[04/16/04 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: April 16
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.

Note: As we approach the end of pilot season, our "Development Updates" may not appear every day due to a lack of news.

30 DAYS UNTIL I'M FAMOUS (VH1) - The cable channel has scheduled the Madonna-produced telefilm for Friday, May 7 at 9:00/8:00c. Maggie Moreno ("The Help"), Sean Patrick Flanery ("The Dead Zone") and Mindy Sterlin ("Austin Powers in Goldmember") all star in the project, about a Latina messenger (Moreno) plucked from obscurity to become a pop star. Gabriela Tagliavini ("Ladies Night") directed the telefilm from a script by Laura Angelica Simon ("Chasing Papi"). Madonna's Maverick Films produced the project alongside Screenvest P4.

BALDERDASH (PAX, New!) - The fledgling network has given a 26-week commitment to a new game show based on the popular Mattel game. The half-hour project, along with fellow newcomer "On the Cover," will air as part of a five-night-a-week primetime game show block set to launch this summer. The TV "Balderdash" will feature three comedians giving two contestants bluff answers to a variety of questions. Man-in-the-street segments will also be worked into the show, additional details of which were not available. Margaret Loesch, Dan Angel ("Door to Door") and former Mattel COO Bruce Stein will executive produce the project via The Hatchery and Mattel Entertainment as part of PAX's program-consultancy deal with NBC Studios announced last month.

BEVERLY HILLS S.U.V. (NBC) - Comedian Aron Kader is the latest to join the cast of the pilot, a workplace ensemble comedy set at an upscale Beverly Hills car boutique. He'll play the inept but manipulative nephew of the boutique's globe-trotting Middle Eastern owner, left in charge of the place by his uncle. Jeffrey Nordling, Henry Winkler, Darryl M. Bell and Annie Parisse also star in the project, which is set up at NBC Studios.

EVEL KNIEVEL (TNT) - Jaime Pressly ("Happy Family") has joined the cast of the cable channel's upcoming telefilm about the life of the legendary daredevil. She'll play the wife to George Eads, who plays the title character.

FOSTER HALL (NBC) - Actor/producer Christopher Moynihan ("Coupling") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, which he created. He'll replace Greg Germann as the husband of Busy Philipps' character in the NBC Studios/Conaco Productions project, which revolves around a brother (Macaulay Culkin) and sister (Phillips) who reunite after years of being bumped from foster home to foster home and the sister's brief stint in jail. No reason was given for Germann's exit. The news marks the sixth recasting on an NBC pilot season, the others being Michael Madsen for Michael Biehn on "Hawaii"; Beverly D'Angelo for Shelley Long on Marsh McCall's untitled project; Eric Christian Olsen for Michael Landes on "Americana" and Chester Gregory and JK Simmons for Khary Payton and Steve Hytner on "D.O.T.S."

KING OF THE HILL (FOX) - Annie Award winner Garland Testa has signed a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with the show's distributor, 20th Century Fox Television. The pact calls for her to continue in her role as co-executive producer of the animated comedy and eventually create, develop and produce new projects for the studio.

LIKE FAMILY (WB) - The Frog has announced the freshman comedy's season finale, "We're Gonna Need Some More...," is set to air Thursday, April 29 at 8:30/7:30c. Here's how the WB describes the episode in its press materials: "Tanya (Holly Robinson Peete) and Maddie (Diane Farr) have a huge blowout after Tanya catches Maddie and her ex-husband Roger (guest star David Lee Smith) in bed together. The two women soon reconcile, however, and Maddie confesses an unsettling secret to Tanya. Meanwhile, Keith (J Mack Slaughter) breaks up with Lauren (guest star Ashleigh Ann Wood) when he realizes that she and Danika (Megalyn Echikunwoke) will never get along. Kevin Michael Richardson, J. Anthony Brown and B.J. Mitchell also star. Barnet Kellman directed the episode written by Dan Fogelman (#177071)."

NASCAR: DRIVERS UNSCRIPTED (FX) - Commericals for the upcoming reality project indicate the series will debut Friday, May 14.

THE NORTH SHORE (FOX) - Brooke Burns ("Dog Eat Dog") has joined the cast of the upcoming drama series, described as an "Upstairs, Downstairs" look at the guests and staffers at a luxury Hawaiian hotel. She'll play the manager of said hotel in the 20th Century Fox Television project. It's believed she's taking over for Rachel Shelley, who played the role in the original pilot. Rounding out the ensemble cast are Kristoffer Polaha, Nikki Deloach, Navi Rawat, Corey Sevier, Jason Momoa and Michael Ontkean.

ON THE COVER (PAX) - The network has confirmed it has given a 26-week commitment to the series, which was first announced back in February (read the story). Lisa Jones Johnson, Jonathan Barry and Rick Leed of Western International Syndication are behind the project, which like "Balderdash" will launch this summer as part of a five-night-a-week primetime game show block. "Cover" pits three contestants against one another in a trivia contest based on images from the covers of popular magazines, CDs and DVDs.

THE SIMPLE LIFE (FOX) - Various sources have indicated at least 10 episodes have been completed of the show's upcoming second season, which is now set to launch in mid-June.

SORRY CHARLIE (A.K.A. UNTITLED MICHAEL JACOBS PROJECT) (FOX) - Valerie Bertinelli ("Touched by an Angel") has joined the cast of Michael Jacobs' comedy pilot at FOX, which now features the title "Sorry Charlie." She'll play wife to Stephen Root in the Sony Pictures Television/Jersey Television project, which centers on parents who struggle with the fact that their kids are growing up. Taylor Handley and Michelle Alexis also star.

UNTITLED KURT COBAIN PROJECT (WB, New!) - The Frog is developing an original telefilm about the life of late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. Charles Cross' 2001 book "Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain" is set to be the basis of the project with Robert Munic ("They Call Me Sir") adapting the script. No casting or director is attached to the telefilm, which could be ready in time for next season. The WB's senior VP of original movies Tana Nugent Jamieson insists the project won't be your traditional biopic as she told Daily Variety "the storytelling will have a nonlinear style, flashing to different parts of his life out of chronological order."

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [april 2004]  


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