[12/30/05 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: December 26-30
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 branded "Devwatch" section. There visitors can view our listings by network, genre, studio and even development stage (ordered to pilot, cast-contingent, script, etc.). It's updated every day!

#1 SINGLE (E!) - The cable channel has confirmed the Lisa Loeb-led dating series will premiere Sunday, January 22 at 10:00/9:00c. Here's how the network's press materials describe the half-hour project: "Being single in the city takes on a new twist in this new series following Billboard-topping singer Lisa Loeb on her quest to have it all: love, success; career and family. And E! Entertainment Television�s new unscripted series will be there to capture each step in the process. Newly single, Loeb is moving back to New York, where she will dip her toe into the dating pool for the first time since college. The performer�s one-of-a-kind approach to life will be the subject of this new eight-part half-hour series."

DEAL OR NO DEAL (NBC) - The Peacock is set to move forward with a second cycle of the game show, which finished its successful five episode tryout last week. It's not clear however how many episodes will comprise the new run, which will likely roll out in March following NBC's Olympics coverage.

DISASTER ZONE: VOLCANO IN NEW YORK/HOUSE OF THE DEAD 2 (Sci Fi, New!) - Preliminary schedules released by the cable channel indicate both movies will premiere in February. The latter, a sequel to the big screen feature of the same name, will bow on Saturday, February 11 at 9:00/8:00c. Emmanuelle Vaugier ("Painkiller Jane"), Ed Quinn ("Young Americans") and Sticky Fingaz ("Over There") star. Then on February 25 at 9:00/8:00c look for the premiere of "Disaster Zone: Volcano in New York." Costas Mandylor ("Just Desserts"), Michael Ironside ("Young Blades") and Alexandra Paul ("Landslide") all star in the project, which was originally titled "Core: Boiling Point."

FOR ONE NIGHT (Lifetime) - The Raven Symone/Aisha Tyler-led telefilm is set to bow on Monday, February 6 at 9:00/8:00c. Here's how lifetime describes the project: "Raven-Symone, Aisha Tyler and Jason Lewis star in a moving drama about a 12th grade student who risks her social and academic standing to end her high school's long tradition of racially segregated proms, in the town of Mercier, Louisiana. When a gifted and popular senior (Raven-Symone) innocently suggests changing the policy, it re-ignites the town's smoldering racial tensions. The teenager gets some unexpected support from a New Orleans journalist (Aisha Tyler), who has her own complex relationship with Mercier."

THE GIFT (The WB, New!) - Feature writers Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cornwell ("The Yakuza") have booked a script order at the WB for a new drama about a college freshman who discovers she has special psychic powers. The project is set up at the NBC Universal Television-based Hypnotic banner with its principals Doug Liman and Dave Bartis attached to executive produce along with Butcher and Cornwell.

HBO ORIGINAL MOVIES (HBO, New!) - The pay channel has released details about three of its upcoming original projects. First up in February (exact date TBA) is "Mrs. Harris": "Three-time Academy Award nominee Annette Bening and Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley star in Mrs. Harris, a blackly comic tale of love and obsession that explores the story of Jean Harris, who killed her lover, Dr. Herman �Hy� Tarnower, author of the best-selling, �The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet.� Playwright Phyllis Nagy makes her film directing debut from her own script." Next up in March (exact date TBA) is "Walkout": "Set against the background of the Civil Rights Movement, Edward James Olmos directs this film that tells the true story of a group of brave Chicano students who staged a dramatic walkout to protest the injustices of the public school system in the East Los Angeles High Schools." Alexa Vega and Michael Pena star.

And finally in April (exact dates TBA) look for the "Elizabeth I": "Helen Mirren stars as Elizabeth 1 in this two-part mini-series which explores the intersection of the private and public life of Elizabeth I in the latter half of her reign, offering a personal look at her allies, her enemies and her suitors. Told through her relationship with the two key men in her life, the Earl of Leicester (Jeremy Irons) and the Earl of Essex (Hugh Dancy), the story follows her attempts to balance her duties and responsibilities as a monarch with her needs and desires as a woman. The film is directed by Tom Hooper from a script by Nigel Williams."

HOUSE (FOX) - The show's off-network run on USA is set to begin on Friday, January 6 at 11:00/11:00c. Episodes will air once a week in the Friday, 11:00/10:00c hour starting with "Pilot" on January 6, "Paternity" on January 13, "Occam's Razor" on January 20 and "Maternity" on January 27.

LOVESPRING (Lifetime) - "Lovespring," the network's first comedy since "Oh Baby" left the air in March of 2000, has been slated to premiere in March (exact date TBA). Here's how the cable channel describes the series: "This half-hour comedy series is about looking for love in all the wrong places. �Lovespring� is the name of a matchmaking agency portrayed to customers as an �elite Beverly Hills� company, despite its location in Tarzana, California. The ensemble is made up of relationship counselors and a staff psychologist who try to convince loveless people that the service can lead clients to the perfect mate." Eric McCormack, Michael C. Forman, Brad Isaacs and Guy Shalem are the executive producers of the NBC Universal Television/Big Cattle Productions-based series, full casting details of which have yet to be confirmed.

ON THE EDGE (UPN, New!) - Feature helmer Penny Marshall ("Big") is set to team with writers Michael Gleason ("Remington Steele") and Alan Moskowitz ("Harry and the Hendersons") for a new drama at the netlet about a young female assistant district attorney trying to discover who murdered her parents while struggling with her alter ego bent on returning her to a life of drugs and alcohol. The project, which has received a script commitment from UPN, is set up at the newly remonikered Lionsgate (previously Lions Gate). Gleason, Moskowitz and Marshall (who may direct the pilot should it move forward) then will all executive produce along with Tony Masucci.

PAINKILLER JANE (Sci Fi) - The two-hour backdoor pilot drew a 1.9 household rating for its December 10 premiere, according to numbers released this week by the network. Said number tied "Path of Destruction" (9/24/05) and "Dungeons & Dragons 2: Wrath of the Dragon God" (10/8/05) for the third largest audience for one of Sci Fi's Saturday night originals this year, behind only "Pterodactyl" (2.6 rating on 8/27/05) and "Alien Apocalypse" (2.3 rating on 3/26/05).

RED DOORS (CBS, New!) - The award-winning indie film, about a suburban Chinese-American family with three daughters, is being developed as a primetime soap by the Eye and Paramount Network Television. Jane Chen, Georgia Lee and Mia Riverton are co-writing and executive producing the pilot through their Blanc de Chine Entertainment banner along with Steve Tao. Here's how the film's official web site describes the project: "Red Doors tells the story of the Wongs, a bizarrely dysfunctional Chinese-American family living in the New York suburbs. Ed Wong (Tzi Ma) has just retired and plots to escape his mundane life. However, the tumultuous, madcap lives of his three rebellious daughters change his plans." No other specifics were given.

UNTITLED ADAM BRODY/NATALIE CHAIDEZ PROJECT (NBC, New!) - "The O.C." star Adam Brody is set to team with writer/producer Natalie Chaidez ("Skin") for a potential new drama series about a world overrun by vampires. The project, which Brody will executive produce but not star in, revolves around a rookie cop who joins a special unit of the L.A.P.D. that tracks the vampire population. NBC has given a script order to the untitled hour, which is set up at Doug Liman and Dave Bartis's NBC Universal Television-based Hypnotic banner. Chaidez will pen the pilot script based on Brody's story.

UNTITLED ROBERT WEIDE PROJECT (ABC) - Cate Cohen has been tapped to star in director/producer Robert Weide's single-camera comedy pilot for the network and Touchstone Television. The project, which is the result of a development deal Weide signed with the network last year (read the story), revolves around a single young woman (Cohen) in the city. ABC has given a script order to the half-hour, which Weide will direct and executive produce through his Whyaduck Productions banner.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [december 2005]  


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