[05/31/05 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: May 27-31
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!

CAMPUS CONFIDENTIAL (ABC Family) - Nicole Paggi ("Hope & Faith") has joined the cast of the upcoming telefilm, about two friends (Carlson Romano, Keri Lynn Pratt) who decide to publish a tabloid exposing the embarrassing secrets of the popular kids that rule the school. Paggi will play one of said popular kids in the project, which also stars Katey Sagal and Teddy Dunn. Production has already begun on the project, which Melanie Mayron is directing from a script by David Kukoff and Matt Roshkow with Julie Yorn, Marc Gordon and Paul Frank producing.

THE CLOSER (TNT) - The cable channel has announced that the Kyra Sedgwick-led drama series will debut commercial-free on Monday, June 13 at 9:00/8:00c. No details were given however about which advertiser or advertisers is/are sponsoring the event.

CRUMBS (ABC) - Writer/producer David Walpert ("Happy Family," "Just Shoot Me") has signed a two-year (with an option for a third), seven-figure overall deal with Touchstone Television. The pact calls for Walpert to develop new projects for the studio as well as join ABC's midseason comedy "Crumbs" as a co-executive producer.

LAGUNA BEACH: THE REAL ORANGE COUNTY (MTV) - The second season of the unscripted "docu-soap" will reportedly premiere on Monday, July 25 (time TBA). As a build up to the show's sophomore season, MTV will air a marathon of its inaugural run on Sunday, July 10 with a launch special Monday, July 11 (both times TBA).

MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE (FOX) - Creator/executive producer Linwood Boomer reportedly plans to step down as showrunner of the veteran comedy when it returns for its seventh season this fall. Matthew Carlson, who's been a co-executive producer on the series for the past three years, is expected to take over the role. Boomer, who plans to focus on the development aspect of his recently signed overall deal with Regency Television (read the story), won't completely exit the series however - he'll retain an executive consultant credit as well as potentially direct some installments of the upcoming season.

MINDING THE STORE (TBS) - The cable channel has confirmed the Pauly Shore-led unscripted series will bow on Sunday, July 17 at 10:00/9:00c. It's understood back-to-back episodes of the series will run each week through Sunday, August 14. Here's how the network's press materials describe the project: "MINDING THE STORE opens with Mitzi Shore reluctantly handing over the reins of her legendary Comedy Store to her youngest son Pauly, in the hopes that maybe he can pump some life back into it. With his plans of renovations, new promotions and A-list talent, Pauly�s goal of making the comedy club great again proves to be a daunting task, especially since his mom just can�t seem to let him take over completely. Equally as daunting are Pauly�s attempts to regain his professional footing as an actor, taking classes and telling his agent to put him up for serious, more dramatic roles. He also runs into problems as he tries to juggle relationships with the women in his life and finally date someone �appropriate.�"

NIP/TUCK (FX) - Jessalyn Gilsig, who's recurred the past two seasons as sex-addict Gina Tusso, will be upped to series regular when the cable drama returns for its third season this fall. No specifics were given as to how Gilsig's character will re-enter the life of Julian McMahon's character, with whom she initially planned to raise her baby.

THE REAL WORLD (MTV) - A launch special detailing the cast of the show's 16th edition has been scheduled to air on Monday, June 6 at 10:30/9:30c. The series will then settle into its regular Tuesday, 10:00/9:00c time period on June 21.

SILVER BELLS (CBS) - Tate Donovan ("The O.C."), Michael Mitchell and Lourdes Benedicto ("N.Y.P.D. Blue") have all joined the cast of the Anne Heche-led telefilm, based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Luanne Rice. "Bells" tracks the Manhattan-based story of a widow (Heche) who takes a teenage boy (Mitchell) under her wing following his falling out with his Christmas-tree farmer father (Donovan). Donovan's character then crosses paths with Heche's when he returns the following holiday season. Benedicto then will play the best friend of Heche's character. Production is underway on the project with Dick Lowry directing from a script by Jim McGrath with Richard Welsh and Brent Shields executive producing.

THE SOPRANOS (HBO) - According to promos that ran before the pay channel's presentation of "Empire Falls" over the weekend, the long-delayed sixth season of the mob drama will premiere in March of 2006. In addition, newcomer "Rome" was specified as premiering in September of this year.

STUCK WITH U (A.K.A. UNTITLED SCHOOL PROJECT) (ABC Family) - The upcoming unscripted series, about four university students who are forced to live with one of their parents, is now understood to be running under the title "Stuck With U." The series, which is being shot at Philadelphia's Drexel University, is currently set to debut in August (date/time TBA).

SURVIVOR (CBS) - Cable channel Outdoor Life Network has scored the off-network repeat rights to the veteran reality franchise. Networks reps and creator/executive producer Mark Burnett are expected to make a joint announcement today detailing the news. No premiere date or financial details were given however.

WILD 'N' OUT (MTV) - The Nick Cannon-led sketch comedy competition has been slated to premiere on Wednesday, July 13 (time TBA). The eight-episode series pits two sketch comedy teams (one lead by Cannon, another by a celebrity guest) as they face off in several rounds of improv games. Cannon is also executive producing the project along with his manager Michael Goldman and Power Entertainment's Tony DiSanto, Andrew Hoegl and Jonathan Singer.

UNTITLED MARIA LOPEZ PROJECT (Syndication, New!) - Sony Pictures Television has inked Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Maria Lopez to a talent holding deal. It's expected said pact will lead to the development of a syndicated court series featuring the Cuban-born judge. No other details were specified.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [may 2005]  


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