[09/28/04 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: September 27-28
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

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.

7TH HEAVEN (The WB) - Martha Plimpton has completed shooting a guest spot on the veteran family drama and will write at least one upcoming episode of the series. While there are reportedly rumblings of Plimpton having a closer association with the series beyond said guest spot, the Frog would not confirm any speculation beyond her current commitment.

ANONYMOUS REX (Sci Fi) - The cable channel has moved up the telefilm/backdoor pilot's premiere to Saturday, November 13 at 9:00/8:00c. Here's how Sci Fi's press materials describe the project: "Based on the acclaimed series of novels by Eric Garcia, the SCI FI Channel Original Movie Anonymous Rex goes underground to chronicle a secret society of the dinosaurs' descendants � adapted through evolution to human size and dimensions � living, loving and working today in disguise. A shape-shifting technology enables these modern-day dinos to mask their true identities and coexist with humans as 'everyday people.'"

THE BARENAKED LADIES VARIETY SHOW (FOX, New!) - FOX has ordered a pilot presentation for a new variety series starring "Barenaked Ladies" band members Steven Page, Kevin Heam, Tyler Stewart, Jim Creeggan and Ed Robertson. The project, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television, will feature comedy sketches and musical performances involving the group (whom regularly use comedy skits as part of their performances) and various guest stars. Ann Maney, John Ziffren, Pierre Tremblay, Kara Welker and Dave Rath will executive produce the pilot, however a head writer has yet to be named. It's understood the quintet will play exaggerated versions of themselves in the project, with a storyline connecting the various sketches. "The Barenaked Ladies" are no stranger to FOX, as the group appeared in an episode of "The Casino" over the summer.

BOOM/CARPOCALYPSE (Spike TV, New!) - Spike TV has picked up a pair of reality projects, one of which comes from "American Chopper" creator Thom Beers. Said project, entitled "Boom," features demolition experts blowing up various structures and vehicles while the other, "Carpocalypse," tracks bizarre racing events such as automotive soccer, a school bus figure-eight race, blindfolded trailer racing and many others. Both series are set to premiere early next year on the cable channel however no specific premiere dates or episode orders were given.

EARTHSEA (Sci Fi) - Sci Fi has slated its much-hyped four-hour mini-series for Monday, December 13 and Tuesday, December 14, both at 9:00/8:00c. Here's how the cable channel's press materials describe the project: "Based on the classic literary series by acclaimed author Ursula K. LeGuin, the SCI FI Original miniseries Earthsea follows the tale of a reckless youth destined to become the greatest sorcerer that the mystical land of Earthsea has ever known. When the young wizard Ged discovers that he possesses infinite magical powers, he seeks to master the ancient arts. As he journeys to manhood, he will combat dragons, fall in love, cross death's threshold, and ultimately wield the power to reunite a kingdom." Shawn Ashmore, Kristin Kreuk, Isabella Rossellini and Danny Glover star.

THE EVIDENCE (ABC, New!) - The Alphabet is said to be close to giving a pilot order for a new procedural crime drama from "The Rule of Four" co-writer Dustin Thomason, writer-producer Sam Baum ("Young MacGyver") and uber-producer John Wells ("The West Wing," "ER," "Third Watch"). The project, which is expected to be set up at Wells' Warner Bros. Television-based John Wells Productions, unlike most procedural crime series, will present all the evidence and then try to deconstruct the crime. Thomason and Baum will write the script to the pilot and executive produce alongside Wells.

GARGOYLES: WINGS OF DARKNESS (Sci Fi) - The cable channel has slated the Saturday original for October 30 at 9:00/8:00c. Here's Sci Fi's official description of the project: "World-weary CIA agent Ty Griffin (Michael Par�, The Philadelphia Experiment), working in Romania, takes on a macabre missing-person case. He soon discovers that a gargoyle, out to feed its demonic hatchlings, is behind the spree of gruesome killings."

HOLLYWOOD VICE (FOX, New!) - "Cops" creator/executive producer John Langley is set to team with 20th Century Fox TV's boutique division fox 21 for a new improvisational police drama set in the vice division of the Hollywood Police Precinct. Each episode of the project, which Langley created alongside filmmakers Adam Ripp and Steve Wolfson ("Gang Tapes"), will start with a bare-bones script with improv actors filling in the blanks. The producers plan to film a pilot presentation for FOX in lieu of a pilot script. Langley will executive produce via his Langley Productions banner.

THE INSIDE (FOX) - Tim Minear ("Wonderfalls," "Angel") has been tapped to redevelop the midseason drama as original creators/executive producers Todd Kessler and Glenn Kessler ("Robbery Homicide Division") have exited the series. Minear will write and direct a new pilot for the project, about a law enforcement agent who poses as a student at a trouble-plagued high school, with Rachel Nichols and Peter Facinelli both reprising their roles. It's not clear however how much of the concept will be changed for the new version. Kathryn Bigelow helmed the original pilot from a script by the Kesslers. "The Inside" is set up at 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television with Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and David Nevins executive producing for the latter.

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (FX, New!) - The cable channel has given a pilot order for a new comedy from actor/director Rob McElhenney ("ER") about a diverse group of friends who own a bar in Philadelphia, one of whom reveals he has cancer in the first episode. McElhenney, Glenn Howerton ("That '80s Show"), Charlie Day ("Third Watch") and Jordan Berkow ("Law & Order") all star in the project with McElhenney directing from his own script and executive producing alongside Howerton, Day and McElhenney's 3 Arts reps Nick Frenkel and Michael Rotenberg. McElhenney and company actually shot two episodes of the project through their own financing but will film a new pilot for FX next month. "Sunny" is one of three projects in consideration for FX's new comedy block set to debut in early 2005 with the others being "Starved" and "Human Animals," both of which have received backup script orders from the network.

POINT DUME (New!) - "Baywatch" creator Gregory J. Bonann has pacted with Bunim-Murray Productions ("The Real World") to develop and produce a new Malibu-set drama about high school students enrolled in the S.E.A. Corps - a fictional program that puts them to work with lifeguards, Coast Guard members and firefighters. The project, which won't be unscripted like most of Bunim-Murray's offerings, was created by Bonann alongside fellow "Baywatch" writers Tanquil Collins and Vickie Bronaugh. The group plans to pitch the various broadcast and cable networks in the coming weeks. Bonann will executive produce "Dume" via his Tower 18 Productions should the project move forward.

TOUGH CROWD WITH COLIN QUINN (Comedy Central) - The cable channel is expected to put the late-night series on indefinite hiatus following the November sweeps period, at which time the show's future will be determined. To date this year (through September 9), "Crowd" has averaged 537,000 viewers, less than half of lead-in "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" (1.1 million viewers).

UNTITLED BOB SAGET PROJECT (ABC, New!) - One time ABC mainstay Bob Saget ("Full House," "America's Funniest Home Videos") is planning a return to the Alphabet as the actor has scored a script commitment for a new comedy about a divorced dad (Saget) who takes custody of the kids. The project is set up at Touchstone Television with Damon Wayans and Don Reo ("My Wife and Kids") writing and executive producing. It's not clear if Saget will also have a producing role.

UNTITLED CHRIS ELLIOTT PROJECT (New!) - Chris Elliott ("Get a Life") is set to be the centerpiece of a new comedy set up at Regency Television and 20th Century Fox Television about a married father of two teen daughters living in a small town. Elliott will write, executive produce and star in the project as said father, a real estate agent and frustrated performer who plays stage dad to one of his daughters whom he's pushing into showbiz. John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky ("King of the Hill") are also said to be involved with the project, which will be shopped to the networks in the next few weeks.

UNTITLED GEENA DAVIS PROJECT (CBS, New!) - Geena Davis has scored a talent holding and development deal with the Eye to topline a new comedy for the 2005-06 season for the network. No details were given about the project. Davis last headlined the failed ABC comedy "The Geena Davis Show" in 2000.

UNTITLED LIZ HELDENS PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Writer Liz Heldens ("Boston Public") has inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television to develop new drama projects for the studio. Heldens has already scored a script commitment from FOX as the result of the new deal, about a young woman who inherits her Trump-esque father's business empire. Said project will follow the 26-year-old liberal-leaning Berkeley grad as she heads to New York to lead her father's multibillion-dollar company and quickly finds herself in over her head. Heldens spent the last development season on the UPN drama pilot "Mystery Girl" and has since been writing for FOX's "North Shore."

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [september 2004]  

· ER (NBC)

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