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[12/09/10 - 06:25 PM]
Development Update: Thursday, December 9
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!


BIRD DOG (TNT) - Ashley Williams ("Saving Grace") and Gerald McRaney ("Undercovers") have booked the lead roles on the drama pilot, about an unlikely partnership between two cops who happen to be father and daughter. They'll play the aforementioned duo - Gail and Sam McGrath. Williams takes over for Eliza Dushku, who bowed out earlier this month over creative issues. Mike Robe is behind the Warner Horizon Television-based hour, which also stars Suzy Nakamura, William Ragsdale and Wynn Everett.


THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO (ABC, New!) - Mike Kelley ("Swingtown") is developing a small screen take on Alexandre Dumas's classic tale "from a female perspective and chronicles the story of a mysterious young woman who comes to the Hamptons to exact revenge on the people who destroyed her family." ABC Studios is behind the hour, with Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen - whose company, Temple Hill, recently inked a two-year overall deal with the studio - also serving as executive producers alongside Kelly. The news marks Temple Hill's second literary adaptation this year: the company is also behind a new take on "Romeo & Juliet" at the network, from writer Andrea Berloff and director Catherine Hardwicke.


DANNI LOWINSKI (The CW) - Neal Bledsoe ("Ugly Betty") is the latest addition to the Amanda Walsh-led drama pilot, about "a scrappy hairdresser a law school graduate who is brushed off by law firms and sets up her own practice in a shopping mall kiosk." He'll play "the youngest partner at a Chicago law firm." Richard Shepard is directing the CBS Television Studios-based hour from a script by Jennie Snyder Urman.


THE HASSELHOFFS (A&E) - The cable channel has pulled the newcomer - featuring single dad David Hasselhoff and his two daughters, Taylor Ann and Hayley - after just two episodes. Repeats of "Gene Simmons Family Jewels" will fill the Sunday, 10:00/9:00c hour effective immediately. A modest 718,000 viewers tuned into its launch this past Sunday (including a 0.3 rating among adults 18-49) with the second half-hour dipping to 505,000 viewers. It's not clear when or if the eight remaining half-hours will air.


HOMELAND (Showtime) - Mandy Patinkin ("Criminal Minds") has joined the cast of the Claire Danes-led drama pilot, about "an American soldier taken prisoner during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Left for dead, the soldier miraculously returns to the U.S. after years in captivity. Danes plays Carrie Anderson, a driven CIA officer battling her own psychological demons, who becomes convinced that the intelligence that led to his re-capture was a setup and that this national hero may be connected to an Al Qaeda plot to be carried out on American soil." Patinkin is set as "the smart and politically savvy CIA Division Chief emeritus Saul Berenson who is Carrie's main champion in the intelligence upper echelon and her sounding board." Michael Cuesta is helming the hour, which comes from co-creators Alex Gansa, Gideon Raff and Howard Gordon.


HOUSE OF LIES (Showtime) - Matthew Carnahan's comedy, set in the world of corporate management consulting, is reportedly close to a pilot order at the pay channel. Stephen Hopkins ("The Unusuals") is on board to helm the potential half-hour, which is based on Martin Kihn's book of the same name. Production then would be contingent on casting the lead role of Marty, "a thirtysomething top management consultant who is cutthroat and not afraid to play dirty," with Don Cheadle already in talks. Carnahan is executive producing the project alongside Jessika Borsiczky.


LOVE BITES (NBC) - The Peacock and producer Universal Media Studios have confirmed the upcoming anthology has been rolled from 13 to nine episodes. Originally set to launch on Thursday nights at 10:00/9:00c this fall, various issues - from co-star Becki Newton's pregnancy to creator Cindy Chupack stepping down as showrunner - caused the network to push the series to midseason. "Love Bites" is one of three scripted properties ("Friends With Benefits," "The Paul Reiser Show" being the others) yet to be scheduled by the network.


LUCK (HBO) - Michael Gambon ("Angels in America") and Patrick J. Adams ("A Legal Mind") have both landed recurring roles on the upcoming drama, "a provocative look at horse racing - the owners, gamblers, jockeys and diverse gaming industry players." The former will play "a nemesis or worthy adversary for [Dustin] Hoffman's Ace Bernstein" with Adams as Nathan Israel, "who works closely with Bernstein." Dennis Farina, John Ortiz, Kevin Dunn, Richard Kind, Jason Gedrick, Ritchie Coster, Ian Hart, Tom Payne, Kerry Condon, Gary Stevens and Nick Nolte also star in the hour, due sometime next season.


THREE INCHES (Syfy) - The cable channel is reportedly considering redeveloping the drama as a single-camera comedy. The 90-minute pilot, directed by Jace Alexander from a script by Harley Peyton, revolves around "professional daydreamer and underachiever, Walter Spackman (Noah Reid) [who] is struck by lightning, and develops a unique "super" power -- the ability to move any object using just his mind... but only a distance of three inches. He's soon recruited by a covert team of superheroes each gifted with their own extraordinarily ordinary abilities." Said decision comes on the heels of fellow pilot "Alphas" landing a series commitment earlier this week. While the show's fate is being mulled, it's understood producer Fox Television Studios will extend Reid's option as well as "other key cast members." Andrea Martin, Antony Del Rio, Brandon Jay McLaren, James Marsters, Kyle Schmid, Naoko Mori and Stephanie Jacobsen also star.






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· ALPHAS (SYFY)
· ANGELS IN AMERICA (HBO)
· BIRD DOG (TNT)
· CRIMINAL MINDS (CBS)
· DANNI LOWINSKI (CW)
· DEVELOPMENT UPDATE (TFC)
· FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS (NBC)
· GENE SIMMONS FAMILY JEWELS (A AND E)
· HASSELHOFFS, THE (A AND E)
· HOMELAND (SHOWTIME)
· HOUSE OF LIES (SHOWTIME)
· LOVE BITES (NBC)
· LUCK (HBO)
· PAUL REISER SHOW, THE (NBC)
· REVENGE (ABC)
· ROMEO & JULIET (ABC)
· SAVING GRACE (TNT)
· SUITS (USA)
· SWINGTOWN (CBS)
· THREE INCHES (SYFY)
· UGLY BETTY (ABC)
· UNDERCOVERS (NBC)
· UNUSUALS, THE (ABC)





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