‘Emergence’ NBC Drama Pilot Gets Series Order At ABC

In one of the biggest twists this upfront season, NBC’s genre thriller drama pilot Emergence, starring Allison Tolman, has been picked up — by ABC.

Your Complete Guide to Pilots and Straight-to-Series orders

The project, from Kevin (Probably) Saves the World creators/executive producers Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, director Paul McGuigan and ABC Studios, was a favorite at the Disney-owned studio. It was bought by NBC instead of ABC last fall during the previous regime at the Disney-owned network. I hear the new top ABC executive team loved the pilot and when word came that NBC was not picking it up to series, they swooped in.

Chatter picked up yesterday that an Emergence move to ABC was imminent. Also yesterday, ABC’s romantic drama pilot The Beauty and the Baker emerged as a dark horse strong contender for a series pickup. I hear negotiations with Universal TV, which produces the adaptation of an Israeli format, are still ongoing and the project’s prospects are looking good.

That would be the final new series pickup at ABC this upfront. Emergence joins already ordered dramas Untitled Cobie Smulders and For Life and comedies mixed-ish and United We Fall. Two buzzy ABC pilots — NYPD Blue and Heart of Life — are out of fall contention for fall as they will be undergoing reworking for midseason consideration (NYPD Blue) and redevelopment (Heart of Life).

Written by Fazekas and Butters, Emergence is a character-driven genre thriller that centers around a police chief, played by Allison Tolman, who takes in a young child that she finds near the site of a mysterious accident who has no memory of what has happened. The investigation draws her into a conspiracy larger than she ever imagined, and the child’s identity is at the center of it all.

In addition to Tolman, the cast includes Alexa Swinton, Owain Yeoman, Ashley Aufderheide, Robert Bailey Jr., Zabryna Guevara co-star along with Donald Faison and Clancy Brown.

Fazekas and Butters executive produce with McGuigan. Robert Atwood, development executive for the Fazekas & Butters production company, is a producer. ABC Studios, where Fazekas and Butters are under an overall deal, is the studio.

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