[12/09/05 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: December 8-9
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!

BECOMING GLEN (FOX) - Ricky Blitt's failed 2002 FOX single-camera comedy pilot is on track for a resurrection as CBS, NBC and FOX are said to be bidding on a reworked version of the project, about a successful fortysomething man who looks back at 1994, when he was a 32-year-old slacker (Johnny Galecki) living with his parents and spending all his time lying on the couch watching TV. Said development is said to be the result of the addition of "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane to the project, which will be reworked as a multi-camera version. Original producer 20th Century Fox Television will remain on board the new version, which is expected to fetch a pilot order with a series penalty.

BLACK, WHITE (A.K.A. UNTITLED R.J. CULTER PROJECT)/THIEF (FX) - The cable channel has confirmed both series are on track for a March launch. The former is a six-part documentary series about two families - the Sparkses, a black family from Atlanta, and the Wurgels, a Caucasian family from Santa Monica, California - who share a home in Tarzana, California, during which Oscar-nominated makeup effects artist Keith VanderLaan makes the Sparks family appear white and the Wurgels appear black. R.J. Cutler ("30 Days") produces the series along with Ice Cube's Cube Vision Productions. As for "Thief," the six-part drama focuses on a team of robbers during a period of dangerous personal and professional crisis. The ensemble cast includes Yancey Arias, Andre Braugher, Clifton Collins Jr., Linda Hamilton, Dina Meyer, Michael Rooker, Mae Whitman and Malik Yoba. Norman Morrill ("The Visitor") is behind the series, a co-production of Fox Television Studios, Regency TV and Pariah Television.

THE BOGEYMAN (NBC, New!) - The Peacock has given a script order to a new drama about an expert in "deprogramming" people. Said project, which would track said expert as he/she works to help people who have been brainwashed - such as victims of cults posing as religious organizations, members of terrorist organizations and women abused by their husbands, is set up at NBC Universal Television and Tony Krantz's Flame Television, with Erik Jendresen attached to write the pilot script. Rick Ross, who has worked as a deprogrammer since 1982, is on board as a consultant.

BOSTON LEGAL (ABC) - Lisa Vidal ("The Division") is set to appear in a multi-episode arc on the sophomore drama. She'll play a woman running a women's shelter who gets involved with James Spader's character. It's not clear when her first episode will air.

C.S.I.: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (CBS) - Franchise creator Anthony Zuiker has inked a massive three-year, eight-figure overall production deal with Paramount Network Television. The pact calls for Zuiker to continue in his executive producer role on all three "C.S.I." series, including showrunner of the "New York" edition. Zuiker's current deal was set to expire in February. Alliance Atlantis, which produces the "C.S.I." franchise with Paramount, however won't be involved with Zuiker's new deal.

CHEYENNE/THERE & BACK (MTV) - The cable channel is moving forward with two of its projects originally announced over the summer (read the story): "There & Back," about former O-Town member Ashley Parker Angel as he attempts to make it as a solo act while broke and anticipating the birth of his first child; and "Cheyenne," about newcomer Cheyenne Kimball, winner of NBC's short-lived "America's Most Talented Kid" series, as she sets out to produce her first album and her family's move from Frisco, Texas, to Hollywood. The former project will premiere Monday, January 9 at 10:30/9:30c with Lois Curren, Matt Anderson, Melanie Graham and Larry Rudolph executive producing along with creator Rod Aissa. No launch date and producing details however were given for "Cheyenne."

THE DRESDEN FILES (Sci Fi) - Valerie Cruz ("Nip/Tuck") has been cast in the two-hour backdoor pilot movie, about occult investigator Harry Dresden (Paul Blackthorne). She'll play a hard-nosed Chicago police detective who handles violent crimes and works side by side with Dresden.

FREE BIRDS/THAT '70S SHOW (FOX) - Lara Everly ("Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny") has booked recurring roles on both FOX series. In the latter she'll play the girlfriend of Wilmer Valderrama's Fez character who who moves in with him and Jackie. As for "Free Birds," she'll play an unspecified character on the partially improvised series, which bows sometime next year. "Free Birds" stars Josh Dean as a college grad who's forced to return to his small Midwestern hometown and move back in with his parents. Erin Cahill and Dave Sheridan also star.

HEROES (NBC, New!) - "Crossing Jordan" creator/executive producer Tim Kring has set up a pair of projects as part of his two-year overall deal at NBC Universal Television. "Heroes," which is described as a reality-bending, large ensemble drama about a group of seemingly everyday people who discover that they have superpowers, has scored a script order at NBC while an unspecified drama has been set up at CBS. Kring will write and executive produce the former while Buzz Bissinger, author of "Friday Night Lights" and "Shattered Glass," is behind the latter with Kring executive producing.

SEX, POWER, LOVE & POLITICS (CBS, New!) - Writer/producer Greg Malins ("Will & Grace") has set up a new multi-camera comedy at the Eye and Sony Pictures Television about four underachieving staffers in their mid-30s who work on Capitol Hill. It's understood "Sex" was the subject of a bidding war between CBS, ABC and FOX with the former obviously landing the project. As for specifics, "Sex" will track the quartet, all of whom live next to each other, as they juggle their political work and personal lives, as well as socialize at the neighborhood bar.

SURVIVOR (CBS) - Host Jeff Probst has inked a two-year deal with CBS and Mark Burnett Productions to continue in his duties on the series through its 16th edition (or the 2007-08 season). Probst's contract had been set to expire following the 12th edition, which begins airing early next year. No financial details were specified.

UNTITLED KAREN STILLMAN PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Bob Cooper's Landscape Entertainment ("Medical Investigation") has inked a one-year development deal with the network. Said pact, financial details of which weren't specified, calls for Landscape to develop two scripts for FOX, with at least one guaranteed a pilot order. In addition, Fox TV Studios will co-produce any resulting series from the deal. The first project developed as part of the pact is a drama about a sex therapist. Karen Stillman (VH1's "They Shoot Divas, Don't They?") is behind the hour with Cooper and Jeff Sagansky executive producing.

UNTITLED SECTION EIGHT NBA PROJECT (HBO, New!) - George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh's Section Eight banner ("Unscripted," "K Street") is set to team with NBA Entertainment and Maloof Television for a new unscripted comedy series set in the world of basketball. Said project would tell the story of a fictional NBA expansion team through the eyes of a coach, a cheerleader, a seasoned player and a rookie. And like Section Eight's previous efforts, the untitled half-hour will mix fictional and real-life elements. It's understood former Los Angeles Lakers center Vlade Divac is in talks to play the veteran with former Dallas Mavericks coach Don Nelson in talks to play the coach.

UNTITLED ZACH HELM PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Feature writer Zach Helm (the upcoming "Stranger Than Fiction") has scored a put pilot commitment from FOX for a project described as a psychological family drama with a major twist. The project is set up at 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television with Jim Garavente, Brian Grazer, David Nevins and Craig Silverstein all serving as executive producers along with Helm.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [december 2005]  

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