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.
BEVERLY HILLS S.U.V. (NBC, New!) - The Peacock has given a pilot commitment to a new comedy from "The Bernie Mac Show" co-creator Larry Wilmore (also of NBC's "Whoopi") for a new workplace comedy revolving around salespeople at an upscale car lot in Beverly Hills. NBC Studios is behind the project, where Wilmore is based.
COUNTDOWN (A.K.A. 43 MINUTES) (ABC) - Jason O'Mara ("The Agency") has landed the lead role in the drama pilot, which has gone back to its original title of "Countdown." "Boomtown" creator Graham Yost is behind the Touchstone Television-based project, which revolves around a S.W.A.T. team and how it handles the final 43 minutes of a crisis.
DARK SHADOWS (WB) - Rob Bowman ("The X-Files") has been tapped to direct the Frog's remake of the cult classic series. Warner Bros. Television and John Wells Productions are behind the project, which is executive produced by Wells, Dan Curtis and Mark Verheiden.
EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND (Syndication) - Fox owned-and-operated stations in five markets - WNYW New York, KTTV Los Angeles, WFLD Chicago, KDFW Dallas and KRIV Houston - have snatched up the repeats to the veteran comedy, which currently runs on the Tribune-owned stations in said markets. The pact with distributor King World kicks in come March 2008 and runs for 5 and a half years. Fellow FOX O&Os KMSP Minneapolis, WTTG Washington and WUTB Baltimore also re-upped their current contracts for the series' second cycle. Financial details were not released about the respective pacts. "Raymond" currently ranks third among all off-network runs this season (5.7 household rating), behind only "Seinfeld" and "Friends" (6.1 household rating each).
GRAMERCY PARK (A.K.A. 111 GRAMERCY PARK) (ABC) - Paul Blackthorne ("Presidio Med") is the first actor to sign on to the Alphabet's latest incarnation of the drama pilot, which has dropped the "111" from its title. The project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television and the Tannenbaum Co., revolves around about three nannies and the families they work for in a luxury high rise. No details were given about Blackthorne's role.
JUDGE JOE BROWN (Syndication) - John Terenzio has been named executive producer of the Paramount Domestic Television series. He'll take over for Frank Kelly, who has left the show after two years to focus on his overall development deal at Paramount.
KEVIN HILL (UPN) - Jon Seda ("Homicide: Life on the Street") is set to star opposite Taye Diggs in the drama pilot, which stars Diggs as a thirtysomething playboy lawyer who suddenly finds himself charged with raising his cousin's daughter.
LACKAWANNA BLUES (HBO) - Jeffrey Wright ("Angels in America"), Rosie Perez, Liev Schreiber and Halle Berry have all been added to the ensemble cast of the telefilm, a small screen adaptation of playwright Ruben Santiago-Hudson's childhood at a boardinghouse in Lackawanna, New York, during the 1950s and '60s.
MEDIUM (NBC) - Miguel Sandoval ("10-8") and Jake Weber ("The Mind of the Married Man") has signed on to star alongside Patricia Arquette in the drama pilot, about a woman (Arquette) who struggles to balance her psychic abilities with her family life. Glenn Gordon Caron ("Now & Again") is behind the project, which is set up at the Paramount-based Grammnet Productions.
MR. ED (FOX) - Sara Paxton ("Sleepover") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot. She'll play the teenage daughter to Wilbur (David Alan Bache) and Carlotta (Sherilyn Fenn) in the project, which features Sherman Hemsley as the voice of Mr. Ed.
NICE GUYS (CBS) - Shaun Cassidy ("The Agency") has come aboard to executive produce the drama pilot, a buddy action comedy about mismatched partners. Cassidy joins fellow executive producers Shane Black and Joel Silver on the project, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television.
OAHU (FOX) - Nikki Deloach ("Walker, Texas Ranger") is the latest actress to join the drama pilot, which revolves around the guests and staff at a luxurious hotel in Hawaii.
ONE BIG HAPPY (FOX) - D.W. Moffett ("For Your Love"), Noelle Beck ("Tucker") and Katherine Lanasa ("Three Sisters") have all joined the cast of the project, an irreverent dramedy about a man named Jack Denny (Moffet) who falls in love with and marries his wife's best friend Ellie (Beck), and now must blend their families together. Lanasa will play Tricia, one of the pair's children (also played by the previously cast A.J. Trauth, Josh Henderson and Kaylee Defer). Gretchen Berg, Aaron Harberts and Shawn Levy are the executive producers of the project, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television.
ROME (HBO) - Ciaran Hinds ("Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life") and Lindsay Duncan ("Under the Tuscan Sun") are the first to join the cast of the HBO/BBC epic drama series. Hinds will play Gaius Julius Caesar in the project, which chronicles the tumultuous last years of Caesar's reign and marked Rome's transition from a republic to an empire, while Duncan is set as Servilia, Caesar's longtime mistress and mother of Brutus. Production is set to begin at Rome's Cinecitta Studios (with location shoots throughout Europe and North Africa) this summer on the project, for a 2005 premiere date.
SECOND TIME AROUND (UPN, New!) - "Soul Food" co-stars Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker are set to re-team for a new comedy pilot at the netlet from Ralph Farquhar ("Moesha"), Michelle Listenbee-Brown ("The Practice") and Claude Brooks ("Claude's Crib"). The duo will play a divorced couple who decide to take another crack at marriage in the project, which comes from Paramount Network Television and C to the B Productions.
UNTITLED JASON HORWITCH PROJECT (NBC) - Christopher Gorham ("Jake 2.0") is set to star opposite Neal McDonough ("Boomtown") in the Peacock's untitled drama pilot from Jason Horwitch ("The Pentagon Papers") about a doctor (McDonough) who unravels medical mysteries. No details were given about Gorham's role in the project, a co-production of Paramount Network Television, NBC Studios and Landscape Entertainment.
THE WEBSTER REPORT (CBS) - Kari Matchett ("Angel Eyes") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, which stars Stanley Tucci as an offbeat New York private investigator. Theresa Rebeck ("Law & Order: Criminal Intent") is behind the project, which comes form Warner Bros. Television, 25C Productions and CBS Productions.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters