[03/23/04 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: March 23
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 APPRENTICE (NBC) - The Peacock has scheduled several "Apprentice"-themed specials leading into and out of the two-hour Thursday, April 15 season finale of the series. "Behind 'The Apprentice,'" a special episode of "Dateline NBC," is set to air Wednesday, April 14 at 9:00/8:00c following the encore of the show's penultimate episode. Then on Friday, April 16 at 8:00/7:00c, viewers can look for a two-hour "Dateline" profile on Donald Trump entitled "'The Apprentice' Story." And finally, look for the show's two-hour finale to rebroadcast on Saturday, April 17 along with the "Behind 'The Apprentice'" special.

COOKING LESSONS (CBS) - Gil Bellows ("Ally McBeal," "The Agency") is the latest to join the cast of the drama pilot, about a food columnist (Lisa Lackey) and her friends. He'll play Professor Mocha in the Warner Bros. Television/Tannenbaum Co. project, which also stars Lindy Booth, Paula Marshall and Constance Zimmer. Ivan Reitman is directing the pilot from a script by Emily Fox.

DR. VEGAS (CBS) - Sarah Lancaster ("Everwood") has joined the cast of the Eye's Rob Lowe-led drama pilot, about a Las Vegas casino in-house doctor. Joe Pantoliano and Amy Adams also star in the project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television, CBS Productions and Bender-Brown Productions.

FATHER OF THE PRIDE (NBC) - Eddie Murphy will reprise his role of Donkey from the "Shrek" films in an episode of the upcoming CGI-animated series from DreamWorks Television. In addition, Lisa Kudrow, Danny DeVito, Matt Lauer, Andy Richter and Christina Applegate have all agreed to lend their voices in guest roles on the comedy, about a family of white lions who work as performers in the Las Vegas act of illusionists Siegfried & Roy. John Goodman, Cheryl Hines, Carl Reiner and Orlando Jones topline the voice cast of the project, which comes executive producers Jeffrey Katzenberg, Jonathan Groff, Jon Pollack and Peter Mehlman. The producers plan to subtly acknowledge Horn's accident in the series however it's not clear exactly how they plan to do so. The Peacock will reportedly offer viewers their first glimpse of the project during the two-hour "Friends" finale on May 9.

FRANKENSTEIN (USA) - Parker Posey ("A Mighty Wind") is set as the female lead in the network's two-hour update of the Mary Shelley classic. She'll play a female cop who unravels the myth of Frankenstein, alongside her partner, through a seemingly standard homicide investigation. Production is scheduled to begin in Toronto in May on the project with Marcus Nispel ("Texas Chainsaw Massacre") directing from a script by author Dean Koontz. Koontz, Martin Scorsese and Tony Krantz are the executive producers of the project, which is set up at the latter's Flame Television and Lions Gate Television. USA has committed to four additional scripts of the drama, which is targeting a fall premiere date, in addition to its two-hour pilot.

LIFE WITH BONNIE (ABC) - The Alphabet has scheduled the show's second season finale for Friday, April 9 at 9:30/8:30c. Here's how ABC describes the episode, "Father and Son: A Table for Two," in their press materials: When Tony slips on a banana in the craft service area, Bonnie and the "Morning Chicago" gang accompany him to the hospital (in an ambulance driven by two "familiar", bickering paramedics). Mark treats him for a concussion and, while out cold in his hospital bed, Tony flashes back to his childhood days at his family's storefront trattoria. After recounting his dream, Bonnie and the gang pitch in to give him a touching surprise, on the season finale of "Life with Bonnie," FRIDAY, APRIL 9 (9:30-10:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network."

THE MOUNTAIN (WB) - A half-dozen new cast members have been announced for the project, about a 25-year-old (Oliver Hudson) who inherits his family's mountain resort when his grandfather dies: Mitch Pileggi ("The X-Files," "Tarzan") as Colin Dowling, Chad Everett ("Mulholland Drive") as David McBride, Elizabeth Bogush ("Titans") as Maxine Dowling, Tommy Dewey ("What I Like About You") as Stephen Dowling, Alana De La Garza ("Las Vegas") as Maria and Penn Badgley ("Do Over") as Sam. The group joins the previously cast Hudson, Barbara Hershey and Anson Mount in the Warner Bros. Television/Wonderland Sound & Vision project, which is executive produced by McG, Shaun Cassidy, Stephanie Savage, David Barrett, Gina Matthews and Grant Scharbo.

PRODIGY (WB) - Phillip Rhys ("Nip/Tuck") will play Brett and Rudolf Martin ("C.S.I.") has scored the role of Lucien Durand in the drama pilot, about a teenage girl (Kate Mara) who hides her music talents from her family, which is busy focusing their attention on her younger brother (Cody Arens), a well-known prodigy. Stacy Edwards, David Newsome and Justin Chatwin also star in the project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television and Silver Pictures.

STARGATE SG-1 (Sci Fi) - Friday's seventh-season finale of the series drew a 2.56 million viewers (2.1 household rating), making it the second most-watched episode of the series to date. Only the show's January 9 broadcast posted better numbers: 2.7 million viewers (2.2 household rating). Viewers can look for the show's eighth-season premiere on Friday, July 9 at 9:00/8:00c, one week prior to the launch of spin-off "Stargate Atlantis" on July 16.

SUDBURY (CBS) - Esai Morales ("N.Y.P.D. Blue") will move from the world of cops to the world of witches as the actor has joined the cast of the Warner Bros. Television/Fortis Films drama pilot, which comes from Becky Hartman-Edwards, Denise DiNovi and Sandra Bullock. He'll play Gary in the project, about sisters (Kim Delaney, Jeri Ryan) with magical powers. Kat Dennings also stars.

UNTITLED MARSH MCCALL PROJECT (NBC) - Teri Polo ("I'm With Her") will appear in a guest role on the comedy pilot, about the relationship between a newly divorced father (Tom Conti), a professor at stanford, and his son (Mitch Rouse). Greg Pitts also stars in the project, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television.

UNTITLED PRACTICE PROJECT (ABC) - James Spader confirmed to the Philadelphia Inquirer he's officially on board the show's proposed spin-off. The actor also revealed current "The Practice" guest star William Shatner has an option in his contract for creator/executive producer David E. Kelley to make him a regular on the new series, which will focus on Alan Shore (Spader) as he makes the transition to Crane, Poole & Schmidt, the firm where Shatner's character is a partner. Click here to read the original report.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [march 2004]  


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