LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
THE ASHLEE SIMPSON SHOW/NEWLYWEDS: NICK & JESSICA (MTV) - MTV has confirmed both series will wrap their respective seasons on Wednesday, March 30.
CONFESSIONS OF A DOG (NBC) - Bill Lawrence and Eric Weinberg's ("Scrubs") comedy project has received a cast-contingent pilot order from the Peacock. "Dog," which revolves around a womanizer who decides he has to reform his behavior, is set up at Lawrence's NBC Universal Television-based Doozer Productions. Weinberg will write and executive produce the project along with Lawrence.
CONVICTION (CBS) - Jon Avnet ("Boomtown") has signed on to helm the drama pilot, about a defense attorney-turned-prosecutor who crafts his cases by telling a detailed story. Ed Redlich, Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly are behind the project, which is set up at Timberman's Warner Bros. Television-based 25C Productions.
DREAM JOB (ESPN) - The third season of popular ESPN talent search will launch Sunday, February 20 at 10:00/9:00c. Unlike previous seasons however, this edition will involve former athletes vying to earn a spot as a football analyst.
EARLY BIRD (NBC, New!) - Former "The Late Show With David Letterman" head writer Rodney Rothman has scored a cast-contingent pilot order from NBC for a new comedy about a twentysomething guy who moves into a retirement community. The project, which is based on the writer's upcoming book of the same name, is set up at NBC Universal Television and 3 Arts Entertainment. 3 Arts' David Miner and Howard Klein will executive produce alongside Rothman ("Game Over," "Undeclared").
EL CENTRO (FX, New!) - Donal Logue ("Grounded for Life") is set to star, write and executive produce a new drama pilot for the cable channel, about a sheriff in Mexicali, the desert region along the California-Mexico border. FX has given a script order to the project, which will also be executive produced by brothers John Dahl ("Rounders") and Rick Dahl ("Red Rock West"). No director or studio however is currently attached.
THE EVIDENCE (ABC) - Gary Fleder ("Blind Justice") has been tapped to direct the drama pilot, a new procedural crime drama which, unlike most of its brethren, will present all the evidence and then try to deconstruct the crime. The project is set up at the Warner Bros. Television-based John Wells Productions with Dustin Thomason and Sam Baum executive producing.
FAMILY BUSINESS (Showtime) - The successful late-night reality series will return for its third season on Friday, March 18 at 11:00/10:00c.
FAMILY PLOTS (A&E) - Season two of docu-reality series is set to premiere Sunday, March 6 at 9:00/8:00c. The newly relocated series will then serve as a lead-in to "Intervention," which premieres that night at 10:00/9:00c.
FOR LOVE OR MONEY (NBC) - E! is set to rebroadcast all six episodes of the show's first season on Friday, February 11 beginning at 1:00 p.m. eastern.
HEIST (A.K.A. THE PIERRE JEWEL HEIST) (USA) - The James Marsters-led ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel") telefilm has been slated to air Friday, March 18 at 9:00/8:00c. Here's how USA's press materials describe the project: "A thief from the age of six, Bobby Comfort bounced in and out of prison for years. When he turns twenty-two, Bobby finally settles down and starts a family, determined to lead a calmer life. Bobby, however, soon is lured back into the only profession he knows, agreeing to help a friend rob a string of high-end New York City hotels. When their forays prove extremely lucrative, Comfort once again embraces his talent for crime. While his unsuspecting family believes he is traveling for business, Bobby and his partner are having the time of their lives conning wealthy socialites, culminating in the largest jewel heist in American history."
JOAN OF ARCADIA (CBS) - The show's creator, Barbara Hall, has inked a two-year, seven-figure overall development deal with Paramount Network Television. The pact calls for Hall to remain as the showrunner of "Joan" through at least the 2005-06 season as well as develop new projects for the studio. In addition, CBS will also have a first-look option on any projects that result from the deal.
KOJAK (USA) - The Ving Rhames-led take on "Kojak" is set to kick off on Sunday, March 27 at 9:00/8:00c with its two-hour pilot. Chazz Palmenteri and Roselyn Sanchez also star.
MONK (USA) - The cable channel has confirmed season three of "Monk" is set to wrap on Friday, March 4 at 10:00/9:00c.
THE NIGHT STALKER (ABC) - Director Dan Sackheim ("Hawaii") is set to re-team with fellow "X-Files" veteran Frank Spotnitz on the drama pilot, a revival of the cult classic 1972-75 ABC series. Production on the Touchstone Television-based project has been slated to begin in early March in Los Angeles where the show is set.
POWER GIRLS (MTV) - The Lizzie Grubman-led reality series, which tracks her famed PR firm, is currently scheduled to premiere on Thursday, March 10 at 10:30/9:30c.
THE PRINCE (The WB) - "Everwood" creator Greg Berlanti has signed on to executive produce the project, which has also received a green light to produce a pilot. "The Prince" tracks a rich New York family and the relationship between the father and his "anti-hero" younger son following the older son's death. The project is set up at Matt LeBlanc's Warner Bros. Television-based Fort Hill Productions as well as the similarly based Berlanti-Liddell Productions. Feature writer Jesse Wigutow ("It Runs in the Family," "8 Mile") created "The Prince," which he'll write and executive produce with LeBlanc, Berlanti, Fort Hill's John Goldstone and Berlanti-Liddell's Mickey Liddell.
THE REAL WORLD/ROAD RULES: THE INFERNO 2 (MTV) - The latest installment in the "Real World/Road Rules Challenge" franchise is set to launch on Monday, March 7 at 10:00/9:00c. An "uncensored" special about the series will also air the week prior on Monday, February 28.
REUNION (FOX) - Jon Amiel ("Eyes") is set to direct the pilot to the drama series, which tracks the friendships of six high school friends for 20 years, all over the course of a single 22-episode season. Jon Harmon Feldman ("Tru Calling") is behind the project, which is set up at Steve Pearlman's Class IV Productions and Warner Bros. Television.
SUNDAY NIGHT STEW (MTV) - The cable channel's popular Sunday franchise will return with new episodes on Sunday, March 6 beginning at 9:00/8:00c. In addition to fresh installments of "Pimp My Ride," "Punk'd" and "Viva La Bam," MTV will also launch the new hidden-camera series "Damage Control."
THE TONY DANZA SHOW (Syndication) - The talk show now appears to be a firm go for a second season, as the project has received clearance to run during the daytime on the Los Angeles Viacom stations (KCBS/KCAL). The news marks an upgrade from its current L.A. late-night home on the ABC owned-and-operated KABC. In total, "Danza" has been cleared in more than 110 markets for the 2005-06 season.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters