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[01/30/04 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: January 30
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

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

COMMANDO NANNY (WB) - The Frog has greenlighted production on the comedy pilot, which is based on executive producer Mark Burnett's ("Survivor") experience as a young ex-British commando working as a live-in nanny for a Beverly Hills family. Dave Flebotte ("The Bernie Mac Show") is set to write the pilot which will be executive produced by Flebotte, Burnett and Conrad Riggs. The WB had previously given a put pilot commitment to the project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television and Brunett's self-titled production company.

DARK SHADOWS (WB) - Dan Curtis Productions has confirmed to ShadowGram, the official newsletter of "Dark Shadows," that the WB has greenlit production on a pilot for the show's latest incarnation. Casting is set to begin shortly on the pilot, which is executive produced by Curtis and John Wells ("ER," "Third Watch," "The West Wing") and set to be written by Mark Verheiden ("Smallville"). The Frog had previously given a put pilot commitment to the project, which also comes from Warner Bros. Television and John Wells Productions.

DR. VEGAS (CBS) - The Eye has given a cast-contingent green light to the project, a drama about a young, unconventional doctor who lives and works in an old-school, Palms-like hotel-casino in Las Vegas. John Herzfeld ("15 Minutes") will write, direct and executive produce the pilot, which comes from Warner Bros. Television, CBS Productions and Bender-Brown Productions, along with Lawrence Bender ("Kill Bill"), Mark Sennett ("K Street") and Kevin Brown ("Roswell").

DRAGON STORM (Sci Fi) - Saturday's premiere of the telefilm was seen by 3.03 million viewers making it the most-watched original movie in the network's history. The show's 2.3 household rating also tied "Epoch" as Sci Fi's highest-rated original movie ever.

GARY THE RAT (Spike TV) - In an appearance on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," executive producer Kelsey Grammer confirmed the series has been canceled by Spike TV.

HAPPY FAMILY (NBC) - Executive producers David Guarascio and Moses Port have signed a new two-year, mid-seven-figure overall deal with NBC Studios. The pact, which goes into effect this summer, calls for the duo to continue as showrunners on the comedy should it return for a second season as well as create, develop and executive produce new projects for the studio.

HUB (NBC) - Blair Underwood ("City of Angels," "Sex and the City") has been cast in the pilot, an offbeat ensemble drama set behind the scenes at a major U.S. international airport. Underwood is set to play Roger DeSouza, the airport's second-in-command.

PLAN B (ABC) - The Caroline Rhea-led comedy has been given the go ahead to produce a pilot by ABC. Rhea plays a thirtysomething woman who finds herself struggling with career issues, weight gain and romance troubles. Josh Sternin and Jeff Ventimilia ("That '70s Show") are behind the project, which comes from Universal Network Television.

STARGATE SG-1 (Sci Fi) - A strong performance by the veteran sci-fi drama helped drive Sci Fi to its best ever January performance, where the network averaged a 1.1 household rating (951,000 households or 1.4 million viewers) in primetime for the month. That 1.1 average household rating also makes it the second most-watched month in the network's history, second only to December 2002, which drew a 1.65 household rating thanks to the premiere of "Steven Spielberg Presents Taken." Overall, Sci Fi ranked 10th among all non-news, advertising-supported cable networks for the month. As for "Stargate," the January 9 winter premiere of new episodes of the series drew a 2.2 household rating, the highest for an original Sci Fi episode of "SG-1" to date, and 2.66 million viewers, the most-watched original segment of the show in the series' cable run and the most-watched episode of any original series in Sci Fi Channel history.

STRAIGHT DATES BY GAY MATES (Bravo, New!) - The cable channel has ordered a pilot for a new reality series about two gay guys who endeavor to help a hapless heterosexual woman find love. Vin Di Bona Productions ("America's Funniest Home Videos," "That's Funny") is behind the project, which is based on the British series of the same name. "Gay Mates" tracks the duo as they find two potential dates for a woman eack week, based on her wishes as well as her style. The episode then follows their dates and has her decide whether she wants to continue dating one of the men, both or neither. Di Bona and fellow executive producer Peter J. Schankowitz bought the rights to the show from the U.K.'s Prospect Pictures and show creator Richard Hastings last year. Joel Klein ("Fear Factor") has signed on to co-executive produce the pilot along with Di Bona and Schankowitz. Casting is underway for the two hosts with production set to begin in Los Angeles shortly.

SUDBURY (A.K.A. PRACTICAL MAGIC) (CBS) - Sandra Bullock's small screen version of the 1998 feature "Practical Magic" has been given a cast-contingent pilot commitment by CBS. Like the film, the series will revolve around two sisters (played by Bullock and Nicole Kidman in the movie) who struggle with the blessing and curse of harboring magical abilities. Bullock will executive produce the project, which comes from her Fortis Films and Warner Bros. Television, along with Denise Di Novi ("The District") and writer Becky Hartman-Edwards ("American Dreams").

UNTITLED SHONDRA RHIMES PROJECT (ABC, New!) - Feature writer Shonda Rhimes ("Introducing Dorothy Dandridge") has landed a pilot commitment from ABC for a new drama that follows the professional and personal lives of residents in surgical training at a San Francisco hospital. Rhimes will write and executive produce the project, which has been dubbed internally by ABC executives as "Sex and the Surgery," along with Mark Gordon ("Speed"). No studio was announced as being attached.

WANTED (CBS) - The Eye has given a cast-contingent pilot commitment to a new suspense series about the L.A.P.D.'s fugitive-apprehension team. Feature writer Cynthia Cidre ("The Mambo Kings") is behind the project, which is set up at Sarah Timberman's 25C Productions, Warner Bros. Television and CBS Productions. The news marks 25C's second project picked-up as part of its three-for-one production commitment from CBS (read the story), the other being writer Theresa Rebeck's "The Webster Report." Cidre, Timberman and Carl Beverly will executive produce "Wanted," which is based on an idea by Robert Crais, along with Thomas Carter ("Save the Last Dance"), who's expected to direct the pilot should it go forward.

WE ARE FAMILY (ABC, New!) - The Alphabet has picked up a new comedy pilot about a man and his estranged father, both of whom have babies at the same time. Rob Long and Dan Staley ("Cheers") will write and executive produce the project, which comes from Touchstone Television, along with Tim Fall ("Men, Women and Dogs").

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters





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· AMERICAN DREAMS (NBC)
· AMERICA'S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS (ABC)
· BERNIE MAC SHOW, THE (FOX)
· CITY OF ANGELS (CBS)
· COMMANDO NANNY (WB)
· DARK SHADOWS (WB)
· DISTRICT, THE (CBS)
· DR. VEGAS (CBS)
· DRAGON STORM (SCI FI)
· EPOCH (SCI FI)
· ER (NBC)
· FEAR FACTOR (MTV)
· GARY THE RAT (SPIKE TV)
· GREY'S ANATOMY (ABC)
· HAPPY FAMILY (NBC)
· K STREET (HBO)
· LAX (NBC)
· MEN, WOMEN AND DOGS (WB)
· PLAN B (ABC)
· PRACTICAL MAGIC (CBS)
· ROSWELL (UPN)
· SEX AND THE CITY (HBO)
· SMALLVILLE (CW)
· STARGATE: SG-1 (SCI FI)
· STEVEN SPIELBERG PRESENTS: TAKEN (SCI FI)
· STRAIGHT DATES BY GAY MATES (BRAVO)
· SURVIVOR (CBS)
· THAT '70S SHOW (FOX)
· THAT'S FUNNY (SYNDICATION)
· THIRD WATCH (NBC)
· WANTED (CBS)
· WE ARE FAMILY (ABC)
· WEBSTER REPORT, THE (CBS)
· WEST WING, THE (NBC)





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