[01/22/14 - 11:17 PM] Development Update: Wednesday, January 22 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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GRACEPOINT (FOX; W: Chris Chibnall; D: James Strong) - Madalyn Horcher has been cast in the event series, a gripping crime drama which follows the tragic and mysterious death of a young boy found dead on an idyllic beach surrounded by rocks and a jutting cliff-face, from where he may have fallen. She's set as Chloe Lasseter, "the smart and sassy daughter of Mark (Michael Pena) and Beth (Virginia Kull), who is hit hard by her brother Danny's death." The project's ensemble also includes Anna Gunn, David Tennant, Jacki Weaver, Jessica Lucas, Josh Hamilton, Kendrick Sampson, Kevin Rankin, Kevin Zegers and Nick Nolte. (Deadline.com)HIGHER (HBO, New!) - "Trainspotting" author Irvine Welsh is spearheading a new project at the pay channel billed as "a fictional comedy is set in the world of electronic music." Calvin Harris, Will Smith and Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter are among the executive producers of the project, which also include Overbrook Entertainment's James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith and Miguel Melendez; Three Six Zero Group's Mark Gillespie and Dean Wilson; and Marcy Media's Jay Brown and Tyran "Ty Ty" Smith. (Deadline.com)OPEN (HBO/Fox 21; W: Lauren Gussis & Ryan Murphy; D: TBA) - Jaimie Alexander (Thor: The Dark World) and Lina Esco (LOL) are the latest additions to the drama pilot, billed as "a modern, provocative exploration of human sexuality and relationships." Esco will play Gina, "a smoking hot and extremely ambitious employee at Jonathan's (Scott Speedman) sports management agency (and the object of his sexting and extra-curricular exploits) who will stop at nothing to get the job promotion and her man." Alexander then will guest as Claire, "the postpartum-suffering, pill-popping Stepford wife of Evan (Wes Bentley)." Aisha Tyler, Anna Torv, Cheyenne Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Michelle Monaghan also star. (Deadline.com)UNTITLED BILL COSBY PROJECT (NBC, New!) - Comedian Bill Cosby is eyeing a return to the small screen as part of a new comedy at the Peacock. Said effort will be built around Cosby, "who will play the patriarch of a multi-generational family." Former "The Cosby Show" producer Tom Werner is on board to executive produce the half-hour alongside Cosby. The search is underway for a writer on the project, which has been put on the off-season development track. (Deadline.com)UNTITLED DAVID O. RUSSELL/SUSANNAH GRANT PROJECT (ABC, New!) - Oscar-nominated director David O. Russell (American Hustle) and writer Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) are set to team for a new drama billed as "an upstairs/downstairs soap set at a private country club" at the Alphabet. The project has been given a straight-to-series 13-episode order with ABC Studios and CBS Television Studios co-producing. Grant penning the pilot teleplay off a story she conceived with Russell. Both will executive produce alongside Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly of Timberman-Beverly Productions. It's not clear if Russell also plans to direct. (Deadline.com)AND IN OTHER NEWS... - Emmy-winner Ann Peacock ("A Lesson Before Dying") has been tapped to pen the CBS mini-series "The Dovekeepers," based on Alice Hoffman's novel of the same name (Deadline.com); HBO has passed on its Topher Grace/Sarah Silverman-led comedy pilot "People in New Jersey" while its untitled half-hour from Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin is being redeveloped with a production commitment (Deadline.com); Pedro Pascal is bound for at least five episodes of "The Mentalist" as "a charming man with integrity, a blue-collar cop with FBI smarts" and a potential love interest for Robin Tunney's Lisbon; (TVLine.com)
Elisa Donovan will succeed Tara Reid on "Melissa & Joey" as "a museum director who hits it off with Joe (Joey Lawrence) at a bar" (TVGuide.com); Stephen Merchant will guest on "Modern Family" as "the officious Mandalay Bay hotel butler assigned to take care of the Pritchett-Dunphy clan" during its upcoming Las Vegas-set episode (TVGuide.com); and Nicole Ari Parker has joined the cast of TNT's upcoming drama "Murder in the First" as Sonia Perez, "a brilliant and tough district attorney whose career hedges on a high-profile murder case" (THR.com).