LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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52 FIGHTS (ABC, New!) - Jennifer Jeanne Patterson's book "52 Fights: A Newlywed's Confession" is set to be the basis of a potential new comedy series at ABC and Touchstone Television. Alex Taub ("Kevin Hill") wrote the pilot script to the half-hour, which revolves around a newly married couple's transition from dating to marriage. The network has given a cast-contingent pilot order to the project, which Taub will executive produce along with Brad Grey Television's Peter Traugott.
60 MINUTE MAN (ABC) - Jon Avnet is set to reteam with his "Boomtown" partners Graham Yost, Chris Brancato and Bert Salke as the feature helmer has signed on to direct the drama pilot, about a suburban man (David Hames Elliott) who doesn't remember what he did for one hour each day, driving him to figure out whether he's part of a major national conspiracy. Yost and Brancato penned the pilot script to the project, which comes from Touchstone Television, with Yost, Brancato and Salke serving as executive producers.
DAY BREAK (ABC) - Taye Diggs ("Kevin Hill") is reportedly close to signing on for the lead role in the drama pilot, about an L.A.-based cop who's trying to stop the murder of a loved one while trying to find the person who framed him for murder. Rob Bowman ("The X-Files") is on board to direct the Touchstone Television/Gross Entertainment-based hour from a script by creator Paul Zbyszewski ("After the Sunset"). Zbyszewski and Matthew Gross are the executive producers.
HOLLIS AND RAE (ABC) - Laura Harris ("Dead Like Me") and Jaime Ray Newman ("Stargate: Atlantis") have been tapped for the lead roles in the drama pilot, about two 30-year-old female best friends, a detective and a prosecuting attorney, who tackle criminal cases in a small southern town. The former character, Hollis Chandler, is described in the casting notice as: "28-32, a strong-minded prosecuting attorney, attractive and bright. Hollis is a no-frills Southern gal, divorced, with no intention of marrying again. Honest, principled, with a droll sense of humor and a disdain for any formal restraints, Hollis clearly enjoys her life, takes pride in her work and cherishes her friendship with Rae. Speaks With A Southern Accent." The latter, Rae Devereaux, then is detailed as: "28-32, a Southern belle, attractive, intelligent and forthright. Rae is a homicide detective, Hollis' long-time best friend. Clearly married to her work, she's making plans to tie the knot, but her hesitation to make the big commitment is palpable. There's a quirky energy about Rae, an eagerness to experience life before settling down. Speaks With A Southern Accent."
Also joining the cast is Frank Grillo ("Prison Break") as Henry Callaway: "30-45. Rae's partner, this homicide detective is attractive, thorough, matter of fact, and maybe the only person in the story who doesn't speak with a Southern accent. A Yankee transplant, he's still trying to navigate the territory, something of a foreigner in Savannah, Georgia. Good at his job, he is clearly intrigued by Rae; and his good looks are not lost on her. Speaks With A Southern Accent." Callie Khouri ("Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood") is behind the Touchstone Television/Bochco Productions-based hour, which she'll direct from her own script. Khouri and Steven Bochco then will serve as executive producers with Dayna Bochco producing. Production is set to begin this spring in Savannah, Georgia.
I LOVE THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU (ABC, New!) - Writer/producers Patti Carr and Lara Runnels ("Reba") have booked a cast-contingent pilot order for a new comedy about a happily married couple who realize that everything they love about each other also drives them crazy. The half-hour project is set up at 20th Century Fox Television with Carr and Runnels serving as executive producers. No other specifics were given.
SMITH (CBS, New!) - Uber-producer John Wells ("ER," "The West Wing") has booked a pilot order at the Eye for a new drama about the inner workings of a team of criminals. Ray Liotta ("ER"), Virginia Madsen ("Sideways"), Amy Smart ("Road Trip"), Franky G. ("Jonny Zero") and Jonny Lee Miller ("Aeon Flux") have already been cast in the project, which has a significant penalty attached if it isn't ordered to series. Liotta will play Bobby with Madsen as Hope, Smart as Annie, G. as Joe and Miller as an unspecified character. Full character details however weren't released. Warner Bros. Television and John Wells Productions are behind the hour, which "ER" veteran Christopher Chulack (who helmed Liotta's Emmy-winning "ER" guest spot) will direct from a script by Wells.
UNTITLED PETER OCKO PROJECT (A.K.A. 3 LBS.) (CBS) - Peter Ocko's drama pilot "3 lbs." from last season is being redeveloped by the Eye and CBS Paramount Network Television. The now untitled project, which has a pilot order from the network, revolves around a neurosurgeon who finds a partner with whom to collaborate when he starts to see his own mind failing him. Dylan McDermott, Reiko Aylesworth, Mark Feuerstein, Armando Riesco and Lorraine Toussaint starred in the original incarnation, which was directed by Barry Levinson from a script by Ocko. Levinson is still on board as an executive producer of the hour, as is Tom Fontana through the pair's Levinson/Fontana Co.
THE WEEKEND (CBS, New!) - The Eye has given a pilot order to CBS Paramount Network Television for a new comedy about three male pals who focus their lives on the weekend. Ed Roe is behind the half-hour project, additional details of which were not given. Roe penned the pilot script and will executive produce.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters