CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
BIG LOVE (HBO) - Casting has begun on Tom Hanks' polygamist drama at the pay channel. The one-hour project focuses on Bill Henderson, a practicing polygamist and successful home improvement warehouse store owner with three wives and three sets of children. Despite his success, the strain of three families is growing on Bill as his estranged brother tells him that their father is extremely ill and their mother refuses to take him to a doctor. Said event prompts Bill to return to the poor rural fundamentalist community he grew up in and revisit the decisions he's made in his life.
COOKING LESSONS (CBS) - Ivan Reitman ("Evolution" and "Six Days, Seven Nights") has been tapped to direct the pilot, a dramedy about a food columnist looking for romance. The project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television and the Tannenbaum Co., is based on Amanda Hesser's book "Cooking for Mr. Latte: A Food Lover's courtship, With Recipes" and is executive produced by Emily Fox ("New York Minute"), Kim and Eric Tannenbaum.
EYES (ABC) - A more detailed breakdown of the drama pilot, which comes from John McNamara ("Fastlane") and Warner Bros. Television, has been released. The action will center around Harlan Judd, the owner of a "risk management" firm, a company that operates along the fringes of the law in order to affect the outcome of a host of civil and criminal matters. As an added twist, an initial plot will apparently involve a mole in the company who is stealing money, and Judd must figure out which of his employees, all masters of deception, is guilty.
HOME AND HARDWARE (NBC) - Some additional details have emerged about the comedy pilot, which stars Alyson Hannigan ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") and Eric Christian Olsen ("Dumb and Dumberer"). Hannigan's character, Andrea, works for "Restoration Hardware" (hence the title) and is having an affair with her boss when her slacker brother (Olsen), whom she hasn't spoken to in 18 months, shows up and changes her life surprisingly for the better.
HUB (NBC) - Anthony and Joe Russo ("Arrested Development," "Lucky") have signed on to direct the pilot, an ensemble drama set behind the scenes at an international airport. NBC Studios is behind the project, which stars Heather Locklear and Blair Underwood.
JOINT CUSTODY (WB) - Casting is underway on the project, a comedy about a wealthy woman who shares custody of her two teenagers with her penny-pinching husband and his thrifty new wife. Also in the mix is the woman's 20-year-old boyfriend who inexplicably speaks with an "Arthurian" English accent. Dottie Dartland-Zicklin ("Dharma & Greg," "Caroline and the City") will write and executive produce the pilot, which comes from Warner Bros. Television. The Frog had previously given a hefty put pilot commitment to the project (read the story).
MEDIUM (NBC) - Patricia Arquette ("Stigmata," "True Romance") has landed the lead role in the pilot, a drama about a woman who struggles to balance her psychic abilities with her family life. Glenn Gordon Caron ("Now & Again") is behind the project, which comes from Kelsey Grammer's Paramount-based Grammnet Productions and Caron's Picturemaker Productions. "Medium" is loosely based on the life of Allison Dubois, a self-described "research medium and criminal profiler."
MY 11:30 (A.K.A. UNTITLED PAUL REISER PROJECT) (NBC) - Paul Reiser's comedy pilot at the Peacock now features the title "My 11:30." The project tracks the weekly therapy sessions between a shallow 40-something businessman named Jeff Sharpe and his attractive, no-nonsense therapist. The two, who view each other as the ultimate challenge, try to "break" one another as Jeff recounts the events from the past week involving his job, his business partner/best friend, his ex-wife, his young son, his sweet but needy female neighbor, and the parade of young women he can't seem to stop getting involved with.
MYSTERY GIRL (UPN) - UPN has moved the target date of the pilot presentation, a drama about a trendy society gal/magazine writer (newcomer Alex Breckenridge) who finds herself tackling mysteries surrounding the rich and infamous, to fall 2004 consideration. Howard Gordon ("24"), Adam Shankman ("Bringing Down the House") and Liz Heldens ("Boston Public") are behind the project, which comes from 20th Century Fox Television.
NEVER IN MY WILDEST (NBC, New!) - The Peacock has given a cast-contingent pilot commitment to a new comedy from writer/producer Carol Leifer ("Seinfeld"). The project, which is set up at NBC Studios and Dreamworks Television, is a romantic comedy about two people who have an undeniable spark but impossible standards.
ONE BIG HAPPY (FOX) - A more detailed description has emerged for the drama pilot, which comes from director Shawn Levy ("Cheaper by the Dozen") and writer/producers Aaron Harberts and Gretchen Berg ("Roswell," "Wonderfalls"). The project, an irreverent dramedy about a very unconventional family, deals with a man who falls in love with and marries his wife�s best friend, and now must blend their families together.
ONE ON ONE (UPN) - The netlet is developing a spin-off of the successful comedy, as an upcoming episode of the series will be used as a backdoor pilot. Said installment will feature Flex Washington's (Flex Alexander) barber-to-the-rap-stars brother, Kevin Barnes. The potential series would revolve around their father's barbershop, Phat Head, whom Kevin returns home to Baltimore only to find that Flex has sold it to a major corporation.
SCARE TACTICS (Sci Fi) - The show's producers, Scott Hallock and Kevin Healey, have signed an exclusive first-look deal with Fox TV Studios. The pact gives the studio first crack at any new projects from the duo's company, Hallock Healey Entertainment, as well as the option to partner them on any of Fox TV Studios' current or future projects.
THE SECRET SERVICE (A.K.A. UNTITLED ALEX KURTZMAN-COUNTER/ROBERTO ORCI PROJECT) (ABC) - Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman-Counter's drama pilot is now running under the title "The Secret Service." The project centers on Laura, a married Secret Service agent who is trying to balance her career and family life. Among the cast are Charles, her partner who is romantically interested in her; her boss Gwen, who promotes Laura; and Mike, a fellow agent who is passed up for said promotion and is bitter about it.
SEX AND THE CITY (TBS) - The cable channel has revealed its off-cable run of the HBO series will premiere Tuesday, June 15 in a to-be-determined time slot.
UNTITLED BRUCE NASH PROJECT (TBS, New!) - Reality guru Bruce Nash ("For Love or Money," "Who Wants to Marry My Dad?") has pacted with the cable channel for a new reality series set to premiere on Tuesday, June 22, one week after the network's launch of its "Sex and the City" repeat package. TBS has committed to eight episodes of the untitled project, exact details of which are still under wraps. All that is known is that it is a relationship-themed series and auditions are set to begin shortly for "beautiful, adventurous, single women to be sexy leading ladies" who are willing to travel. Production is set to begin in April on the project.
UNTITLED TERRI HUGHES/RON MILBAUER PROJECT (CBS) - Robert Forster ("Karen Sisco") has been tapped for the lead role in the bounty hunter drama. He'll play Jerry, an imposing and gruff but gentle and defensive bounty hunter whose two sons - cool and quick-thinking Colin and goofy and happy-go-lucky Matt - join the family business. Also still to be cast is Beth, Jerry's girlfriend. Writer/producers Terri Hughes and Ron Milbauer ("Idle Hands") are behind the project, which comes from Spelling Television.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters