CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
111 GRAMERCY PARK (ABC) - The Alphabet is once again hoping to get drama project off the ground, this time with Sally Robinson ("Iron Jawed Angels") at the helm. The news marks the third iteration of the series. The first, from Bob Brush ("Karen Sisco"), was an ensemble drama about upper-crust New Yorkers and their servants. A pilot was shot starring Brittany Daniel, Joanna Going, Peter Strauss, Jaleel White, and Joel Grey last development season which ultimately was not picked up. Producers Chris Keyser and Amy Lippman ("Party of Five") were then brought in to revamp the concept and given a six-episode order for midseason 2004. That version also fell apart, not even making it to the casting stage. The latest version, which has been given the go ahead to produce a pilot, will narrow its focus this time to be about three nannies and the families they work for. Warner Bros. Television and the Tannenbaum Company were behind the first two "Park" versions and will continue on as producers of the third.
43 MINUTES (A.K.A. 41 MINUTES, COUNTDOWN) (ABC) - Graham Yost's ("Boomtown") drama pilot at the Alphabet has been given the green light to produce a pilot. The project, which comes from Touchstone and FremantleMedia, tracks a S.W.A.T. team and how it handles the final 43 minutes of a crisis. Yost will write the pilot along with his brother, Christopher, and executive produce with Marla Ginsburg.
THE APPRENTICE (NBC) - NBC's sister channel CNBC will encore the show's debut on Thursday, January 22 at 9:00/8:00c with episode two airing the next evening, Friday, January 23 at 9:00/8:00c. The subsequent 13 episodes will then air every Thursday at 10:00/9:00c following "Dennis Miller" starting January 29.
C.S.I.: NEW YORK (CBS, New!) - The Eye is expected to announce details of a third "C.S.I." this Saturday at its session at the TCA's winter press tour. Industry insiders say the new "C.S.I." will be set in New York with franchise creator Anthony Zuiker writing the pilot and executive producing along with Ann Donahue, Carol Mendelsohn and Jerry Bruckheimer. Zuiker is also expected to remain as showrunner of the New York series with Donahue running "Miami" and Mendelsohn the original Las Vegas-based series. CBS Productions, Alliance Atlantis and Bruckheimer Films of course would produce the new spin-off.
CHARLIE'S ANGELS (ABC, New!) - Carlton Cuse ("Black Sash," "Nash Bridges") and John Wirth ("The District") have been tapped to bring the 1970s series back to the small screen. ABC has given a script commitment to Sony Pictures Television for the project along with a hefty penalty attached should it not go to pilot. It's not clear how or if the producers plan to fit into the movie franchise's continuity.
CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (HBO) - "Curb's" ratings struggles continued this past Sunday as a surprisingly low 2.6 million viewers tuned into its latest broadcast, down 21% from its season opener last week (3.3 million). "Curb" also lost 55% of lead-in "Sex and the City" (5.8 million). Last week "Curb" lost 48% of "Sex's" audience.
EYES (ABC) - A production green light has been given to John McNamara's drama pilot, which revolves around a high-tech security firm that operates along the fringes of the law in order to affect the outcome of a host of civil and criminal matters. The Alphabet had previously given a put pilot commitment to the project, which comes from his Warner Bros. Television-based McNamara Paper Products production banner.
THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN (ABC, New!) - The Alphabet is reportedly developing a small screen version of Mitch Albom's bestselling novel "The Five People You Meet in Heaven." No additional details were revealed.
GOING THE OTHER WAY (Showtime, New!) - The life of gay ex-Major League Baseball player Billy Bean is set to be the focus of a new telefilm from producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron ("The Reagans"), writer/director Alan Poul ("More Tales From the City") and Sony Pictures Television. Bean's book "Going the Other Way: Lessons From a Life in and Out of Major League Baseball," which was co-written by Chris Bull, will be the basis for the project which is expected to track his years as a ballplayer (1987-1995) as well as his coming out in 1999 following the death of his longtime lover which led to a mental breakdown. Storyline's Dave Mace and Sony's Helen Verno will executive project the project, which is still in the early stages of development.
GRACIE'S CHOICE (Lifetime) - 4.2 million viewers tuned into the telefilm's broadcast on Monday, making it the most watched cable program that night between 8-10 p.m. eastern. In year-to-year comparisons, "Choice" was up 12% in household ratings from the network's January 2002 original movie "Hunger Point."
THE JOHN HENSON PROJECT (Spike TV) - Just 515,000 viewers tuned into the talk show's premiere this past Sunday. Nevertheless, "Henson" was up 93% in year-to-year comparisons among the network's target demographic of men 18-49 (292,000 viewers).
HOME DELIVERY (Syndication, New!) - Universal Domestic Television has cleared the lifestyle makeover series on the Tribune station group which reaches 40% of the country. "Home" is described along the lines of "Dr. Phil" meets "Trading Spaces" as it will feature both physical and emotional transformations. Additional clearances are expected to be made this weekend at the annual NATPE convention.
THE PRACTICE (ABC) - 20th Century Fox Television and David Kelley Productions are reportedly in talks with ABC to renew the series for a ninth season. To date this season "The Practice" is averaging 9.07 million viewers, down 23% from the same stretch last season (11.78 million).
SEX AND THE CITY (HBO) - Sunday's installment drew 5.8 million viewers, down 9% from last week's opener to the show's final batch of eight episodes.
STARGATE SG-1 (Sci Fi) - 2.7 million viewers (2.2 household rating) tuned into "Stargate's" January 9 broadcast making it not only the show's most-watched episode to date but also the largest audience for an original series in Sci Fi Channel's 11-year history.
SIX FEET UNDER (HBO) - The pay channel has scheduled the show's fourth season to kick off on Sunday, June 6 at 9:00/8:00c. The network also announced Michelle Trachtenberg ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") has landed a recurring role this season in which she plays a Britney Spears-esque pop princess whom Keith (Mathew St. Patrick) gets a job as bodyguard to. Ben Foster, Justin Theroux, Kathy Bates and Patricia Clarkson will also reprise their recurring roles for several episodes.
THAT'S FUNNY (Syndication, New!) - Vin Di Bona Productions ("America's Funniest Home Videos") is developing a new syndicated series that like "Videos" will feature funny video clips, pranks and homegrown performers. The company has teamed with October Moon Television to syndicate the show. October is expected to begin pitching it to TV station executives at this weekend's annual NATPE conference.
THE TONY DANZA SHOW (Syndication) - The Buena Vista Television talk show has been cleared 45% of the country including the ABC owned-and-operated stations, where it will replace "The Wayne Brady Show," and on station groups including Gannett, Belo, Cox and Sinclair.
UNTITLED JASON KATIMS/DAVID E. KELLEY PROJECT (ABC, New!) - David E. Kelley is once again back at ABC where the prolific writer/producer has teamed with Jason Katims ("Roswell," "Boston Public") for a new romantic drama. The Alphabet has greenlit production of a pilot for the project, which tracks three sisters who run a wedding palace on Long Island that they have inherited from their bitterly divorced parents. The pickup marks the first project to ever come from the 20th Century Fox Television-based David E. Kelley Productions that Kelley himself didn't create as Katims will write the pilot and be the series' showrunner should it get picked up. FOX reportedly offered a series commitment to Kelley but the producer opted to go with ABC's pilot order instead.
UNTITLED MARSH MCCALL PROJECT (NBC, New!) - The Peacock has given a cast-contingent pilot order to a new untitled comedy from writer/executive producer Marsh McCall ("My Big Fat Greek Life," "Just Shoot Me"). The project centers on the relationship between a father, a professor at Stanford, and his son. Warner Bros. Television, whom McCall signed a two-year development deal with last June (read the story), is behind the project.
UNTITLED PAUL REISER PROJECT (NBC) - Paul Reiser's NBC Studios-based Nuance Productions has received a cast-contingent pilot pickup for an untitled comedy about a shallow fortysomething Los Angeles businessman and his no-nonsense therapist. Playwright Steven Sater is writing the pilot to the project and will executive produce along with Reiser, Craig Knizek and Mitch Semel. The news marks the first output from the company since it signed with NBC Studios in October (read the story).
UNTITLED HENRY CHO PROJECT (ABC, New!) - Standup comic Henry Cho has signed a deal with Touchstone Television to star in a sitcom at the Alphabet based on his own life. Matt Goldman ("Ellen," "Luis") is on board to write and executive the pilot to the project, which will revolve around Cho's experiences as a Korean-American born and raised in Tennessee. David Janollari will also executive produce.
UNTITLED ROB REINER PROJECT (NBC, New!) - The Peacock has given a production green light to produce a pilot for the project, a comedy about a newlywed couple who are both shrinks who end up moving in with the husband's family, which includes more psychiatrists and other eclectic characters. Universal Network Television is behind the comedy which will be executive produced by Rob Reiner, Alan Greisman and Dan and Sue Paige ("Once and Again"). The Paiges will write the pilot to the project, which previously had a put pilot commitment at the network.
UNTITLED RODNEY CARRINGTON PROJECT (ABC) - Standup comic Rodney Carrington's comedy pilot is being redeveloped for consideration on the network's 2004-05 schedule. Ric Swatzlander ("Eight Simple Rules," "Hidden Hills") is on board to write the revamped project which has been given the go ahead to produce a pilot. Swartzlander and David Himmelfarb will executive produce the project, which comes from Touchstone Television.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters