LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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THE DENNIS (NBC) - Christine Dunford ("Something So Right") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a young savant who is forced by his parents to leave their home and business so he can become a man. She'll play Pam Park in the 20th Century Fox Television/Adelstein-Parouse Productions-based project. Her character is described in the casting notice as: "Don's [Donal Logue] wife and Dennis's mother, Pam also absolutely dotes on Dennis. In fact, she has made her entire house into a veritable Dennis shrine, and has recorded every moment of Dennis's life on carefully catalogued videotapes. Miserable when Don kicks Dennis out of the house, Pam lo-jacks Dennis's luggage to track her son. However, when she shows up at Cooter's garage, she learns that Dennis doesn't want to come home - at least not yet." Emily Kapnek, Marty Adelstein, Dawn Parouse are the executive producers while Alex Maggioni serves as a co-executive producer.
EARLY BIRD (NBC) - Renee Taylor ("Alfie") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a twentysomething writer (Timm Sharp) who moves into a retirement community. No details were given about her character. Robert Culp, Luis Avalos, Bill Macy and Larry Hankin also star in the NBC Universal Television/3 Arts Entertainment-based project. Rodney Rothman, Jonathan Groff, David Miner and Howard Klein are the executive producers.
FOX REALITY CHANNEL (FRC) - News Corp.'s long-in-the-works reality channel will finally see the light of day when it launches on Tuesday, May 24. Nearly 18.5 million homes will have access to the channel in its first year through such cable/satellite providers as DirectTV, Dish, Cox, Adelphia and Insight. The channel's initial lineup will feature repeats of nearly 30 reality series, including "The Swan," "Joe Millionaire," "Temptation Island," "Last Comic Standing," "For Love Or Money," "My Big Fat Obnoxious..," "Mr. Personality," "Celebrity Boxing," "Love Cruise," "Mad, Mad House," "Meet My Folks," "Arrest & Trial," "The Fifth Wheel" and "Who Wants to Marry My Dad?" In addition, Fox Reality plans to offer international versions of several series ("Joe Millionaire," "Temptation Island") as well as various U.K. imports ("Single Girls," "The Villa"). The network is also in talks to land repeats of "The Bachelor" franchise, as well as "The Will," "Last Resort," "Scariest Places on Earth" and "The Family." As far as original Fox Reality series, network executives hope to start adding first-run offerings by the first quarter of 2006. More details, including the full launch slate and schedule, are expected to be released shortly.
OLD CHRISTINE (CBS)/TRUE (The WB) - Writer/producer Kari Lizer ("Will & Grace") has signed a two-year overall deal with Warner Bros. Television. The pact calls for Lizer to continue shepherding her two comedy pilots at the studio - the Julia Louis-Dreyfus-led "Old Christine" at CBS and the Anne Heche-led "True" at the WB - should they get picked up to series.
RED & BLUE (ABC) - Annie Potts ("Designing Women") is the first to be cast in the comedy pilot, about a liberal dad and conservative grandfather vying to win the hearts and minds of their kids and grandkids. No details were given about Potts's character in the Touchstone Television/Shady Acres-based project, which comes from executive producers Rob Long, Dan Staley, Michael Bostick and Tom Shadyac.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters and Audiences Unlimited