'S.H.I.E.L.D.' Pilot Ordered For Whedon

ABC/Marvel Studios made it official Tuesday, announcing that "Avengers" director Joss Whedon will return to TV to make a 2-hour pilot movie for a proposed "S.H.I.E.L.D." series.

Whedon, of course, enjoyed phenomenal success with "The Avengers," the highest-grossing and highly regarded movie this summer. It marks the first time he's returned to TV since "Dollhouse" on Fox.

Whedon is better known as creator of "Buffy, The Vampire Slayer," "Angel" and "Firefly." Whedon also seemed to have struggles with Fox TV, which produced all of the series, not promoting the shows correctly. In "Firefly's" case, Fox aired the episodes out of order, causing great confusion among the viewers. Whedon also had to face a lot of indecision by The CW as to whether or not "Angel" would get a final season, only to find out pretty late in the game that it wouldn't.

But ABC, which now owns Marvel and is looking to use the characters in the rich Marvel universe to bolster its programming, seems to appreciate Whedon, and "S.H.I.E.L.D." will get every chance to succeed.

Based on Marvel comics, S.H.I.E.L.D. -- which stands for Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Division -- is a super-secret spy organization that is Earth's organized defense against worldwide threats both on the planet and from the stars. Founded by Nick Fury, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents constantly pop up in the Marvel universe.

It's not the first time a network has tried to make a "S.H.I.E.L.D." series. David Hasselhoff played Fury in a TV movie, "Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D." in what was supposed to be a pilot for an NBC series. Fortunately, that series didn't make it to air.

Though we will certainly see familiar characters like Fury and Agent Maria Hill, odds are, they won't be played by Samuel L. Jackson or Cobie Smulders, as they were in the movie. It's also unclear if other Marvel heroes or villains will appear in the series -- not all of the movie/TV rights to those characters, such as the Fantastic Four, belong to Marvel.

It's also unclear what ABC/Marvel's plans are for rumored series based on comics characters like the Hulk, Heroes for Hire, and Jessica Jones (herself an ex-SHIELD agent), which had been previously announced.

WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: USA wraps up the season for "Necessary Roughness" at 10 p.m. as TK goes into rehab. It follows a new "Royal Pains" episode directed by series star Paulo Costanzo.

Other than that, it's more of the Republican National Convention, which will be shown on PBS beginning at 8 p.m. as well as the cable news networks. If you want the Reader's Digest version, you can catch it at 10 p.m. on the networks.