentations, announcing its lineup for the fall on Monday. The other networks will follow the rest of the week, and as the announcements approach, speculation about what will make it onto the fall schedule is reaching a crescendo.

In addition to "Heroes," NBC is said to be high on the dramas "Friday Night Lights," based on the book and film, and "Raines," which stars Jeff Goldblum as an eccentric detective who communicates with his dead victims. "Saturday Night Live" writer Tina Fey's sitcom a clef about the workings of an "SNL"-like show is a leading comedy contender, as are Jay Mohr's "Community Service" and "20 Good Years," which stars John Lithgow and Jeffrey Tambor.

Word has also started to seep out about several CBS pilots. Of the dramas, the James Wood-led "Shark," about a high-powered lawyer, and "Smith," a crime drama told from the crooks' point of view, are getting the most ink. "Jericho," about a small town cut off from the world after a nuclear disaster, and a legal drama from "CSI" exec producer Carol Mendelsohn are also in the mix.

Another CBS pilot, the superhero-meets-"Sex and the City" hour "Ultra," could be on its way to The CW, the trades say. The new network, half-owned by CBS, apparently didn't think a great deal of its four drama pilots, although "Runaway" has received some positive buzz.

The dearth of promising new material could be a ray of hope for on-the-bubble shows like The WB's "Everwood" and "One Tree Hill." UPN's "Veronica Mars" is looking like a somewhat safer bet, although it's not guaranteed yet.

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