LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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BONES (A.K.A. BRENNAN) (FOX) - David Boreanaz ("Angel") and Michaela Conlin ("The D.A.") are the first to be cast in the drama pilot (previously known as "Brennan"), about a team of forensic anthropologists who solve crimes using evidence supplied by skeletal remains. Boreanaz will play an F.B.I. agent who works with the Smithsonian's Medico-Legal Lab that's the focus of the series. Conlin then will play Angela, additional character details about who weren't available. Hart Hanson, Barry Josephson and Kathy Reichs are the executive producers of the project, which comes from 20th Century Fox Television. Greg Yaitanes is set to direct the pilot from a script by Hanson.
CRUMBS (ABC) - Jane Curtin ("3rd Rock From the Sun"), Fred Savage ("The Wonder Years") and William Devane ("24") have all joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about two estranged brothers - one gay and one straight - who wind up running the family business when their parents get divorced. Devane and Curtin will play said parents while Savage will play one of the brothers. Touchstone Television and Tollin/Robbins Productions are behind the project, which is executive produce by Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins, Joe Davola and creator Marco Pennette.
DOG TOWN LAWYERS (The WB) - Don Johnson ("Nash Bridges") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about the relationship between a young prodigy lawyer (Jay Baruchel) and his mentor, a jaded defense attorney who has fallen from the big leagues. Johnson will play said attorney in the Warner Bros. Television-based project, which comes from executive producers Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman and creator Jonathan Shapiro. Andrew Davis will helm the pilot from a script by Shapiro.
FAMILY FEUD (Syndication) - Tribune Entertainment has confirmed the series has been renewed for a seventh season. Stations in 162 markets covering 92% of the country have cleared the series for the 2005-06 season, including WNYW in New York and KCAL in Los Angeles.
INVASION (ABC) - Tyler Labine ("That Was Then") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about the bizarre occurrences in a small Florida town after it is ravaged by a hurricane. He'll reportedly play Dave Groves, described in the show's casting notice as: "35. A whip-smart quasi-redneck who's convinced that under every rock is a conspiracy waiting to jump up and bite him in the ass. Dave is Larkin's ne'er-do-well older brother. He drinks too much, thinks too much, and believes that the recent hurricane was just a smokescreen cooked up by the military to mask some sinister plan. Though his theories may sometimes sound crazy, he is highly resourceful and - when his goal is clear - relentless in his pursuit of the truth." Eddie Cibrian and William Fichtner also star in the Warner Bros. Television-based project, which comes from executive producers Shaun Cassidy and Thomas Schlamme.
NIGHT STALKER (ABC) - Stuart Townsend ("The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen") has booked the title role while Gabrielle Union ("Bring It On") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, a revival of the 1972-75 series about a reporter named Carl Kolchak who had a tendency to uncover mysteries involving vampires, serial killers and other freakish occurrences. Carl's character is detailed in the casting notice as: "Mid 30s. A man of intense purpose but zero pretense, a man who takes his own path but pays dearly for it, Kolchak is a talented investigative reporter who's just started working for the L.A. Beacon after leaving a successful journalism career in Phoenix. As a reporter, Kolchak has an uncanny instinct and ability to read people; he rarely takes notes, preferring instead to listen. Capable of charm and sensitivity as well as a steely determination. Star Name Only." Union then is understood to play Perri Reed, who's described as: "Late 20s. Very attractive, Reed is the senior crime reporter at the Beacon; she's been there four years. A born reporter--intelligent, tenacious, resourceful and chronically curious." Dan Sackheim ("Hawaii") is directing the Touchstone Television-based pilot from a script by executive producer Frank Spotnitz ("The X-Files").
NORTH SHORE (FOX) - Network officials have confirmed FOX has pulled the plug on the freshman drama, which wrapped its season in January. The news comes as little surprise as the network shut down production on the series after 20 episodes (not 21 as previously indicated) in December, two shy of its full season order. Since then co-star Amanda Righetti has moved on to the FOX drama pilot "Reunion" while executive producers Gretchen Berg & Aaron Harberts and Chris Brancato & Bert Salke are behind the WB's "Pepper Dennis" and FOX's "Murder Book," respectively.
OLD CHRISTINE (CBS) - "Seinfeld" alum Julia Louis-Dreyfus has been cast in the lead role of the comedy pilot, about a 35-year-old divorcee 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 9-year-old son in an exclusive private school. Said casting lifts the cast-contingency off the pilot's production. Kari Lizer is behind the project, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television.
PEACEMAKERS (USA) - Cable's CMT will begin airing repeats of the short-lived USA series on Fridays at 9:00/8:00c beginning tonight. Visit CMT's web site for the series for more information.
PEPPER DENNIS (The WB) - Josh Hopkins ("Ally McBeal") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a Chicago-based TV reporter (Rebecca Romijn) who juggles her career, love and family lives. Hopkins, who spent the past development season as part of the WB's failed drama pilot "Global Frequency," is understood to be playing Charlie Bishop, a man who Pepper (Romijn) has a one-night stand with only to learn he's the new anchor at WEYE, the station where she works. The 20th Century Fox Television-based project comes from executive producers Aaron Harberts, Gretchen Berg and Shawn Levy.
QUEEN B (FOX) - The Alicia Silverstone-led comedy project has been given the green light to produce a pilot. Silverstone stars as Bea, a successful business owner who used her manipulation skills to become the most popular girl 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") created the 20th Century Fox Television/Imagine Television-based project, which previously had a put pilot commitment at the network. David Nevins and Brian Grazer will executive produce for Imagine.
THAT '70S HOUSE (MTV, New!) - Production has begun on a new "Big Brother" meets "Frontier House"-esque reality series that takes 12 unsuspecting young people who think they're going to live it up "Real World"-style and sticks them in a home straight out of the '70s (i.e. no Internet, cable TV, cell phones or other modern luxuries). Said project, which has a 10-episode order, will then have the group compete in various '70s-related challenges such as roller boogie disco for an unspecified prize all the while walking, talking and dressing as if they belong in the era. Aaron Lee created the series, which comes from Adam Cohen and Joanna Vernetti's Super Delicious Productions ("The Assistant"). No targeted premiere date was given.
TREASURE HUNTERS (NBC, New!) - The Peacock is taking a cue from the recent feature "National Treasure," ordering at least 10 one-hour episodes of a new reality series which will send multiplayer teams on a global quest to unlock the secrets of an intricate puzzle with each clue unlocking another part of the mystery. Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz ("Project Runway") are behind the project, which could be ready in time for a late summer premiere. Like "National Treasure," the series will also mix real history, folklore and fantasy elements into the puzzle. The Peacock also promises a heavy internet component to the show, however no details were specified. Cutforth and Lipsitz will serve as executive producers of the project via their Magical Elves banner.
UNTITLED CHRISTOPHER LLYOD/JOE KEENAN PROJECT (CBS) - Stockard Channing ("The West Wing") is moving from drama to comedy, as the actress has been tapped to star in the comedy pilot, about a family of single doctors. She'll reportedly play Lydia Chase in the Paramount Network Television-based project. Her character is described in the casting notice as: "Mid 50�s-60�s. Ben�s [the lead character's] mom. A brilliant, cultured, status-conscious and tightly wound cardiologist. At the top of her game professionally, she�s somewhat adrift in her personal life since her divorce, and relies too much on Ben to fill the void." "Frasier's" Christopher Lloyd & Joe Keenan are behind the pilot, which will be directed by Kelsey Grammer.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters