CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
A BOYFRIEND FOR CHRISTMAS (Hallmark) - Kelli Williams ("The Practice"), Patrick Muldoon ("Starship Troopers"), Charles Durning ("Evening Shade"), Martin Mull ("The Ellen Show") and Maeve Quinlan ("General Hospital") have all signed on to the upcoming telefilm, which is slated to premiere in late 2004.
C.S.I.: NEW YORK (CBS) - Some additional details have emerged about the upcoming spin-off. Unlike its predecessors, "New York" will focus on the lives of two main characters, a man and a woman who work together as investigators, instead of a large ensemble cast. The two yet-to-be cast characters will be featured on this season's second-to-last episode of "C.S.I.: Miami," set to air in May, in which investigators from "Miami" will be called to New York to investigate a murder involving a Miami resident. It's also expected, according to "New York's" showrunner Anthony Zuiker, to feature "a lot of hand-held camera work to really get us out on the streets." Zuiker, along with fellow executive producers Ann Donahue and Carol Mendelsohn, plan to scout filming locations in New York next month.
THE D.A. (ABC) - Michaela Conlin ("MDs," "The It Fator") has been added to the cast of the midseason drama. She'll play a campaign consultant to Steven Weber's character, L.A. District Attorney David Franks.
THE FRIENDLYS (NBC, New!) - The Peacock has given producers Robb and Mark Cullen ("Lucky") a green light to produce a pilot for a new offbeat comedy that revolves around the fight between a dead candy mogul's trophy wife and his daughter over the business. NBC Studios is behind the project.
THE HANDLER (CBS) - CBS topper Les Moonves told reporters, "It's not officially dead, but it's not looking good, let's put it that way," when asked about the status of "The Handler" at the Eye's session at the TCA's winter press tour.
HIS & HERS (Bravo, New!) - The cable channel has ordered a one-hour pilot from producer Authentic Entertainment (Travel Channel's "Weird Travels," Food Network's "Beach Eats") for a new makeover series in which a couple has their bedroom and relationship reinvigorated with suggestions from their friends. Bravo executives are targeting the project (along with several others) as a companion for "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" in the Tuesday, 9:00/8:00c time slot. Each episode of the series would split romantic partners up with their respective friends for a day devoted to shaking up their lifestyle. For instance, the pilot features a husband as he is tutored on the fine art of disrobing by a professional stripper. The episode then closes as the couple is reunited in order to show off all they have learned.
HOLLYWOOD DIVISION (FOX) - D.J. Cotrona ("Skin") is the first actor to sign on to the drama pilot, which revolves around young undercover detectives who infiltrate a Hollywood high school posing as students (a la "21 Jump Street"). Cotrona will play a police cadet sent to investigate a drug trafficking ring. Barry Schindel ("Law & Order," "Robbery Homicide Division") and Rob Port ("10-8") are behind the project, which comes from Universal Network Television.
HOUSE WARS (USA) - USA executives have confirmed the series will not return for a second season. "It was just a bad show," Doug Herzog, president of USA Network, told Daily Variety. "We broke every rule in producing it, particularly the one that says you don't let the sales department drive the content of a TV series." "Wars," which came from "Trading Spaces" executive producer Denise Cramsey, premiered in late September on USA. Ratings were reportedly so bad that USA opted to dump the show on Thursday nights at 7:00/6:00c rather than risk further erosion in the show's original Monday, 10:00/9:00c time period.
THE JURY (FOX) - The drama has officially been scheduled to premiere in June, despite earlier rumblings the show would roll out at midseason.
LOVE, CLYDE (Hallmark, New!) - Frank Whaley and Marion Ross have been tapped to star in a new telefilm at the cable channel. The project tracks a lonely older woman (Ross) who reunites with her long-lost grandson (Whaley). No other details were available.
QUEER AS FOLK (Showtime) - Robin Thomas is set to appear in five-episode arc on the show's upcoming fourth season. He'll play a love interest for one of the lead characters.
PEARL CITY (NBC) - Sharif Atkins ("ER") has landed a role on the drama pilot, which follows a diverse team of detectives in metropolitan Honolulu. The actor is set to exit his role on "ER" later this season after a three-year stint. On "City," Atkins will play a new member of the Hawaii Police Department who moves to the islands from Chicago.
RICOCHET (FOX) - Dondre Whitfield ("Hidden Hills") has been cast in the drama pilot, which which takes a "Memento"-like backward approach to storytelling as each episode starts out with the climax, with the rest of the show retracing the steps that led to said moment. Whitfield will play a second-generation police officer, a street-savvy, fast-talking charmer. Rene Echevarria ("Star Trek: The Next Generation") and Jeff Kline ("That Was Then") are the executive producers of the project, which comes from Touchstone Television.
SCROOGE (CBS, New!) - The Eye has greenlighted production a new three-hour musical adaptation of the holiday staple. Multi-award winning composer and screenwriter Leslie Bricusse has written a new script and seven original songs for the updated CBS version. Margaret Loesch and Bruce Stein are on board to executive produce the project through their Hatchery banner along with Dan Angel and Billy Brown, the duo behind the Emmy-winning "Door to Door." Production on the $12 million project is expected to begin in June on location in Ireland for a holiday 2004 broadcast.
SIX FEET UNDER (HBO) - Peter Facinelli ("Fastlane") is set for a multi-episode arc on the drama when it returns for its fourth season this summer. He'll play a very popular and promising student attending the same art school as Lauren Ambrose's character.
UNTITLED MATT TARSES/BILL WRUBEL PROJECT (NBC) - Alyson Hannigan ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") is officially on board the comedy pilot, which comes from NBC Studios. She'll play the eldest of two siblings who ends up reuniting with her brother after not speaking for 18 months.
THE WEST WING (NBC) - Brian Kerwin ("Common Ground") has landed a guest role on the veteran drama. He'll playing a former college boyfriend of Allison Janney's character.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters