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[03/28/05 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: March 28
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!

ALL IN (NBC) - Jackie Debatin ("Amy's Orgasm") is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, about a single mother (Janeane Garofalo) of three in Las Vegas who earns a living as a professional poker player. She'll play Marilyn, the Las Vegas Showgirl/half sister of Garofalo's character in the project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television and Is or Isn't Entertainment. Geoff Pierson also stars as Harvey, the father of Garofalo's character. Jack Burditt, Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky are the executive producers.

BLUE SKIES (NBC) - Michael McKean ("A Mighty Wind") is set to play the father of Anna Faris in the comedy pilot, about a former golden child (Faris) who becomes the enabler to her crazy family. Missi Pyle and Jay Paulson also star in the project, which comes from creator Jhoni Marchinko and NBC Universal Television. In addition, Gary Halvorson ("Committed") has signed on to direct the comedy pilot from a script by Marchinko.

THE CATCH (ABC) - Maximillian Alexander ("All My Children") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a bounty hunter business run by a single father/private eye (Greg Grunberg), his grandfather-partner (Don Rickles) and their new partner (Kym Whitley). It's not clear which character Alexander is playing in the project, which also stars Joanne Kelly and Daylia Wallace. J.J. Abrams, Greg Grunberg and John Eisendrath are behind the pilot, which is set up at Touchstone Television and Bad Robot Productions.

CHAPPELLE'S SHOW (Comedy Central) - The long-awaited third season of "Chappelle's Show" is now set to premiere on Tuesday, May 31, one week after its second season release on DVD.

CHASING FARRAH (TV Land) - A modest 824,000 viewers tuned into last week's opener of the Farrah Fawcett-led reality series. Said numbers were off significantly from the debut of Nick at Nite's animated entry "Fatherhood" last year (1.8 million).

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF (ABC) - Andrew James Allen ("Run of the House") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about the nation's first female president (Geena Davis). He'll play Horace Allen in the project, who's described as: "15. Horace is a handsome, athletic, wildly popular teenager. He's the star of his high school football team, not to mention an excellent student who, unlike his rebellious twin sister Helen [Caitlin Wachs], never gives his parents a moment's trouble. Very mature for his age, Horace has a deep sense of the history of the situation when his mother becomes the first female President of the United States." Rod Lurie and Marc Frydman are the executive producers of the Touchstone Television-based project, which also stars Leslie Hope, Jasmine Jessica Anthony, Donald Sutherland, Julie Ann Emery, Harry J. Lennix, Kyle Secor and Ever Carradine.

CONFESSIONS OF A DOG (NBC) - Justin Theroux ("Six Feet Under"), Alexander Chaplin ("Spin City") and Dash Mihok ("Basic") have all joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a likable self-deprecating serial dater who has never been in a serious relationship and his two best friends, all of whom have remained friends despite their divergent lifestyles. Theroux, whose casting lifts the cast-contingency on the NBC Universal Television-based pilot's production, will play the lead role while no details were given about Chaplin and Mihok's characters. Bill Lawrence and Eric Weinberg are the executive producers.

CONVICTION (CBS) - Jenni Baird ("Global Frequency") has joined the cast of the Sally Field-led drama pilot, about a team of lawyers who prosecute major cases. No details were given about her character in the Warner Bros. Television/25C Productions-based project, which comes from executive producers Ed Redlich, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly and Jon Avnet. Lisa Gay Hamilton and Eriq La Salle also star.

CRUMBS (ABC) - Maggie Lawson ("It's All Relative") is the latest to book a role on the comedy pilot, about two estranged brothers (Fred Savage, Eddie McClintock) - one gay and one straight - who wind up running the family business when their parents (Jane Curtin, William Devane) get divorced. She'll play the best friend of Savage's character in the project, which comes from creator Marco Pennette and Touchstone Television-based producers Brian Robbins and Mike Tollin.

THE DENNIS (A.K.A. UNTITLED EMILY KAPNEK PROJECT) (NBC) - Donal Logue ("Grounded for Life") has been cast in the comedy pilot, which now features the title "The Dennis." The project, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television and Adelstein-Parouse Productions, revolves around a former child prodigy forced out by his parents so he can become a man. Logue will reportedly play Don Park, who's described as: "40s. Dennis's father. This hot dog stand owner dotes on his only son, as does his wife, Pam. However, when Don reads a copy of Parenting Magazine, he fears that Dennis, his "little bird," is too sheltered for his own good. Determined to do what's best for Dennis, Don fires him, boots him out of the house, and tells him to get busy living his life to the fullest. Weeping profusely over the separation, he finds solace in his new employee Song, who soon takes Dennis's place in the Park household." Emily Kapnek is behind the project, which is also executive produced by Marty Adelstein and Dawn Parouse.

DON'T ASK (FOX) - Harry Van Gorkum ("The Nanny") has joined the cast of the single-camera comedy pilot, about a married father (Alan Ruck) of two teenage sons who announces he's gay and in love with his wife's (Kristen Johnston) shrink. No details were given about Gorkum's character in the project, which comes from executive producers Tim Doyle, Nicky Silver, Sandy Grushow and Paul Shapiro and is set up at 20th Century Fox Television and Grushow's Phase Two banner.

THE DIVE FROM CLAUSEN'S PIER (Lifetime) - Will Estes ("American Dreams") is set to star opposite Michelle Trachtenberg in the upcoming telefilm, about a small-town woman's journey of self-discovery after her fiance suffers a serious accident. Harry Winer is helming the Con Artists Productions/Fox TV Studios-based project from an adaptation of Ann Packer's best-selling novel of the same name by John Wierick. Brenda Friend, Mel Gibson, Bruce Davey, Nancy Cotton, David Madden and Lisa Demberg are the executive producers.

EMILY'S REASONS WHY NOT (ABC) - Khary Payton ("Hellraiser: Hellworld") has joined the cast of the Heather Graham-led comedy pilot, about a woman (Graham) who publishes a self-help book but doesn't take her own advice. It's not clear which character in the casting notice Payton is playing. Gavin Polone, Emily Kapnek, Vivian Cannon and Robin Schiff are behind the project, which comes from Sony Pictures Television and Polone and Cannon's Pariah Television.

FOUR KINGS (NBC) - Jonah Lotan ("The Jacket") and newcomer Todd Grinnell have been cast the comedy pilot, about four friends since childhood living in New York City. Lotan will play Ben in the Warner Bros. Television/KoMut Productions-based project, which comes from "Will & Grace" creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick. His character is described in the casting notice as: "Mid 20's. Cute, intelligent dry-witted freelance journalist and fulltime good guy. He is the unspoken leader of this group. His friends rely on him the most, and though he doesn't cop to it, his biggest fear is letting them down. Think John Cusack in 'High Fidelity.'" As for Grinnell, it's not clear which character in the casting notice he plays.

INCONCEIVABLE (NBC) - Kevin Alejandro ("24") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about the employees at a high-end fertility clinic. It's understood he'll play Angel Hernandez in the Touchstone Television/Tollin-Robbins Productions-based project. His character is described as: "25-30, Latino. Lab technician, attractive, flirtatious, thinks of himself as a ladies� man but there�s still a sweet altar boy beneath the toned exterior. A younger Bobby Cannavale-type." Ming-Na, Jonathan Cake, David Norona, Joelle Carter and Alfre Woodard also star in the project, which comes from executive producers Marco Pennette, Oliver Goldstick, Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins and Joe Davola.

KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL (FOX) - Bonnie Somerville ("N.Y.P.D. Blue") is moving back to comedy in her latest project, as the actress has joined the cast of the Darren Star-produced comedy pilot. She'll reportedly play Mimi in the project, about a bad-boy, down-on-his-luck chef (Bradley Cooper) who takes over at a top New York restaurant and must fight off all the urges of his former lifestyle. Her character is described in the casting notice as: "Early-mid 20s. A gorgeous waitress at Bistro Pino. She is an intelligent, high-strung, uppity, manipulative, grasping young woman who is just waiting for Jack [Cooper] to fail - so she can take over the restaurant. We later learn that she is none other than Pino's daughter. Possible future love interest for Jack." Jaime King, Nicholas Brendon, Owain Yeoman and John Francis Daley also star in the project, which comes from executive producers Darren Star, David Hemingson, David Knoller and Jim Rosenthal and is set up at 20th Century Fox Television, New Line Television and Darren Star Productions.

THE LOT (UPN) - Jessica Lucas ("life as we know it") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about the lives of several twentysomethings in Hollywood trying to make it big in the world of showbiz. She'll reportedly play Arikalynn Smith in the project, who's described as: "Early 20s. She is cute, eager, naive, honorable, and the product of a sheltered life. Arikalynn (that's not her real name) is the daughter of a studio head who is aching to make it on her own. Somehow she lands the job as the new studio tour guide. And because she can fork over the cash covering first, last, and security she is accepted as Tommy and Heather's [Kelly Overton] new roommate. Her first order of business? To secretly fix their apartment's Jacuzzi and to fill the empty swimming pool." Gina Gershon also stars in the Warner Bros. Television/Silver Pictures-based project, which comes from executive producers Jennifer Gwartz, Danielle Stokdyk, Dana Baratta and Joel Silver.

PLAY MATES (ABC) - David DeLuise ("Gilmore Girls") has been cast as Billy in the comedy pilot, about the lives of three quirky couples whose lives intersected after they met in a baby preparation class. He'll join the previously cast Michael Boatman, Erinn Hayes and Susan Ward in the Warner Bros. Television-based project, which comes from creators/executive producers Mark Torgrove and Paul Kaplan.

THE PRINCE (The WB) - Mariel Hemingway ("See Arnold Run") is the latest to join the cast of the drama pilot, about a rich New York family and the relationship between the father and the younger son (Chris Egan) following the older son's death. No details were released about her character in the project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television, Berlanti-Liddell Productions and Fort Hill Productions. Amber Heard, Noel Fisher and Tim Matheson also star in the pilot, while Matt LeBlanc, Jesse Wigutow, John Goldstone, Greg Berlanti and Mickey Liddell are the executive producers.

PROJECT SEVENTEEN (MTV, New!) - The cable channel and Hearst Magazines' Seventeen are set to partner for a new 10-episode reality series this fall that will chronicle the magazine's search for "America's Sweetheart." Full details about the project have yet to be released, however it is known that the winner will receive a college scholarship, a paid internship at Seventeen and her picture on the cover of the magazine. Casting calls are expected to be announced shortly by the pair. Atoosa Rubenstein, editor in chief of the magazine, will serve as an executive producer on the series.

READY, FIRE, AIM (CBS, New!) - Dick Wolf ("Law & Order") has reportedly landed a last-minute pilot order for a new comedy at the Eye about two strangers who impulsively decide to marry. Les Firestein ("Wanda at Large") is behind the project, which is set up at Wolf's NBC Universal Television-based Wolf Films. The pilot's delay is understood to be tied to tensions between NBC Universal and CBS over demands by the Eye to make "Ready" a co-production with Paramount Network Television. Nevertheless, casting appears to be moving forward on the project with the studio issues likely being sorted out if/when CBS orders it to series.

STELLA (Comedy Central) - The cable channel has confirmed the comedy series will premiere on Wednesday, June 29. Here's how the network's press materials describe the project: "Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and David Wain (from cult hits "The State" and "Wet Hot American Summer") write and star in "Stella," a live-action adaptation of their popular stage show. Every episode features a new set of absurdist obstacles for our perpetually suit-clad trio as these modern-day Marx brothers embark on various misadventures, from the everyday (gaining co-op approval via a "Flashdance"-inspired dance routine) to the outrageous (performing open-heart surgery on their ex-Nazi landlord). Black, Showalter and Wain also serve as executive producers."

UNTITLED BILL OAKLEY/JOSH WEINSTEIN PROJECT (FOX) - Diedrich Bader ("Center of the Universe") is the first to be cast in the comedy pilot, a workplace sitcom set at a police precinct in New York's Times Square. He'll play Lt. Peter Fontaine in the project, which comes from NBC Universal Television and Lorne Michaels & Joann Alfano's Broadway Video. Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein are the creators/executive producers.

UNTITLED HOLLY HESTER PROJECT (ABC) - Brenda Blethyn ("Secrets & Lies") has scored the lead role in the comedy pilot, about a middle-aged woman (Blethyn) who leaves her picture-perfect family life for a divorce and a job. Blethyn will take over for Sally Field, who had previously been in talks for the role. In addition, Touchstone Television has come aboard as a co-producer of the pilot, which is also set up at NBC Universal Television and Conan O'Brien's Conaco Productions. O'Brien, Holly Hester and Conaco's A.J. Morewitz & Jeff Ross are the executive producers.

UNTITLED JOSH GOLDSMITH/CATHY YUSPA PROJECT (CBS) - Benjamin King ("Saving Jessica Lynch") is set as Russell in the comedy pilot, about a New York couple (Tiffany Thiessen, Darren Ritchie) who are forced to grow up when they have kids of their own. No details were given about King's character in the project, which comes from Sony Pictures Television, Paramount Network Television and creators Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa.

WINDFALL (FOX) - Tembi Locke ("Like Family") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about 20 people who share a winning $386 million lottery ticket. No details were released about Locke's character in the project, which also stars Luke Perry, Jason Gedrick and Sarah Wynter. Laurie McCarthy and Gwendolyn M. Parker are behind the Regency Television-based pilot, which David Semel is directing.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters





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· 24 (FOX)
· AMERICAN DREAMS (NBC)
· BLUE SKIES (NBC)
· CATCH, THE (ABC)
· CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE (CBS)
· CHAPPELLE'S SHOW (COMEDY CENTRAL)
· COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF (ABC)
· COMMITTED (NBC)
· CONFESSIONS OF A DOG (NBC)
· CONVICTION (CBS)
· CRUMBS (ABC)
· DEAL (NBC)
· DENNIS, THE (NBC)
· DIVE FROM CLAUSEN'S PIER, THE (LIFETIME)
· DON'T ASK (FOX)
· EMILY'S REASONS WHY NOT (ABC)
· FATHERHOOD (NICKELODEON)
· FOUR KINGS (NBC)
· GILMORE GIRLS (NETFLIX)
· GLOBAL FREQUENCY (WB)
· GROUNDED FOR LIFE (WB)
· INCONCEIVABLE (NBC)
· IT'S ALL RELATIVE (ABC)
· KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL (FOX)
· LAW & ORDER (NBC)
· LIFE AS WE KNOW IT (ABC)
· LIKE FAMILY (WB)
· MARSHA POTTER GETS A LIFE (ABC)
· MISS SEVENTEEN (MTV)
· NYPD BLUE (ABC)
· PLAY DATES (ABC)
· PRINCE, THE (WB)
· READY, FIRE, AIM (CBS)
· RUN OF THE HOUSE (WB)
· SAVING JESSICA LYNCH (NBC)
· SEE ARNOLD RUN (A AND E)
· SIX FEET UNDER (HBO)
· SPIN CITY (ABC)
· STELLA (COMEDY CENTRAL)
· STROLLER WARS (CBS)
· STUDIO, THE (UPN)
· UNTITLED OAKLEY & WEINSTEIN PROJECT (FOX)
· WANDA AT LARGE (FOX)
· WILL & GRACE (NBC)
· WINDFALL (NBC)





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