[03/28/12 - 11:37 PM] Development Update: Wednesday, March 28 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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THE FIRST FAMILY (Syndication) - Christopher B. Duncan and Kellita Smith are set to play President William Johnson and First Lady Katherine Johnson in the upcoming syndicated offering from Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios. The company announced a 104-episode commitment to the half-hour comedy back in January for a fall 2012 premiere. They'll be joined by Gladys Knight and Marla Gibbs as their respective mothers; Jackee Harry as the First Lady's sister; John Witherspoon as the President's father; and Khylin Rhambo, Yara Shahidi, Sayeed Shahidi and Layla Crawford as their kids. Other actors featured in the pilot, which recently completed production, include Paul Rodriguez (Dictator Rafael), Michael D. Roberts (the butler), Lee Reherman (a Secret Service agent), John Eric Bentley (also a security agent), Tucker Smallwood (an admiral), Casey Sander (a general), Tom Virtue (also a general), Adam Kulbersh (a speechwriter) and Jet as Max the Dog. (Deadline.com,THR.com)THE GOODWIN GAMES (FOX) - Melissa Tang is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, about three siblings - Coney (Becki Newton), Jimmy (Jake Lacy) and Henry (Scott Foley) - who must heed to the idiosyncratic terms of their father's will to inherit his fortune. She'll play their late father's estate attorney, a role (Lawrence Butler) originally written as a man in his mid-40s. Felisha Terrell also stars in the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, from co-creators Carter Bays, Craig Thomas and Chris Harris. Peyton Reed is directing. (Deadline.com)THE LIFE (ABC) - Erin Cahill ("Saving Grace") has boarded the drama pilot, about Marta Walraven (Radha Mitchell), the widow of an assassinated criminal who is suddenly forced to adopt her late husband's (Anson Mount) role in order to protect her family. She'll guest star as Felicity ("killer body, trashy style, well lmeaning but oblivious"), nicknamed the Poodle, the trophy wife of Marta's kingpin father Andrei Lazarev (Rade Serbedzija). Mark Pellington is directing the ABC Studios-based hour from a script by Melissa Rosenberg. Erin Moriarty, Jaime Ray Newman, Jakob Salvati, Lee Tergesen, Luke Goss, Sterling Beaumon and Suleka Mathew also star. (Deadline.com)MALIBU COUNTRY (ABC) - "Queer Eye" alum Jai Rodriquez has been cast in the comedy pilot, about a woman (Reba McEntire) who divorces her broke, cheating rock star husband and moves her family from Nashville to the only asset she has left - a little house in Malibu. He'll guest star as record label executive Jeffrey Wolfe, "an opportunistic, no-nonsense, self-made millionaire who is easily distracted." Juliette Angelo, Justin Prentice, Lily Tomlin and Sara Rue also star in the ABC Studios-based half-hour, from writer Kevin Abbott and director John Pasquin. (Deadline.com)THE MAZE (Showtime, New!) - Peter Morgan ("The Special Relationship") is developing a new drama at the pay channel billed as "an international political thriller in the mode of 'Bourne Identity.'" No other specifics were given about the project, which Morgan will presumably write and executive produce. (THR.com)O.C.T. (A&E, New!) - Rosario Dawson is developing a potential starring vehicle at the cable channel about the NYPD's Occult Crimes Taskforce, "which was established after the Civil War to make the New York City streets safe from practitioners of black magic, demons from another dimension and all manner of supernatural malcontents." The project is based on the graphic novel created by Dawson and David Atchison. Dawson would play the lead role of Sophia Ortiz, "a new member of the bureau who uses magic, spells, ghosts, the undead and the unnatural." Jorge Zamacona ("Outlaw") is attached to pen the script and executive produce alongside Dawson and Gale Anne Hurd ("The Walking Dead"). Atchison, who also illustrated the comic, will also receive a producing credit. (THR.com)OVER AND OUT (CBS) - Regina Hall ("Law & Order: LA") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about Ray Barker (Martin Lawrence), a widowed father of two teenagers who, after losing his job in construction, decides to go to the police academy and become a cop at the age of 46. She'll play Katie Doyle ("cute, type-A, a perfectionist"), a fellow cop who takes an immediate shine to him. P.J. Byrne also stars in the CBS Television Studios-based half-hour, from director Fred Savage and co-creators Mike Lisbe and Nate Reger. (Deadline.com)THE REAL ALL AMERICANS (AMC, New!) - Writer/director Nicholas Meyer ("Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country") is developing a new period drama about the true story of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School football program "created by U.S. cavalry officer Richard Henry Pratt, an abolitionist and early equal rights proponent who made a harrowing journey to the Dakota Territory in 1879 to recruit the school's first students." The Carlisle, Pennsylvania-based program featured such alums as Olympian Jim Thorpe and coach Glenn "Pop" Warner. Said hour is based on Sally Jenkins's book of the same name which Meyer will adapt and Tommy Lee Jones is in talks to direct. Harry J. Ufland is also attached as a producer. (THR.com)UNTITLED ALEXANDER PAYNE/JIM TAYLOR PROJECT (Showtime, New!) - Oscar-winners Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor ("Sideways") are set to reteam for a potential drama at the cable channel which "will explore the impact of a new Indian Casino on its tribe members and its greater Mid-western community." No other details were given about the project. (THR.com)AND IN OTHER NEWS... - Rebecca Creskoff will recur on "Covert Affairs" as a new mentor and confidant for Piper Perabo's Annie whose approach is the opposite of the tough-love technique used by Kari Matchett's Joan (TVGuide.com); Jordan Belfi has booked a two-episode arc on "Grey's Anatomy" as a "funny, self-deprecating and adventurous" patient (TVLine.com); Elias Koteas will guest on the season finale of "Unforgettable" as "a man whom Carrie Wells comes to believe killed her sister all those years ago" (TVLine.com); Rachael Harris is bound for "Suits" as "a representative from Harvard Law whom Louis (Rick Hoffman) must dissuade from rescinding law firm Pearson Hardman's recruiting privileges" (THR.com); Jamie Tarses has inked a new two-year overall deal with Sony Pictures Television, home to her FanFare banner since 2006 (Deadline.com); Kate McKinnon, Jessica Joy, Lauren Lapkus and Elaine Carroll are among the latest actresses testing for "Saturday Night Live"(Deadline.com); and USA has formally passed on its drama pilots "Over/Under" and "Wild Card"(Deadline.com).