[03/22/05 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: March 22
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) - Kevin Wheatley ("Champagne Society") has joined the cast while Ted Wass ("I'm With Her") is set to direct the comedy pilot, about a thirtysomething writer whose life is turned upside down when his biological mom (Christine Baranski) shows up on his doorstep one day, resulting in his adoptive (Bernadette Peters) and birth mothers comically competing for his attention. Wheatley will actually play the lead role, Lloyd Leaf, in the 20th Century Fox Television-based project. Industry trades previously indicated Andrew Walker was cast in said part. It's not clear if Walker was actually cast in a different role (such as Tucker Leaf, Lloyd's younger brother) or if he was replaced by Wheatley. In any case, Kevin Abbott, Peter Principato and Paul Young are the executive producers of the project, while Brian Dobbins also serves as a co-executive producer. Wass will direct from a script by creators and co-executive producers Jim Rash and Nat Faxon. Jodi Lyn O'Keefe also stars.

BEST LAID PLANS (A.K.A. UNTITLED JEFF KLEEMAN/MICHAEL SALTZMAN PROJECT) (The WB) - Jane Leeves ("Frasier") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, which now appears to be running under the title "Best Laid Plans." The 20th Century Fox Television/Imagine Television-based project, revolves around a woman whose mother (Leeves) meets the man who was her anonymous sperm donor. Jeff Kleeman and Michael Saltzman are behind the project, which is also executive produced by Imagine's Brian Grazer and David Nevins.

EARLY BIRD (NBC) - Bill Macy ("Analyze This") and Larry Hankin ("Knee High P.I.") have both joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about about a writer (Timm Sharp) who was fired from his dream TV writing job and finds himself chilling out at a retirement village where he loves the laid-back lifestyle. No details were given about Macy or Hankin's characters. Rodney Rothman, David Miner and Howard Klein are the executive producers of the project, which comes from NBC Universal Television and 3 Arts Entertainment.

THE EVOLUTION OF MAN (The WB) - Eric Lively ("American Pie"), Max Greenfield ("Gilmore Girls") and Josh Braaten ("Dumb & Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd") have been cast in the lead roles of the comedy pilot, about three single guys, all friends since childhood, who hire a life coach to help them with women. They'll play Doug, Kyle and Tim respectively in the Warner Bros. Television/Bruckheimer Television-based project, which comes from executive producers Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, Marsh McCall, Ross McCall and Aaron Peters. George Wendt also stars.

FERRY TALES (Showtime, New!) - Katja Esson's Oscar-nominated documentary of the same name, about a group of women who met every morning in the women's bathroom on the Staten Island ferry in New York, is set to be the basis of a new single-camera comedy series for Showtime. Playwright Lynn Nottage ("Intimate Apparel") is attached to write the script to the project, with "Ferry's" Sara Colleton ("Live From Baghdad") executive producing.

KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL (FOX) - Bradley Cooper ("Alias," "Jack & Bobby") has scored the lead role in the single-camera comedy pilot, about a bad-boy, down-on-his-luck chef who takes over at a top New York restaurant and must fight off all the urges of his former lifestyle. He'll play Jack Bourdain in the project, who's described in the casting notice as: "30�s. Jack is a handsome man, as well as talented and passionate chef/artist. He was born to cook. He's got the talent and the degree from the Culinary Institute of America. He's in love with everything about cooking - the heat, the pressure, sheer joy of doing it. Temperamental, high-energy and passionate, he has one aim in life - to create the greatest cuisine on earth. However, three years ago booze and drugs got the better of him, and he ended up working in a family style franchise. Now, he's been given a whole new chance to prove himself, and he's ready for the challenge. Well, almost." Nicholas Brendon, Owain Yeoman and John Francis Daley also star in the project, which comes from 20th Century Fox Television, New Line Television and Darren Star Productions. Darren Star, David Hemingson, David Knoller and Jim Rosenthal are the executive producers.

LAST COMIC STANDING (NBC) - Former "Last Comic Standing" host/executive producer Jay Mohr has signed an overall deal with Sony Pictures Television. The pact calls for Mohr's Giraffe Productions to be set up at the studio where he'll develop new projects of the broadcast and cable networks. He'll also executive produce any projects that result from the deal alongside Giraffe's Cori Fry and Charles Gerencer.

LAWS OF CHANCE (ABC) - Viola Davis ("Century City") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a feisty female A.D.A. (KaDee Strickland) in Houston who uses unconventional methods against the old-boy Texas defense attorneys. She'll play Rebecca in the 20th Century Fox Television/Roundtable Ink-based project, which also stars Michael O'Neill, Fran Kranz and Bruce McGill. Grant Scharbo, Gary Glasberg and Gina Matthews are the executive producers.

THE LOOP (A.K.A. UNTITLED PAM BRADY/WILL GLUCK PROJECT) (FOX) - Pam Brady and Will Gluck's comedy pilot, about a guy right out of college (Bret Harrison) who becomes the first among his friends to get a real job (as a Chicago-based airline's youngest executive), is understood to now be running under the title "The Loop." Philip Baker Hall, Mimi Rogers and Becki Newton also star in the 20th Century Fox Television-based project, which like ABC's short-lived summer drama "The Days" features significant product integration from sponsors to reduce the show's production costs.

NOBODY'S WATCHING (The WB) - "Scrubs" star Zach Braff appears as himself in a cameo appearance on the comedy pilot, about two Midwestern guys (Paul Campbell, Taran Killam) who win a reality show contest and get to create their own sitcom. Paul Adelstein and Mircea Monroe also star in the project, which comes from Bill Lawrence's NBC Universal Television-based Doozer Television and executive producers Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan.

THE RON WHITE SHOW (A.K.A. UNTITLED RON WHITE PROJECT) (The WB) - Ron White's backdoor pilot special is reportedly now being referred to as simply "The Ron White Show." The project, which is being eyed for the post-"Blue Collar TV" time period come the fall, features the original Blue Collar Comedy Tour member, in a mix of standup, sketch comedy, music and animated segments. White and John MacDonald of Parallel Entertainment are the executive producers.

SISTERS (A.K.A. UNTITLED LIZ TUCCILLO PROJECT) (The WB) - Laura Breckenridge ("Boston Public") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, which now features the title "Sisters." The Warner Bros. Television/Class IV Productions-based project tracks four adult sisters in Manhattan who together struggle through career and romance. Breckenridge will play the youngest of the quartet, which also includes Lizzy Caplan, Jennifer Esposito and Laura San Giacomo. Liz Tuccillo, Steve Pearlman, Andrew Plotkin and Marta Kauffman are the executive producers.

SUPERNATURAL (The WB) - A few additional details have emerged about the drama pilot, which stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as brothers who encounter unusual ghosts and local creatures straight out of American folk lore and urban legends during a road trip across America. It's been learned that the brothers go on said adventure in order to track down the forces responsible for their mother's murder 20 years earlier. Eric Kripke, McG, Stephanie Savage and Peter Johnson are the executive producers of the Warner Bros. Television/Wonderland Sound and Vision-based project. David Nutter directs.

TALK SHOW DIARIES (A.K.A. FRIENDS IN THE A.M.) (UPN) - Nancy Travis ("Becker") has been cast in the lead role of the comedy pilot, which was recently retitled "Talk Show Diaries." She'll play Windsor in the Touchstone Television/Coquette Productions-based project. Her character is described as: "Late 30s to early 40s. She's a highly respected journalist who has been doing cutting-edge political interviews for a couple of decades now. Looks amazing, by sheer force of will. Windsor hosts the popular "Friends in the Morning," a younger, hipper version of "The View." Married for 20 years and the mother of two, Windsor seems to have it all - including a biting sense of humor and a reluctance to grow older in a youth obsessed industry. That's probably why she's having trouble adjusting to Marion, the show's youthful new addition. As we later learn, Windsor's "perfect" marriage really broke up two years ago, although she is still playing the doting wife for her adoring fans. After Marion inadvertently discovers her secret, the incident ultimately breaks the ice and makes the show's stars closer than ever - for now, at least." In addition, Sheldon Epps has signed on to direct the pilot from a script by creator Allison Gibson. Gibson then also executive produces alongside Coquette's Courteney Cox-Arquette and David Arquette.

THREE (CBS) - The comedy pilot, about a newly single guy (Zachary Levi) who suddenly finds himself the third wheel in the relationship between his best friend (James Van Der Beek) and the friend's wife, is scheduled to tape on Friday, April 15 at the Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen are behind the project, which is set up at Paramount Network Television.

TWINS (A.K.A. UNTITLED SARA GILBERT PROJECT) (The WB) - Molly Stanton ("Passions") is set to star opposite Sara Gilbert in the comedy pilot, about fraternal twin sisters who have nothing in common. Max Mutchnick and David Kohan are behind the project, which is set up at their Warner Bros. Television-based KoMut Productions.

UNTITLED DANIEL KNAUF PROJECT (Showtime, New!) - Daniel Knauf ("Carnivale") and Tracy Torme ("Sliders") are developing a new project at the pay channel, a single-camera comedy that cuts beneath the surface of idyllic 1950s suburbia to examine its dark side. No other details were available about the project. Torme currently serves as a consulting producer on the Knauf-created "Carnivale."

UNTITLED PETER DINKLAGE PROJECT (ABC) - A few minor details have emerged about Peter Dinklage's comedy pilot at the Alphabet. It's now understood that he'll play "the world's least-motivated teacher" thrust into a classroom of Type A students. Tina Majorino, Busy Philipps and Dave Foley also star in the project, which comes from creator Don Todd, Touchstone Television and Stu Bloomberg's Cabloom! banner.

WINGWOMAN (UPN) - The comedy pilot, about the exploits of a woman who helps men talk to other women, has been slated to tape on Friday, April 29 at the Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. Adam Chase, Mark Burg and Oren Koules are behind the project, to be executive produced by the trio and Warren Littlefield. The pilot then is set up at Paramount Network Television, the Littlefield Co. and Evolution Entertainment.

WORLD OF TROUBLE (NBC) - Orla Brady ("Revelations") has been cast as Joan Denny in the drama pilot, about a squad of U.S.-based FBI agents solve crimes committed against Americans (and U.S. interests) overseas. Brady's character is the squad's leader in the project, which comes from NBC Universal Television with Stephen Hopkins directing from a script by creator Peter Noah. Idris Elba and Vinessa Shaw also star.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [march 2005]  


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