[11/18/05 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: November 17-18
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!

50/50 (NBC, New!) - Todd Garner's newly-formed Broken Road Productions and Gina Matthews & Grant Scharbo's Roundtable Ink are developing a new single-camera comedy at the Peacock about how four modern men deal with divorce, fatherhood and dating. Ian Gurvitz ("Becker") is behind the project, which is being co-produced with NBC Universal Television. No other details were given.

APOSTLE PROJECTS (New!) - Denis Leary and Jim Serpico's Sony Pictures Television-based production company has lined up a handful of new projects at the broadcast and cable networks. On the comedy front, the pair are developing "Caroline's" at ABC. Said single-camera project is based on the life of Caroline Hirsch, the founder of the Caroline's Comedy Club in New York City. Writer/producer Chuck Martin ("Arrested Development") is writing the pilot script. At Comedy Central there's "Fugly," about a man reflecting on his youth as an ugly child, as well as the previously announced "Red State Diaries," from executive producers Lewis Black and Jeff Stilson.

On the drama side, Apostle has "The Operative" at FOX and "The Big Empty" at Spike TV. The former tracks a criminal mastermind who, unbeknownst to him, has a mole in the ranks. The project, which comes from writer John Romano ("American Dreams") and producers Todd Feldman and Luciano Saber, will then feature clues about who is actually an undercover F.B.I. agent with his/her identity being revealed in the season finale. As for "Empty," the cable channel describes the project as "a gritty drama that portrays the reality of ordinary P.I.s caught in the middle of an unsavory world." Finally, Leary and Serpico are developing "Rothstein," an original move at ESPN about gambler Arnold Rothstein, the man who fixed the 1919 World Series.

BLADE (Spike TV) - David Simkins ("FreakyLinks") has been tapped to serve as showrunner should the two-hour drama pilot be ordered to series. The project, which comes from New Line Television, is being executive produced by David Goyer, Jon Kroll, Jim Rosenthal, Ari Arad and Avi Arad.

CROSSING JORDAN (NBC) - In what's being viewed by industry insiders as a cost-cutting measure, NBC has rolled back its commitment to "Crossing Jordan" by one episode this season. "Jordan" likewise finished last season with a 21-episode order.

ENTOURAGE/ROME (HBO) - In an interview with The New York Times, HBO chairman Chris Albrecht confirmed "Entourage's" third season will run for 20 episodes. In addition, Albrecht noted the earliest "Rome" could return for its second season would be March of 2007. The freshman drama wraps its inaugural run this weekend.

THE FARMER WANTS A WIFE (New!) - FremantleMedia North America is looking to import the reality format, which is described as a rural take on ABC's "The Bachelor," to the U.S. Versions of the series currently air in Norway, Belgium and Netherlands, the latter of which is the country's most-watched program. Jerry Miller, creator of the Web site www.FarmersOnly.com, has been brought on to help develop the U.S. version. No other details were specified.

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (FX) - Danny DeVito ("Taxi") has joined the cast of the cable comedy, which returns for its second season of 10 episodes in June. He'll play the clingy father of Glenn Howerton and Kaitlin Olson's characters, who is attempting to recapture his youth by hanging out with his kids.

KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL (FOX) - FX has scrapped its previously announced marathon of the series on November 27 in favor of a four-episode run of fellow FOX series "Stacked." It's not clear if the marathon will be rescheduled for a later date. New episodes of "Kitchen" return to FOX's schedule on December 5.

LUCKY LOUIE (HBO) - The pay channel has asked for eight additional scripts of the multi-camera comedy, well ahead of its expected bow this summer. The series, which is described as a mature family comedy that centers on a middle-class couple raising their daughter, comes Emmy-winning writer/producer Louis C.K. and is produced by HBO Independent Productions and 3 Arts Entertainment.

THE O.C. (FOX) - Nikki Reed ("Thirteen") has booked a four-episode arc on the Thursday drama. No specific details were given about her character, who will make her first appearance early next year.

PAGES (FOX, New!) - "Saturday Night Live" writer Matt Piedmont is developing a new comedy at FOX about the world of ambitious "pages" at a large New York media company, much like those at NBC's Rockefeller Plaza or CBS' Television City. The project is set up at Lorne Michaels' NBC Universal Television-based Broadway Video with Piedmont, Michaels and JoAnn Alfano executive producing.

SPLIT DECISION (UPN, New!) - Feature director Robert Luketic ("Legally Blonde") and writer Liz Tigelaar ("American Dreams") are shepherding a new drama series at UPN and Todd Garner's newly-formed Broken Road Productions. The "Sliding Doors"-esque project tracks a girl who gets a chance to reinvent herself upon moving to a new high school, with dual plotlines following her decision to sit with either the popular kids or the arty outsiders on the first day of school. Luketic will direct the pilot should it move forward and executive produce along with Tigelaar, Garner and Spelling Television.

THREE WISHES (NBC) - The Peacock has quietly rescinded its order for six additional episodes of the series, opting to halt production at 10 episodes for the time being. No official reason was given for the decision. The show's most-recent broadcast drew 7.77 million viewers, finishing a distant second place to a special Friday episode of "Close to Home" (11.87 million). Episodes are expected to run through the end of December with NBC revisiting the show's fate at that time.

UNTITLED BERNIE MAC/DEAN YOUNG PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Bernie Mac's newly-formed Mac Mac Productions has set up an untitled comedy at FOX from writer/producer Dean Young ("King of the Hill"). The project, which is set up at Regency Television and 20th Century Fox Television, is described as an "All in the Family"-esque series about a young woman and her new husband who end up living next door to her father and mother. FOX has given a script order to the project (with an unspecified penalty attached if it doesn't go to pilot), which Young will write and executive produce with Mac and Industry Entertainment's Steven Greener.

UNTITLED CHRISTOPHER KENNEDY LAWFORD PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Christopher Kennedy Lawford ("General Hospital"), the son of actor Peter Lawford (of Rat Pack fame) and Patricia Kennedy (sister of President John F. Kennedy), is set to topline a potential new comedy series at FOX, Imagine Television and 20th Century Fox Television, loosely based on his own life. Writer/producer Mark Reisman ("Frasier") is behind the single-camera project, which would track Lawford (playing himself) as he enters the family business of politics on the ground floor, running for a small local office. FOX has given a script commitment to the comedy, which Reisman will executive produce along with Imagine's Brian Grazer and David Nevins. Gavin Grazer and Lawford then will also serve as producers.

UNTITLED CONSTANTINE MAROULIS PROJECT (ABC) - "What I Like About You" showrunner Caryn Lucas has signed on to write the script to the former "American Idol" finalist's comedy project. While details weren't specified, it's expected to be loosely based on the singer's real life and his extended family in New York. Paramount Network Television-based Grammnet Productions is producing the project.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [november 2005]  

· 50/50 (NBC)

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