CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
ELOISE AT CHRISTMASTIME (ABC) - The network has scheduled the second "Eloise" telefilm for Saturday, November 22 at 8:00/7:00c as part of "The Wonderful World of Disney." The new telefilm has Julie Andrews ("The Princess Diaries") and ten-year-old actress Sofia Vassilieva ("The Brady Bunch in the White House") reprising their roles from the first effort, "Eloise at the Plaza."
HOUSE RULES (TBS) - The network's entry into the home makeover genre is set to bow Friday, October 10 at 8:00/7:00c.
HUFF (Showtime) - Paget Brewster ("Andy Richter Controls the Universe") has signed on as wife to Hank Azaria in the pay channel's two-hour drama pilot. Azaria plays a psychiatrist suffering a midlife crisis. Production on the pilot, from producer-director Mike Newell ("Donnie Brasco"), is scheduled to begin in early September in Vancouver.
JOE SCHMO (Spike TV) - The reality series will actually air Tuesdays at 9:00/8:00c not Sundays at 9:00/8:00c as originally reported. The series kicks off with a special two-hour premiere on September 2. The series stars Matt Kennedy Gould, a real-life law-school dropout who's convinced he's been cast on a "Big Brother"-style reality show called "Lap of Luxury" in which the winner receives $100,000. The twist is that he's actually the focus of a big prank, as his housemates and competitors are actually actors - manipulating him for all the laughs they can get.
MERGE (Lifetime) - The Lisa Rinna-hosted makeover series kicks off Friday, October 3 at 11:00/10:00c. The show features a design team that comes in while a couple goes off on their honeymoon to "merge" their belongings for their new household.
MI-5 (A&E) - The cable channel will move the British import to Tuesdays at 9:00/8:00c beginning next week. The network also announced it will run all 16 produced episodes of the series without a break between seasons. A&E had originally planned to split the series into two eight-episode seasons. "In a very short period of time, 'MI-5' has developed an ardent and dedicated fan base," said Robert DeBitetto, the network's Sr. VP of programming, in a press release heralding the news. "We are moving the series to an earlier time to make it more accessible to a wider audience. And, in response to the critical acclaim and to maintain the momentum of the series, we have decided to air the second season immediately."
OBLIVIOUS (Spike TV) - The second season of the game show you don't know you're playing is set to bow Tuesday, September 9 at 10:00/9:00c following the new reality series "Joe Schmo."
SURVIVOR: PEARL ISLANDS (CBS) - The Eye has extended the September 18 opener of the franchise's latest installment to 90-minutes. In addition, CBS also revealed this season will have the castaways marooned with only the clothes on their backs, unbeknownst to the contestants. No luxury items, changes of clothing or bathing suits will be allowed along as in previous seasons. The show will also feature a pirate theme that includes a tribal council set featuring a re-creation of a giant Spanish fort, complete with cannons. Contestants will also use pirate-style rowboats to travel between their individual islands and various competitions.
UNTITLED JIMMY SMITS PROJECT (New!) - The former "N.Y.P.D. Blue" star has signed a development deal with Warner Bros. Television. While no specific project has materialized it's expected he'll be paired with some of Warner's biggest production talent such as Jerry Bruckheimer. Two years ago Smits signed a rich development deal with ABC ago however nothing came of it.
WUTHERING HEIGHTS (MTV) - The music channel has bumped its latest original telefilm to Sunday, September 14. The project was originally scheduled to bow on September 4.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters