CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
24 (FOX)/ER (NBC) - British actor Paul Blackthorne ("Presidio Med") has landed recurring roles on both series as well as a to-be-determined pilot on ABC targeted for fall 2004. He'll play a surgeon on the latter and an British ex-special agent on the former.
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (FOX) - Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("Seinfeld") has signed on for a multi-episode arc on the freshman comedy. She'll play Maggie Lizer, a blind attorney who winds up having a one-night stand with Jason Bateman's character, only to have him learn she is the lawyer assigned to prosecute his father (Jeffrey Tambor).
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (NBC, New!) - The Peacock has greenlighted production on a new musical adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" based on the Madison Square Garden stage version of the Dickens classic. Kelsey Grammer ("Frasier") has signed on to star in the project which will be produced by telefilm guru Robert Halmi, Sr. and Hallmark Entertainment as well as include music by Alan Menken ("Aladdin," "Beauty and the Beast"). Production is set to begin in Budapest this summer for a November broadcast date. Grammer and Halmi last worked together on the ABC telefilm "Mr. St. Nick."
FOSTER HALL (NBC, New!) - Actor-turned-writer Christopher Moynihan ("Coupling") has landed a pilot commitment from NBC for a new comedy which centers on a brother and a sister who reunite after years of being bumped from nine different foster homes and the sister's brief stint in jail. Conan O'Brien and his NBC Studios-based Conaco Productions are behind the project, which will be executive produced by O'Brien, Moynihan, Jeff Ross, Ron West and A.J. Morewitz.
GLOBAL FREQUENCY (WB) - Mark Burnett's ("Survivor") small screen adaptation of the Warren Ellis DC/Wildstorm comic has been given the go ahead to produce a pilot. The action-adventure drama revolves around a shadowy figure named Miranda Zero, who starts a top-secret worldwide independent defense intelligence organization that relies on ordinary people to serve as agents around the world, fighting black ops projects, unexplained phenomena and other problems the government agencies struggle with. John Rogers ("The Core") is set to write the pilot, which comes from Warner Bros. Television, and executive produce along with Burnett.
JACK & BOBBY (WB) - David Nutter ("Disturbing Behavior") has signed on to direct the drama pilot, which focuses on two teen brothers, one of whom is destined to become president. The news marks a major coup for the project as every pilot Nutter has helmed in the past eight years has been picked up to series: "Tarzan" (WB, 2003), "Without a Trace" (CBS, 2002), "Smallville" (WB, 2001), "Dark Angel" (FOX, 2000), "Roswell" (WB, 1999), "Sleepwalkers" (NBC, 1997), "Millennium" (FOX, 1996), "Space: Above and Beyond" (FOX, 1995). Greg Berlanti ("Everwood"), Mickey Liddell and Thomas Schlamme ("The West Wing") are the executive producers of the project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television.
MEN'S ROOM (NBC, New!) - The Peacock has picked up the comedy pilot "Men's Room," which explores the lives of men in their 20s, 30s and 40s. No additional details, such as the producers or the studio attached, were revealed.
MONK (USA) - 6.3 million viewers tuned into the show's January 30 broadcast, making it the most-watched episode of the series to date. The episode also won its time period among all cable series in adults 18-49 (2.3/7) and adults 25-54 (3.0/8).
PRODIGY (WB, New!) - The Frog has committed to a new drama pilot from writer Josh Friedman ("Chain Reaction") and producer Joel Silver ("The Matrix"). The project revolves around a teenage girl who hides her music talents from her family, which is busy focusing their attention on her younger brother, a well-known prodigy. Friedman and Silver will executive produce through the latter's Warner Bros. Television-based Silver Pictures along with Jennifer Gwartz and Danielle Stokdyk.
ROCKY POINT (WB, New!) - The Frog has picked up a pilot presentation for a new drama from screenwriters John Stockwell and Lizzy Weiss, the duo behind the feature "Blue Crush." The project, which like "Crush" takes place in Oahu, Hawaii, centers of a young woman shacking up with pals on the North Shore who must take in her estranged father. The duo will write and executive produce the drama, which comes from Warner Bros. Television. Stockwell spent last development season on the similarly-themed pilot "The Break" for FOX. That project, which wasn't given a series order, revolved around a cop (played by Dylan Bruno) who returns to his hometown on Oahu's North Shore in an effort to reconnect with his teenage son and winds up joining Honolulu's police department.
UNTITLED DAVID SHORE PROJECT (FOX) - Bryan Singer ("X-Men") is in talks to direct the drama pilot, which revolves around a team of doctors who diagnose the toughest medical cases that other doctors have not been able to crack. David Shore ("Family Law") and the upcoming "Century City's" Paul Attanasio and Katie Jacobs are the executive producers of the project, which comes from Universal Network Television and Heel & Toe Films.
UNTITLED TERRI HUGHES/RON MILBAUER PROJECT (CBS) - Rod Holcolmb ("The Lyon's Den," "The Pentagon Papers") has signed on to direct the drama pilot, which centers on a father and his two sons, who earn a living as bounty hunters. Terri Hughes and Ron Milbauer ("Idle Hands") are behind the project, which comes from Spelling Television.
UNTITLED WANDA SYKES PROJECT (Comedy Central, New!) - The cable channel has committed to six episodes of a new project featuring the former "Wanda at Large" star. The "Curb Your Enthusiasm"-esque comedy revolves around Sykes' real-life attempts to tackle non-showbiz jobs ranging from the mundane (installing cable) to the dramatic (performing minor surgery). Sykes will executive produce the series along with "Wanda at Large" co-creator and co-executive producer Lance Crouther. Casting has begun on the series, which is being targeted for a fall start.
THE WEBSTER REPORT (CBS) - Barry Sonnenfeld ("Men in Black") has signed on to direct and executive produce the drama pilot, which centers on an offbeat New York private investigator. Theresa Rebeck ("Law & Order: Criminal Intent") created the project, which comes from Sarah Timberman's 25C Productions, Warner Bros. Television and CBS Productions.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters