Pilot season: Pickups include Casey Wilson comedy, Lee Daniels, Octavia Spencer dramas

Fox -Tuesday ended up being a big day as far as series pickups go, and while there may be a good bit to process in the early going, we want to at least give you some of the scoop on what some of the networks are up to.

“Empire” – Following the news that Fox had ordered “Gotham” to series, they have also done the same thing with this hip-hop drama from executive producer Lee Daniels (“Precious,” “The Butler.”) Taraji P. Henson and Terence Howard lead the cast, which also includes Gabourey Sidibe of “American Horror Story.” (For those curious, she may still appear in “Freak Show” on FX later this year, as well.)

“Red Band Society” – She was originally going to be in a “Murder, She Wrote” remake, but Octavia Spencer is instead starring in this Fox series as a nurse who befriends a group of teenagers as a hospital. Its premise feels a little loose right now, but there is probably a deeper story here than first meets the eye.

“Marry Me” – Over on the NBC side, the network has bagged a comedy not only starring “Happy Endings” alum Casey Wilson, but also has its creator David Caspe on board. Wilson and Ken Marino play a couple who start to realize they have big trouble after getting married.

“Allegiance” – Not to be rude, but this NBC drama has a number of weird strikes against it already. It features the CIA like the also-ordered “State of Affairs” with Katherine Heigl, and with talk of Russian sleeper cells, it feels like a combination of “Homeland” and “The Americans.” British actor Gavin Stenhouse stars.

“Odyssey” – We don’t necessary care that much for the premise of a group of people falling into a military conspiracy, but we love the cast, including Peter Facinelli and “Pushing Daisies” alum Anna Friel. We’ll watch this NBC drama for that alone for at least a week.

For those interested, Fox has also picked up ten extra episodes of “Mulaney,” the new comedy starring comedian / former “Saturday Night Live” writer John Mulaney.

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Photo: NBC

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