[10/15/03 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: October 15
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:

32 CANDLES (USA, New!) - The cable channel is developing a small screen sequel to the beloved 1984 John Hughes-directed feature "16 Candles." "Blue Crush" producers Buffy Shutt and Kathy Jones are behind the project through their self-titled company, Shutt-Jones Productions. The telefilm will pick up around Samantha Baker's (played by Molly Ringwald in the feature) 32nd birthday with updates on the whereabouts of such characters as Farmer Ted and Long Duk Dong. It's not clear if any of the original stars (Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Gedde Watanabe, etc.) will be approached to reprise their roles should USA greenlight the project. David A. Newman and Keith Merryman are set to write the script with Shutt and Jones producing alongside Ken Holdren.

ANGELES CREST (New!) - Frank Hannah ("The Cooler") is developing the drama at Bull's Eye Entertainment. The project will explore various crimes that take place in the national forest. Sean and Brian Furst, who worked with Hannah on "The Cooler," are onboard as producers as is Bull's Eye's Tom Nunan.

BEHIND THE CAMERA: THE UNAUTHORIZED STORY OF CHARLIE'S ANGELS (NBC) - Christina Chambers ("Sunset Beach") will play Jaclyn Smith in the Peacock's second installment of its "Behind the Camera" movie franchise. The telefilm will track the tumultuous first season of the ABC series.

THE BOTTOM LINE (CBS, New!) - The Eye is developing a new half-hour ensemble comedy set at an all-business news network. Michael Davidoff will write the pilot, which he co-created and will executive produce with Tom Nunan. Nunan's Bull's Eye Entertainment and Viacom Productions are the studios behind the project.

BRAMEL & STEPS (Lifetime, New!) - Writer/producer David Burke and producer Diane Warshay are developing a new female private eye drama for the cable channel. No other details are available other than it comes from Tom Nunan's Bull's Eye Entertainment.

CHANNEL SURFING (MTV, New!) - MTV has purchased a pilot for a new half-hour comedy described as "Mystery Science Theater 3000" meets "What's Up, Tiger Lily." Actor Simon Rex ("What I Like About You") and writer Jordan Rubin ("The Man Show") are behind the project, which mixes offbeat footage from such sources as old horror movies and city council meetings and combines them with celebrity voiceovers to comic effect. Comedians Judah Friedlander, Paul F. Tompkins, Dane Cook, Jim Gaffigan, David Cross, Jay Johnston and Rick Overton are among the voices used in the pilot, which is hosted by Amanda Bynes. Rex and Rubin, who will executive produce the project along with Mike Dugan ("Trigger Happy TV"), plan to use a rotating group of hosts should it go to series.

THE CORE OF ZACHARY HAIMES (New!) - Bull's Eye Entertainment and Universal Television are developing a two-hour backdoor pilot about a young scientist whose brain tumor causes him to develop E.S.P. Joel Fields ("Thieves") will write and executive produce the pilot, which hopes to land at a cable network shortly.

EVERWOOD (WB) - Paul Wasilewski ("American Dreams," "The Edge") has landed a recurring role on the sophomore drama as a new love interest for Emily VanCamp's character. It's not clear when his character is first set to appear.

FREAK BEAT (HBO, New!) - Former New York Post editor Steve Garbarino has teamed with Bull's Eye Entertainment to develop a new comedy for the pay channel about his experiences covering Hollywood, Madison Avenue and the fashion scene. Garbarino, who now writes for such publications such as Vanity Fair and the New York Times, will write and executive produce the project with Bull's Eye topper Tom Nunan. Jim Thompson is onboard as a producer.

HELTER SKELTER (CBS) - Jeremy Davies, Hopwood DePree ("Rhinoskin") and Yvonne DeLaRosa ("Senior White") have joined the cast of the Eye's upcoming telefilm about the Manson family murders. DeLaRosa will play Gypsy, one of the main Manson family members while DePree will play reformed Charles Manson follower Paul Watkins. Davies will topline the cast as Charles Manson himself.

JOHNNY ZERO (FOX, New!) - Uber-producer John Wells ("ER," "The West Wing," "Third Watch") is in talks to executive produce a new private-eye drama project for the network. Franky G. ("The Italian Job"), who recently signed a talent holding deal with Wells, would topline the pilot, based on a screenplay by former New York detective Ken Sanzel ("The Replacement Killers"). The Warner Bros. Television-based Wells and "ER" co-executive producer R. Scott Gemmill are expected to rewrite the script for the pilot should Wells come aboard.

JUDGING AMY (CBS) - Jay Ferguson ("Not a Clue," "Glory Days") has signed on for a recurring role as a young, wealthy chief resident of St. Michael's on the veteran drama. It's there he'll butt heads with Dr. Kyle McCarthy (Kevin Rahm) on the series.

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES (CBS, New!) - Jenny McCarthy has signed with the Eye to topline a new comedy from writer Melissa Carter ("Little Black Book") and Bull's Eye Entertainment. The actress will play a mom for the first time, starring as a real estate agent trying to balance work and family. Carter will executive produce the project with Bull's Eye topper Tom Nunan, the former head of UPN.

THE KENNEDYS (ABC, New!) - The Alphabet network has made a hefty script commitment to Touchstone Television and Tollin/Robbins Productions for a new drama about multiple generations of America's most famous political dynasty. The pact includes a 22-episode bible for the series, which would begin in 1959 and, during the show's first season, follow John F. Kennedy as he battles through a controversial campaign for the presidency. Peter Buchman ("Jurassic Park III") is writing and executive producing the project alongside Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins and Joe Davola. The news marks the first major drama output from Tollin/Robbins as part of their new pact with Touchstone. The producers plan to explore the Camelot years through the eyes of multiple Kennedys, including patriarch Joe, brother Bobby and wife Jackie as well as use flashbacks to tell stories from the early days of the clan.

THE LYON'S DEN (NBC) - Series creator Remi Aubuchon ("24") has stepped down as showrunner of the freshman drama at the request of producers Brad Grey Television and 20th Century Fox Television. He'll be replaced by writer/producers Kevin Falls and Dan Sackheim on the series. Aubuchon's exit was reportedly due to creative differences over the direction of the series. It's believed he wanted to delve more into the murder mystery mythology established in the pilot while the studios were pushing for more close-ended legal stories. While NBC didn't ask for the change, they were supportive of the move according to industry insiders. Aubuchon won't exit the series completely however, he'll still remain as a writer/producer on the show.

Meanwhile in other "Den" news, Mark Espinoza ("Beverly Hills, 90210") has signed on for a recurring role on the series. He'll play the head of the paralegal department for the law firm at the center of the series. Espinoza's first episode will likely be during November sweeps.

THE MILE HIGH CLUB (Showtime, New!) - Writer/producer Adam Belanoff is developing a comedy at the pay channel about flight attendants in first class. Belanoff will write and executive produce the half-hour with Bull's Eye Entertainment's Tom Nunan. Diane Warshay is also attached as a producer.

NEW YORK (New!) - Tom Nunan is writing and executive producing a new family drama about a post-9/11 New York clan for his Bull's Eye Entertainment banner. The project is not yet attached to a network.

NOT AGAIN! (NBC, New!) - Jill Franklyn ("My First Mister") is developing a new comedy about three divorced siblings who move back in with one another. No other details are available other than Tom Nunan's Bull's Eye Entertainment is behind the project.

ONE L (ABC, New!) - Bull's Eye Entertainment is reviving the ensemble legal drama, based on based on Scott Turow's bestseller about his years at Harvard Law School, at the Alphabet network. Nearly a decade ago, Bull's Eye's Tom Nunan had set up the project at NBC Studios. Mike Robe is attached as director and executive producer of the pilot should it go forward.

QUEER AS FOLK (Showtime) - Newcomer Mitch Morris has landed a four-episode arc on the pay channel's drama series, which returns with new episodes early next year. He'll play a vigilante gay activist.

SCOTT TUROW'S REVERSIBLE ERRORS (CBS) - Ron Canada ("The Hunted") has come aboard the Eye's upcoming four-hour mini-series based on Turow's novel of the same name. Canada will play the lawyer of Shemar Moore's character, an inmate who confesses to a triple-murder 10 years after another man was placed on death row for the crime. William H. Macy plays a corporate lawyer who takes on the convicted felon's case.

THE SOPRANOS (HBO) - Vincent Pastore, David Proval, John Heard, Al Sapienza, Dan Grimaldi and Jason Cerbone are all reportedly set to reprise their deceased roles of Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero, Richie Aprile, Detective Vin Makazian, Mikey Palmice, Philly "Spoons" Parisi and Jackie Aprile Jr. respectively on an upcoming episode of the mob drama. Recent Emmy-winner (and deceased "Sopranos" star) Joe Pantoliano (Ralph Cifaretto) is also believed to be involved with the episode which will likely involve a dream sequence or a flashback involving the group.

THE SUCK (New!) - Ken Solarz is redeveloping the military drama which was previously at Gina Matthews and Grant Scharbo's Roundtable last development season. Bull's Eye Entertainment is behind the revival which has yet to land at a network.

SURVEILLANCE (FOX, New!) - FOX has given a script commitment to Dan McDermott, Bull's Eye Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television for a new drama that revolves around the son of a fallen F.B.I. agent who ends up running the agency's elite surveillance unit. McDermott will write and executive produce the project with Tom Nunan of Bull's Eye.

THE SUTTONS OF VALENCIA (ABC, New!) - Touchstone Television and Bull's Eye Entertainment are teaming for a new comedy from "Old School" writer Court Crandall. The project will explore what happens when a dad has to move his family to a planned suburban community. Diane Warshay is attached as a producer along with Bull's Eye's Tom Nunan.

UNTITLED DJ QUALLS PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Feature actor DJ Qualls ("The New Guy," "Road Trip") has signed a talent holding deal with the network to develop a half-hour comedy based on an idea by the actor. Qualls is expected to take an active role in its creation and development of the series, a semi-autobiographical look at himself as a young man working at an ambulance-chasing personal injury law firm. FOX however isn't chained to Qualls' idea and have the right to place him in a different project targeted for fall 2004. The actor and his reps Peter Principato, Paul Young and E. Brian Dobbins are expected to produce Qualls' project should it go forward however no formal decisions on credit will be made until a studio is attached.

UNTITLED JOHN CAPARULO PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Comedian John Caparulo has inked a talent deal with FOX and 20th Century Fox Television to develop a comedy project for the network and the studio. While it's still in the early stages of development, it's believed the series will mirror Caparulo's life growing up in a small Ohio town and his experience working blue-collar jobs, including gigs at a golf course and a road show. Caparulo came to FOX's attention during this year's Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal, where he was featured in the New Faces showcase. FOX isn't tied to the concept and can place the comedian in one of its other projects targeted for fall 2004.

UNTITLED LANDSCAPE ENTERTAINMENT PROJECT (NBC, New!) - Bob Cooper's Landscape Entertainment has been given a blind pilot commitment at the Peacock as part of a "three-for-one" deal at the network. The pact calls for Landscape to develop three projects for NBC of which one will ultimately go to pilot and be co-produced with NBC Studios. While said projects have not been decided, they will be a mix of comedies and dramas. Former 20th Century Fox Television executive Scott Vila recently joined the company to head up its new TV arm.

UNTITLED PAUL REISER PROJECT (New!) - The actor/producer of "Mad About You" fame has signed a two-year writing-producing deal with NBC Studios. The pact calls for Reiser to create, write and executive produce new projects while also supervising other series for the studio. In addition, Reiser's production company, Nuance Productions, will set up shop at NBC Studios' offices. Frequent Reiser collaborator Craig Knizek will supervise development under the new deal while former CBS executive Mitch Semel, will also work with Reiser and Knizek at Nuance.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [october 2003]  

· 24 (FOX)
· ER (NBC)
· MY 11:30 (NBC)

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