LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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1776 (HBO, New!) - The pay channel and Tom Hanks & Gary Goetzman's Playtone banner are set to team for a new multi-part mini-series based on David McCullough's recently published book "1776." Said project, which Hanks and Goetzman will executive produce, will track George Washington's military campaign against the British. The news marks HBO and Playtone's second small screen adaptation of a McCullough novel, the first being the upcoming 11-hour project "John Adams." Kirk Ellis, who spearheaded "Adams" (writing nine of the 11 hours), is understood to be in talks to do the same for "1776." Production on "Adams" is set to begin in the fall while no timetable was given for "1776."
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC) - Roger Bart, who recurred this past season as creepy pharmacist George Williams, will be upped to series regular when the smash hit drama returns for its second season this fall. No details however were specified about his character's future storylines.
THE ENGAGEMENT RING (TNT, New!) - Patricia Heaton ("Everybody Loves Raymond") is in talks to star in her second telefilm for the cable channel (the first being last year's "Goodbye Girl" remake). The "Moonstruck"-esque romantic comedy tracks the story of a woman (Heaton) and a man (yet to be cast) who run neighboring wineries and find their growing attraction hindered by a misunderstanding between their respective mother and uncle over an engagement ring lost 50 years ago.
HOOKING UP (ABC, New!) - ABC News is reportedly putting the finishing touches on a new documentary series which focuses on several women as they navigate the online dating scene and how technology itself is altering the social mores around courtship. The project, which could be ready to air by early July, comes from executive producer Terence Wrong (ABC's various "24/7" series, including "Boston 24/7," "Hopkins 24/7" and "NYPD 24/7"). It's understood the Alphabet will air the series as either five one-hour or 10 half-hour installments.
P. DIDDY PRESENTS THE BAD BOYS OF COMEDY (HBO, New!) - Sean "P. Diddy" Combs's latest endeavor is set to premiere on Friday, June 10 at 11:00/10:00c. The stand-up series, which will tape at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, will be hosted by Doug E. Fresh with DJ Mr. C handling the musical duties. Combs himself (who is executive producing with Walter Latham) will also appear briefly in each installment (a la Russell Simmons in "Def Comedy Jam"). Among the comedians set to appear during the show's freshman run are: Howie Bell, Rayzor, Malik, Marcus Combs, Ronnie Jordan, Mike Brooks, Big Jay, Will-E-Robo, Darius Bradford, Damon Williams, Tone X and Bobo Lamb. "Bad Boys," along with "Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry" (which launches its fifth season that same night at 11:30/10:30c), will fill the 11:00/10:00c hour until the return of "Real Time With Bill Maher" on August 19.
RENO 911/STELLA (Comedy Central) - The cable channel has confirmed due to the delay of "Chappelle's Show's" third season, "Reno 911" will launch its third season on Tuesday, June 14 at 10:00/9:00c, not 10:30/9:30c as previously reported. Newcomer "Stella's" time period has also been changed. Originally slated for the post-"South Park" slot on Wednesdays, the series will instead follow "Reno" on Tuesdays at 10:30/9:30c beginning June 28.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters