CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
EVERWOOD (WB) - Stephanie Niznik ("Epoch") will be upped to series regular for the drama's second season. Niznik plays Nina Feeney, the recently separated next-door neighbor of Dr. Andrew Brown (Treat Williams) and his two children, who has become a confidante to the Brown family.
FRIENDS (NBC) - A spin-off involving Matt LeBlanc's character appears closer to becoming a reality. While no deals are in place, it's understood all parties are more than willing to move forward with the proposed spin-off, targeted for fall 2004. Current "Friends" writers/executive producers Scott Silveri and Shana Goldberg-Meehan are said to be on board to write the pilot, details of which are still being hammered out. NBC is expected to officially comment on the project during its portion of the TCA summer press tour later this week.
GILMORE GIRLS (WB) - Jared Padalecki has inked a talent holding deal with the Frog for a series project targeted for fall 2004. In the meantime the actor, who played the title character on this year's failed WB drama pilot "Young MacGyver," will return for guest appearances on "Gilmore Girls'" upcoming fourth season.
PRIMETIME LIVE (ABC) - Paul Mason has been named executive producer of the newsmagazine's upcoming Monday edition, which is set to bow September 15. Mason has been the executive producer of the weekend editions of ABC's "World News Tonight" since May 2000. The new Monday edition of "Primetime" will originate from a different city each week, including Miami, Hollywood, Las Vegas, Nashville, New Orleans and New York."
SEE JANE DATE (ABC Family) - Jamie Elman ("American Dreams") has been added to the cast of the cable channel's upcoming telefilm, slated to air in August.
7TH HEAVEN (WB) - Stephen Collins has inked an eight-figure deal to stick with the long-running drama for another season, keeping him in his pastor role through May 2005. Collins had previously been locked in through the 2003-04 season, a deal which was renegotiated as part of the new pact. Currently he's set to make a cool $10 million for his services as Rev. Eric Camden over the next two years.
'TIL THE RIVER RUNS DRY (Hallmark, New!) - Matthew Settle is set to star opposite Ann-Margret in the cable channel's latest telefilm. He's set to play a self-absorbed charmer whose bounced checks and gaming habits cause him to move from town to town until he is taken in by a regal widow (Ann-Margret).
24 (FOX) - DB Woodside ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), Agnes Bruckner and newcomer Zachary Quinto have all signed on for recurring roles in the drama's upcoming third season. Woodside will play the president's new chief of staff while Bruckner will play girlfriend to a drug trafficker involved in the season's plot.
UNDERCOVER CHRISTMAS (CBS) - Shawn Christian ("Crossing Jordan," "Charmed") has signed onto the Eye's holiday original. He'll play an F.B.I. agent who is assigned to protect a witness (Jami Gertz) during the holiday season but is called home unexpectedly and has to take her with him. Tyne Daly also stars.
THE WEST WING (NBC) - Annabeth Gish ("The X-Files") has signed on for a recurring role on the drama this season as Elizabeth Bartlet Westin, President Jed Bartlet's (Martin Sheen) older daughter who has been talked about on the show but has never made an appearance. Bartlet's youngest daughter Zoey, played by Elisabeth Moss, has been featured on the series since its first season. Gish will make her debut in next season's opening two episodes, which were written by executive producer John Wells, who has taken the reins of the series following the May exit of creator/executive producer Aaron Sorkin.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters