CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
AMERICAN DREAMS (NBC) - Scottish actor Michael Rodgers has landed a recurring role on the drama this season. He'll play a British TV producer who takes over for Joseph Lawrence's character as the lead producer of "American Bandstand." Lawrence left the series at the end of last season for the WB's upcoming comedy "Run of the House."
GILMORE GIRLS (WB) - Olivia Hack ("Any Day Now") has signed on for a recurring role as Tanna, Rory Gilmore's (Alexis Bledel) quirky college classmate.
THE GUARDIAN (CBS) - Jude Ciccolella ("24") has come aboard the drama this season in a recurring role. He'll play the enigmatic father of Wendy Moniz's character.
J.A.G. (CBS) - Dan Lauria has landed a recurring role on the series as the CIA's air branch chief making him a new superior to Lt. Rabb (David James Elliot).
LIFE & STYLE (Syndication) - Sony Pictures Television is developing what it calls a younger, hipper version of ABC's "The View" for first-run syndication. The series, targeted for fall 2004, like "The View" features four women co-hosting the daily hour. Already on board as hosts are Jules Asner (E!'s "Revealed with Jules Asner"), Cynthia Garrett (NBC's "Later"), Lynne Koplitz (Food Network's "How to Boil Water") and Kimora Lee Simmons (UPN's "America's Next Top Model"). Nevertheless the series remains early in development and will narrow its focus as the larger station groups sign on to the show.
LITTLE BLACK BOOK (NBC, New!) - The Peacock and NBC Studios have greenlighted a pilot to a new reality series in which "a bachelor [Skipper Kress] reunites with eight of his former girlfriends - and offers them the opportunity to rekindle their romance while sharing a house in North Carolina" according to the network's press release. Created by Joe Livecchi ("She Spies") and executive produced by Livecchi and Bob Kusbit ("MTV Bash: Carson Daly") for One Louder Productions, the pilot is set to go into production this fall.
MY BIG FAT GREEK LIFE (CBS) - Columbia/Tristar Home Video has announced it will release all seven episodes of the failed comedy on DVD on November 18. The single-disc set is presented in 4:3 full screen and Dolby 2.0 surround. The suggested retail price is $24.95.
THE O.C. (FOX) - Recent guest Samaire Armstrong ("Not Another Teen Movie") has been upped to a recurring role on the teen soap. She'll continue in her role as Anna Stern, a recent transplant from Pittsburgh to Orange County.
ONE TREE HILL (WB) - Bethany Joie Lenz ("Mary and Rhoda") has been added to the cast of upcoming Frog drama. She'll play best friend to one of the teenage half-brothers at the center of the series (Chad Michael Murray, James Lafferty).
PARADISE (Showtime) - Shea Whigham ("Tigerland") is the latest actor to sign onto the pay channel's drama pilot. He'll play a media tycoon billionaire who is business partners with David Strathairn's character, a TV evangelist.
THE PRACTICE (ABC) - Ken Campbell ("Baby Bob") is set to appear in two episodes of the revamped series this season. He'll play a client of fellow guest Sharon Stone. Meanwhile, recurring player Bill Smitrovich is set to return for several episodes this season.
THE REAGANS (CBS) - Bill Smitrovich ("Life Goes On") is set as Alexander Haig in the Eye's upcoming mini-series. Haig was former President Reagan's secretary of state in 1981 but resigned a year later.
SHIPMATES (Spike TV) - The cable channel is set to revive the syndicated series beginning early next year. Spike TV has ordered 50 new episodes of the Sony Pictures Television series. As no doubt expected, the series will be revamped, possibly with a new host and more footage of the couples exploring their exotic locales. Production on the new installments is set to begin next month. While never a ratings smash in syndication, Spike TV executives were nevertheless attracted to its 0.6 average rating among men 18-34 and men 18-49, the network's target demographic. Interestingly enough, the series performed best in markets where it was paired with "Blind Date," a series which Spike TV carries the off-network repeats.
SKIN (FOX) - Terry Maratos has joined the cast of the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced series as a pornography director who works for Ron Silver's porn mogul character.
THE SOPRANOS (HBO) - Rae Allen is set to play sister to Livia Soprano's character (the late Nancy Marchand) when the drama returns next year. She's rumored to be the new matriarch of the family. In addition, former co-star Paul Schulze is set to return to the series where he'll reprise his role as Father Phillip Intintola.
TARZAN (WB) - Tim Guinee ("Level Nine") has joined the cast as a recurring character. He'll play an agoraphobic witness of a murder.
24 (FOX) - Paul Schulze is set to reprise his role as CTU head Ryan Chappelle this season. It's not clear however how many episodes he'll appear in and when.
UNTITLED DAVID SHORE PROJECT (FOX, New!) - FOX is close to giving a hefty put pilot commitment for a new drama series from writer David Shore ("Family Law") and Universal Television. Paul Attanasio and Katie Jacobs ("Century City") are attached as executive producers of the project, which would include a substantial penalty should the pilot not end up with a series order. The expected pact, valued between $2-3 million, would be the largest to date for any series targeted for the 2004-05 season. The drama focuses on a team of doctors charged with solving complicated medical mysteries that mystify other health-care professionals. Shore is set to write the pilot and serve as an executive producer on the series with Attanasio and Jacobs' Heel & Toe Films.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU (WB) - Allison Munn ("That '70s Show") has joined the cast of the comedy's sophomore season. She's set to play Holly Tyler's (Amanda Bynes) best friend. In addition, Michael McMillian has been upped to series regular this season where he'll continue as a potential love interested for Tyler.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters