[02/11/04 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: February 11
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

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

Looking to keep track of all the various pilots and other projects in development? Be sure to check out our detailed production chart listings by clicking here.

CLUBHOUSE (CBS) - Feature director Gavin O'Connor ("Miracle") has signed on to helm the pilot, a drama about a 16-year-old who lands a dream gig as a bat boy for the New York Yankees. Spelling Television and Icon Productions are behind the project, which is based on the book of the same name by Matt McGough.

THE D.A. (ABC) - Jonathan Del Arco ("Nip/Tuck") has joined the cast of the midseason drama in a recurring role. He'll play a forensics specialist in the Los Angeles Medical Examiner's office.

D.O.T.S. (NBC, New!) - The Peacock has picked up a new comedy pilot from writer Rob Cohen ("Just Shoot Me") set in the world of meter maids. Gavin Polone will executive produce the project, which comes from Polone's Pariah Television and NBC Studios, along with Cohen and Todd Greenwald.

EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND (CBS) - Industry insiders say creator Phil Rosenthal and star Ray Romano will decide by the end of the month whether the veteran sitcom will return for a ninth season. The duo have reportedly been meeting with the show's writing staff to determine whether there's enough creative life left in the series. Neither CBS nor Romano and Rosenthal have officially commented about said discussions however.

FOREVER EDEN (FOX) - FOX will expand the show's March premiere to two nights: Monday, March 1 and Tuesday, March 2, both at 9:00/8:00c. The show "follows a small group of people willing to take an indefinite break from their everyday lives to experience the opportunity of a lifetime by living together in a luxurious, tropical-resort setting. But this Eden has its own version of the serpent, guaranteeing that things aren't always what they seem. Each week they remain in Eden, contestants will accrue more earnings, but the only way to keep their winnings is to remain in paradise, which has a price. They need to avoid eviction and their desire to return to civilization. Meanwhile, surprises and twists are around every corner. Secrets may be revealed and additional guests may show up unannounced, making waves in what they thought would be peaceful waters," according to a network press release. Tom Gutteridge, Arthur Smith, Charles Thompson, Bruce Toms and Kent Weed are the executive producers of "Eden," which comes from Mentorn in association with A. Smith and Co.

FOSTER HALL (NBC) - Macaulay Culkin ("Home Alone") has been tapped to star in the Conan O'Brien-produced pilot. He'll play the male lead in the project, a comedy about a brother and sister reunited as adults after being shuffled to various foster homes during their youth. Culkin signed a talent holding deal with NBC in October (read the story) and has been in discussions with O'Brien about show ideas since the deal was inked. O'Brien and Jeff Ross will executive produce "Foster," which is set up at O'Brien's NBC Studios-based Conaco Productions, along with writer/producer Christopher Moynihan, Ron West and A.J. Morewitz. Culkin's manager Emily Gerson-Saines is also producing.

HARRY GREEN AND EUGENE (ABC) - Jaime King ("Pearl Harbor," "Bulletproof Monk") has signed on for the female lead in the private-eye drama pilot, which stars Mark Valley as Harry Green and Jason Segel as his inept brother Eugene. She'll play Anna Marie in the project, a new partner at the law firm that regularly employs Harry and hates his guts. Frequency Films, Paramount Network Television and the Littlefield Co. are behind the pilot, which comes from the "Keen Eddie" team of writer Joel Wyman, director Simon West and produer Warren Littlefield.

HUB (NBC) - Paul Leyden ("As the World Turns") and Wendy Hoopes (MTV's "Daria") have both joined the cast of the pilot, an ensemble drama about the behind-the-scenes workings at a major U.S. airport. The pair join the previously cast Blair Underwood, Heather Locklear and David Paetkau.

IKE: THUNDER IN JUNE (A&E) - Gerald McRaney ("Major Dad"), James Remar ("Sex and the City") and Timothy Bottoms have joined the cast of the cable channel's biopic of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower (played by Tom Selleck). McRaney will play Gen. George Patton while Remar is set as Gen. Omar Bradley. No specifics were given about Bottoms' role.

JACK & BOBBY (WB) - Christine Lahti ("Chicago Hope") and Logan Lerman ("A Painted House") have joined the cast of the pilot, a drama about a single mom raising two teen sons, one of whom will grow up to be president. Lahti will play said teens' mother while Lerman will play Bobby. "Everwood's" Greg Berlanti, Vanessa Taylor and Mickey Liddell are behind the project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television, and will executive produce along with Thomas Schlamme ("The West Wing").

MAKE ME COOL (A.K.A. UNTITLED BLUMENFIELD/MARSH PROJECT PROJECT) (Showtime) - Some additional details have emerged about the pilot presentation, which comes from Jay Blumenfield and Tony Marsh ("Family Business"). Taking a cue from "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," the reality series will feature a trio of hip African-American men as they teach geeks and self-proclaimed players on how to be "cool." Mark Schulman will also executive produce the project, which is set up at 3 Arts Entertainment.

MISTER ED (FOX) - Sherilyn Fenn ("Rude Awakening") will star opposite David Alan Basche in the comedy pilot, a re-imagining of the classic sitcom. She'll play Carlotta, Wilbur's (Basche) wife, who has moved to the country with him and their two children. 20th Century Fox TV and Original Television are behind the project, which will be executive produced by Original's Marty Adelstein, Neil Moritz and Dawn Parouse and "SNL's" Jack Handey.

NIP/TUCK (FX) - Vanessa Redgrave ("The Gathering Storm") is set to appear in a three-episode arc on the show's upcoming second season. She'll play the mother of real-life daughter Joely Richardson in the series, who visits the Miami-based plastic surgery practice of her son-in-law (Dylan Walsh) for a facelift.

ONE BIG HAPPY (FOX) - A.J. Trauth ("Even Stevens"), Josh Henderson ("One on One") and Kaylee Defer have all joined the cast of the pilot, an irreverent dramedy about a man who falls in love with and marries his wife's best friend, and now must blend their families together. The trio will play three of the new couple's five children.

THE ROBINSON BROTHERS (FOX, New!) - FOX has committed to a pilot from writer/producer Mark O'Keefe ("Bruce Almighty," "The O'Keefes") for a new comedy about a trio of adult brothers who hang out in a Los Angeles apartment building that feels like a college dorm. 20th Century Fox Television-based Original Television is behind the project, which is being executive produced by O'Keefe and Original's Marty Adelstein, Neil Moritz and Dawn Parouse.

THE SECRET SERVICE (ABC) - Shane Brolly ("Underworld") is set to star opposite Sarah Wayne Callies in the project, a drama about a young woman (Callies) who struggles to balance her marriage with the demands and dangers of her career in the Secret Service. Brolly will play the woman's husband.

SIX FEET UNDER (HBO) - James Waterston ("Live From Baghdad") has signed on for a multi-episode arc on the show's upcoming fourth season. He'll play the son of James Cromwell's character, George Sibley, who married Ruth Fisher (Frances Conroy) in the third season finale.

UNTITLED DANE COOK PROJECT (UPN, New!) - The netlet has picked up a pilot presentation for a new comedy starring comic Dane Cook. The project centers on a man (Cook) who, having been handed everything, works to get back on top after losing it all. Michael Curtis ("Friends") is writing and executive producing the project, which comes from Sony Pictures Television, along with Cook and Ken Mok ("America's Next Top Model").

VERONICA MARS (UPN) - Kristen Bell ("Gracie's Choice") has been tapped for the lead role in the drama pilot, which centers on a spoiled teen girl (Bell) who reunites with her estranged father and helps in his private eye business. Rob Thomas ("Cupid") and Joel Silver ("The Matrix") are behind the project, which comes from Silver's Warner Bros. Television-based Silver Pictures.

THE WILL (CBS) - Casting is underway on Mike Fleiss' ("The Bachelor") new reality series, which plans to feature a large, wealthy family, whose members are ready to compete for the family fortune. According to a network press release: "Casting associates of THE WILL are looking for a head of household who has a substantial asset to give to one of his or her potential heirs. Each week, members of the family will compete in physical and mental challenges in an effort to win rewards and stave off elimination from the competition. The last member standing will receive the family inheritance. In the spirit of good-natured competition, the charismatic clan must have a sense of adventure and a substantial sense of humor. Fleiss describes the upcoming series as "reality TV meets �Dynasty.�" Interested families who would like to be a part of this exciting new reality series can download an application exclusively at www.cbs.com. Applications are being accepted until Friday, Feb. 27, at 5:00 PM PACIFIC TIME."

YES, DEAR (CBS) - 20th Century Fox Television has cleared the comedy's off-network run on local stations covering 67% of the country for a fall 2004 launch. Recent clearances include FOX owned-and-operated stations in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago as well as stations in Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Baltimore, San Francisco, San Diego, Denver and the WB100+ Station Group. The two-year, all-barter pact sees 4.5 minutes of ad time go to the stations themselves while 20th gets 2.5 minutes nationally.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [february 2004]  

· MR. ED (FOX)

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