LOS ANGELES (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.
24 (FOX) - 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has confirmed one of the extras on the show's third season release on DVD, due in stores on December 7, will be a "mini-prequel" to the new season that runs slightly less than 10 minutes. Said extra will introduce many of the characters to be featured in season four, including star Kiefer Sutherland's new love interest Audrey Raines (Kim Raver), as well as bridge the events that took place at the end of last season to the beginning of the new season, which premieres in January. The studio reportedly was considering shooting a full "25th hour" for the DVD set however it was deemed cost prohibitive and instead opted for a shorter 10-minute "mini-prequel."
BAGGIN' (New!) - Claude Brooks ("Second Time Around") is developing a half-hour unscripted project hosted by Ralphie May ("Last Comic Standing") which will feature contestants of various backgrounds and ethnicities competing in the art of "baggin'" (i.e. urban slang for cracking sarcastic jokes on someone, such as the popular "your momma" one-liners). Said contestants will perform in front of an audience, who will then determine the winner of each duel. Production has been completed on a pilot for the project, which will be shopped to the various cable networks in the coming weeks.
CHARMED (WB) - Kerr Smith ("Dawson's Creek") is set for a recurring role on the veteran drama. He'll play a potential love interest for Rose McGowan's characer, a federal agent in the Dark Operatives Unit who begins to help the Halliwell sisters. It's not clear when Smith's first episode this season will air.
CREATIVE ARTS EMMYS (E!) - Edie Falco ("The Sopranos"), John Cleese ("Will & Grace"), Christina Applegate ("Friends"), William Shatner ("The Practice"), Jennifer Garner ("Alias"), William H. Macy ("Stealing Sinatra"), Eve ("Eve"), Bradley Whitford ("The West Wing") and Julian McMahon and Dylan Walsh ("Nip/Tuck") are among the presenters set to appear on the creative arts portion of the 2004 Emmy Awards, which airs Saturday, September 18 at 8:00/7:00c on the cable channel.
THE DAYS (ABC) - The Alphabet reportedly is close to ordering a second season of the summer series with an eye toward a shared run with cable sibling ABC Family. Neither network nor producers MindShare North America and Tollin/Robbins Productions have confirmed the show's renewal or cancellation.
DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER (A&E) - 3.2 million viewers on average tuned into the two-episode premiere of A&E's latest reality entry on Tuesday, August 31. Said numbers tied "Growing Up Gotti" as the most-watched series debut in the cable channel's 20-year history. "Dog" also fared well among adults 25-54 and adults 18-49, earning 1.9 million viewers and 1.8 million viewers respectively in said demographics.
EXTRA (Syndication) - Mark McGrath, lead singer of the rock band Sugar Ray, is set to join Dayna Devon as co-host of the Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution newsmagazine, which returns for its 11th season on Monday, September 13. Devon previously hosted the show by herself. McGrath is no stranger to hosting duties, as he's been the frontman on "The World Music Awards" and "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show."
GONE HOLLYWOOD/THE HOLLYWOOD SHOW (Comedy Central, New!) - David Spade ("Just Shoot Me") and Brian Unger ("The Daily Show") are each spearheading separate comedy pilots at the cable channel. Spade's project, "Gone Hollywood," is described as an expanded version of the actor's "Saturday Night Live" segment "Hollywood Minute." Spade is working with "SNL" writer Hugh Fink on the project, which is set up at Pariah Television. Comedian Greg Giraldo ("Shorties Watchin' Shorties") will serve as host to "Gone," with Pariah's Gavin Polone and Vivian Cannon executive producing alongside Spade and Fink. Production on the pilot is set to begin in October. Meanwhile, Unger's project, "The Hollywood Show," is described as a satire of celebrity and pop culture newsmagazines. Unger is no stranger to said genre as he was a former anchor on "Extra." Michael K. Dimich ("The Ellen DeGeneres Show") directed the pilot, which was shot last month. Heidi Clements and Unger are the executive producers. Both "Hollywood"s are being developed as potential weeknight strips for next year.
HEF'S SUPERBUNNIES (MTV, New!) - Stan Lee's Pow! Entertainment and Playboy's Alta Loma Entertainment have been given a pilot commitment from MTV to produce an animated comedy in which Hugh Hefner plays the patriarch to a group of buxom superheroines. While Hef's likeness will be used in the project it's not clear if he'll voice the character. No other details were given about the project.
THE JANE PAULEY SHOW (Syndication) - The launch party for NBC Universal Television's latest syndicated talk show was short lived as "Pauley" fell 29% in the four days since its premiere (2.4 metered-market rating/7 share on Monday, 1.9/6 on Tuesday, 1.8/5 on Wednesday and 1.7/5 on Thursday). The news comes as somewhat of a surprise considering Pauley's appearance on "Dateline NBC" on Wednesday to promote her autobiography "Skywriting" as well as having most of its competition in reruns.
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PETER SELLERS (HBO) - The pay channel has slated its Peter Sellers biopic for Sunday, December 5. Geoffrey Rush, Charlize Theron, John Lithgow, Miriam Margolyes, Stephen Fry, Stanley Tucci and Emily Watson all star in the project, which was directed by Stephen Hopkins from a script by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. Here's how HBO's press materials describe the project: "This HBO Films event stars Geoffrey Rush (Best Actor Academy Award� for 1996's "Shine") in the title role, Charlize Theron (Best Actress Academy Award� winner for "Monster"), John Lithgow ("Don Quixote"), Miriam Margolyes ("Romeo and Juliet"), Stephen Fry ("Gosford Park"), with Stanley Tucci ("Road to Perdition") and Emily Watson ("Gosford Park"). Directed by Stephen Hopkins ("24," "Under Suspicion"). The Life and Death of Peter Sellers takes an intimate look at the personal triumphs and defeats of one of Britain's most prolific and gifted comedic actors."
STRONG MEDICINE: FIRST RESPONSE (Lifetime, New!) - An upcoming episode of the popular cable drama's sixth season will serve as a backdoor pilot to a potential spin-off series entitled "Strong Medicine: First Response." "Strong Medicine's" creator Tammy Ader and Lisa Melamed ("Party of Five") are behind the project, which centers on two sisters by adoption, white and black, who work as a paramedic and a trauma surgeon, respectively. Sony Pictures Television will distribute the spin-off, which Lifetime executives are touting as a younger, hipper and more action-packed version of "Strong Medicine," should it go forward.
UNTITLED CHERI OTERI/J.J. ABRAMS PROJECT (ABC, New!) - Cheri Oteri ("Saturday Night Live") and J.J. Abrams ("Alias") are reportedly close to teaming for a new comedy project at the Alphabet. Carol Leifer ("Seinfeld") is also said to be listed as a collaborator on the project, which would come from Abrams' Touchstone Television-based Bad Robot. No details were given about the premise of the comedy.
UNTITLED DENISE RICHARDS PROJECT (UPN, New!) - Denise Richards ("Undercover Brother") has signed a talent holding deal with the netlet to topline one of its pilots targeted for the 2005-06 season. It's not clear if Richards is being eyed for a comedy or a drama at the network.
UNTITLED ERIK SHAPIRO PROJECT (New!) - Erik Shapiro is looking to reteam with his "It's All Relative" partners Craig Zadan and Neil Meron for a new comedy for Touchstone Television. The project, which has been in development at the studio since last year, revolves around an older woman and younger man whose decision to marry wreaks havoc on both of their families. No other details were given.
UNTITLED JOHN LEGUIZAMO/PETER MURRIETA PROJECT (FOX, New!) - John Leguizamo is set to team with Peter Murrieta ("Greetings from Tucson") on a new comedy project at the network based on Leguizamo's real life as a performer and a family man (a la ABC's "Complete Savages" and UPN's "All of Us"). 3 Arts Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television are behind the project, which has a script order at FOX. The producers are likening the comedy to a modern-day version of "Make Room for Daddy." Leguizamo and Murrieta will both serve as executive producers on the untitled project.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters