CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
24 (FOX) - Executive producer Howard Gordon was extended his overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television though May 2006. The deal calls for Gordon to say on board "24" through the duration of the pact. The news means that Fox has locked up all three of "24's" executive producers (creators Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran being the others) through the series' fourth season. As part of his pact, Gordon will also develop and create other projects for the studio.
BREAKOUT (FX, New!) - "The Lost Battalion" producer David Gerber and writer Jim Carabatsos are set to reteam for a new telefilm, this time at FX. The three-hour project follows the story of the U.S. Marines First Army, which was handed bad intelligence and wound up having to escape an onslaught of 300,000 Chinese troops. FX has currently only committed to a script for the telefilm.
C.S.I. (CBS) - Creator Anthony Zuiker has inked a three-year overall deal with CBS Prods. and Alliance Atlantis. The pact calls for Zuiker to remain as executive producer on both "C.S.I." series with the option to create other series including another spin-off of the top-rated drama. The deal, valued in the high seven to low eight figures, makes him one of the highest-paid drama executive producers working in television.
THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW (Syndication) - Cable channel Oxygen has signed a deal to carry encores of the upcoming talk show, one week after its bow in syndication. "Ellen," which has been cleared in 95% of the country, will bow on the channel beginning September 15. Episodes will run some time after 10:00/9:00c on weekdays with another batch of encores on weekends. Financial details of the pact were not revealed.
THE REAGANS (CBS, New!) - Prolific producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron ("The Music Man," "Chicago") are set to team with CBS and Sony Pictures Television to create a four-hour miniseries about Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Robert Allan Ackerman is already set to direct the project, with actress Judy Davis in final talks to star as the former first lady. Zadan, Meron, Ackerman and Davis all worked together previously on ABC's "Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows." Jennifer Miller, Tom Rickman and Elizabeth Egloff wrote the script, which is based on Carl Anthony's book "First Ladies." Production is expected to begin this summer for an early 2003-04 season air date.
RUNAWAY (Lifetime, New!) - The cable channel is developing a sequel to the 1995 FOX telefilm "The Price of Love," about a male teenage street hustler in Los Angeles. This time around "Runaway" will track a 15-year-old girl who lives on the streets. "Love" writer Ron Parker and producer David Gerber are on board the project, which is still in the early stages of development.
SLICE O' LIFE (ABC) - The Alphabet network has decided to not go forward with Janeane Garofalo-led pilot. Various sources indicate ABC executives were not pleased with the table read on Monday, opting to instead hammer out a settlement with distributor Universal Television. The project, a sitcom from producer Bill Diamond, starred Garofalo as a behind-the-scenes producer on a prestigious TV newsmagazine.
TARZAN & JANE (WB) - Executive producer David Gerber has extended his production pact with Fox Television Studios for another year. He'll continue to develop longform productions and series for the studio. The pact falls outside of his commitment to "Tarzan," which he helped create. The producer, who owns the TV rights to the "Tarzan" story, originally was developing the project as a syndicated action-adventure series before teaming with Laura Ziskin, who got the ball rolling and turned it into a drama project for Warner Bros. TV.
WORD OF HONOR (TNT) - Don Johnson ("Nash Bridges") will star and executive produce the telefilm, one of eight original telepics on the channel slated for the upcoming season. The project, based on the novel of the same name by Nelson DeMille, tracks a Vietnam vet and successful businessman whose world is threatened when he is accused of a murder that occurred 30 years earlier. Jacob Epstein ("Without a Trace"), Leslie Greif and Tom Topor ("Perfect Murder, Perfect Town") adapted the book with Robert Markowitz ("The Tuskegee Airmen") set to direct. The executive producers are Michael Jaffe, Howard Braunstein, Lance Robbins, Greif and Wendy Hill-Tout.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters