LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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BETA MALES (The CW, New!) - Feature producers Sean and Bryan Furst ("The Matador," "The Cooler") have landed a script commitment from the netlet for a new single-camera comedy about a trio of guys coping with their lives as domestic caretakers while their girlfriends and wives serve as the breadwinners. Sheri Elwood (Canada's "The Jane Show") is behind the half-hour which she'll write and executive produce alongside the Fursts. Lionsgate Television, whom the Fursts signed a first-look deal with back in August, is on board to produce.
DIRT (FX) - Promos currently running on the cable channel indicate the Courtney Cox-led drama will premiere on Tuesday, January 2 at 10:00/9:00c.
ELI STONE (ABC) - Jonny Lee Miller ("Smith") has been tapped for the title role in the drama pilot, about a thirtysomething attorney (Miller) who begins having larger-than-life visions that compel him to do out-of-the-ordinary things. Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim are behind the hour, which is set up at Berlanti's Touchstone Television-based Berlanti Television. No other details were given.
I LOVE NEW YORK (A.K.A. UNTITLED FLAVOR OF LOVE SPIN-OFF PROJECT) (VH1) - The "Bachelorette"-esque spin-off of the popular series "Flavor of Love" now appears to be running under the title "I Love New York." Production is currently underway on the project, which features male suitors angling for the affection of seasons one and two contestant "New York."
IN TREATMENT (HBO) - Blair Underwood ("The New Adventures of Old Christine"), Melissa George ("Alias") and Dianne Wiest ("A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints") have all joined the cast of the Gabriel Byrne-led half-hour, about a therapist who is calm, smooth, insightful and nonconfrontational with his patients but becomes a testy self-doubting man full of barely concealed anger when he is a patient seeing his own shrink. Wiest will play the former supervisor and mentor of Paul (Byrne's character) whom he goes to see for a therapy session eight years after dropping her. Underwood and George then are set as two of Paul's patients, a fighter pilot who suffers the effects of a botched raid he was involved in years before that killed not only his perpetrators but also three underage hostages; and a resident in anesthesia at John Hopkins Hospital who is infatuated with the older, married Paul. The trio joins the previously cast Embeth Davidtz and Mia Wasikowska in the project, which comes from executive producers Hagai Levi, Steve Levinson and Mark Wahlberg. Rodrigo Garcia, who is directing all five half-hours, is also co-executive producing alongside Noa Tishby.
KIDNAPPED (NBC) - The show's official web site indicates the remaining eight installments of the short-lived series will be streamed online. It's understood a new episode will be posted every Friday and viewable for the rest of the week.
THE L WORD (Showtime) - The pay channel has confirmed the show's fourth season will launch on Sunday, January 21 at 10:00/9:00c.
LIFE IS SUPER (ABC, New!) - The Alphabet is reportedly close to giving a script commitment to a new single-camera comedy from Emmy-winning directing brothers Joe and Anthony Russo ("Arrested Development"). Local TV reporter-turned-writer Phil Johnston is behind the Touchstone Television-based half-hour, which centers on a lovable but attention-starved woman who has spent much of her adult life adopting children - five and counting - with the hope of finding a prodigy but ended up with a houseful of uniquely unexceptional kids. The Russos are expected to direct the project should it move forward to pilot.
MANCHILD (Showtime) - John Corbett ("Lucky") is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, about four male friends around 40 who are knee-deep in midlife crises. He'll play one of the quartet, a former Deadhead who still smokes pot and tends to sabotage himself where work and women are concerned. He joins the previously cast Paul Hipp in the single-camera half-hour, which comes from "Lucky" creators Rob and Mark Cullen as well as fellow executive producers Darren Star and Nick Fisher via Star's Sony Pictures Television-based banner.
NIGHT STALKER (ABC) - Gabrielle Union has inked a mid-six-figure talent holding deal with ABC and Touchstone Television, the pair behind her short-lived drama from last season. The pact calls for the duo to develop a new series project for the actress or cast her in one of their existing projects.
NOT ANOTHER HIGH SCHOOL SHOW (Comedy Central) - Relative newcomers Rachel Specter ("Lonely Hearts"), Brendan Miller ("Accepted"), Anna Osceola, John Keefe, Jeffrey Christopher Todd ("Slutty Summer") and Jocelin Donahue have all scored roles on the comedy pilot, a half-hour spoof of teen TV dramas. It's not clear which actor is playing which character detailed in the casting notice. Among those listed: "Brian Atkins: 18-24 To Play High School. Should Be 5'5" Or Under (Think Ryan from The O.C.). Brian is a troubled, lost kid who lands in hot water when he's arrested after his brother ineptly hotwires a car and dies in the explosion. Brought home to live with Dusty Goldstein, the lawyer handling his case, Brian finds himself the object of the affections of Dusty's son Lawson and their next door neighbor, Melissa, but still has trouble fitting in at school. At a big party thrown by Melissa's jerk of a boyfriend, Sean, Brian gets inspiration from a badboy character of yesteryear, and comes to Melissa's defense against Sean - with mixed results."
Next up is "Lawson Goldstein: 18-24 To Play High School. A dorkier version of Dawson/Seth Cohen from Dawson's Creek/The O.C., Lawson is Dusty Goldstein's son, who's obsessed with Hugh Jackman, oblivious to the adoration of his female friend Charlie, and instantly smitten with Brian Atkins, whom his dad has brought to live with them. Lawson does a radio broadcast at school (a la David Silver/Brian Austin Green in Beverly Hills 90210) in which he introduces and embarrasses Brian to the school population at large. Later, Lawson is overjoyed when Melissa invites Brian and, by extension, him to Sean's party, where he shows up dressed as Wolverine from X-Men"; followed by "Melissa Coocher: 17-25 To Play High School. Beautiful, mysterious and conflicted, she lives next door to the Goldsteins with her father (in his 60s) and her new stepmother, who's 18 - a year older than she is and a senior at the same high school. Melissa is going out with the troubled, abusive Sean (who's also sleeping with her stepmother) but is immediately interested in newcomer Brian. Impulsively, Melissa invites Brian to Sean's party, and is touched when he goes to bat for her, but despite a brief romantic moment with Brian - right after she's killed his brother, who's apparently come back from the dead - Melissa is clearly incapable of breaking it off with her bad boy boyfriend, Sean."
Also noted are "Dusty Goldstein: 40s, likeable, the "cool Jew/WASP father who can relate to everything," (inspired by Peter Gallagher on The O.C.), Dusty is the lawyer handling Brian's case, who brings him home to his family in La Playa Creek Beach Hills. Cheerfully oblivious/dismissive of other people's feelings, such as when he mentions to Brian that his mom is also dead and later laughs away his wife's concerns about being raped (again) by this new kid he's brought home, Dusty expects Brian to just fit right in - but eventually, he has to inform all the kids he's got "some extremely disturbing information that's gonna shock the crap out of all of you"."; "Sean Saunders: 18-25 To Play High School. The classic abusive boyfriend of Melissa (think Ian Zeiring), whose SUV is strapped with every toy a rich boy could want (surfboard, mountain bike, kayak, etc), Sean makes no secret of his lust for Melissa's 18 year old stepmother, then gets defensive when she's a little moody about it. A classic bad boy, a little envious of newcomer Brian's volleyball prowess, Sean has a huge party at his house that's the social event of the season, and it's clear that he and Brian are destined to butt heads for the rest of the season."; "Charlie: 16-24 To Play High School. Female, Lawson's childhood friend (think Katie Holmes), Charlie is desperately in love with Lawson and is frustrated by his complete indifference to her passion for him (though he doesn't mind if she hangs out with him). Constantly hurt but instantly cheerful at a kind word from Lawson, Charlie suffers a tragic accident at Sean's party."; Caitlin Goldstein: 40s. Dusty's wife. She's not happy about his bringing home another troubled teenage boy, since the last one tried to rape her."; and "Pat: The way too friendly owner of the local diner where the kids hang out (think Nat from Beverly Hills 90210). He's a cheerful guy who tries hard to get an invite to Sean's party. He's very excited when Melissa invites Brian and, by extension, Lawson and himself, and shows up at the party wearing a Hawiian shirt." Mike Bender, Neal Moritz and Joel Gallen ("Not Another Teen Movie") are behind the Sony Pictures Television-based project, which Gallen is directing from a script by Bender.
OXYGEN ORIGINAL SERIES (Oxygen) - The cable channel has quietly revised its launch schedule for the next two months. "The Bad Girls' Club" will now debut on Tuesday, December 5 at 10:00/9:00c followed by the second season launch of "Campus Ladies" that same night at 11:00/10:00c. The following month, look for newcomer "Tease" to now kick off on Wednesday, January 10 at 9:00/8:00c with season two of "The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency" also bowing that same night at 10:00/9:00c.
TSUNAMI, THE AFTERMATH (HBO) - The pay channel's recently released December schedule indicates the two-part mini-series will air Sunday, December 10 and Sunday, December 17 at 8:00/7:00c. Here's how the network's press materials describe the project: "Two years ago, the world shuddered in the wake of the century's worst natural disaster. Hundreds of thousands died; those who survived lost their innocence. HBO Films in association with BBC present this two-part miniseries event that focuses on the aftermath of the tsunami that devastated the coast of Thailand on December 26, 2004. This gripping tale of loss, survival and hope follows a group of fictional characters whose lives are irrevocably transformed by the cataclysmic destruction. Academy Award� nominees Tim Roth, Toni Collette and Sophie Okonedo lead a first-rate ensemble cast. Also with Chiwetal Ejiofor, Gina McKee, Hugh Bonneville and Samrit Machielsen. Directed by Bharat Nalluri; screenplay by Abi Morgan."
UNTITLED BILL ENGVALL PROJECT (TBS) - The Bill Engvall-led comedy project has received the green light to produce a pilot. Engvall stars as the father at the center of the untitled family sitcom, the network's first multi-camera comedy pilot to date. Engvall co-wrote the pilot script with Michael Leeson and will executive producing alongside Engvall's manager, J.P. Williams.
UNTITLED DAVID KOHAN/MAX MUTCHNICK PROJECT (CBS, New!) - "Will & Grace" creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick have booked a put pilot order from the Eye for a new multi-camera comedy about a quartet of characters - a gay writer and a straight writer, who are best friends, and their hot young assistants. The pair will write and executive produce the project via their Warner Bros. Television-based KoMut Entertainment, which is loosely based on their own lifelong friendship.
THE WEDDING ALUBM/THE WEDDING STORE (FOX, New!) - FOX has shelved its midseason dramedy "The Wedding Album" in favor of a different wedding-themed hour from David E. Kelley. The project, which comes from Kelley's 20th Century Fox Television-based banner, is understood to be a reworking of his failed 2004 ABC pilot "DeMarco Affairs," about three sisters who inherit their family's full-service wedding-planning business. Kelley co-created said hour with current "Friday Night Lights" showrunner Jason Katims. Kelley penned a new script based on said concept, which is now self-described as "a romantic comedy about a group of wedding planners dedicated to having their clients live happily ever after, or at least until they get to the parking lot." Katims is likely to remain involved with the project depending on his "Lights" duties. Production on the show's 13-episode order is expected to begin shortly for a spring premiere. As for "Album," the news marks the end of a long, winding road for the project, which was created by Andy Tennant and Wink Mordaunt. Originally given a 13-episode order back in May, the network opted to recast and reshoot the pilot from scratch, bringing in 20th-based writer/producers Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts in the process. Nevertheless, FOX ultimately decided to pass on the hour in favor of Kelley's "Store."
WEEDS (Showtime) - A promo that ran following the show's second season finale on Monday indicated the series will return for a third season sometime in 2007.
WHAT ABOUT BRIAN (ABC) - The Alphabet has asked for four additional scripts of sophomore dramedy, which has managed to remain competitive against fellow Monday, 10:00/9:00c occupant "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" on NBC. "Brian" began the season with a modest 13-episode order following its five-week freshman run last season.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters