CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
THE ACCOUNTANT AND THE STRIPPER (Showtime, New!) - William H. Macy and Steven Schachter ("Door to Door") are set to re-team for another telefilm, this time at the pay channel. The project is loosely based on the true story of Lew Berman, a Florida accountant appointed by a judge to run a string of local strip clubs during a legal battle between the investors behind the clubs. The duo will co-write the script with Macy on board to play Berman while Schachter will direct.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (Sci Fi) - Options on all of the actors' contracts have been extended until the end of January, giving the network an extra month to decide whether to greenlight the project to series.
C.C.A.T.: CAREER CRIMINAL APPREHENSION TEAM (CBS, New!) - Former real-life attorneys J.P. Donahue and Kevin Polay are developing a new drama at the Eye about a law enforcement agency dedicated to capturing career criminals before they strike again. No other details were are available about the project.
CAMP SUNNYSIDE (ABC, New!) - The Alphabet is developing a potential 13-episode limited series about the stay of three siblings at a summer camp from the point of view of one of them, a 12-year-old boy. The project, which has a script commitment, is being targeted for a summer or fall 2004 bow with Scott Lew ("Bickford Schmeckler's Cool Ideas") on board to write the pilot script. No studio was announced as being attached.
CLASSMATES (Syndication) - The 20th Century Fox Television series is reportedly being readied for a national launch next season following months of testing in local markets on several Fox-owned stations across the country.
DEARLY DEPARTED (A&E, New!) - The cable channel is set to premiere a reality take on HBO's "Six Feet Under." The project, set to bow in the second quarter of 2004, chronicles the Wissmillers, a California-based family operating a mortuary business. Among the family members are three adult sisters, their father and the fiance of one of the sisters, all of whom work together at the latter's mortuary in Poway, a quiet suburb north of San Diego. Unlike said HBO series, A&E executives say the show leans more toward the humorous side and was inspired by an episode of the network's "Take This Job." That show's producer, Hybrid Films, is also behind "Departed." No episode order was indicated nor was it clear how graphic any burial and embalming scenes will be.
DIVORCE COURT (Syndication) - The series has been renewed for a sixth season by 20th Century Fox Television. The news comes shortly after "Court's" strong November sweeps performance where it averaged a 2.8 household rating, up 5% in year-to-year comparisons.
EIGHT SIMPLE RULES... (ABC) - James Garner has opted to stick around for the remainder of the show's second season, striking a deal last week with the show's producer, Touchstone Television. The actor signed on for a guest role on the series following the death of star John Ritter, where he played the father of Katey Sagal's character. Garner is expected to resume work on the show today following a fall on the set of the show Friday in which he suffered a badly bruised hip.
THE ENFORCERS (New!) - James Ellroy ("L.A. Confidential") has signed on with Kerry McCluggage's Craftsman Films to develop a new L.A.-based cop series. The duo previously worked together on the failed NBC pilot "L.A. Sheriff's Homicide" when McCluggage worked at Paramount. The project is being developed internally at Craftsman for midseason 2005 consideration at the broadcast networks. Ellroy and McCluggage are executive producing along with Sebastian Twardosz.
GOOD DAY LIVE (Syndication) - 20th Century Fox Television has renewed the freshman talk show for a second season. The series, which began as a local experiment on select Fox-owned stations, was considered "on the bubble" for returning for the 2004-05 season. Since its bow January 2003, "Live" has seen its numbers among households grow by 22%, second only to "The Oprah Winfrey Show" (26%) among syndicated series in 2003. The series is also up among women 18-34 (75%), women 18-49 (40%) and women 25-54 (50%) since its debut.
IRON JAWED ANGELS (HBO) - The pay channel has scheduled the telefilm for Sunday, February 15 at 9:30/8:30c following the penultimate episode of "Sex and the City."
KEEN EDDIE (Bravo) - The cable channel has announced the next "new" episode of the short-lived FOX series will air on Tuesday, February 17 at 9:00/8:00c. The episode, "Inciting Incident," was originally scheduled to air on FOX this past September.
LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE (ABC) - Erin Cottrell ("Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde") has been cast as Caroline Ingalls in the six-hour "Wonderful World of Disney" mini-series. Production is set to begin next month in Calgary, Alberta on the project.
MY BIG FAT OBNOXIOUS FIANCE (FOX, New!) - Production has been completed on FOX's latest "top secret" project, a new reality series from Rocket Science Laboratories ("Temptation Island"). According to a network press release, "In this unscripted series, a beautiful "bride-to-be" introduces the most horrific "fianc�" to her family and friends when she announces her shocking and surprising wedding plans to them in the series premiere Monday, Jan. 19, 2004 (9:00 � 10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Over six episodes, this big fat obnoxious "Prince-not-so-Charming" will test the limits of his recently engaged girlfriend's family and friends through shocking behavior. Our "bride," Randi, a 23-year-old first grade teacher from Scottsdale, Ariz., must make it all the way through the wedding ceremony and final "I do's" in order to win a million dollars. This hybrid of a scripted and reality series will cover all the wedding events leading up to a climactic ceremony, including the engagement party, the wedding planner visits, the best friends and family introductions, the bridal shower, the rehearsal dinner and the walk down the aisle � all within the framework of the world's biggest practical joke." Claudia DiFolco ("Anything for Love") hosts the series, which is executive produced by Rocket Science's Jean-Michel Michenaud, Chris Cowan and Ray Guiliani.
THE OSBOURNES (MTV) - MTV has pushed back the start of the show's third season to Tuesday, January 27 at 10:30/9:30c.
PARENTING WITHOUT A LICENSE (FOX, New!) - Ron Zimmerman ("Action") is behind a new half-hour comedy at the network about a man who ends up raising a teenage boy as his son after the man's girlfriend leaves both of them. The project comes from Kerry McCluggage's Craftsman Films with McCluggage and Sebastian Twardosz executive producing.
RELATED BY FAMILY (FOX) - Matthew Glave ("ER," "Marriage") has been cast in the comedy pilot, about a blended family and two very different teenagers forced to live under the same roof. Glave will play the father of the clan, where he joins the previously cast Zachary Knighton, who plays one of the teens in the family.
SCRUBS (NBC) - Michael J. Fox ("Spin City") has signed on to guest star in two upcoming episodes of the comedy. He'll play "a surgical doctor who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but has found a way to use his idiosyncrasy to his advantage," according to a network press release. Fox previously worked with "Scrubs" executive producer Bill Lawrence on "Spin City."
TEXAS JUSTICE (Syndication) - The series has been renewed for a fourth season by 20th Century Fox Television. "Justice" posted solid gains this past November sweeps among households (5%), women 18-34 (11%), women 18-49 (9%) and women 25-54 (9%) in year-to-year comparisons.
UNTITLED HEIDE PERLMAN PROJECT (UPN, New!) - Heide Perlman ("Frasier," "Cheers") is working on an untitled workplace comedy at the netlet about the lives of production assistants on a fictional late-night talk show. Craftsman Films is behind the project with Kerry McCluggage and Sebastian Twardosz executive producing.
UNTITLED JARRAD PAUL PROJECT (WB, New!) - Actor Jarrad Paul ("Action") will switch to writing for his latest TV project. The actor turned writer has landed a script commitment at the Frog for a new comedy about two brothers who are not very bright but who have big ideas who take over their father's media empire after he has a heart attack. Chris Thompson (also of "Action") has come on board to executive produce the project. No studio was announced as being attached.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters