LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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24 (FOX) - In the first bit of news about "24's" upcoming fifth season, James Morrison has been upped to series regular on the veteran drama. He'll continue in his role of Bill Buchanan, the head of the show's Counter Terrorism Unit. No other details were given.
3 LBS. (CBS) - The drama pilot, about a group of brain surgeons (including Dylan McDermott, Mark Feuerstein and Reiko Aylesworth) in Los Angeles, remains under consideration at the Eye as the network has picked up the options of the cast as well as ordered an additional script. In addition, creator Peter Ocko has inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with the pilot's co-producer, Paramount Network Television. The pact covers his duties on the project, which he wrote on spec, should it get ordered to series as well as calls for him to develop other projects for the studio.
ALIAS (ABC) - TNT's preliminary September schedule indicates its off-network run of the ABC spy drama will begin Monday, September 26 at 6:00/5:00c. No other details were given.
DEADWOOD (HBO) - Gerald McRaney, who guest starred in the show's second season finale as George Hearst (the father of famed newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst), is set to return in said role for a multi-episode arc on the series next year. No other details however were given.
EUREKA (Sci Fi) - Matt Frewer ("Taken") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a U.S. marshal (Colin Ferguson) who gets stranded in an eccentric think-tank community in the Pacific Northwest. He'll play Jim Taggart, who's described in the casting notice as: "45. A big Aussie, he is a self-dubbed "Biological Containment Specialist." Taggart works for Sheriff Cobb; it's his job to make sure that the town's security is not breached. Dressed in camouflage, he drives a Humvee and using a tranquilizer gun, takes down anybody or anything that could prove problematic." He joins the previously cast Greg Germann, Salli Richardson-Wittfield, Joe Morton, Debrah Farentino, Jordan Hinson, Maury Chaykin and Erica Cerra in the project, which comes from NBC Universal Television.
FOUR KINGS (NBC) - Lester Lewis ("Happy Family") has inked a two-year overall deal with Warner Bros. Television. The pact calls for Lewis to serve as the showrunner of NBC's midseason comedy "Four Kings." There he'll serve alongside fellow executive producers (and creators) David Kohan and Max Mutchnick. In addition, he'll also create new projects for the studio. Lewis spent the past development season as an executive producer of fellow NBC midseason comedy pilot "Thick and Thin" and was also a consulting producer on "The Office."
THE GHOST WHISPERER (CBS) - Writer/producer John Wirth ("The District") has been tapped as the drama's showrunner. Wirth, who recently signed a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with Touchstone Television, will serve as an executive producer along with creator John Gray and non-writing executives Ian Sander and Kim Moses. In addition, as typical with these type of deals, he'll also develop new projects for the studio. Wirth spent the past development season behind the CBS drama pilot "Love Monkey," which wasn't ordered to series however is still said to be under consideration for midseason.
HOT PROPERTIES (ABC) - Christina Moore ("That '70s Show") has joined the cast of the upcoming comedy series, about four women who work at an upscale Manhattan real estate office. She'll take over for Audra Blaser in the role of Emerson in the Warner Bros. Television-based project, which also stars Gail O'Grady, Nicole Sullivan, Sofia Vergara, Stephen Dunham and Evan Handler.
JAKE IN PROGRESS (ABC) - Emmy-winning writer/producer Jeff Greenstein ("Will & Grace") has signed a seven-figure overall deal with Touchstone Television. The two-year pact calls for Greenstein to develop new projects for Touchstone as well as join ABC's comedy "Jake in Progress" as an executive producer. He'll serve as co-showrunner along with creator Austin Winsberg. Greenstein takes over for Jeffrey Richman, who has since moved on to FOX's "Stacked."
JUST LEGAL (The WB) - Newcomer Jaime Lee Kirchner has joined the cast of the Frog's new fall drama, about a brilliant prodigy lawyer (Jay Baruchel), and his mentor (Don Johnson), a jaded defense attorney. She'll play a young woman who went to school with Baruchel's character. Veanne Cox, Raphael Sbarge, Michael Mitchell and Peyton List also star in the project, which comes from Bruckheimer Television and Warner Bros. Television.
LAW & ORDER (NBC) - Peter Jankowski, an executive producer on all of the "Law & Order" series, has signed a new two-year production deal with Dick Wolf's NBC Universal Television-based Wolf Films. The pact calls for Jankowski to continue in his duties as president and chief operating officer of the company, which include overseeing its creative and administrative aspects.
NICK CANNON PRESENTS: WILD 'N' OUT (MTV) - Promos currently running on the cable channel note MTV has pushed back the premiere of the improv-competition series by one week. "Wild 'n' Out" will now launch on Thursday, July 28 at 10:00/9:00c.
THE SHOWBIZ SHOW WITH DAVID SPADE (Comedy Central) - David Spade's half-hour celebrity-mockfest has been slated to premiere Thursday, September 15. No specific time period however has been specified.
STRONG MEDICINE (Lifetime) - Eileen Boylan ("Sleepover") is set to appear in three upcoming episodes of the veteran cable drama. She'll play the edgy, artistic daughter of Rick Schroder's character. No details were given when her character's first appearance will air.
THE TONY DANZA SHOW (Syndication) - Buena Vista Television is mulling some changes to the talk show when it returns for its second season this fall. Danza's sidekick Ereka Vetrini and two of the show's producers have been axed while Gloria Estefan is reportedly being groomed to replace Danza completely if ratings don't perk up. The company however has yet to comment on Estefan's involvement. The recording artist had previously been rumored to take over "The Wayne Brady Show" during its final days two years ago.
TRAILER FABULOUS (MTV) - The "Mobile Home Disaster"-esque makeover series has been slated to premiere Wednesday, August 3 at 10:00/9:00c according to promotions currently airing on the cable channel. MTV has committed to 10 episodes of the series, which is hosted by recording artist Brooks Buford.
THE TRIANGLE (Sci Fi) - Lisa Brenner ("The Librarian: Quest for the Spear") is the latest addition to the cast of the upcoming mini-series, about a disparate group of professionals brought together to investigate the dangerous truths behind the Bermuda Triangle. She'll play the wife of Lou Diamond Phillips's character, the pilot of a Greenpeace expedition that encounters a deadly force in the mysterious area. Eric Stoltz, Catherine Bell, Michael Rodgers, Bruce Davison and Sam Neill also star in the project, which comes from executive producers Dean Devlin and Bryan Singer.
UNTITLED SAM GIANCANA PROJECT (TNT, New!) - The life of famed 1960s Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana is set to be the focus of a six-hour limited series currently in development at TNT. Mark Wolper ("Salem's Lot") and Warner Bros. Television are behind the project, which would track the story behind the powerful mob leader and his ties to the John F. Kennedy presidency and such celebrities as Frank Sinatra. No other details were given.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters