[03/12/12 - 11:52 PM]
Development Update: Monday, March 12
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!

APPLEBAUM (CBS) - Jay Mohr ("Gary Unmarried") is returning to the Eye as part of the drama pilot, about Juliet Applebaum (Rachelle Lefevre), a former public defender who becomes a private investigator to keep from being bored to death as a stay-at-home mom. He'll play her P.I. partner, Al Hockey ("former-cop, embodies the phrase rugged good looks"), whose garage doubles as the agency's office in the CBS Television Studios-based hour, from director Chris Columbus and writer Ayelet Waldman. James Hiroyuki Liao, Marlowe Peyton and Rhys Coiro also star. (Deadline.com)

BABY BIG SHOT (CBS) - Felix Solis ("NYC 22") has scored a role on the drama pilot, about Martina Garretti (Janet Montgomery), a working-class woman who uses her street smarts to compete with her more polished colleagues at a Manhattan law firm. He'll play River "Riv" Brody, "a former LAPD detective turned firm investigator who loves New York like only a transplant could." Said role is in second position to his duties on the midseason drama. Kyle MacLachlan and Toni Trucks also star in the Sony Pictures Television-based hour, from writer Dana Calvo. (Deadline.com)

BANSHEE (Cinemax) - New Zealand actor Antony Starr ("Outrageous Fortune") has snagged the lead role on the upcoming Alan Ball-produced drama, about Lucas Hood, "an ex-convict and master thief who assumes the identity of the sheriff of Banshee, PA, where he continues his criminal activities even as he's being hunted by the shadowy gangsters he had betrayed years earlier." Also signing on is Demetrius Grosse as Emmett Yawners, "a deputy at the police department who was a former football player at Penn State." Said pair join the previously cast Daniel Ross, Frankie Faison, Matt Servitto and Trieste Dunn. David Schickler and Jonathan Tropper penned the pilot, to be directed by Greg Yaitanes. (Deadline.com)

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (The CW) - British actor Max Brown ("The Tudors") has booked a role on the drama pilot, about Catherine Chandler (Kristin Kreuk), a police detective who teams with Vincent Koslow (Jay Ryan), a genetically altered Afghanistan war veteran to solve crimes in New York City. He's on board as Evan Mills ("30s, nerdy-hot even in scrubs and hair-net"), a medical examiner who regularly works with Catherine. Austin Basis, Nicole Gale Anderson and Nina Lisandrello co-star in the CBS Television Studios-based hour, from director Gary Fleder and co-writers Jennifer Levin and Sherri Cooper. (Deadline.com)

CHICAGO FIRE (NBC) - Merle Dandridge ("Sons of Anarchy") has joined the cast of the pilot, a drama about the heroic men and women of the Chicago Fire Department's Firehouse 55. She's on board as Kay Fitori ("all-business and humorless"), the Deputy District Commissioner. Charlie Barnett, David Eigenberg, Eamonn Walker, Jesse Spencer, Lauren German, Monica Raymund, Taylor Kinney and Teri Reeves co-star in the Universal Television-based hour, from co-creators Michael Brandt and Derek Haas. Jeffrey Nachmanoff is directing. (Deadline.com)

COUNTER CULTURE (ABC) - Luis Guzman ("How to Make It in America") is the latest addition to the pilot, a multi-camera comedy about three aging sisters running their family diner together in West Texas. He'll play their cook, Alonzo Gonzales ("a hard working illegal immigrant"), in the half-hour, which comes from writer Stephnie Weir and director Ted Wass. ABC Studios and Sony Pictures Television are producing. (Deadline.com)

COUNTY (NBC) - Michael Imperioli ("Detroit 1-8-7") is the latest to board the drama pilot, about a group of young doctors in a frenetic, underfunded and morally compromising Los Angeles county hospital. He'll play Dr. Mercer ("frazzled, smart, disheveled, a bit jaded"), Jack's (Jason Ritter) senior resident. Agam Darshi, Aimee Garcia, Jess Weixler, Michael B. Jordan and Norbert Leo Butz co-star in the Universal Television-based hour, from creator Jason Katims. (TVLine.com)

DAKOTA (The CW) - Craig Horner ("Legend of the Seeker") has been tapped for the title role on the drama pilot, about Maya Beaumont (Amber Stevens), a documentarian who travels back in time to 1990 where she meets and falls in love with the rock star subject of her film only to return to present day where she must find her way back and prevent his untimely death. He'll play said subject, Joey Dakota, who's fated to commit suicide at age 25. Leah Renee also stars in the CBS Television Studios-based hour, from writer Bert V. Royal. (Deadline.com)

DEVIOUS MAIDS (ABC) - Amir Talai, Grant Show and Mariana Klaveno have all landed roles on the drama pilot, about four maids (Ana Ortiz, Dania Ramirez, Roselyn Sanchez, Judy Reyes) with ambitions and dreams of their own while they work for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills. Show and Klaveno will play Spencer ("handsome and shallow") and Peri Davis ("gorgeous and self-centered"), bickering actors who employ one of them (Ramirez); while Talai is set as Jace, the efficient and unflappable assistant to Cuban-American recording star Xaviera (Angelique Cabral), who's recently hired Sanchez's character. Paul McGuigan is directing from a script by Marc Cherry for ABC Studios. Brett Cullen, Brianna Brown, Drew Van Acker, Edy Ganem, Rebecca Wisocky and Susan Lucci also star. (@AmirTalai, Deadline.com)

DILFS (NBC) - "The Cosby Show" alum Tempestt Bledsoe has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a trio of thirtysomething guys who live in the same high-rise - Nick (Zach Cregger), Chris (Jesse Bradford) and Gary (Anthony Anderson) - dealing with parenthood despite the fact they haven't grown up themselves. She'll play Gary's wife, a zaftig, tattooed hair-stylist, and mother to their two kids Yoda and Clark. Jamie-Lynn Sigler also stars in the Universal Television, which Scott Ellis is directing off a teleplay by Charlie Grandy. (TVLine.com)

DUSTY GOES TO AWESOMETOWN (ABC) - Ben Rappaport ("Outsourced") has booked the title role on the comedy pilot, about a group of twentysomethings in the suburbs of Seattle, a mecca for the folks who have happily put on the cruise control of life. He'll play Dusty, a newly divorced fellow who goes to live with his pals Andrew (Nick Kocher) and Oliver (James Earl III) after catching his wife cheating. Amanda Crew also stars 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, from director Jesse Peretz and writer Adam Sztykiel. (Deadline.com)

THE FAMILY TRAP (ABC) - Stockard Channing and Kurt Fuller are the latest to board the comedy pilot, about Annie (Mandy Moore) and Ben (yet to be cast), newlyweds who get the opportunity of a lifetime to run a hip, new restaurant in Annie's hometown but at the cost of bringing her closer to her needy and high maintenance family. They'll play said parents, Barbara and Steve, in the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, which also stars Erinn Hayes and Majandra Delfino as Annie's sisters. Bob Fisher and Stacy Traub penned the script, to be directed by Shawn Levy. (Deadline.com)

FIRST CUT (The CW) - Necar Zadegan ("The Event") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about Emily Barnes (Mamie Gummer), a medical student who discovers that working as an intern at a big hospital is a lot like being in high school. She's set as Gina Beckett ("cold, cocky and seemingly heartless"), a heart surgeon pioneer who inspired Emily to come to Denver Memorial Hospital. CBS Television Studios is behind the hour, which also stars Aja Naomi King, Justin Hartley, Kelly McCreary and Michael Rady. Bharat Nalluri is directing from a script by Jennie Snyder Urman. (Deadline.com)

FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER (NBC) - Gary Anthony Williams ("Boston Legal") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about the Fishers, a quirky family in the Chicago suburbs that has dinner together every - you guessed it - Friday night. He'll play their neighbor, Mr. Marley, "a lonely weirdo with an odd fixation on Barbara (Allison Janney)." Said character was expected to be played by - and named - David Koechner, however the role ultimately went to Williams. Aya Cash, Gil Ozeri, Kevin Bigley and Tony Shalhoub also star in the Greg Daniels-penned half-hour, from Universal Television to be directed by Ken Kwapis. (Deadline.com)

GRACELAND (USA) - Courtney B. Vance ("FlashForward") has landed a role on the drama pilot, about agents from the DEA, FBI and U.S. Customs department who are all forced to live together in an undercover assignment. He's on board as Sam Campbell, "a veteran FBI special agent who is the section chief at Quantico and the mentor for Mike Warren (Aaron Tveit), a freshly minted agent just out of the academy." Russell Lee Fine ("White Collar") is directing the Fox Television Studios-based hour from a script by Jeff Eastin. Brandon Jay McLaren, Daniel Sunjata, Manny Montana, Scottie Thompson and Vanessa Ferlito also star. (Variety.com)

HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE (ABC) - Newcomer Rebecca Delgado Smith has been cast in the comedy pilot, about Polly (Sarah Chalke), a recently divorced, single mom, who moves in with her eccentric parents (Elizabeth Perkins, Brad Garrett), a couple who's full of life but knows no boundaries. She'll play her assistant Jenn, who "Polly thinks of herself as Jenn's mentor - whereas Jenn sees Polly as a cautionary tale." Jon Dore and Rachel Eggleston also star. Julie Anne Robinson is directing the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour from a script by Claudia Lonow. (Deadline.com)

THE LIFE (ABC) - Rade Serbedzija ("24") has scored a role on the drama pilot, about Marta Walraven (Radha Mitchell), the widow of an assassinated criminal who is suddenly forced to adopt her late husband's role in order to protect her family. He's on board as her father, Andrei Lazarev ("charismatic, commands respect, a man of appetites, but aging well"), a respected old-school Russian mobster. The ABC Studios-based hour also stars Lee Tergesen and Luke Goss. Mark Pellington is directing from a script by Melissa Rosenberg. (Deadline.com)

PRAIRIE DOGS (ABC) - Nick Zano ("2 Broke Girls") has booked the final principal role on the comedy pilot, about Neil (Kal Penn), an uncool cubicle worker at one of the coolest companies in the world, who becomes the victim of identity theft and engages the charismatic conman to help him change his life. He'll play said criminal, Guy ("looks like he's constantly walking around in a fashion ad"), in the ABC Studios-based half-hour, from director Luke Greenfield and co-creators Jeff and Jackie Filgo. Cary Elwes, Charlotte Newhouse, Dan Fogler, Dayo Okeniyi and Kal Penn also star. (Deadline.com)

SCRUPLES (ABC) - Chad Michael Murray and Gary Cole have booked the remaining principal roles on the drama pilot, about the staggeringly luxurious life of a Beverly Hills boutique in 1978 and the people who work in it. The former will play Spider Elliot, a "handsome and irresistibly winning" photographer who's partners/friends with the emporium's owner, Billy Winthrop Ikehorn (Claire Forlani), and its designer, Valentine O'Neill (Karine Vanasse). Cole then is set as Royce Franklin, the "smooth, powerful" lawyer of Billy's late husband who wants Ikehorn Enterprises for himself. Boris Kodjoe, Jessica McNamee and Noot Seear co-star in the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, from director Michael Sucsy and co-writers Bob Brush and Mel Harris. (Deadline.com)

SHELTER (The CW) - British actress Elizabeth Henstridge ("Hollyoaks") is the first to be cast in the drama pilot, about the staff and guests at a historic New England summer resort. She'll play Grace, "an overachiever and newly promoted hotel manager at the Shelter Bay, where the show is set." Liz Friedlander is directing the Mark Schwahn-penned hour for the Warner Bros. Television-Bad Robot Productions. (Deadline.com)

UNTITLED KARYN USHER PROJECT (FOX) - Angela Bassett and Julian McMahon are in final talks to join the cast of the drama pilot, about Jane Forsythe (Saxon Sharbino), the orphaned 14-year-old daughter of a CIA agent who is recruited to become an operative herself. They'll play her contrasting mentors: Alice Vargas ("wears military attire with a little too much makeup"), the Director of the CIA; and Kevin Lear ("his rugged look contrasts with his meticulous nature"), her late father's best friend. Brett Ratner is helming the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, from creator Karyn Usher. (Deadline.com)

UNTITLED MICHAEL BAY PROJECT (A&E, New!) - Feature helmer/producer Michael Bay is developing a new reality competition series at the cable channel which "promises to test the strength of the family unit like never before." Shed Media is co-producing the project alongside Bay's Platinum Dunes banner with Andrew Form, Brad Fuller, Nick Emmerson and Dan Peirson serving as executive producers alongside Bay. No other specifics were released. (Deadline.com)

UNTITLED MINDY KALING PROJECT (FOX) - Chris Messina ("Damages") has boarded the comedy pilot, about Mira Kaviraya (Mindy Kaling), a young doctor trying to navigate both her personal and professional lives. He'll presumably play Clayton Brooks ("30, not too shabby-looking himself, but serious and disdainful"), one of her partners at Shulman Womens Health Associates, a character written for him by Kaling. Dana DeLorenzo, Ed Weeks and Zoe Jarman also star in the Universal Television-based half-hour, to be directed by Charles McDougall. (Deadline.com)

UNTITLED TIM RACKLEY PROJECT (TNT, New!) - Shawn Ryan ("The Chicago Code") is developing a small screen take on Gregg Hurwitz's Tim Rackley novels, about a deputy U.S. marshal driven by honor, morality, and a thirst for justice. Said hour is set up at Sony Pictures Television where Ryan's overall deal is based. He'll executive produce alongside Hurwitz, who will presumably pen the script. Rackley first appeared in 2004's "The Kill Clause." (Deadline.com)

WENDELL & VINNIE (Nickelodeon, New!) - Jerry Trainor ("iCarly") is set to topline a potential comedy for the network's Nick at Nite block about Vinnie, "an irresponsible goofball who becomes the guardian to his conservative genius 12-year old nephew." Jay Kogen ("The Troop") is behind the multi-camera project, which he'll executive produce alongside Aaron Kaplan. No other details were given. (Deadline.com)

AND IN OTHER NEWS... - ABC has ordered a third season of its summer franchise "The Bachelor Pad" (EW.com); Alex Duda has been tapped to executive produce "Steve Harvey" for syndicator NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution (Deadline.com); Tammy Blanchard has booked a three-episode arc on "The Big C" as "a sexy, married, and uninhibited pilates instructor who enters into an unconventional relationship" with John Benjamin Hickey's Sean (Deadline.com); Arron Shiver and Meg Steedle will both recur on "Boardwalk Empire" as Al Capone's real-life nemesis Dean O'Banion and a Broadway actress named Billy Kent, respectively (Deadline.com); Enrique Murciano will return to "CSI" as Det. Carlos Moreno, who was introduced in the 2009 episode "Coup de Grace" (EW.com); and Katrina Bowden has been tapped as the latest love interest for Jake Johnson's Nick on "New Girl" (EOnline.com).

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