CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
THE BACHELOR (ABC) - New York Giants quarterback Jesse Palmer has been selected as the new "bachelor" for the show's fifth installment, set to premiere in April. ABC's press release about the news offered this biography: "Palmer, 25, who was drafted by the Giants in 2001, became the top backup quarterback in 2002. The strong-armed quarterback brought impressive collegiate credentials to the NFL, having played with the University of Florida Gators in Gainesville under Steve Spurrier. Palmer ranks fourth on the Gators' all-time list in passing efficiency rating (133.14), eighth on the school's career list with 3, 755 yard passing and ninth with 31 touchdown passes. A native of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the 6'2" Palmer, who now resides in New Jersey, also garnered acclaim as the 1996 Canadian Player of the Year, first playing for St. Pius X High School and then leading the Myers Raiders, a club football team, to one of three Provincial Championships (1994-1996). Born into a family of gridiron greats, his father, Bill, is a former Canadian Football League star with the Ottawa Rough Riders and his brother, Billy, is a tight end at Notre Dame."
THE BIG ISLAND (FOX) - Peyton Reed ("Bring It On") will direct the drama pilot, about a group of twentysomething employees who work at a luxury hotel on Hawaii's Big Island. Famed music video director Dave Myers was previously attached to helm the pilot.
CHAPPELLE'S SHOW (Comedy Central) - 3.0 million viewers tuned into the show's second season premiere on Wednesday, making it the most-watched episode of the series to date. More importantly, "Chappelle" was the most-watched cable show in its 10:30/9:30c time period among adults 18-49 (1.7/5) and adults 18-34 (2.6/8) not to mention the highest-rated program in its slot among males 18-34 on any network, broadcast or cable. The series even built on its lead-in, a repeat of "South Park," by 36%.
EDEN (NBC) - The Peacock has released an official description of the project: "'Eden' centers around a group of young people from a mosaic of wildly different backgrounds who are thrown together on a summer study cruise that goes horribly wrong during a major storm. After being marooned, they have to re-build their own world on a remote island.The drama unfolds as the characters deal with the fact that their status in the past has nothing to do with the status in the new world. And in a twist, there is one person on the island who should never have been on the cruise to begin with and has a dark secret."
INFIDELITY (Lifetime, New!) - Kim Delaney ("Philly") is set to topline a new telefilm about a woman's battle with her own unfaithfulness from director Harry Winer ("Lucky 7") and writer Toni Kalem ("A Slipping Down Life"). Delaney will play a married family therapist who traces her own philandering back to her father and grandfather. Production is set to begin shortly in New Orleans on the project, which comes Lions Gate Television in assocation with Cairo-Simpson Entertainment, for an April premiere date on the cable channel. Judy Palone, Judy Cairo and Martha Coolidge are the executive producers.
MONK (USA) - An encore of the show's January 16 episode scored an above average 2.1 million viewers on Wednesday, where it beat the premiere of FX's "Todd TV."
NEWLYWEDS: NICK & JESSICA (MTV) - The show's second season premiere on Wednesday snagged 4.7 million viewers, including strong scores in adults 18-34 (3.9/11), adults 18-49 (2.5/6) and female teens (6.1/21). Even more impressive was the show's performance in MTV's target demographic of viewers 12-34, where it topped all programs in the 10:00/9:00c half-hour on broadcast or cable. "Newlyweds'" 4.7 million viewers also constitues its most-watched episode to date.
PEARL CITY (NBC) - Ivan Sergei ("Crossing Jordan," "10.5") has signed on to star in the pilot, an ensemble police drama set in Hawaii. He joins the previously cast Sharif Atkins ("ER"). No details were given about Sergei's character.
PHANTOM FORCE (Sci Fi) - The cable channel has scheduled the telefilm for Saturday, March 27 at 9:00/8:00c. Here's how Sci Fi describes the project: "In this follow-up to the hits Interceptor Force and SCI FI Pictures' IF2: Interceptor Force 2, a military strike team is trained and deployed to confront supernatural threats against Earth. Richard Grieco (SCI FI Pictures' "Webs," TV's "21 Jump Street"), Tangi Miller (Elena Tyler on "Felicity") and Nigel Bennett ("IF2: Interceptor Force 2," Prince on "Lexx") star."
THE QUINTS (FOX, New!) - Mark Reisman ("Frasier") has landed a pilot commitment at FOX for a new comedy from 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television. The project revolves around a group of 15-year-old quintuplets who must forge their own identities and stay sane while living in a three-bedroom house in the suburbs. Reisman will write and executive produce the project, additional details of which were not available.
RESCUE ME (FX) - The Denis Leary-led drama pilot has been given a series commitment of 13 one-hour episodes by FX. Leary stars as Tommy Gavin in the project, a drama with comedic elements which revolves around the lives of a crew of firefighters who live and work in post-9/11 New York. Leary, along with Peter Tolan, created and will executive produce the series, a co-production of Leary and Jim Serpico's Apostle Pictures, Tolan's the Cloudland Co. and DreamWorks TV in association with Sony Pictures Television. Production is set to begin in New York in April for an unspecified premiere date. "Rescue Me" also stars Jack McGee ("N.Y.P.D. Blue"), Stephen Pasquale ("Platinum"), Daniel Sunjata ("Law & Order: S.V.U."), John Scurti ("Mona Lisa Smile"), Michael Lombardi, Michael Mulheren ("Law & Order") and Andrea Roth ("Lucky").
SNAKEHEAD TERROR (Sci Fi) - The telefilm has been slated for Saturday, March 13 at 9:00/8:00c. Here's how the network descripts the project: "It came from the depths, and now walks on land. Some say it came from China, but now it stalks prey in America. Bruce Boxleitner (Captain Sheridan on "Babylon 5") and former Elite model Carol Alt (Steven Spielberg's "Catch Me if You Can") star in this tale (based on a horrifying true story of nature run amok) of a small-town sheriff in Maryland who must defend a town from a gigantic "Frankenfish" � a.k.a. the Snakehead Terror!"
'TIL DEATH DO US PART: CARMEN & DAVE (MTV) - 3.3 million viewers tuned into the show's debut on Wednesday where it won its 10:30/9:30c time period among MTV's target demographic of viewers 12-34 and was the most-watched series premiere in the network's history in said demographic. Nevertheless, "'Til Death" lost 30% of lead-in "Newlyweds'" total audience, including 32% among adults 18-49 (1.7/5 vs. 2.5/6) and 31% among adults 18-34 (2.7/8 vs. 3.9/11).
TENN P.I. (Lifetime, New!) - Actress Lauren Holly ("Just Desserts") is set to star and executive produce a new telefilm at the cable channel about a woman who gets into the business of private investigation after she suspects her boyfriend of wandering. Frank Konigsberg, Drew Smith, Lance Hool and Rick Bieber are also on board to executive produce while Cynthia Whitcomb penned the script. Production is set to begin next month for a to-be-determined air date.
THAT'S FUNNY (Syndication) - Despite a less than spectacular showing at NATPE, the clip show is officially a go with clearances in 35% of the country. 80 half-hour episodes are set to be completed in time for a September 2004 launch. In addition, executive producer Vin Di Bona ("America's Funniest Home Videos") has been given permission from ABC to use some of the clips from the long-running home video series as well as spin-off "America's Funniest People," which ran for four seasons on the Alphabet. ABC lawyers however balked at the show's original title "Video Funnies," hence its current moniker "That's Funny." The show's distributor, October Moon, will also forgo holding back 30-second spots from the series as customary with most syndication deals, instead settling for a straight-up cash license fee.
TODD TV (FX) - A meager 803,000 viewers (0.7 household rating) tuned into the one-hour premiere of "Todd TV" on Wednesday where it lost more than 50% of its lead-in, the network premiere of the feature "Dude, Where's My Car?" (1.5 household rating). "Todd" also averaged a paltry 0.5 rating/1 share in adults 18-49 and a 0.5/2 in adults 18-34. That's about what FX scored last week with repeats of "Cops" in the Wednesday, 10:00/9:00c hour. Even worse is that fact that movies pulled in an average 1.0 household rating in "Todd's" slot last month. A rebroadcast at 11:00/10:00c also fared poorly, generating a 0.3 rating.
24 (FOX) - The show's official web site will debut, "24inside," a new live web show about the series immediately following its January 27 broadcast at 10:00/9:00c. The 15-minute show, hosted by Amanda Byram ("Paradise Hotel"), will feaure in-studio guests and comments as well as call-ins and e-mails from viewers. Penny Johnson Jerald ("Sherry Palmer") and "24" executive producer Howard Gordon are already set to appear on the inaugural broadcast. Fans will also be able to listen to the archived show for seven days.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters