[03/09/05 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: March 9
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 projects in development? Click here to visit our newly revamped "Series in Development" charts. Visitors can now filter our listings by network, genre and even development stage (ordered to pilot, cast-contingent, script, etc.). It's updated every day!

ADOPTED (ABC) - Bernadette Peters ("It Runs In The Family") is the first to be cast in the comedy pilot, about a thirtysomething writer whose life is turned upside down when his biological mom shows up on his doorstep one day, resulting in his adoptive and birth mothers comically competing for his attention. Peters will play said adopted mother, Sarah Leaf, in the 20th Century Fox Television-based project. Her character is described in the casting notice as: "55 plus. Lloyd and Tucker's mother, (widowed two years ago) she is a struggling real estate agent, a strong, rather overbearing, but vulnerable woman who has never found the right moment to tell her son, Lloyd, that he was adopted. Now that his biological mother has surfaced, Mrs. Leaf is feeling jealous, threatened and worried that Lloyd may like her better. Never one to let reality get in her way, she follows Lloyd to the home of his biological mother, where she proceeds to swig a lot of wine and speak her mind freely." Jim Rash, Nat Faxon, Paul Young, Peter Principato, Brian Dobbins and Kevin Abbott are behind the pilot, which tapes on Wednesday, March 23 at Fox Studios.

BOBBY CANNON (ABC) - The Kevin Sorbo-led comedy pilot, about a pro football quarterback nearing retirement who has to mentor his replacement while figuring out what to do with the rest of his life, is scheduled to tape on Wednesday, April 6 at the CBS Studio Center in Los Angeles. Barry Kemp and Eric Gold are the executive producers.

THE COMMUTERS (CBS) - Johnathon Schaech ("Judas") and Christine Taylor ("Arrested Development") are the latest additions to the drama pilot, about the lives of three couples in the New York suburbs whose husbands commute to the city. They join the previously cast Jeri Ryan and David Arquette in the Paramount Network Television-based project. Stephen Kay is directing the pilot from a script by creator Dan Bucatinsky. Bucatinsky is executive producing along with Michael Taylor.

CARNIVALE/DEADWOOD (HBO) - A solid 2.79 million viewers watched the second season launch of "Deadwood" on Sunday, down 48% from its debut last season (5.8 million, HBO's most-watched series premiere to date). That installment however followed a new episode of "The Sopranos" (10.1 million). Meanwhile, lead-out "Carnivale" fared better with its new "Deadwood" lead-in, hitting a season-high 1.96 million viewers.

CRAZY (UPN) - Lindsay Sloane ("The Stones") has joined the cast of the Lara Flynn Boyle-led drama pilot, about a young female psychiatrist (Boyle) who sees the problems of her patients reflected in her own life. No details were given about her character. Sarah Thorp, Ed Zuckerman, Aaron Spelling and E. Duke Vincent are the executive produces of the project, which is set up at the latter two's Spelling Television. Kristin Bauer and David Julian Hirsh also star.

DAMAGE CONTROL (MTV) - 1.49 million viewers tuned into the debut of the latest "Sunday Stew" entry. Numbers for returning series "Punk'd," "Viva La Bam" and "Pimp My Ride" however were not available.

THE EVIDENCE (ABC) - Nicky Katt ("Boston Public") has been cast as partner to Orlando Jones in the drama pilot, a San Francisco-based police procedural that starts with presenting the evidence and then follows the efforts to deconstruct the crime. He'll play Det. Sean Riley in the Warner Bros. Television/John Wells Productions-based pilot, described in the casting notice as: "Early-mid 30s, Caucasian, handsome but weathered. He is a San Francisco detective with a distant sadness and quiet intensity, who has just returned from a leave of absence following his wife's murder. He has been obsessed with finding her killer, alternating between anger and withdrawal, and blames his sergeant for screwing up the case. He has a strong relationship with his partner and best friend, Clint Bishop [Jones]." Martin Landau also stars in the project, which comes from creators Dustin Thomason and Sam Baum. Gary Fleder is directing the pilot from a script by the duo.

EVOLUTION OF MAN (A.K.A. UNTITLED ROSS MCCALL/AARON PETERS PROJECT) (The WB) - Ross McCall and Aaron Peters's comedy pilot for the Frog, now titled "Evolution of Man," is set to tape on Thursday, April 7 at Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles. The project, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television, revolves around three single guys, all friends since childhood, who hire a life coach to help them with women. McCall and Peters are writing and executive producing the pilot along with Jerry Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman. (Note: The original report incorrectly indentified this project as the Dean Cain-led comedy pilot "Grown Men.")

FAT ACTRESS (Showtime) - The much-hyped series premiere of "Fat Actress" drew 924,000 viewers on Monday, including a 4.16 household rating among Showtime homes. The latter number marked Showtime's best performance since the 2000 debut of "Queer as Folk," while among actual viewers, "Actress" beat out the recent season/series premieres of "Huff" (456,000 on 7/7/04), "Dead Like Me" (797,000 on 7/25/04) and "The L Word" (515,000 on 2/20/05) but fell short of "Queer as Folk" (1.1 million on 4/18/04). A repeat at 11:00/10:00c also fared well, earning 400,000 viewers.

THE GHOST WHISPERER (CBS) - Aisha Tyler ("24," "C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation") is set to star opposite Jennifer Love Hewitt in the drama pilot, about a young newlywed (Hewitt) who communicates with the dead. She'll play Andrea, the best friend of Hewitt's character, full details of which weren't specified. Tyler's involvement is tied to a talent deal the actress signed with the network in October (read the story). At the time, CBS was considering a new comedy vehicle for Tyler (read the story), which apparently has since been shelved for the time being. Ian Sander, Kim Moses, John Gray and James Van Praagh are behind "The Ghost Whisperer," which is set up at Touchstone Television.

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (CBS) - Neil Patrick Harris ("Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle") and Jason Segel ("Freaks and Geeks") have both joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about the exploits of a single man (Josh Radnor), as told through his own eyes 20 years later. They'll play Barney and Marshall respectively in the 20th Century Fox Television-based project, which also stars Alyson Hannigan. Carter Bays, Craig Thomas and Rob Greenberg are the executive producers.

INCONCEIVABLE (NBC) - David Norona ("Mister Sterling") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about the doctors, psychologists and lawyers at a fertility clinic. He'll play Scott Kleckner in the Touchstone Television/Tollin-Robbins-based project. His character is described as: "32s. Steadfast, eager-to-please, loyal, an attorney with real integrity who would protect Rachel [Ming-Na] like a pit bull. Tougher than his baby face suggests. Quick-witted and intensely private." Jonathan Cake also stars in the project, which comes from executive producers Marco Pennette, Oliver Goldstick, Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins and Joe Davola.

INTERVENTION (A&E) - 1.61 million viewers tuned into the launch of A&E's latest reality entry on Sunday, including 1.0 million among the network's target 25-54 demographic. The series also fared well among adults 18-49, earning A&E's top Sunday series marks in its history in the demographic.

INVASION (ABC) - Alexis Dziena ("Stone Cold") and Aisha Hinds ("The Shield") have both joined the cast of the drama pilot, about the bizarre occurrences in a small Florida town after a hurricane. Dziena will play Kira Underlay, who's described in the cast notice as: "16. "Punky and budding beautiful", Kira is Tom Underlay's [William Fichtner] daughter, and the ultimate alienated teenager. A funny, strange, and lonely girl who lost her mother when she was 7, Kira lives in a world of her own and feels little connection with her father. Since his marriage to Mariel [yet to be cast], she has gained siblings in Jesse [yet to be cast] and Rose [yet to be cast], and she forms a tentative bond with her attractive new brother that may ultimately be her undoing." Hinds then is believed to be set as Mona Gomez, who's listed as: "Early 30s. Heavyset, African-American, a US Park Ranger in the Everglades and Russell's colleague. She's trying to evacuate stubborn, racist, trigger-happy Earl Low, but she isn't having much luck." Eddie Cibrian and Tyler Labine also star in the project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television and creators Shaun Cassidy and Thomas Schlamme.

JOEY (NBC) - Madchen Amick ("ER") has booked a multi-episode arc on the freshman comedy, where she'll play a photographer and potential love interest for Matt LeBlanc's character. Her first episode airs on March 24.

KOJAK (USA) - Sybil Temchen ("The Sweetest Thing") has been added to the cast of the 1970s cop revival, led by Ving Rhames. No details however were given about her character.

LIES AND THE WIVES WE TELL THEM TO (NBC) - Jeremy Garrett ("Legacy") is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, about four married best friends and their relationships. Garrett will play one of said quartet in the project, which also stars Johnny Sneed, Kyle Chandler and Ed Helms. David Guarascio and Moses Port are behind the NBC Universal Television-based project, which will now tape on Sunday, March 13 at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

LIES MY MOTHER TOLD ME (Lifetime) - 3.69 million viewers watched Monday's premiere of the Joely Richardson-led telefilm. Among women 18-49, the broadcast also fared well, earning a 5 share nationally.

THE LOT (UPN) - Kelly Overton ("The Ring 2") is the first to be cast in the drama pilot, about the lives of several twentysomethings in Hollywood trying to make it big in the world of showbiz. It's understood she'll play Heather Falls in the project. The casting notice describes the character as: "Early 20s. She is cute, dresses funky chic, but can clean up nicely. She also has a quickness to her speech, and superior organization skills, which serves her well in her job as a producer's assistant. Heather is an aspiring actress from Massachusetts, who came to Hollywood with her best friend, Tommy, hoping to make it big. She has followed her dream since childhood. But finally realizes it's not really her dream; it's her mother's. What she is born to do is produce. This epiphany comes after she quits her job for a film role that subsequently falls through. Despite her string of bad luck decisions, Heather dusts herself off, re-evaluates her relationship with Tommy, and gets back to her "partnership" with a big honcho producer, prepared to commit to a whole new path...this time, one that's all her own." Joel Silver, Danielle Stokdyk, Jennifer Gwartz and Dana Baretta are behind the project, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television.

LOVE MONKEY (CBS) - John Wirth ("The District," "Nash Bridges") has been added to drama pilot's producing team, where he'll join current executive producers Mark Johnson and Michael Rauch. "Monkey" tracks the lives of four male friends at different stages of life and love as told from the P.O.V. of a single, thirtysomething record executive (Tom Cavanagh). Jason Priestley, Larenz Tate and Judy Greer also star in the project, which comes from Paramount Network Television, Sony Pictures Television and Johnson's Grand Via banner.

MONK (USA) - "Monk's" third season finale drew 4.4 million viewers on Friday, on par with its recent numbers for the season.

NEW CAR SMELL (FOX) - Victor Togunde ("Hollywood Homicide") has booked a role in the comedy pilot, about the employees of a car dealership. He'll play a former TV star that has fallen on hard times. Brooke Shields, Christopher McDonald, Dave Attell and Dana Daurey also star in the 20th Century Fox Television-based project, which will tape its pilot on Friday, April 1 at the Fox Studios in Los Angeles. David Schwimmer will direct from a script by creators Robb & Mark Cullen.

NOTORIOUS (NBC) - Loni Anderson ("The Mullets") is set to play mother to Tori Spelling in the comedy pilot "noTORIous," about Spelling's own real-life, pre-marriage experiences as a Hollywood celebrity and a member of the Spelling clan. Chris Alberghini and Mike Chessler are behind the single-camera project, which is set up at NBC Universal Television.

PLAY MATES (ABC) - Erinn Hayes ("Significant Others") and Susan Ward ("Sunset Beach") have both joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about the lives of three quirky couples whose lives intersected after they met in a baby preparation class. No details were given about their respective characters. Michael Boatman also stars in the Warner Bros. Television-based project, which comes from executive producers Mark Torgrove and Paul Kaplan.

POOL GUYS (FOX) - Jonathan Sadowski ("American Dreams") and Jake Sandvig ("Cracking Up") have been cast in the comedy pilot, about two 21-year-old pals who live in Tarzana, California and clean pools - while dreaming of the day they'll scrub the whirlpool at the Playboy mansion. They'll play the lead roles of Jason and Sam in the Regency Television-based project, although it's not clear who plays whom. Jason is described in the casting notice as: "Early 20s. Jason is driven and focused on the future and his life goals. He already runs a pool cleaning service with his hedonistic friend, Sam, and he's determined to beat out the competition (two gorgeous girls named Alana and Janet) and implement his big plans for the company. He's not as confident in the dating arena, however, and can't bring himself to ask Amy, the girl he likes, to go out - though he does wind up giving her dating advice. Jason feels like a loser when things start to go wrong - his parents take back their van, they lose a big job and Alana and Janet take two of their clients - but Amy's words of confidence in him bolster his flagging esteem, and he winds up back on track again." Sam then is listed as: "20s. Sam is laid back and focused on food, boobs and anything shiny. He is confident and loves life and all of this makes him a lady magnet. Jason's partner in their pool cleaning business, Sam doesn't have big plans for the future of the business, though he does share Jason's fantasy of one day cleaning the pool at the Playboy Mansion. Sam admits that his life goals aren't on the level of Jason's, but after the two of them have a falling out when their business begins to go south, he realizes how much their friendship means to him, and makes a gesture to Jason that gets their relationship and the business back on track." Jennifer Konner, Alexandra Rushfield and Al Higgins are the executive producers.

STARGATE ATLANTIS (Sci Fi) - Jason Momoa ("North Shore") is set to join the cast of the series when it returns for a second season this summer. Momoa will play Ronon Dex, a human native to the Pegasus Galaxy who joins the Atlantis team after living a solitary life on the run from the Wraith for seven years. His first appearance is understood to be the show's third episode of the new season.

STARGATE SG-1 (Sci Fi) - Lexa Doig ("Andromeda") has scored a recurring role on the veteran sci-fi drama. She'll reportedly play Stargate Command's new chief medical officer and the daughter of Beau Bridges's character. It's not clear when her first appearance will be on the series, which returns for its ninth season this summer.

THRESHOLD (CBS) - Robert Patrick Benedict ("Felicity") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about a female government contingency analyst (Carla Gugino) who leads a team of scientists and military personnel to respond to the threat of a mysterious alien lifeform. Details about Benedict's role weren't specified. He joins the previously cast Charles S. Dutton and Brent Spiner in the project, which comes from Paramount Network Television, Heyday Films and executive producers David Goyer, David Heyman, Bragi Schut, Mark Rosen and Brannon Braga.

THE UNIT (CBS) - Scott Foley ("Felicity") and Amy Acker ("Angel") have both been cast in the Eye's Delta Force-themed drama pilot, about the lives of the members of a Special Forces unit and their families. They join the previously cast Dennis Haysbert, Michael Irby and Regina King in the 20th Century Fox Television-based project, which comes from creators/executive producers Shawn Ryan and David Mamet.

UNTITLED CHRIS KATTAN PROJECT (ABC) - The Chris Kattan-led comedy pilot, about an egocentric consumer reporter who thinks the world revolves around him, is scheduled to tape on Friday, April 8 at the Culver Studios in Los Angeles. Michael McCullers, Don Woodard and Tom Maxwell are the executive producers of the project, which comes from 20th Century Fox Television and 3 Arts Entertainment.

UNTITLED LIZ TUCCILLO PROJECT (The WB) - Lizzy Caplan ("The Pitts") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about four adult sisters in Manhattan who together struggle through career and romance. She'll play one of said sisters in the Warner Bros. Television/Class IV Productions-based project, which also stars Jennifer Esposito and Laura San Giacomo. Liz Tuccillo, Steve Pearlman, Andrew Plotkin and Marta Kauffman are the executive producers.

WILDLIFE (UPN) - Eric Balfour ("Hawaii") is the latest to be cast in the Denise Richards-led drama pilot, about a group of twentysomethings living in the hip Hollywood community of Silver Lake. Lauren German also stars in the Paramount Network Television/Axelrod-Edwards Co.-based project, which was created by Michael Gans and Richard Register. The pair will executive produce the pilot along with Daniel Cerone, Jonathan Axelrod and Kelly Edwards with David Straiton directing.

WINDFALL (A.K.A. TICKET TO RIDE) (FOX) - Sarah Wynter ("24," "The Dead Zone") has joined the cast of the lottery-themed drama pilot, which now features the title of "Windfall." She joins the previously cast Luke Perry and Jason Gedrick in the Regency Television-based project, which comes from executive producers Laurie McCarthy and Gwendolyn M. Parker. In addition, David Semel ("American Dreams") has been tapped to direct the pilot from a script by the pair.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters and Audiences Unlimited

  [march 2005]  

· 24 (FOX)
· ER (NBC)

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