[01/29/13 - 11:05 PM] Development Update: Tuesday, January 29 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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BIG THUNDER (ABC) - Jason Fuchs's small screen take on Disney's famed roller-coaster ride - about "a brilliant, late 19th century New York doctor who relocates his family to a frontier mining town run by a powerful, but mysterious tycoon" - has received a pilot order from the network. Chris Morgan also serves as an executive producer on the hour, from ABC Studios. (Deadline.com)BRENDA FOREVER (NBC, New!) - Andrew Leeds and David Lampson have snagged a pilot order from the Peacock for a new high-concept comedy which follows the title role both as a 31-year-old woman and a 13-year-old girl. Sony Pictures Television-based Fedora Entertainment is behind the half-hour with Peter Tolan and Michael Wimer executive producing alongside said duo. Ellie Kemper ("The Office") is reportedly in early discussions to topline the project. (Deadline.com)GOTHICA (ABC) - Matt Lopez's drama - "a sexy gothic soap set in present day that weaves together a mythology that incorporates the legends of Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, Frankenstein and Dorian Gray among others" - is moving forward to pilot at the Alphabet. Said hour is set up at ABC Studios with Mark Gordon and Nicholas Pepper of The Mark Gordon Company also on board as executive producers. (Deadline.com)HAVES AND THE HAVE NOTS, THE (OWN) - John Schneider ("Smallville") is the first to be cast in Tyler Perry's upcoming drama, about the dynamics of the affluent Cryer family and the impoverished family of Hanna, their housekeeper, and the obstacles and secrets that exist within both families. He'll play Jim Cryer, the Cryer family patriarch. The one-hour series launches Wednesday, May 29 on the cable channel. (Deadline.com)LOVE THY NEIGHBOR (OWN) - Jonathan Chase, Palmer Williams, Patrice Lovely, Kendra C. Johnson, Andre Hall and Darmirra Brunson have all been cast in the upcoming series, a half-hour comedy set at Love's Diner, where every day the menu serves up good food, great laughs, valuable life lessons and a whole lot of love for its zany neighbors. Lovely will play Hattie, the diner's owner, with Johnson and Hall as her daughter Linda and grandson Danny, respectively. Rounding out the cast are Chase as Danny's co-worker/best friend Sam; Brunson as Amber, Sam's neighbor; and Williams as Floyd. Tyler Perry Studios is behind the project, which launches Wednesday, May 29. (Deadline.com)MURDER IN MANHATTAN (A.K.A. PARK & LEX) (ABC) - The Maria Maggenti-penned hour - about a mother and daughter who team up as amateur sleuths in New York City - is the latest to receive a pilot commitment at the Alphabet. DarkFire Television's Ryan Reynolds, Allan Loeb, Jonathon Komack Martin and Steven Pearl also serve as executive producers on the project, which is set up at ABC Studios. (Deadline.com)RECKLESS (A.K.A. COUP) (ABC) - Chris Black's drama - about "a resourceful problem solver who, when his wife is unjustly imprisoned during a political uprising overseas, resorts to entering a world of political intrigue, dangerous alliances and high emotional stakes in order to get her out" - has been given a pilot order by the Alphabet. ABC Studios is behind the hour with Martin Campbell executive producing alongside Black. (Deadline.com)WONDERLAND (NBC) - The Anthony E. Zuiker-produced drama - a sequel to Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" centering on a new character, Clara, who must wage war against Wonderland's reigning Queen, the woman we once knew as Alice - has scored a pilot commitment at the Peacock. Whit Anderson penned the hour, which is now set up at Universal Television after originally being shepherded by ABC Studios. Dare to Pass's Matt Weinberg as well as JoAnn Alfano and Margaret Riley of Brillstein Entertainment Partners are executive producing alongside Zuiker and Anderson. (Deadline.com)AND IN OTHER NEWS... - Warner Bros. Pictures has given a green light to a big screen version of HBO's "Entourage" with creator Doug Ellin directing from his own script (Deadline.com); Steve Callaghan has been tapped as the new showrunner of "American Dad," succeeding co-creators Mike Barker and Matt Weitzman (Deadline.com); Neal Purvis and Robert Wade has been tapped to pen Gaumont International Television's proposed small screen take on "Barbarella"(Deadline.com); Eric Mabius will guest on "Blue Bloods" as "a likable and sexy multi-millionaire philanthropist with an unblemished record who may not be as perfect as he appears" (TVLine.com); and Mark Hamill will drop by the season finale of "The Neighbors" as a co-worker of Larry Bird's dad, played by the previously cast George Takei (TVGuide.com).