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.
1/4LIFE (ABC) - Rachel Blanchard ("7th Heaven"), Jacob Pitts ("Eurotrip"), Shiri Appleby ("Roswell"), Merritt Wever ("Signs") and newcomer Reggie Austin ("The Next Action Star") have been announced as five of the seven principal cast members on Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick's latest, an ensemble drama pilot about a group of twentysomething friends who live under the same roof and examines the period of transition that comes after a person graduates from college and has to come to grips with life in the real world. No character specifics were given about the Touchstone Television-based project, which will be written by the duo with Herskovitz directing.
AMERICAN DAD/FAMILY GUY (FOX) - To help promote Seth MacFarlane's latest animated effort, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment plans to release "Family Guy: The Freakin' Sweet Collection" on December 14. The single-disc set will feature five of MacFarlane's favorite episodes from the show's second and third seasons, including the original, uncensored version of "Road to Rhode Island" with optional commentary by the cast and crew. Also included will be interviews with MacFarlane about both "American Dad," which premieres on Sunday nights this January on FOX, and the upcoming fourth season of "Family Guy." The release features an MSRP of $19.99.
ANGEL (The WB) - Creator/executive producer Joss Whedon has opted out of his overall deal at 20th Century Fox Television, where his Mutant Enemy banner is based, despite having a little over a year left on the pact. Whedon explained the move to Daily Variety, saying: "I spent a lot of time trying to think what my next series would be. I couldn't think of anything. When that happens, it generally means something is just not working. I didn't feel like I could come up with anything that the networks would want." As part of his release from the deal, Whedon can't work on any other TV projects for the duration of the pact and should he return to the medium, 20th will get first crack at any new efforts. In addition, Whedon plans to close up shop on Mutant Enemy itself, as the company's president Chris Buchanan and the rest of the staff will be released to pursue other positions. Overall, Whedon has been slowly transitioning back into features as his first big screen directing effort "Serenity," based on the short-lived FOX drama "Firefly," will be released in early 2005.
HEARTLAND (The WB, New!) - Mark Perry ("One Tree Hill") is developing a new semi-autobiographical drama for the Frog about the intricate relationships among a divorced couple and their four kids after the father acknowledges that he is gay. The project will be set up at the Warner Bros. Television-based Acme Entertainment with Perry executive producing along with Acme's Mindy Schultheis and Michael Hanel. Perry himself was married for 14 years before he came out of the closet and is now best friends with his ex-wife and has been in a committed relationship with another man for the past 10 years. It's also understood Perry has another project in the hopper at the WB and Warner Bros. Television however no details were given.
I'LL CUDDLE WHEN I'M DEAD (The WB, New!) - Writer Stacy Traub ("What I Like About You") and producers Karey Burke and Jamie Tarses have scored a put pilot commitment at the network for a new romantic comedy about a couple who get married before they are ready. Sony Pictures Television and the Untitled Burke/Tarses Project are behind the comedy, which is loosely based on Traub's own experiences as a Canadian citizen who married an American to stay in the country.
ODD GIRL OUT (Lifetime, New!) - Alexa Vega ("Spy Kids") and Lisa Vidal ("The Division") are set to topline one of the cable channel's latest telefilms, about a seemingly well-adjusted teenager (Vega) who becomes depressed when she's ostracized by her friends at school. Vidal will play the mother of Vega's character. The project, which is based on Rachel Simmons' non-fiction book of the same name (subtitled "The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls"), will be directed by Tom McLoughlin ("Murder in Greenwich") from a script by Richard Kletter and Matthew McDuffie. Howard Braunstein, Michael Jaffe and Orly Adelson are the executive producers.
SCI FI WEDNESDAY (Sci Fi) - The cable channel's new Wednesday lineup of "Proof Positive," "Ghost Hunters" and "Scare Tactics" opened to an average 1.1 household rating on October 6 according to its recently released numbers for the week of October 4-10. Leading the charge was "Hunters" (1.4 household rating) followed by "Positive" and "Tactics" (1.0 household rating each). Said lineup fell short of the combined 1.5 household rating for debut of "Tripping the Rift" (1.8), "Scare Tactics" (1.5) and "Mad Mad House" (1.3) on Thursday nights earlier this year (March 4). Overall for the week, the network's Saturday original "Frankenfish" (1.7) was the top draw.
THE STARLET (A.K.A. WANNABES) (The WB) - Faye Dunaway ("Back When We Were Grownups") is set to be one of the judges on the upcoming reality series, about a group of wannabe actresses as they compete for a shot at a talent deal and guest role on a WB series. Production on the show's six-episode order is set to begin next month for a midseason premiere. Jamie Kennedy ("The Jamie Kennedy Experiment"), Scott Einziger ("The Amazing Race"), Josh Etting ("The Jamie Kennedy Experiment") and Ellen Rapoport are the executive producers of the project, which comes from Telepictures and Kennedy and Etting's Wannabe Productions banner.
STONE COLD (CBS) - Mimi Rogers ("The Door in the Floor") and Viola Davis ("Century City") have both joined the cast of the Tom Selleck-led telefilm, about a cynical, hard-drinking police chief (Selleck) in a small town who must put his personal life in order before tracking down a pair of mysterious killers. Rogers will play a lawyer who becomes involved with Selleck's character while Davis will portray a capable but slightly inexperienced police officer. No other details were given about the project, other than it is a small screen adaptation of Robert Parker's novel of the same name.
UNTITLED KRISTIN DAVIS PROJECT (HBO) - Writer Stacy Traub ("What I Like About You") has come aboard the "Sex and the City" star's comedy project for the pay channel, about a single woman who supports herself as a poker player in Las Vegas.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters