Suggesting that bringing a new television series onto the air without making a pilot first might not be such a great money-saving idea after all, NBC on Monday parted ways with producers Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson, who had been preparing the initial episodes of the NBC drama The Philanthropist, due to premiere in January. The Hollywood trade press suggested that network executives had found themselves at odds with the pair over the tone of the show. The Hollywood Reporter said that Fontana's "vision was too dark for the network," while Daily Variety observed that while Fontana wanted to create "a show that was comfortable exploring social issues, for example -- Peacock execs kept pushing for more escapism and a feeling of wish fulfillment." Fontana and his staff had reportedly completed six scripts that were about to skip the pilot phase of developoment and go directly into production.
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