[03/03/04 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: March 3
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.

64 GRAND SLAM (ABC, New!) - Michael Davies ("Who Wants to Be a Millionaire") is developing a U.S. version of the British game show "Grand Slam." The project, created by U.K.'s Monkey, takes 16 players and pits them against one another in an NCAA-style tournament over eight weeks until the final episode, in which two finalists compete for a winner-takes-all cash prize (roughly $512,000 U.S. in the U.K. version). ABC is expected to order a pilot for the project with an eye to make the network's summer schedule.

AIRLINE (A&E) - The cable channel has committed to a second season of the docusoap, ordering 20 new half-hours of the Granda-produced series. "Airline" premiered to 784,000 viewers among the adults 25-54 demographic in January, an increase of 89% over the network's primetime average last year. Since then the series has continued to fare well among adults 25-54, the network's target demographic, helping the channel to a 39% year-to-year boost in said group for the month of February. Expect the new season to roll out later this year.

THE CASINO (FOX) - The network has announced the Mark Burnett-produced reality series will debut Tuesday, June 8 at 8:00/7:00c. The project is a "13-episode series that will provide an extraordinary 24/7, behind-the-scenes look at the real-life dramas unfolding at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, as its new owners, Tim Poster and Tom Breitling, take over the business and attempt to bring back the glory of its "Rat Pack" heyday," according to a network press release.

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC) - Sheryl Lee ("Twin Peaks"), Mark Moses ("10-8") and Cody Kasch ("Boomtown") are the latest to join the cast of the ensemble drama, a darkly humorous look at the secretive lives of four women (Eva Longoria, Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman and Marcia Cross) living in an Anytown, U.S.A., cul-de-sac. Lee will play Mary Alice, Moses is set as Paul Young and Kasch as Zack Young in the pilot, which also stars Jamie Denton and Ricardo Chavira.

GROWING UP GOTTI (A.K.A. UNTITLED VICTORIA GOTTI PROJECT) (A&E) - The cable channel is expected to give the project, a reality series revolving around the life of New York personality/gossip columnist Victoria Gotti, a series order in the next week or so.

INTERVENTION (A&E, New!) - A&E has given a pilot order for a new hourlong reality series that chronicles the real-life act of staging an intervention. Each episode will follow a pair of people afflicted with a serious issue - everything from compulsive gamblers, to shopaholics, to alcoholics - and watch as their friends and family organize an intervention. The cable channel is targeting the project for a potential fourth-quarter premiere date. Robert Sharenow ("House of Dreams") is attached to executive produce, as are John Drimmer and Sam Mettler of GRB.

KAT PLUS ONE (ABC) - Marisa Coughlan ("Wasteland") and Jimmy Bennett ("Daddy Day Care") have snagged the lead roles in the drama pilot, which centers on a young New York publicist (Coughlan) whose life turns upside down when she has to raise her nephew (Bennett) when his parents suddenly die. Maggie Friedman ("Dawson's Creek") and "Everwood's" Greg Berlanti and Mickey Liddell are behind the project, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television.

LAW & ORDER (NBC) - Billionaire New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is set to appear as himself in an upcoming episode of the long-running drama series. His part was shot last week at City Hall. Bloomberg plans to donate the $678 he will be paid under actors union rules to the New York Police and Fire Widows' & Children's Benefit Fund.

LOST (ABC) - Dominic Monaghan ("The Lord of the Rings"), Ian Somerhalder ("Smallville"), Jorge Garcia ("Becker") and newcomer Evangeline Lilly have all joined the cast of the drama pilot, which deals with the aftermath of a plane crash on a deserted island. J.J. Abrams ("Alias") and Damon Lindelof ("Crossing Jordan") are behind the pilot, which comes from Touchstone Television.

MILES TO GO (A.K.A. COMMANDO NANNY) (WB) - Mark Burnett's comedy pilot about his experience as a British military commando-turned Beverly Hills nanny has been retitled "Miles to Go." The Warner Bros. Television project is scheduled to tape on Thursday, April 22 at the CBS Studio Center.

THE QUINTS (FOX) - Andy Richter ("Andy Richter Controls the Universe") is set to play a father of quintuplets in the Mark Reisman-produced comedy pilot. The project, which comes from 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television, revolves around a set of 15-year-old quintuplets who must forge their own identities and stay sane while living in a three-bedroom house in the suburbs. Richter was previously set up at NBC, where he signed a talent holding deal back in September (read the story).

THE SECRET SERVICE (ABC) - Mykelti Williamson ("Boomtown") is reportedly close to joining the cast of the drama pilot, which stars Sarah Wayne Callies as a woman who must balance her new marriage with her duties as a member of the elite Secret Service. Williamson is up for the role of a senior agent at the Secret Service in the Touchstone Television project, which also stars Shane Brolly, Shohreh Aghdashloo and Justin Chambers.

STARGATE ATLANTIS (Sci Fi) - Joe Flanigan ("First Monday"), Rainbow Sun Francks, David Hewlett ("Without a Trace"), Torri Higginson ("TekWar") and Rachel Luttrell ("Touched by an Angel") have been named the principal cast members of the "Stargate SG-1" spin-off, which is set to debut in July. Here's how Sci describes the series, via press release: "Stargate Atlantis is the newest addition to the hit franchise that introduced audiences to instantaneous travel to thousands of worlds through an ancient portal called the Stargate. Atlantis will take viewers to a completely new galaxy of Stargates for the adventure of a lifetime.When a secret base, abandoned by the original builders of the Stargates, is found buried in the ice of Antarctica, the Stargate Atlantis team is born. Their discovery leads to a daring expedition to the distant Pegasus galaxy, where they encounter a primitive human civilization´┐Żand a sinister new enemy that threatens human life everywhere.The Stargate Atlantis mission is headed by Dr. Elizabeth Weir (Torri Higginson), a specialist in diplomatic relations. Her political savvy is balanced by the go-with-your-gut bravado of her military counterpart, Major John Sheppard (Flanigan), a courageous and gifted pilot. Rounding out the crew are Rainbow Sun Francks as Lieutenant Aiden Ford, the enthusiastic young officer who becomes Sheppard´┐Żs second-in-command, and David Hewlett, reprising his recurring Stargate SG-1 role of Dr. Rodney McKay, a clever and quick-witted astrophysicist. Rachel Luttrell plays Teyla, a beautiful young leader among the primitive alien civilization that the Atlantis team encounters."

In addition, Robert Patrick ("The X-Files") will appear as Colonel Marshall Sumner in the show's two-hour premiere this summer, which will feature cross-over appearances by members of the SG-1 team. Sci Fi plans to run the spin-off on Fridays at 10:00/9:00c following the parent series. Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper are the executive producers of "Atlantis," which comes from MGM Worldwide Television Distribution.

TASTE (CBS, New!) - The Eye has given a cast-contingent pilot order for a new comedy that follows the story of Samantha, a culinary school grad who lands her first job at a high-profile New York restaurant. Kirk Rudell ("Good Morning, Miami") is behind the project, which is set up Regency Television and CBS Productions.

UNTITLED CHRIS ROCK PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Actor/comedian Chris Rock is set to write and executive produce a new comedy pilot at FOX, described as an autobiographical coming-of-age comedy loosely based on his experience growing up "on the nicest block in the ghetto." Saladin Patterson ("The Fighting Temptations") and Ali Leroi ("Head of State") are on board to write and executive produce alongside Rock on the project, which comes from 20th Century Fox Television and 3 Arts Entertainment. Michael Rotenberg and David Becky will executive produce for 3 Arts.

UNTITLED MARK PEREZ PROJECT (FOX, New!) - FOX has given a cast-contingent pilot order for a new comedy about a multigenerational Cuban-American family in Miami, as seen through the eyes of a 16-year-old boy. Steve Martin, Joan Stein, Tom Werner, Caryn Mandabach and Marcy Carsey are all behind the project via their respective production banners, Carsey-Werner-Mandabach and Martin/Stein. Mark Perez created the series and will write and executive produce the pilot should it go forward.

UNTITLED MARSH MCCALL PROJECT (NBC) - Mitch Rouse ("Lost at Home") is set to star alongside Tom Conti in the Marsh McCall-produced comedy pilot. The project, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television, centers on the relationship between a womanizer writer (Rouse) and his newly divorced father (Tim Conti).

UNTITLED MISSY ELLIOTT PROJECT (UPN, New!) - The netlet is currently casting a new reality series that "will feature everyday young vocalists as they transform into multi-talented hip-hop entertainers, in the process facing weekly tests that determine who can make the cut. The selected group will be challenged in a variety of ways while on the road, and with Missy's [Elliott] guidance, be exposed to top music industry insiders, all under 24-hour-a-day surveillance of the MISSY ELLIOTT PROJECT cameras, which chronicle every move," according to a network press release. Allison Grodner, Arnold Shapiro, Mona Scott, Jay Blumenfield and Anthony Marsh are all behind the project, which is set up at Shapiro/Grodner Productions ("Big Brother") in association with Monami/Violator Productions. Casting will begin Sunday, March 7 in Los Angeles with additional sessions scheduled for Chicago (3/10), New York (3/12), Atlanta (3/15), Arlington, VA (3/17) and Dallas (3/19). Interested parties can visit www.upn.com for more information.

UNTITLED SHONDA RHIMES PROJECT (ABC) - Paul Adelstein ("Intolerable Cruelty") is latest to join the cast of Shonda Rhimes' untitled medical drama pilot at ABC. He joins the previously cast T.R. Knight and Ellen Pompeo as Burke in the project, which comes from Touchstone Television.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [march 2004]  

· 10-8 (ABC)

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