[09/25/09 - 06:42 PM] Development Update: Friday, September 25 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS (ABC, New!) - Director David Dobkin ("Wedding Crashers") and screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber ("500 Days of Summer") are set to team for a new single-camera comedy described as "a comedic dissection of the mating habits of today's young adults." The project is set up at 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television. Neustadter and Weber are penning the half-hour, which has a script commitment with a penalty attached, with Dobkin attached to direct. The trio will then executive produce alongside Imagine's Brian Grazer and David Nevins.
HANK (ABC) - Crista Flanagan ("Mad Men") has scored a recurring role on the freshman comedy. She'll play Dawn, the wife of David Koechner's character and sister-in-law to Kelsey Grammer's title character. She'll take over for Melissa McCarthy, who bowed out of the project to work on the feature "Life as We Know It" starring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel.
HAWTHORNE (TNT) - Executive producer Glen Mazzara has been upped to showrunner for the show's second season. He'll take over from creator John Masius who's returning to developing new projects for producer Sony Pictures Television. Masius nevertheless will continue to be involved with the Jada Pinkett Smith-led drama, just not on a day-to-day basis.
HOPSCOTCH (ABC, New!) - Chris Levinson (NBC's "Lost & Found") has landed a new drama, this time at ABC. The project is billed as "a high-concept police procedural" and "is said to tell the stories of homicide investigations over several nonconsecutive days, with each act of an episode chronicling a different day." Said hour is set up at the Warner Bros. Television-based Jerry Bruckheimer Television with Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman and Levinson executive producing. Bruckheimer Television's KristieAnne Reed will also serve as a co-executive producer.
LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT (USA) - Vincent D'Onofrio is set to depart the veteran drama when it returns for its ninth season. He'll say goodbye in a two-part swan song sometime next year that will turn over the weekly reins to Jeff Goldblum's character. "(D'Onofrio) has decided to transition out of the idiosyncratic role he created to explore new acting challenges in film and television," the network said in a statement. Added D'Onofrio to Daily Variety: "After eight seasons, and with the addition of Jeff Goldblum, now is the perfect time for me to explore other acting opportunities and I leave the show knowing it is in great hands with Jeff. For all my loyal 'CI' fans, I wouldn't be surprised if Goren pops up from time to time." Fellow co-stars Kathryn Erbe and Eric Bogosian are also being phased out as well as the previously announced Julianne Nicholson. Filling said void will be Saffron Burrows. It's not clear if any other additions are planned. "Intent" returns in the late spring.
V (ABC) - The Alphabet has rolled back its fall commitment to the freshman drama, an update of the 1980s franchise of the same name. Originally set for a six-week run, "V" will now launch in on November 3 with four weekly installments before returning for its remaining nine episodes next year. The show has been dogged with behind-the-scenes issues as of late, including a "creative hiatus" that shut down production in late August as well as Scott Peters assuming showrunning duties from Jeffrey Bell. ABC and producer Warner Bros. Television nevertheless insist all 13 episodes will be shot as production will resume in mid-October, several weeks before its premiere.
SLACKER SONS (NBC, New!) - Mike Sikowitz ("Rules of Engagement") has scored a premium script order for a new comedy about "two twentysomething brothers who stumble into riches when they create an energy drink" who then "wind up buying their family home and bailing out their divorced father when he's laid off from his corporate job." Anthony and Joe Russo ("Community") are on board to direct the Sony Pictures Television-based half-hour as well as executive produce alongside Sikowitz and Bryan and Sean Furst of Furst Films.
UNTITLED TINSLEY MORTIMER PROJCT (The CW, New!) - The netlet has commissioned eight episodes of a new reality series about the life of young New York socialite/fashion designer Tinsley Mortimer, daughter of real estate mogul George Riley Mercer and interior designer Dale Mercer. Andrew Glassman's Glassman Media ("Momma's Boys") is behind the half-hour project, which is being eyed as a companion to the recently ordered "Fly Girls." As for specifics, the untitled effort will follow Mortimer, who's "currently embroiled in a high-profile divorce," as she hits the New York scene. Mortimer, Glassman and Mike Aho created the project, which Andrew Glassman will executive produce.