EXCLUSIVE: TV pilots’ role is to serve as a prototype for a series. Sometimes, networks make changes to that prototype when they proceed to mass production with a series order, which unfortunately affects talent. Two of ABC’s newly picked-up series, The Rookie‘s Feds spinoff, headlined by Niecy Nash, and the Gina Rodriguez-starring comedy Not Dead Yet, are going though the process this year.
Your Complete Guide to Pilots and Straight-to-Series orders
Nash was one of four actors who guest starred in the two-episode arc on The Rookie, which served as backdoor pilot for The Rookie: Feds. Three of them, Nash, who plays the oldest rookie in the FBI Academy, Frankie Faison and Felix Solis, will continue on the new series. The fourth, Kat Foster, will not as her role, Special Agent Casey Fox, will not be moving forward.
The changes are more significant on ABC’s new comedy series Not Dead Yet where only half of the six series regulars in the pilot will continue in that capacity on the series: star and executive producer Rodriguez, Joshua Banday and Angela Gibbs.
In a retooling, Not Dead Yet will lean more heavily into the workplace, with the female friendship storyline being phased out. As a result, Jessica St. Clair and Mary Elizabeth Ellis will not continue on the series. One of the pilot’s leads Rick Glassman, will stay on but not as a series regular.
Not Dead Yet follows Nell Stevens (Rodriguez), a broke and newly single self-described disaster who lands the only job she can find – writing obituaries – and starts getting life advice from an unlikely source.