[11/10/04 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: November 8-10
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:

Looking to keep track of all the various pilots and other projects in development? Be sure to check out our detailed production chart listings by clicking here.

24 (FOX) - Roger Cross ("The Chronicles of Riddick") and Lana Parrilla ("Boomtown") have been added to the cast of the show's fourth season. No details were given about their respective characters. Look for the new season of "24" to premiere Sunday, January 9 at 8:00/7:00c.

THE BAD GIRL'S GUIDE (UPN) - Robin Schiff ("Romy and Michele's High School Reunion") has been named the executive producer/showrunner of the midseason comedy. Jenny McCarthy stars in the project, about a group of sexy, self-assured, single women living in San Francisco. Schiff will serve alongside fellow executive producers Tony Krantz, Jennifer Heath and Michele J. Wolff on the comedy, which comes from Paramount Network Television in association with Flame Television.

THE BERNIE MAC SHOW (FOX) - Production continues to be suspended on the comedy as star Bernie Mac is still recovering from the effects of fatigue and pneumonia. Producers Regency Television and 20th Century Fox Television had planned to resume shooting this week but the comedian decided he wasn't quite ready to return just yet. It's expected Mac will be back to work next week with "Mac" itself back in the FOX lineup come January.

DESPERATION (ABC) - Kelly Overton ("Breaking Down") has been added to the cast of the telefilm, which also includes Cliff Robertson, Tom Skerritt, Annabeth Gish, Ron Perlman and Steven Weber. She'll play a hip young woman who encounters the evil force in the project, which is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name.

GLOBAL FREQUENCY (The WB) - Executive producer John Rogers has confirmed the drama pilot will not go forward to series. In an e-mail to FrequencySite.com, the writer told readers: "You can make it official. The WB has passed on the pilot. However, they've also been real gentlemen and released it back to the studio to be taken elsewhere. Many networks hold onto pilots out of spite, fearing that if it succeeds elsewhere, they'll look bad. Luckily the WB folk value the product over politics. On a personal note, everyone -- my fellow producer Mark Burnett, the director Nelson McCormick, the actors, the DP and his cameramen, the production design down to the ridiculously hyper-efficient PAs -- worked their asses off and BELIEVED in the project. As executive producer I owe -- no, I have a deep responsibility it to those people, to Warren's talent, and to the book's enormous fanbase to run this bastard out down every road I can, to get this show on the air. And, frankly, it would be selfish of me to keep to myself the little chill I get when I hear Michelle say the line "My name is Miranda Zero... and you are on the Global Frequency." We're scheduling meetings now between various studio humans to decide where to take the show from here. Fortunately for us the television landscape has changed. Midseason and summer launches, 13 episode runs, genre shows are now no longer longshots but viable strategies. DC Comics stands enthusiastically behind both the comic and the show, especially now that they've seen the pilot. I only ask that when we come back to you and ask you to show the TV humans that there IS an audience for a smart, hip genre show, you answer the call. We'll keep everyone updated."

HUFF (Showtime) - Just 456,000 total viewers tuned into the much-hyped premiere of the pay channel drama, well behind the recent season openers to fellow Showtime dramas "Queer as Folk" (1.1 million on 4/18/04), "The L Word" (936,000 on 1/18/04) and "Dead Like Me" (797,000 on 7/25/04). More surprising was that "Huff" also lost 28.41% of its lead-in audience (637,000 viewers for the theatrical "School of Rock") not to mention fell short of its HBO competition (1.2 million viewers for "Family Bonds" and 960,000 for a repeat of "Entourage") in the 10:00/9:00c hour. "Huff" nevertheless doubled Showtime's overall primetime average, scoring a 0.3 national rating/1 share in adults 18-49 as well as other key demographics.

NUIMAGE SCI FI MOVIES (Sci Fi) - Avi Lerner's NuImage Films has pacted with Active Entertainment to produce four $3 million-budgeted telefilms for the cable channel. The four projects are "The Black Hole Project," about an experiment at a particle accelerator facility that goes wrong; "The Gryphon," about warring tribes in the 13th century who must band together to stop a sorcerer and its evil creation; "Alien vs. Alien," which centers on two aliens who crash on Earth and must find a buried weapon that will destroy the planet and their own society if not stopped; and "The Kraken," about a sea adventurer who joins a beautiful professor to find the famous giant squid and sunken treasure. "Black Hole" is set to begin shooting in St. Louis this month while the remaining three will begin production next year in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. NuImage's Boaz Davidson and Active Entertainment's Ken Badis will executive produce the quartet.

POINT PLEASANT (FOX) - Dina Meyer ("Birds of Prey") is the latest addition to the revamped cast of the midseason drama, about a beachside community that is turned upside down when a girl (Elisabeth Harnois) with mysterious powers washes ashore. She'll play Amber, a sexy, troublemaking single mom who lives in the town.

RUSH (A.K.A. UNTITLED L.A.P.D. PILOT) (TNT) - Dedee Pfeiffer ("For Your Love") and Brendan Kelly ("Oz") are the latest additions to the Gary Cole-led drama pilot, which now features the title "Rush." Pfeiffer is set as the soon-to-be-ex-wife of Cole's character while Kelly will play a tough D.E.A. agent. Rashida Jones also stars in the project, which stars Cole as the head of an undercover apprehension squad.

SHACKING UP (The WB) - Bob Myer ("Rock Me Baby") has been tapped as the executive producer/showrunner of the upcoming comedy, which revolves around a woman (Fran Drescher) whose twentysomething boyfriend is the same age as her son. It's understood Myer was brought in at the behest of the network and Regency Television over some concerns about the show's creative direction. He'll replace Susan Dickes and Boyd Hale, who are leaving to work on other projects. Dickes and Boyd in turn were replacements for Mike Langeworthy, who left for personal reasons a few months ago, making Myer the project's fourth showrunner. Production has already been completed on eight episodes of the series in addition to its pilot with shooting on the remaining four episodes has been pushed back while Myer gets up to speed. Jamie Kennedy also serves as the show's executive producer along with Myer.

SIGNIFICANT OTHERS (Bravo) - The cable channel has quietly announced the unscripted comedy will return for its second season on Sunday, December 5 at 9:00/8:00c. Back-to-back fresh episodes of the series will run for three weeks, concluding on Sunday, December 19. Viewers looking to catch up on the show's first season can catch a marathon of its first six episodes on Saturday, December 4 from 3:00-6:00 p.m. eastern. Once the second season concludes, a marathon of its sophomore run is set to air Sunday, December 26 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. eastern.

SIX FEET UNDER (HBO) - Creator/executive producer Alan Ball told reporters on Friday that the upcoming fifth season of "Six Feet Under" will be the show's last. "Working on 'Six Feet Under' has been enormously fulfilling creatively, but if the show is about anything, it's about the fact that everything comes to an end," he said in a statement. "I will miss working with such enormously talented writers, cast, staff and crew, and I'll always be grateful to HBO for allowing and encouraging us to tell the story we set out to tell in a challenging and uncompromising way." Production on the show's final 12 episodes is set to begin later this month for an expected June 2005 premiere. Ball himself has already written the show's swan song which according to industry insiders leaves little possibility for the show to continue beyond its fifth season. Overall, "Six" averaged 3.7 million viewers last season, down a bit from its top-rated second season (5.6 million). As for Ball's life after "Six," it's understood he wants to move back into features as he's already optioned Alicia Erian's upcoming novel "Towelhead" for his big screen directorial debut.

SUPERNANNY (ABC) - Craig Armstrong ("Extreme Makeover: Home Edition") has inked a two-year overall development and production deal with the Alphabet. As part of the pact, he'll serve as the showrunner of ABC's upcoming reality import "Supernanny" (from Ricochet Productions) as well as create and develop other projects for the network through his Stoney Brook Productions banner. The news marks only the third such pact at ABC for a reality producer, the others being with Michael Davies ("Wife Swap") and Clay Newbill ("The Mole"). In addition, Armstrong also has an on-air commitment for an unscripted special, details of which are being kept top secret. "Reality is swamped right now with the back-stabbing, eye-gouging type of programming, which is fine. I don't necessarily disapprove of that," Armstrong told Daily Variety upon news of the ABC deal. "But I also believe there's room in reality for more emotional, heart-tugging shows like 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' and, hopefully, 'Supernanny.'"

THE SURREAL LIFE (VH1) - The show's third season finale earned a solid 1.1 million viewers on Sunday, but was off more than 35% from its season premiere (1.7 million on 9/5/04). Look for season four to premiere Sunday, January 9 at 9:00/8:00c on the cable channel.

UNSCRIPTED (HBO) - Tembi Locke ("Like Family," "Raising Dad") has booked a recurring role on the pay channel's upcoming comedy, about a trio of struggling actors - Krista Allen ("Anger Management"), Bryan Greenberg ("The Perfect Score") and Jennifer Hall ("Confessions of a Dangerous Mind") - trying to make it big in Hollywood. Locke's role in the project, which also features Frank Langella ("The Beast"), wasn't specified. George Clooney, Steven Soderbergh and Grant Heslov are the executive producers of the series, which premieres Sunday, January 9 on HBO.

UNTITLED ANT HINES PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Writer/producer Ant Hines ("Da Ali G Show") is set to team with Sony Pictures Television and Bull's Eye Entertainment for a new hybrid comedy/reality series at the network. The project, which is understood to have received at least a six-episode order, will be executive produced by Hines alongside Bull's Eye's Tom Nunan and Cathy Schulman. No other details were given about the series, other than it combining elements of a family comedy and an unscripted show.

UNTITLED ARLENE TUR PROJECT (ABC, New!) - Acress Arlene Tur ("Harry Green and Eugene") has signed a talent holding deal with the network and Touchstone Television. The pact calls for ABC and the studio to cast Tur, a former model and professional beach-volleyball player, in one of its projects in development.

UNTITLED CHRIS KATTAN PROJECT (ABC, New!) - "Saturday Night Live" alum Chris Kattan is sticking to the small screen as the actor has pacted with "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" co-writer Michael McCullers for a new comedy at the network about a consumer reporter (Kattan) at a small-town TV station, his relationship with his co-workers and his dating life. 20th Century Fox Television and 3 Arts Entertainment are behind the project, which has a put pilot commitment from ABC after a bidding war with several other broadcast networks. McCullers, who also worked with Kattan on "SNL," will write the pilot script along with Don Woodard and Tom Maxwell ("Just Shoot Me").

UNTITLED GREG FITZSIMMONS PROJECT (ABC, New!) - Writer/producer Greg Fitzsimmons ("The Ellen DeGeneres Show") has inked a talent holding deal with the Alphabet to topline a new comedy project for the network. No other details were available.

WARM SPRINGS (HBO) - Kathy Bates ("Six Feet Under"), Cynthia Nixon ("Sex and the City"), Sharon Blackwood ("Miss Lettie and Me"), Andrew Davoli ("Spartan"), Wilbur Fitzgerald ("Pop Rocks"), Devon Gearhart ("The Brooke Ellison Story"), Tim Blake Nelson ("Holes"), Matthew Stanton ("Dawson's Creek"), Brian F. Durkin and Nelsan Ellis have all been added to the cast of the pay channel's Franklin D. Roosevelt biopic. Kenneth Branagh stars as FDR in the project, which tracks his days before he became president. Nixon's role is that of Eleanor Roosevelt while Durkin plays Elliott Roosevelt and Davoli is set as Jake Perini. Joseph Sargent ("Something the Lord Made") is directing the telefilm from a script by Margaret Nagle.

WASHINGTON STREET (CBS) - Shawnee Smith ("Becker") has joined the cast of the Cynthia Watros-led comedy pilot, about the tenants in a modest apartment building and their leader, a single mom (Watros). Smith will play the woman's beautiful and quirky upstairs neighbor.

WILD 'N' OUT (MTV) - The cable channel has committed to eight episodes of a new half-hour gameshow that puts emerging comedic talent to the test in a battle of improv comedy games. Nick Cannon ("Drumline") is behind the project, which he'll executive produce with his manager Michael Goldman and Power Entertainment's Tony DiSanto, Andrew Hoegl and Jonathan Singer. Cannon will also be featured on-camera in the series as the leader of one of the improv teams with the other being a celebrity guest. It's understood "Wild" will be taped at a yet-to-be-determined Los Angeles comedy club for a 2005 premiere date.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [november 2004]  

· 24 (FOX)
· OZ (HBO)

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