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Star-studded, Dallas-made pilot Broken not included in ABC's new season plans

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Reese Witherspoon, Blair Underwood and Anna Paquin were all involved in the making of ABC drama pilot Broken, which was recently filmed in Dallas and rejected by the network Tuesday.

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Given the considerable star power both behind and in front of the camera, it’s outwardly a surprise that ABC is not going ahead with Broken after the pilot for the drama was filmed for the network earlier this year in Dallas.

Instead it’s dead -- on ABC at least -- after Broken failed to make the cut among the nine new 2016-17 season series announced Tuesday by ABC.

“As of a day or two ago, it was listed as passed on by ABC, being shopped (to other networks),” Dallas Film Commission director Janis Burklund said in an email to unclebarky.com.

Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line) was co-executive producer of the pilot, whose stars included Anna Paquin, Blair Underwood, Penelope Ann Miller and T.R. Knight (from Grey’s Anatomy).

Paquin played a ruthless Dallas divorce attorney named Gemma, whose life begins unraveling when her emotional wreck of a sister re-emerges. Underwood co-starred as Gemma’s boss and occasional lover, Knight was cast as one of her law firm rivals and Miller portrayed the vengeful ex-wife of a Texas oil billionaire, according to a synopsis in Variety.

Broken could still wind up elsewhere, and there may be more than one network interested in doing business with Witherspoon’s Pacific Standard production company, which has birthed movies such as Gone and Wild. But ABC has opted to go easy on big names in the majority of the five drama series it’s ordered for next season. The exception is Designated Survivor, which returns Kiefer Sutherland to the role of an action hero challenged to save the world -- just as he did time and again in 24.

More typical of ABC’s new dramas is the fall entry Conviction, with a notably lower wattage ensemble cast of Hayley Atwell, Eddie Cahill, Shawn Ashmore, Merrin Dungey, Emily Kinney, Manny Montana and Daniel di Tomasso.

Interestingly, Merrin Dungey is the sister of Channing Dungey, the new ABC entertainment president who announced the network’s new season lineup Tuesday.

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