[03/23/11 - 11:14 PM] Development Update: Wednesday, March 23 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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BRAVE NEW WORLD (NBC) - Tyler Blackburn ("Pretty Little Liars") has landed a role on the pilot, a workplace comedy set at Pilgrim Village, a theme park that specializes in recreations of New England in 1637. He'll play another member of the staff, John Litchfield, "handsome, buff, tanned and shirtless; he's everything you'd want in a Native American." Anna Popplewell, Ed Begley Jr., Jazz Raycole, Nicholas Braun, Robbie Benson and Will Greenberg also star in the half-hour, from writer Peter Tolan and Sony Pictures Television.
FREE AGENTS (NBC) - Anthony Head, Al Madrigal and Joe Lo Truglio have booked the final principal roles in the comedy pilot, which "explores the attraction between two quirky PR executives working together - Alex (Hank Azaria) and Helen (Kathryn Hahn) - who both are on the rebound, Alex from a divorce and Helen from the loss of a fiance." Head, who co-starred in the original U.K. incarnation, will return as their boss Stephen ("handsome, charming, amoral"), the CEO of Dayton Group. Madrigal then will guest as fellow executive Gregg ("40, with the soft, exhausted look of a married man with kids") with Lo Truglio as Walter, the company's oddball security guard. Mo Mandel and Natasha Leggero also star in the Universal Media Studios-based half-hour, from director Todd Holland and writer John Enbom.
GAME CHANGE (HBO) - Four-time Academy Award nominee Ed Harris has been cast as John McCain in the upcoming original movie, about the Arizona senator's failed 2008 presidential campaign. Julianne Moore also stars as Sarah Palin in the project, which is based on John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's book of the same name. Jay Roach is directing from a script by Danny Strong.
HERD MENTALITY (CBS) - Eliza Dushku has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about Nick Herd (Damon Wayans), a sports radio host whose acerbic ways get him in trouble at home and at work. She'll play his co-host Casey ("thirtyish, tall, and sexy") in the CBS Television Studios-based project, which Andy Cadiff is directing from a script by Bill Martin and Mike Schiff. Danny Comden also stars.
HOMEGROWN (CBS) - Tricia O'Kelley ("The New Adventures of Old Christine") has booked a role on the comedy pilot, about Joe Reilly (yet to be cast), a blue collar man who wrestles with how to parent his unmarried grown daughter, Eileen (Becki Newton), and her 12-year-old son while sharing a house with them, his wife and his recently widowed mother. She'll play Eileen's older sister, "a put together hot mom." Jackie and Jeff Filgo are behind the Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour, to be directed by Andy Ackerman. Shane McRae also stars.
HUNG (HBO) - Kaitlin Doubleday ("Cavemen") is set to recur on the show's upcoming third season. She'll play Logan, a former student of Ray's (Thomas Jane) who once again crosses his path. Leven Rambin was previously tapped for said role but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts.
IT'S BRODY STEVENS (HBO, New!) - Brody Stevens is set to topline a potential half-hour at the pay channel, a mocumentary starring the actor/comedian as himself. Zach Galifianakis ("Bored to Death") and Mike Gibbons ("Tosh.0") co-created the project, which recently completed a low-budget presentation directed by Jonathan Krisel ("Saturday Night Live"). Said effort is the result of a first-look deal Galifianakis recently signed with HBO. Galifianakis, who guest starred in the pilot and may recur on the series, will then executive produce alongside Gibbons.
LOVELIVES (NBC) - Smith Cho ("100 Questions") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a couple - Tim (Ryan Hansen) and Holly (Amanda Loncar) - and their challenges of love and fidelity. She'll play Kate, the sarcastic ex-wife of Tim's brother Blake (Sean Maguire) who's still friends with Holly. Chris Sheridan is behind the half-hour, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television.
RIZZOLI & ISLES (TNT) - Chris Vance ("Dexter") has booked a multi-episode arc on the drama's upcoming second season. He'll play Sgt. Major Charles "Casey" Jones, "an old flame of Rizzoli's (Angie Harmon) who comes back into her life just as she's struggling to recover from being shot and nearly killed in the line of duty." The series returns Monday, July 11 at 10:00/9:00c on the cable channel.
SECRET CIRCLE (The CW) - Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain have stepped down as executive producers on the drama pilot, about Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson), a California teen who moves to her mom's hometown of New Salem, Maine and discovers that she comes from a family of witches. Said decision is billed as an amicable departure, as Kevin Williamson was brought on to oversee the hour back in January. Craft and Fain, who serve as consulting producers on Williamson's "The Vampire Diaries," then will focus on development as part of their overall deal with Warner Bros. Television.
SPRING/FALL (HBO) - The Tea Leoni-led comedy, about the dysfunctional partnership between two women with different approaches to career, family, and friendship set against the backdrop of New York's fashion world, has been ordered to pilot. Kate Robin penned the half-hour and is executive producing alongside Leoni, her manager Jimmy Miller and R.J. Cutler ("The September Issue"). Production is set to begin in June.
UNTITLED DAN GOOR PROJECT (NBC) - Audrey Esparza has boarded the comedy pilot, about Adam Foote (Andrew J. West), a young doctor who spends as much time taking care of his parents as he does his patients. She'll play Liz Stratton, a "cute, quirky" registered nurse whom Adam develops an attraction. Brad Morris and Jean Smart co-star in the Universal Media Studios-based half-hour, from writer Dan Goor.
UNTITLED PETER KNIGHT PROJECT (CBS) - Ben Rappaport ("Outsourced") has been tapped for the male lead on the comedy pilot, about a group of assistants and junior executives as they juggle love, friendship and the corporate ladder. He's set as one of them, Danny (billed as "a young John Cusack"), the casting of which is in second position to the NBC comedy. Michelle Trachtenberg also stars as Ben's crush Gracie, who gets promoted out of the mail room, further complicating their relationship. Neil Patrick Harris is directing the half-hour, which comes from Sony Pictures Television and CBS Television Studios.
WEEKENDS AT BELLEVUE (FOX) - David Alpay ("The Tudors") and actor/rapper Xzibit are the latest additions to the drama pilot, about Ellie Harlow (Lauren Ambrose), the weekend physician in charge of Bellevue's psychiatric emergency room, a one-woman front line charged with assessing and treating some of the city's most vulnerable and troubled citizens. Alpay is set as fellow doctor Ben Jacobs ("mid 30s, Ivy-League"), who Ellie trained with while at Columbia; while Xzibit will play Chuck Franklin ("tall and hulking"), an ER nurse who's been at Bellevue for 18 years and nothing
phases him. Amber Stevens, Eric Winter and Janet McTeer also star. Jack Bender is helming the Universal Media Studios-based hour from a script by Lisa Zwerling.