[07/12/05 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: July 11-12
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!

THE '70S HOUSE (MTV) - 2.8 million viewers tuned into the show's launch on July 5, including time period winning scores in persons 12-34, persons 12-24, persons 18-24 and teens 12-17 amongst all cable networks.

ALIEN EXPRESS (A.K.A. DEAD RAIL)/PTERODACTYL (Sci Fi) - The cable channel has provided details for two of its latest Saturday original movies. "Alien Express," which premieres August 13 at 9:00/8:00c, is described as: "Detective Vic Holden (Lou Diamond Phillips, Route 666, Supernova, Young Guns), on board a bullet train making its inaugural run to Las Vegas, must overcome his haunted past to save the train's passengers � including his estranged but still beloved wife � from a hostile alien threat that has begun a rampage in the locked, high-speed locomotive." Next up on August 27 at 9:00/8:00c is "Pterodactyl": "Inside a long-dormant volcano, a clutch of dinosaur eggs has weathered the eons. Now it has hatched, and a special ops combat unit on maneuvers in a South American jungle is about to face a foe unlike any they've ever seen before � one that will teach them a new meaning of the phrase "death from above". Cameron Daddo and Amy Sloan star."

BEING BOBBY BROWN (Bravo) - Just over 1 million viewers tuned into the second week of the cable channel's new reality series, on par with its debut week numbers (1.1 million on average). Among adults 18-49, "Brown" averaged a 2 share.

ENOUGH ABOUT ME (ABC) - Chris Kattan ("Saturday Night Live") has inked a new deal with 20th Century Fox Television to star and executive produce another project for the studio. Kattan was behind the failed ABC comedy pilot "Enough About Me," which was also produced by 20th. Michael Rotenberg of 3 Arts Entertainment will also serve as an executive producer if the project moves forward to pilot.

FRIENDS (NBC) - Nick at Nite has purchased the off-network rights to "Friends" from Warner Bros. Domestic Cable in a split-window deal with TBS. The six-year pact, which begins in the fall of 2011, is valued at $500,000 per episode and includes the post-6:00/5:00c rights to all 236 half-hours of the series. In addition, Warner Bros. will reportedly hold onto several 30-second spots for national ad sales. As for the TBS window (which also runs from 2011-2017), the cable channel will pay about $275,000 per episode for the less desirable pre-6:00/5:00c rights to the series. Unlike its current pact with TBS however, Warner Bros. will not hold back any 30-second spots for national ad sales. The news marks the latest milestone for one of the most successful comedy series of all time. To date, "Friends" has netted Warner Bros. $944 million in off-network sales alone.

KILLER INSTINCT (FOX) - Kristin Lehman ("Tilt") has been tapped to replace Marguerite Moreau as the female lead in the oft-renamed fall drama, previously known as both "Deviant Behavior" and "The Gate." She'll play Marcy Hess, a new character on the series, while Moreau's character, Ava Lyford, will be written out after the pilot episode. 20th Century Fox Television and Regency Television are behind the series, which premieres Friday, September 23 at 9:00/8:00c.

OUT OF PRACTICE (CBS) - Emmy-winning writer/producer Tucker Cawley ("Everybody Loves Raymond") has inked a two-year, mid-seven-figure overall deal with Paramount Network Television. The pact calls for Cawley to develop original projects for the studio as well as serve as a consulting producer on the fall CBS/Paramount comedy "Out of Practice."

PASADENA (FOX) - SoapNet has purchased the off-network rights to the short-lived 2001 FOX drama from Sony Pictures Television. The series starred Alison Lohman and Dana Delany as members of a publishing family with criminal ties. SoapNet will pay a modest $11,500 per episode for all 13 episodes, nine of which never aired on FOX. The cable channel plans to air the series as part of its Saturday "Dysfunctional Family" block starting this fall. The news marks the second purchase of a short-lived FOX series by SoapNet, the first being 2003's "Skin" which completed its run earlier this year on the network. That deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution was valued at $37,500 for each of the eight produced episodes (five of which never aired on FOX).

VON ZERNECK/SERTNER FILMS - Frank von Zerneck and Robert M. Sertner's von Zerneck/Sertner Films has inked a two-year overall deal with Sony Pictures Television. The pact, the pair's first at a studio since forming in 1987, calls for the telefilm veterans to develop and produce original movies and mini-series for Sony's TV arm. The company already has two projects set up at Sony (and CBS): "BTK Murders," based on the recent capture of Wichita, Kansas' notorious serial killer, and "Vampire Bats," a thriller about a college professor looking into the death of a student. In total the duo has helped produce over 125 TV projects over the years.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [july 2005]  


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