[04/08/05 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: April 7-8
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!

AMERICAN CRIME (CBS) - Kimberly Elise ("Diary of a Mad Black Woman") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a female prosecutor (Jennifer Finnigan) who juggles the world of suburban crime with the challenges of being a new mother. She'll play Maureen Dobie in the Warner Bros. Television/Bruckheimer Television-based project, which comes from executive producers Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman and Jim Leonard. John Carroll Lynch, David Starzyk and Christian Kane also star.

CITY HALL (HBO, New!) - Emmy-winning directors Joe and Anthony Russo ("Arrested Development") have booked a second drama project at the pay channel. This new, semi-autobiographical project tracks a family of politicians who essentially run the city of Cleveland, Ohio. The real life Russo family has reportedly been steeped in Cleveland politics since the 1960s and continues to remain a force in the city. The pair's sister Angela Russo and their childhood friend John Hlavin are writing the pilot script, which is understood to revolve around the conflict between capitalism and democracy in the city and how that plays out in the dreams and aspirations of the various family members, and will also serve as co-executive producers. "City Hall" joins "Motel Novella" as the Russo brothers second project in the works at the pay channel, with the pair also developing "Arthur Avenue" (formerly "Behind the Counter With Mussolini") at Showtime and directing the pilot "What About Brian?" at ABC.

FILMORE MIDDLE (NBC) - Radio personality and frequent voice actor Phil Hendrie ("King of the Hill") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about disillusioned teachers at a rundown public junior high school. No details were given about his character in the project, which also stars Justin Bartha and Sarah Alexander. Matt Tarses is behind the pilot, which is set up at NBC Universal Television.

LOVE LIFE (ABC) - Henry Simmons ("N.Y.P.D. Blue") has joined the cast of the single-camera comedy pilot, about two groups of Philadelphia-based thirtysomething men and women who become friends when two of them (Julie Bowen, Tom Everett Scott) start dating. Simmons is believed to be playing Dr. Steven in the Touchstone Television-based project, which also stars Michael Landes, Alan Tudyk, Lucy Davis and Sophina Brown. While not fully described in the casting notice, a note in Bowen's character description mentions: "She was dating a handsome doctor before she hit it off big time with Sam [Tom Everett Scott]. That was six weeks ago. Jane still hasn't gotten around to dumping Dr. Steven - but that's because she's not quote sure where she stands with Sam." Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont, Jamie Tarses and Karey Burke are the executive producers.

LOST (ABC) - (Highlight the following text to read only if you've seen this week's episode.) Actor Ian Somerhalder, whose character was killed off in this week's installment, has signed a one-year talent holding deal with ABC and Touchstone Television. The pact calls for the network and studio to cast the actor in one of their projects next year.

ROCK SCHOOL (VH1, New!) - RDF Media ("Wife Swap") has scored a six-episode order for what's being described as a reality series version of the Jack Black feature "School of Rock." The British-based project tracks Kiss bass player Gene Simmons as he educates the classically trained pupils of Christ's Hospital in Horsham, Surrey, on the ways of rock. Production has already been completed on the series, which will likely debut in the late spring or early summer on VH1. The network is also reportedly in talks with other musicians for future editions, however no deals have been reached.

UNTITLED CAMRYN MANHEIM PROJECT (The WB) - Lauren Holly ("Chicago Hope") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about an eccentric hippie-type single mother (Camryn Manheim) with three kids who moves into a new neighborhood filled with trendy soccer moms. Holly, who spent the past development season as part of the Frog's drama pilot "Rocky Point," will play Andrea in the project, which also stars Heather Paige Kent, Evan Ellingson and Spencer Locke. Anne Flett Giordano, Chuck Ranberg, Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum are the executive producers of the pilot, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television and the Tannenbaum Co.

UNTITLED CHRISTOPHER LLOYD/JOE KEENAN PROJECT (CBS) - Christopher Gorham ("Medical Investigation") and Paula Marshall ("Veronica Mars") have both joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a family of single doctors. Gorham will play the lead role of Benjamin Chase, who's described in the casting notice as: "Late 20�s-early 30�s. An attractive and earnest couples counselor. While Ben has a fun-loving side, he is preoccupied by his desire to do the right thing. This is further aggravated by the nagging feeling that he is a failure, owing to the fact that he�s the only person in his family who is not a doctor � or a "real doctor", as his relatives might put it." Marshall then is set as Regina Chase: "Late 20�s-30�s. Ben�s sister. An attractive, lesbian, emergency room doctor. A bit of a cowboy and hothead at times, she does not suffer fools or judgmental mothers gladly. She�s a better athlete than her brothers and has probably slept with more women than both of them combined." They'll join the previously cast Stockard Channing and Henry Winkler as their divorced parents Lydia and Stewart. Christopher Lloyd and Joe Keenan are behind the project, which is set up at Paramount Network Television.

UNTITLED JONATHAN BAKER/VICTORIA FULLER PROJECT (VH1, New!) - Much-ballyhooed "Amazing Race 6" contestants Jonathan Baker and Victoria Fuller have reportedly completed filming a pilot for a potential reality series at the cable channel. Said project, which is under consideration for as early as the fall, will track the pair through their post-"Race" fame including their home life. "Basically it's John and I, and the arc of fame, from going on a reality show, being dumped off on the end, and what happens when you come out on the other side," Fuller told The New York Daily News. No other details were specified.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [april 2005]  


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