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.
DESPERATION (ABC) - Production on the three-hour adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name began over the weekend in Bisbee, Arizona. The project tracks the ordeals of a group of travelers thrown together in the nearly deserted spooky Nevada mining town of Desperation, complete with an enormous haunted mine pit and an abandoned movie theater. King helming mainstay Mick Garris ("The Stand," "The Shining") will direct the project from a script adaptation by King himself with Mark Sennet ("K Street") executive producing. The ensemble cast includes Cliff Robertson, Tom Skerritt, Annabeth Gish, Ron Perlman and Steven Weber.
DOG TOWN LAWYERS (A.K.A. UNTITLED JERRY BRUCKHEIMER DRAMA PROJECT) (The WB) - Jerry Bruckheimer Television has confirmed its put pilot commitment at the Frog, about the relationship between a 17-year-old prodigy lawyer and his mentor, features the title "Dog Town Lawyers." Jonathan Shapiro ("The Practice") is behind the project with Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman executive producing.
DRAWN TOGETHER (Comedy Central) - 2.2 million viewers tuned into the show's launch on Wednesday, where it held 75.86% of lead-in "South Park" (2.9 million).
LET BOB DO IT (Nick at Nite, New!) - Jason Alexander ("Listen Up") and Gay Rosenthal ("Behind the Music") are set to team for a new comedy pilot at the network which combines the scripted behind-the-scenes antics involved with the crew of an actual reality show called "Let Bob Do It." The show-within-the-show would then revolve around "Bob," an average guy whom viewers get to boss around to take on their dirty work - everything from attend the wedding for a viewer's boss, walk a dog, etc. Casting is underway for Bob, his girlfriend and faux crew members including a cameraman, audio technician and field producer. Alexander and Rosenthal will executive produce the project, which was created by standup comic Bob Perlow, with Alexander directing. Paul Barrosse and Jennifer Birchfield-Eick will also executive produce with Nicholas Caprio serving as a co-executive producer and Perlow as a producer. Alexander himself may appear in a recurring role should the pilot go to series. Nick at Nite executives are reportedly targeting "Bob" as a companion project for "Fatherhood," which returns for its second season in May.
QUEEN B (FOX, New!) - Alicia Silverstone ("Miss Match") is switching gears to the half-hour genre as the actress is set to topline a new comedy project for Imagine Television and 20th Century Fox Television. FOX has given a hefty seven-figure put pilot commitment to the project, which features Silverstone as Beatrice, a narcissistic woman who used her manipulation skills to become the most popular girl (a.k.a. the queen bee) in high school but now finds it harder to use those unlikable traits to her advantage in her late 20s. Jennifer Crittenden ("Everybody Loves Raymond") is on board to write and will executive produce the project alongside Imagine's David Nevins and Brian Grazer with Silverstone and her manager/producing partner Carolyn Kessler serving as co-executive producers. Silverstone's involvement is the result of a talent holding deal the actress signed with 20th Century Fox Television earlier this year (read the story).
OVER THERE (A.K.A. UNTITLED STEVEN BOCHCO/CHRIS GEROLMO PROJECT) (FX) - The cable channel has greenlit production on the military drama pilot (plus three additional scripts), about a sergeant and his platoon stationed in Iraq with stories involving their families on the homefront interwoven into the action. Executive producers Steven Bochco and Chris Gerolmo ("Citizen X") are behind the 20th Century Fox Television/Steven Bocho Productions project, which will use a rotating cast of actors as some soldiers will be killed, relieved of duty or sent home while others would rotate in. The news marks FX's second drama pilot effort currently in the works, the other being the Andre Braugher-led "Thief." Casting on "Over There" is set to begin next week for a December production start date with Gerolmo directing from a script by himself and Bochco.
POINT PLEASANT (FOX) - Grant Show ("Melrose Place") has been added to the cast of the midseason drama, about a beachside community that is turned upside down when a girl (Elisabeth Harnois) with mysterious powers washes ashore. Show will play an ominous presence who brings out the darkest impulses of her and the town's residents. The 20th Century Fox Television/Original Television project has been revamped as of late with several roles being recast and others expanded however full details weren't given. Show spent the past development season on the UPN drama pilot "Mystery Girl" and is currently set to begin production on the sequel to Lifetime's telefilm "Sex and the Single Mom."
SPY GIRL (The WB, New!) - The Frog has made a put pilot commitment to a new drama from Sarah Timberman's Warner Bros. Television-based 25C Productions based on the Amy Gray novel of the same name (subtitled "True Adventures From My Life as a Private Eye") about a twentysomething Ivy League graduate who quits her publishing job to join a small Manhattan P.I. agency and pursue her childhood dream of being a private investigator. Said decision leads her to work with a gang of misfit colleagues where she discovers uncanny parallels between her investigations and her tumultuous love life. The project actually is the second take on Gray's novel for the small screen as Jennie Garth toplined the original effort for NBC back in 2001. Director Robert Luketic ("Legally Blonde") is on board the helm the project from a script by Maggie Friedman ("Kat Plus One") with the pair executive producing alongside Timberman, Carl Beverly and Ed Redlich.
UNHITCHED (FOX, New!) - Writer Gary Tieche ("MDs") and director Barry Sonnenfeld ("The Tick") are set to team for a new drama at FOX about a dysfunctional family of lawyers working in a divorce-centered law firm. No other details were given about the project, which has a script commitment from the network with a small production penalty attached, other than it is set up at Sarah Timberman's Warner Bros. Television-based 25C Productions.
UNTITLED 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT PROJECT (ABC, New!) - ABC is developing its own take on the "9/11 Commission Report," coming on the heels of last week's announcement of a limited series about the subject being in the works at NBC (read the story). No details about said project however were released by the network.
UNTITLED BRIAN REGAN PROJECT (NBC, New!) - Comedian Brian Regan is set to be the focus of a new sitcom at the Peacock from "Scrubs" creator Bill Lawrence and writer Tim Hobert about a married man who moves with his wife from the suburbs to Chicago in search of more out of life. The project, which has a script commitment at the network, is a result of a talent holding deal Regan signed with the network as well as Hobert's recent signing of a two-year, seven-figure overall deal at NBC Universal Television. Hobert's pact actually kicks in come June where he'll either showrun the Regan project should it go to series or be loaned out as a co-executive producer on "Scrubs" for Touchstone Television.
UNTITLED DAVID BOREANAZ PROJECT (ABC, New!) - David Boreanaz ("Angel") is set to topline a new drama project about the life of undercover hit man Jack Ballantine for the Warner Bros. Television-based Tannenbaum Co. Boreanaz will play an undercover cop in the world of murder for hire in the project, which will be written and executive produced by Patrick Smith Kelly ("Don't Say a Word") alongside Tannenbaum Co. principals Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum. ABC has given a script commitment to the untitled drama.
UNTITLED KARI LIZER PROJECT (CBS, New!) - Kari Lizer ("Will & Grace") has set up a new comedy at the Eye about a divorced woman and business owner who lives with her brother and tries to juggle all the things on her plate, including the challenges coming from enrolling her kid in an exclusive private school. CBS has made a put pilot commitment to the project, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television, with Lizer writing and executive producing.
UNTITLED KATHY REICHS PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Writer Hart Hanson ("Judging Amy") and producer Barry Josephson ("The Tick") are developing a new drama series at 20th Century Fox Television about the real-life experiences and bestselling works of novelist-forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs. The project will track a female forensic anthropologist named Marjorie Miles, who solves crimes using evidence supplied by skeletal remains. Miles will spearhead a team of experts to help her solve the mysteries of the bones, including a reconstructive artist and bug experts who can uncover clues about a case by analyzing the creatures surrounding a corpse. FOX has made a script commitment to the project with a six-figure penalty attached with Hanson and Josephson executive producing with the former writing the pilot.
UNTITLED LENNY BRUCE PROJECT (Showtime, New!) - The pay channel is developing a biopic about the life of the provocative social comic from executive producers Laurence Mark ("I, Robot"), Ilene Berg ("Kiss My Act") and Jonathan King ("Finding Forrester"). Michael Bortman ("Crooked Hearts") is on board to write the script to the project, which Showtime topper Robert Greenblatt says should feel very timely in the context of recent media events involving Janet Jackson and Howard Stern. The comedian was convicted of "giving an obscene performance" some 40 years ago and the telefilm plans to track said trial in which the comic fought the obscenity laws. Bruce went on to be posthumously pardoned by New York Gov. George Pataki.
UNTITLED NORM MACDONALD PROJECT (Comedy Central, New!) - Norm Macdonald, last seen in FOX's short-lived "A Minute With Stan Hooper," has pacted with the cable channel to star in and executive produce a new comedy at the network. The project will follow the "Chappelle's Show" model with Macdonald performing standup along with a series of sketches. Macdonald's producing partner Lori Jo Hoekstra will executive produce the untitled project along with Macdonald. Production on the pilot is set to begin shortly once a showrunner and director is found.
UNTITLED RICH APPEL PROJECT (CBS, New!) - Rich Appel ("A.U.S.A.") has scored a put pilot commitment for his latest comedy effort, which centers on two divorced couples - one of which split relatively healthy while the other was anything but. The latter couple shares custody of two kids while the former splits time with their two dogs. Appel hopes to put a human face on divorce with the project, doing for divorce what "Will & Grace" did for gay America. The project is set up at 20th Century Fox Television with Appel writing and executive producing.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters