[02/20/04 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: February 20
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.

THE CHRIS ISAAK SHOW (Showtime) - The pay channel has scheduled the show's two-episode series finale for Thursday, March 25 at 10:00/9:00c. According to a network press release "'The Chris Isaak Show' has followed the close friendship between Chris and his manager Yola since the first episode. Jealousy, flirtation and hints that both of them might be hiding their true feelings for each other have indicated that maybe they want to be more than friends. However, circumstances always seem to get in their way. Will they or won't they end up together when the series ends? The two-hour series finale of 'The Chris Isaak Show' premieres on Thursday, March 25. In "Braveheart," Chris, wanting to impress Yola with his intellect, agrees to appear on the TV game show "Pop Whiz." This episode is followed by "Suspicion." Chris and Yola plan a secret, romantic getaway together and unwittingly end up cast in a murder mystery game at an inn in Napa. To their surprise, the guys in the band and Cody happen to be staying at the inn that weekend too." New episodes will lead up to the finale throughout March, which include guests appearances by Bon Jovi musician, Richie Sambora, pop-singer Cyndi Lauper, country singer Blake Shelton and crooner Michael Buble.

COUNTDOWN (ABC) - Louis Mandylor ("My Big Fat Greek Life") and Salli Richardson ("Antwone Fisher") have been added the ensemble cast of the drama pilot, which revolves around a S.W.A.T. team and how it handles the final 43 minutes of a crisis. The duo will play members of the aforementioned S.W.A.T. team, which is run by Jason O'Mara's character ("The Agency"), a self-destructive former detective. "Boomtown's" Graham Yost is behind the project, which comes from Touchstone Television.

EYES (ABC) - Natalie Zea ("Passions") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, which stars Tim Daly as the president of a risk management corporation that operates along the fringes of the law in order to affect the outcome of a host of civil and criminal matters. She'll play a promiscuous employee at the firm in the project, which comes from John McNamara ("Fastlane") and Warner Bros. Television.

THE FRIENDLYS (NBC) - Billy Gardell ("Lucky") has come aboard the cast of the pilot, an offbeat comedy that revolves around the fight between a dead candy mogul's trophy wife and his daughter over the business. No details were given about Gardell's character. NBC Studios is behind the project, which is executive produced by Robb & Mark Cullen (also of "Lucky").

GROWING PAINS II: HOME EQUITY (ABC) - The Alphabet has released a detailed description of the upcoming telefilm: "Production has begun in New Orleans on "Growing Pains II: Home Equity," an all-new two-hour movie based on the hit '80s television comedy. The film will air during May 2004 on the ABC Television Network. Alan Thicke, Joanna Kerns, Kirk Cameron, Tracey Gold, Jeremy Miller, Ashley Johnson and Chelsea Noble will all reprise their roles from the series, which ran for seven seasons on ABC.Ms. Kerns (whose directing credits include "Defending Our Kids: The Julie Posey Story" and "Boston Public") will direct the movie.As the lyrics to the "Growing Pains" theme song said, "We're nowhere near the end. The best is ready to begin . . ." "Growing Pains II: Home Equity" finds Jason (Thicke) and Maggie Seaver (Ms. Kerns) ready to start a new chapter in their lives. With the nest finally empty, they have put the family home up for sale and are preparing to spend their retirement years traveling (Maggie longs for a villa in Tuscany, while ever-thrifty Jason wants to tour the USA in a Winnebago).But all that's easier said than done, as Mike (Cameron) and a very pregnant Carol (Ms. Gold, pregnant in real life with her third child), each with their own agenda for wanting their parents to stay put, team up to sabotage the move, while little brother Ben (Miller), now a realtor, needs the big sale of his parents' home to please his boss. Meanwhile, Chrissie (Ms. Johnson), now an aspiring singer, just wants to get out from under her parents' watchful gaze so she can launch her career as a rock star.Jim Green and Mark Bacino are executive producers, Albert J. Salzer is producer and Christine Lynch & Loren Segan wrote the script for the film, from Green/Epstein/Bacino Productions, Inc."

HOME AND HARDWARE (NBC) - Colin Ferguson ("Coupling") and Katherine Waterston have been added the cast of the comedy pilot, which stars Alyson Hannigan and Eric Christian Olsen as reunited siblings. Ferguson will play the boss of Hannigan's character whom she is having an affair with when her slacker brother (Olsen), whom she hasn't spoken to in 18 months, shows up and changes her life surprisingly for the better. No details were given about Waterston's role in the project, which comes from Matt Tarses & Bill Wrubel and NBC Studios. The pilot is currently scheduled to tape at the CBS Studio Center on Wednesday, March 31 at 7:00 p.m. pacific time.

I DO, I DID, NOW WHAT? (UPN) - The netlet has ordered a pilot presentation (a brief 7-10 minute filmed pitch) for the project, a comedy based on Jenny Lee's book of the same name about a couple's post-wedding relationship. 20th Century Fox Television has come aboard to produce the project along with Kate Hudson, Shanna Tyndall Nussbaum and Jay Cohen of Cosmic Entertainment. Dan Cohen and F.J. Pratt ("Less Than Perfect") will write and executive.

KEEN EDDIE (Bravo) - Tuesday's previously unaired episode scored the series' highest adults 25-54 viewership (405,000) since joining the cable channel's lineup on January 20 (325,000). In total 586,000 viewers overall watched the installment. Said performance was no doubt helped by the return of new episodes of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" that night, which averaged 2.2 million overall viewers in the 10:00/9:00c hour, 1.8 million of which fell into the adults 25-54 demographic.

KING OF THE HILL (FOX) - Writer/producer Dan Sterling has signed a two-year, seven-figure development overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television. The pact calls for Sterling to continue in his duties as a co-executive producer on the animated comedy, as well as develop new comedy projects for the studio.

LAS VEGAS (NBC) - The show's creator, Gary Scott Thompson, has signed a two-year, seven-figure development deal with the show's producer, NBC Studios. The pact calls for Thompson to continue as showrunner on "Vegas" through the length of the deal as well as develop new projects for the studio.

MAKING THE BAND 2 (MTV) - The third season of the show's second incarnation (and the sixth season overall of the franchise) is set to premiere Thursday, March 4 at 10:00/9:00c. According to a network press release, "The show will continue to follow the six members of the now established hip-hop group Da Band as they move into P. Diddy's luxury apartment on New York City's Upper East Side and work at taking their careers to the next level under P. Diddy's tight supervision. The "Making the Band 2" premiere will kick-off with a Sunday marathon of past episodes beginning on February 29th at 1:00 PM (ET/PT). In this season, viewers watch as Da Band live and work under P. Diddy's close watch, promote their debut album "Too Hot For TV," develop their second album and learn to deal with fame. Will Da Band be able to meet P. Diddy's high expectations? As they rise to fame, will they be able to handle their own success and ride the wave, or will they be drawn under? Will jealousies emerge within the group and will they overcome their individual differences during this crucial time in their careers? Or will someone be kicked out?"

ME, ME, ME (UPN, New!) - UPN has greenlighted production on a pilot presentation for a new comedy about two best friends whose shallow New York ways are compromised when one of the pair's younger sister comes to town. Tom Straw ("Cosby") is behind the project, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television, and will write and executive produce along with Lisa Birnbach.

OAHU (FOX) - Navi Rawat, who's currently recurring on fellow FOX drama "The O.C.," has been added to the cast of the pilot, an "Upstairs, Downstairs" look at guests and staffers of a luxury Hawaiian hotel. She'll play the hotel's concierge in the project, where she joins the previously cast Kristoffer Polaha, Rachel Shelley and Nikki Deloach.

THE SECRET SERVICE (ABC) - Justin Chambers ("Hysterical Blindness") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, which revolves around a young woman (Sarah Wayne Callies) who must balance her new marriage with her duties as a member of the elite Secret Service. Chambers will play Callies' partner in the project, which includes Shohreh Aghdashloo as the pair's boss and Shane Brolly as Callies' husband. Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman-Counter are behind the project, which comes from Touchstone Television.

SOUL FOOD (Showtime) - The pay channel has announced the show's final episode has been scheduled for Wednesday, May 26 at 10:00/9:00c.

THIS JUST IN (Spike TV) - Spike has scheduled the Flash-animated series to premiere Sunday, March 14 at 10:30/9:30c following "The John Henson Project." The comedy plans to filter current events through the eyes of its central characters, Brian Newport (voiced by Steve Marmel), a syndicated newspaper columnist who sees the world through conservative eyes, and his friends. Marmel ("The Fairly OddParents," "Johnny Bravo") co-created the show with Kevin Kay, who's currently the head of production and programming at the network. Also on board to provide voices are Peter MacNicol ("Ally McBeal"), Phil Morris ("Seinfeld," "Wanda at Large") and Alex Meneses ("10-8").

UNTITLED JASON DAVIS PROJECT (NBC, New!) - The Peacock is set to follow in the footsteps of "The Simple Life" as the network has pacted with Superdelicious Productions and Schulhof-Zuriff Productions for a new "reality sitcom" about Jason Davis, the colorful 20-year-old grandson of billionaire businessman Marvin Davis. Production is set to begin on a pilot next month for the project, which has a penalty attached if doesn't go to series. The untitled project will track Davis' quest to prove to his mogul relatives that he has the chops to pursue his dream of owning and operating his own hotels and casinos. To that end, he'll move to Las Vegas, where he'll work at a casino doing everything from parking cars and working in the kitchen. Adam Cohen ("The Simple Life") and Cara Tapper will executive produce the pilot via their Superdelicious banner along with creators David Schulhof and Bryan Zuriff of Schulhof-Zuriff Productions.

UNTITLED SOLUNA PROJECT (UPN) - The netlet has revived the project, a comedic look at the world of up-and-coming Latina musical act Soluna (Jessica Castellanos, Christina Lopez, America Olivio and Aurora Rodriguez). Originally developed for last season, the project has now been targeted for fall 2004. To that end UPN has greenlighted production on a pilot presentation for the comedy, which comes from HBO Independent Productions and Suzanne dePasse's ("The Temptations") dePasse Entertainment. Jacque Edmonds ("All About the Andersons") has also come aboard to write and executive produce the project, replacing Mark Brown ("Barbershop") and Dee LaDuke ("Girlfriends").

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [february 2004]  

· 10-8 (ABC)
· ME, ME, ME (UPN)

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