We’re in the midst of Upfronts week, a period of time when television network executives announce their programming schedule for the upcoming year to their advertisers and the media. For the 2018-2019 season, there were several pilots ordered that featured South Asian talent.
So far, 10 have been ordered to series (!), 6 have sadly definitely not been picked up, including Hannah Simone-starrer “The Greatest American Hero” on ABC and an Indian-American family comedy called “Pandas in New York” on CBS (here’s hoping the talented actors get scooped up on other projects real quick!).
Three pilots (Janina Gavankar’s untitled comedy on FOX, Lilly Singh-starrer “Bright Futures” on NBC, Kosha Patel-starrer “False Profits” on ABC) remain in contention for a few more days before the final decision.
Here’s our breakdown of what you can expect to see on your screen next:
1. “I Feel Bad”
Starring: Sarayu Blue, Paul Adelstein, Madhur Jaffrey, Aisling Bea
In this comedy, Blue is the lead, which itself is a huge change from the usual family sitcoms we are used to seeing on TV. Based on a successful blog of the same name, Emet (Blue) is a hard-working mother, wife, daughter who is struggling to be perfect at it all and also balance her career. In learning to be perfect, this modern family woman realizes its only normal to actually be imperfect. “I Feel Bad” hails from producers Aseem Batra (“Scrubs”), Julie Anne Robinson, and Amy Poehler (“Parks and Recreation”).
“I Feel Bad” will premiere this fall on NBC, airing at 9.30/8.30c on Thursdays.
2. “New Amsterdam”
Starring: Ryan Eggold, Freema Agyeman, Anupam Kher, Janet Montgomery, Tyler Labine
Medical dramas are taking over our TV. This one focuses on an ensemble of doctors at New York City’s oldest public hospital. The institute’s new medical director disrupts the system by breaking apart the bureaucracy, telling his team to focus solely on exceptional treatment and patient care. They tackle Ebola patients, cancer and immigration storylines, and this is just in the pilot. Bollywood actor Kher joins the cast as a series regular (his first for a primetime American show), playing Dr. Anil Kapoor, one of the older and more rigid doctors at the hospital.
“New Amsterdam” will premiere in the fall on NBC, airing at 10/9c on Tuesdays.
Starring: Josh Dallas, Melissa Roxburgh, Parveen Kaur, J.R. Ramirez, Athena Karkaris
In this “Lost”-like high-concept drama, when a plane safely lands after a turbulent journey, for the passengers of the flight, no time has passed. However, in reality, its been over five years. The show will look at how some of these passengers, including siblings Ben and Michaela Stone (Dallas, Roxburgh) deal with their new chance at life while figuring out the mystery behind their ‘disappearance.’ One of these passengers is also Saanvi (Kaur), a brilliant medical researcher who, after the tragic flight, learns that her work has caused medical breakthroughs that she must deal with.
“Manifest” will premiere in the fall on NBC, airing at 10/9c on Mondays.
4. “The Enemy Within”
Starring: Jennifer Carpenter, Morris Chestnut, Raza Jaffrey
— The Enemy Within (@nbcenemywithin) May 13, 2021
A gender-reversed “The Blacklist,” “The Enemy Within” is being touted as a spy-chasing and thrilling drama. Erica Shepherd (Carpenter) is ex-CIA and now, the biggest traitor this country has seen. However, in order to catch a notorious criminal, the FBI enlists her help to track him down. Jaffrey plays Ali Ziai, an FBI agent who is an expert with interrogation techniques that focus on empathy and not intimidation.
“The Enemy Within” is slated to premiere on NBC in early 2019
5. “The Red Line”
Starring: Noah Wyle, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Vinny Chhibber, Aliyah Royale
Three Chicago families’ lives converge in the wake of a mistaken shooting. From acclaimed producers @ava and @GBerlanti comes the powerful story about finding hope in tragedy, #TheRedLine coming to #CBS. pic.twitter.com/TypyIbSEUy
— The Red Line (@TheRedLineCBS) May 14, 2021
In CBS‘s timely event series, a white cop accidentally shoots a black doctor to death in Chicago. What follows is the emotional aftermath through the lens of three families connected to this tragedy. Chhibber will play Liam, a quick-witted and openly gay high school teacher who’s straight-forward methods are helpful to Daniel (Wyle) and his daughter Jira (Royale) after her mother’s untimely death. The pedigree is high on this one because it hails from uber-producer Greg Berlanti (The CW’s Arrowverse) and Ava DuVernay (“A Wrinkle in Time”).
6. “God Friended Me”
Starring: Brandon Michael Hall, Suraj Sharma, Joe Morton, Javicia Leslie, Violette Beane
In this CBS dramedy about faith and hope in the modern age, Hall’s Miles is an athiest and a podcast host who friended on Facebook by God. He doesn’t know what to make of it or of the many strangers who hit him up with messages he doesn’t know how to handle. Unintentionally, Miles becomes an agent of change in the lives of those around him. Sharma plays Rakesh Sehgal, Miles’s coworker and best friend, who uses his hacking skills to help Miles figure out who is behind the God account.
7. “Murphy Brown” (straight-to-series)
Starring: Candice Bergen, Jake McDorman, Nik Dodani, Faith Ford
A 13-episode straight-to-series order was given to this show, a revival of the original “Murphy Brown,” which aired 30 years ago and ran for 10 seasons on CBS. Bergen plays the titular investigative journalist and news anchor. The revival is set in present-day and the entire cast has returned for it. Dodani, however, is a new addition. He will play Pat, the social media director at Murphy’s new show, he is tasked with bringing her to the 21st-century journalism upgrades.
8. “Whiskey Cavalier”
Starring: Scott Foley, Lauren Cohan, Vir Das, Ana Ortiz, Tyler James Williams
ABC‘s inter-agency action dramedy stars Foley and Cohan as FBI agent Will Chase (code name Whiskey Cavalier) and CIA’s Francesca Trowbridge (code name Fiery Tribune), respectively. After a series of misadventures, the two become leaders of a secretive and powerful team to perform covert operations across the world. Das, an Indian comedian, will star in his first American primetime drama as Jai Datta, an FBI agent.
“Whiskey Cavalier” will premiere on ABC in early 2019.
9. “The Fix”
Starring: Robin Tunney, Adam Rayner, Mouzam Makkar, Merrin Dungey, Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje
Hailing from famous attorney Marcia Clark, this upcoming legal drama on ABC stars Tunney as Maya Travis, an L.A. lawyer who flees the city for a more peaceful life after losing a high profile trial. Eight years later, the same celebrity criminal is facing another murder charge and Maya returns for another chance at justice. Makkar, who recently starred in NBC’s “Champions,“ will play Loni Kampoor, the lead attorney of the current trial.
“The Fix” will premiere on ABC in early 2019.
10. “Roswell, New Mexico”
Starring: Jeanine Mason, Nathan Parsons, Michael Trevino, Karan Oberoi, Tyler Blackburn
— Roswell, New Mexico (@CWRoswellNM) May 11, 2021
Reboot alert! The CW is bringing back “Roswell,” which aired on WB and UPN from 1999-2002, but with an immigration twist. This one centers on Liz Ortecho (Mason), the daughter of undocumented immigrants and a jaded medical researcher who returns to her home of Roswell, New Mexico, to discover that her childhood crush is actually an alien. Oberoi will play Noah Bracken, a charming and devoted husband who realizes his wife is hiding a big truth from him.