[03/30/04 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: March 30
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.

AMERICAN DAD (FOX) - Dee Bradley Baker ("The Fairly OddParents"), Ricky Blitt ("Family Guy"), Laura Prepon ("That '70s Show") and Wendy Schaal ("Six Feet Under") are set to round out the voice cast of the animated comedy pilot. The quartet join co-creator Seth MacFarlane in the 20th Century Fox Television project, about a right-leaning C.I.A. agent named Stan (MacFarlane); his wife; their two kids, including liberal daughter Hayley (Prepon); a housebound alien named Roger (also MacFarlane); and Maurice, a french-speaking goldfish.

COOKING LESSONS (CBS) - Peter Wingfield ("Touching Evil") is the latest to join the drama pilot, about the exploits of a female food critic (Lisa Lackey). He'll play Harry Shipman, the editor of the cooking magazine Lackey's character works for. He joins the previously cast Constance Zimmer, Paula Marshall, Lindy Booth and Gil Bellows in the Warner Bros. Television/Tannenbaum Co. project.

CROSSING JORDAN (NBC) - The Peacock has issused a press release confirming its fourth season renewal of the Sunday drama. "For three years we've been looking for the right show to pair with 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent' and we've finally found it in 'Crossing Jordan.' Two years ago it was the highest-rated new drama of the year. Last year, it more than held its own against 'CSI: Miami,' and now it's returned to the schedule with a vengeance. The show has clearly earned this early pick-up and signals the strength and stability of our new Sunday night schedule," NBC Entertainment Jeff Zucker said in the release. The Peacock announced last week its entire Sunday lineup - "Dateline NBC," "American Dreams," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and "Crossing Jordan" - would return intact this fall (read the story).

D.O.T.S. (NBC) - Khary Payton ("J.A.G.") is set to replace Chester Gregory II in the comedy pilot, about the world of meter maids. He'll take over the role of Marcus Booker, a fourth-generation parking enforcement officer, in the NBC Studios/Pariah Television project. Stephen Dunham and Davenia McFadden also star.

EARTHQUAKE (ABC) - Charles Duckworth ("10-8"), Rhyon Nicole Brown ("The Bernie Mac Show") and newcomer Christopher Pinnick have been added to the cast of the comedy pilot, which stars the single-named comedian as an unlucky father of four who, with his wife, struggles to make ends meet. Duckworth will play Calvin, Pinnick is set as Erwin and Brown as Sharisse in the project, which comes from Touchstone Television and Tollin-Robbins Productions.

THE FURST FAMILY (ABC) - Michael Rispoli ("The Sopranos") is in final talks to join the cast of the blue-collar family comedy pilot, from Touchstone Television and Granada Television. Rispoli is up for the role of the husband of Laurie Metcalf's character. French Stewart, Brenda Vaccaro, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Kyle Howard and John Francis Daley also star.

HOME & HARDWARE (NBC) - Michael Landes ("Special Unit 2") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot. He'll take over for Eric Christian Olsen as the male lead in the NBC Studios project, about an ex-nerd (Alyson Hannigan) whose life is disrupted when her slacker brother (Landes) re-enters her life. He joins the previously cast Hannigan, Colin Ferguson, Katherine Waterston and Al Madrigal.

KEEN EDDIE (Bravo) - The cable channel has moved up the broadcasts of the final two episodes ("Keeping Up Appearances" and "Libert�, �galit�, Fraternit�") of the short-lived FOX series to April 7 and April 14 respectively.

LOST (ABC) - Daniel Dae Kim ("Angel") is the latest to join the cast of the drama pilot, about a group of people stuck on a Pacific island and forced to build a new society after surviving a plane crash. Touchstone Television is behind the project, which also stars Dominic Monaghan, Ian Somerhalder, Jorge Garcia, Evangeline Lilly, Maggie Grace, Matthew Fox, Harold Perrineau, Malcolm David Kelley, Naveen Andrews and Josh Holloway.

MR. ED (FOX) - Blake Woodruff ("Cheaper by the Dozen") is set as Danny Post in the comedy pilot, a re-imagining of the CBS comedy that ran from 1961-66. He joins the previously cast David Alan Basche, Sherilyn Fenn, Sara Paxton and Garret Dillahunt in the 20th Century Fox Television/Original Television project, which features Sherman Hemsley as the voice of Mr. Ed.

SILVER LAKE (UPN) - Kerr Smith ("Dawson's Creek"), Hedy Burress ("First Monday"), Sandra Bernhard ("Roseanne"), Stephanie Faracy ("Charlie Lawrence") and William Russ ("Mister Sterling") have been named the principal cast members of the drama pilot, about an L.A. record store owner (Smith) who communicates with the dead. Burress will play the twin sister of Smith's character while Faracy and Russ will play their parents. Bernhard will play a psychic. Justin Tanner ("Gilmore Girls") created the project, which is set up at Spelling Television.

TASTE (CBS) - Lombardo Boyar ("The Bernie Mac Show") and Jim Parsons ("Ed") have been added to the cast of the comedy pilot, about a culinary school grad (Jane Krakowski) who lands her first job at a high-profile New York restaurant. Their roles were not specified in the Regency Television/CBS Productions project, which also stars Richard Ruccolo and Rufus Sewell.

UNTITLED AISHA TYLER PROJECT (CBS) - Richard Kind ("Spin City") has joined the cast of the Aisha Tyler-led comedy pilot, about a sophisticated single New Yorker who makes the move from a small, edgy fashion house to a large corporation. He'll play Dan Mannion, her boss at said corporation. Adam Goldberg and Lucy Davis also star in the project, which comes from Warner Bros. TV and Is or Isn't Entertainment.

UNTITLED CAMRYN MANHEIM PROJECT (ABC, New!) - A second spin-off of David E. Kelley's "The Practice" is close to becoming a reality, this time surrounding Camryn Manheim's character. The project, a half-hour comedy, would have Manheim reprising her role of attorney Ellenor Frutt as she returns to her hometown after the events of "The Practice's" finale and interacts with her sisters. Dan O'Shannon ("Frasier") is in talks to shepherd the spin-off, which would arrive at midseason 2005 at the earliest. No deals are in place however and both O'Shannon and Kelley are set up at different studios - the former at Paramount Network Television and the latter at 20th Century Fox Television - leading to potential troubles over production credits for the show.

UNTITLED DANE COOK PROJECT (UPN) - Bre Blair (MTV's "Undressed") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a man (Cook) who, having been handed everything, works to get back on top after losing it all. She'll play Taylor in the Sony Pictures Television project, which is executive produced by Cook, Michael Curtis and Ken Mok.

UNTITLED PRACTICE PROJECT (ABC) - Rhona Mitra has officially climbed aboard the upcoming "The Practice" spin-off. She'll continue in her role of law student Tara Wilson in the new series, which also stars James Spader, Fay Masterson, Lake Bell and William Shatner.

WEEKENDS (NBC) - Eddie Kaye Thomas ("American Pie") and Caitlin Mowrey ("City Guys") have been tapped for the lead roles in the comedy pilot, about an Orange County couple with a kid who still long for the carefree days of their youth. NBC Studios and Spyglass Entertainment are behind the project, which also stars Benjamin King, Rachael Harris and Timm Sharp.

YOUR TOTAL HEALTH (Syndication) - NBC News Productions and NBC Enterprises are partnering for a new half-hour weekly series which centers on news and innovations in medicine and health. Hoda Kotb ("Dateline NBC") is set to host the project, which is being targeted for fall debut. Each episode will also feature "a segment that will allow local stations to insert a story that is important to their community," according to the company's press release.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [march 2004]  

· 10-8 (ABC)
· ED (NBC)
· MR. ED (FOX)

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