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[04/02/07 - 03:55 PM]
Development Update: Monday, April 2
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 projects in development? Click here to visit our signature "Devwatch" section. There visitors can view our listings by network, genre, studio and even development stage (ordered to pilot, cast-contingent, script, etc.). It's updated every day!


THE APPRENTICE (NBC) - Longtime Mark Burnett collaborator Jay Bienstock has inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with CBS Paramount Network Television. The pact, like most of its type, calls for him to create new series projects for the studio via his new Jay Bienstock Productions banner. Bienstock currently serves as the day-to-day showrunner on "The Apprentice" and previously worked on the first five editions of "Survivor."


THE BEAST (FOX) - Georgia Engel ("Everybody Loves Raymond") and Ian Gomez ("Jake in Progress") have both joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a womanizing veterinarian (Steve Howey). Engel will play the man's mother, Doris Droop. She's further detailed in the casting notice as follows: "Mid-Late 50s. She is Ty's loving mother and the receptionist at the veterinary office, who has worked there for thirty plus years. Well meaning, if a bit scatter-brained, she has the office organized in a way only her brain can understand. She views the computer Ty bought her as a threat to her place in the office and plans to "accidentally" spill coffee on it. A kind woman, she embarrasses Ty with loving tales of his childhood and feels like she's going to break out in hives any time she has to lie."

Gomez then is set as Ron Little, who was originally detailed as: "35, African-American and semi-happily married. He is Ty's partner at the vet clinic who insists on hiring a third partner because the work load is too heavy - especially since Ty tends to pass off all his work to Ron. He is patient and low key, mostly because he's world weary and past the point of getting too upset about things. He loves the pets he helps and even has a bulletin board ("Ron's Buddy Board") full of pictures of them. He thinks PJ makes a good addition to the team and is amused by the trouble she is for Ty." In addition, James Widdoes ("'Til Death") has signed on to direct the half-hour from a script by creator Tucker Cawley.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Georgia Engel (Doris Droop), Ian Gomez (Ron Little), Josh Dean (Frank Hopper), Steve Howey (Tyler Droop)
Writer: Tucker Cawley
Director: James Widdoes
Executive Producers: Tucker Cawley
Studios: CBS Paramount Network Television, FremantleMedia North America


CAVEMEN (ABC) - Dash Mihok ("Firehouse Dog") and Stephanie Lemelin ("Anonymous Rex") have both scored roles on the comedy pilot, which is based on the popular Geico ads. He'll play Jamie, who's described in the casting notice as: "25, Caveman. Lauren's younger brother. He's a naively innocent guy who is frequently browbeaten by Nick. He recently moved in with him and Lauren, and also accompanies Lauren and Nick to a country club function, where he hits it off famously with party girl Thorne - right up until the time he throws up in her designer bag." Lemelin then is set as Thorne, said party girl.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Bill English (Joel), Dash Mihok (Jamie), Kaitlin Doubleday (Kate), Nick Kroll (Nick), Stephanie Lemelin (Thorne)
Writer: Joe Lawson
Directors: Josh Gordon, Will Speck
Executive Producers: Bill Martin, Daniel Rappaport, Guymon Casady, Josh Gordon, Mike Schiff, Will Speck
Co-Executive Producer: Joe Lawson
Studio: ABC Television Studio


COMPANY MAN (FOX) - Sarah Brown ("General Hospital") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about a family man (Jason Behr) who winds up recruited by the NSA as a spy within the defense contracting company he works for. She's set as Laura Brooks, who's further described via the casting notice as follows: "Late 20s-Early 30s. Roughly; a project manager on the same team as Barry and Paul; attractive, sexy, but slightly hard around the edges; is having an affair with married Barry."

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Annie Wersching (Kate Fisher), Billy Brown (Tom Wicks), Jason Behr (Paul Fisher), Sarah Brown (Laura Brooks), Stana Katic (Sara Baker)
Writers: David Ehrman, Robert Cochran
Director: Jon Cassar
Executive Producers: David Ehrman, Howard Gordon (Real Time Productions), Joel Surnow (Real Time Productions), Jon Cassar, Robert Cochran (Real Time Productions)
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television


I'M IN HELL (CBS) - Timm Sharp, who's currently recurring on FOX's "'Til Death," has joined the cast of the pilot, a comedy about a dead Wall Street player (Biggs) who is reassigned to hell on Earth. He'll play Fisher, the annoying roommate of Biggs' character, a slovenly, disreputable guy.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Jason Biggs (Nick), Timm Sharp (Fisher)
Writers: Aron Abrams, Greg Thompson
Director: Frank Coraci
Executive Producers: Aron Abrams, Greg Thompson
Producers: Jason Biggs, Peter Kiernan
Studio: CBS Paramount Network Television


RECOUNT (HBO, New!) - Oscar-winner Sydney Pollack ("Out of Africa") is set to direct a new TV movie about the famed turmoil in Florida surrounding the 2000 presidential election. The self-described "non-agenda" film, written by actor Danny Strong ("Gilmore Girls"), will track everything from the infamous hanging chads and butterfly ballots to the stories of the 175,000 voters whose ballots were rejected to the Republican and Democratic teams that were deployed to Florida in the month after the election. Paula Weinstein and Len Amato are executive producing the project for HBO Films via their Spring Creek Productions banner. Production is set to begin later this year for a spring 2008 premiere.

Commitment: In production
Cast: TBA
Writer: Danny Strong
Director: Sydney Pollack
Executive Producers: Len Amato (Spring Creek Productions), Paula Weinstein (Spring Creek Productions)
Studio: HBO Films


UNTITLED VICTOR FRESCO PROJECT (FOX) - Macey Cruthird ("Hope & Faith") and Nathan Gamble ("Babel") have each scored roles on the comedy pilot, about a 10-year-old (Gamble) who tries to navigate life in his high-achieving, stressed family with the unorthodox help of his slightly crazy grandfather (Tom Conti). Gamble will play said lead role, Brian Atlin, with Cruthird as his older sister, Alison Atlin.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Andrea Parker (Susan Atlin), Larry Joe Campbell (Don Atlin), Macey Cruthird (Alison Atlin), Nathan Gamble (Brian Atlin), Tom Conti (Nate)
Writer: Victor Fresco
Director: Marc Buckland
Executive Producers: Victor Fresco
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television


Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters





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· ANONYMOUS REX (SYFY)
· APPRENTICE, THE (NBC)
· BEAST, THE (FOX)
· CAVEMEN (ABC)
· COMPANY MAN (FOX)
· DEVELOPMENT UPDATE (TFC)
· EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND (CBS)
· GILMORE GIRLS (CW)
· HOPE & FAITH (ABC)
· I'M IN HELL (CBS)
· JAKE IN PROGRESS (ABC)
· RECOUNT (HBO)
· SURVIVOR (CBS)
· 'TIL DEATH (FOX)
· UNTITLED VICTOR FRESCO PROJECT (FOX)









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