[10/27/04 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: October 26-27
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.

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (FOX) - Writer/producer Brad Copeland has inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television. The pact calls for Copeland to continue in his role of producer on the Emmy winning comedy as well as develop new projects for the studio. Prior to "Arrested," Copeland spent three years on the FOX/WB comedy "Grounded for Life."

THE AU PAIRS (The WB, New!) - Some firm details have emerged about writer/producer Mark Perry's other project in the works at the Frog and Warner Bros. Television. In addition to the drama "Heartland," about a family adjusting to life after the father comes out of the closet (read the story), Perry is also working on a series based on Melissa de la Cruz's young-adult novel "The Au Pairs." Said project would track the lives of three young women as they work as nannies to the New York elite as well as their efforts to become part of the Hamptons social scene. Perry will write and executive produce the project alongside Alloy Entertainment's Anya Kochoff.

THE CODE (NBC, New!) - Donnie Wahlberg and Jon Avnet ("Boomtown") are set to return to the Peacock, as the actor and director have teamed with Jack Orman ("ER," "dr. vegas") for a new drama which stars Wahlberg as a good cop who goes undercover inside the world of crooked law enforcers. NBC has given a put pilot commitment to the project, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television, where Orman has an overall deal. Orman and Avent will executive produce "The Code," with the latter directing the pilot. Wahlberg will also serve as a producer.

THE DARK (TNT, New!) - Stephen J. Cannell ("The A-Team," "The Rockford Files") is looking to return to series television as the writer/producer is in talks with the cable channel to shepherd a new drama pilot for the network. The project, which is set up at Cannell Studios, revolves around the FBI's tracking and apprehension team, which is only called upon when the most disturbing, dangerous and baffling serial criminals are on the loose. Paul Guyot ("Judging Amy") wrote the pilot script and will executive produce alongside Cannell.

EXPLODING BALONEY (Nick at Nite, New!) - Nick at Nite has given a series order to a new half-hour hidden camera series from Banyan Productions ("Trading Spaces") in which adults play good-natured pranks on kids. Joe Boyd created and will executive produce the series, which is targeting a March debut, alongside TV Land/Nick at Nite senior VP Kim Rosenblum.

NOBODY'S WATCHING (The WB, New!) - Bill Lawrence ("Spin City," "Scrubs") has gotten into business with the Frog as the writer/producer is developing a new comedy at the network about two Midwestern guys who win a reality show contest and get create their own TV comedy series. The multi-camera project, which comes from NBC Universal Television (who pitched it to the WB after NBC passed), will be written and executive produced by Lawrence along with Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan ("Family Guy").

PAINKILLER JANE (Sci Fi) - The cable channel has greenlit production on the two-hour backdoor drama pilot, which was originally announced nearly 19 months ago (read the story). Here's how the network's press materials describe the project: "Based on the Event Comics series, SCI FI and MGM Worldwide Television once again partner, this time to bring to life a virtually indestructible super-heroine for the new millennium, Painkiller Jane. This action-hero series is based on a young marine officer, Jane Browning, who is exposed to a biochemical weapon that changes her genetically, endowing her with incredible self-healing powers. She becomes an ultra-covert agent fighting crime while struggling to remain free from those who would now use her gifts for sinister purposes. Written by John Harrison (writer/director SCI FI's "Frank Herbert's Dune" & writer/co-producer "Children of Dune") and Don Opper. Harrison, Opper and Greg Gold are attached as executive producers. Harrison will direct." NBC Universal Television will produce the project in association with MGM with production expected to begin by year's end.

UNTITLED FREDDIE PRINZE JR. PROJECT (ABC, New!) - Recent "Boston Legal" guest star Freddie Prinze Jr. is sticking with the Alphabet as the actor is set to be the centerpiece of a new comedy project at the network and Warner Bros. Television. The project, which has received a put pilot commitment from ABC and is loosely based on Prinze's own experiences, centers on a Puerto Rican man (Prinze) who after finally breaking free of his overbearing family must return home to a household of women who drive him crazy after his brother dies. Bruce Helford and Bruce Rasmussen ("The Drew Carey Show") will co-create, write and executive produce the project along with Prinze through the pair's Mohawk Productions. Mohawk recently signed a three-year overall deal with Warner Bros. Television that will keep the company at the studio until mid-2007.

UNTITLED PAM BRADY/WILL GLUCK PROJECT (FOX) - The network has greenlit production on the comedy pilot, about a guy right out of college who becomes the first among his friends to get a real job and straddles the fence between slacker and working man. Pam Brady ("South Park") and Will Gluck ("Andy Richter Controls the Universe") are behind the 20th Century Fox Television-based project, which will use a mix of single-camera and multi-camera elements. It's understood the pilot will shoot exteriors in Chicago and interiors in Los Angeles. In addition, FOX and 20th reportedly are looking for several sponsors to integrate products into the series (a la ABC's summer drama "The Days") in order to reduce the show's production costs. No other details were given about the project, other than the lead's job is at a Chicago-based airline.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [october 2004]  

· ER (NBC)

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