Untitled Louis C.K./Spike Feresten Project, CBS (CBS Television Studios)
As fans of his FX series Louie can attest, Louis C.K. is the smartest, darkest comedian alive, a T-shirt-clad existentialist who has more bracing insights about capital-D Death than Woody Allen and Norm MacDonald combined, yet can evoke a sense of hard-won joy with a simple dick joke. Every year he tosses out his material to start from scratch, and while this act of forced renewal carries a whiff of fanaticism, damn it if he doesn’t pull it off. He’s also figured out the digital-distribution conundrum, raking in some $1.1 million on $5 downloads of his 2011 comedy special, Live at the Beacon Theater. How anyone thought Louis C.K. would find a home on broadcast TV (and on CBS, no less, home to lowest common denominator fare like Two and a Half Men and 2 Broke Girls) remains a puzzle for the ages, but this pilot never really had much of a shot.