LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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THE 12TH MAN (FOX) - Chris Koch ("My Name is Earl") has signed on to take over directing duties from Tim Story on the comedy pilot, about a not-so-good professional basketball player who spends most of the time on the team's bench. No reason for the change was given. Jodi Lyn O'Keefe and Andrew Katz star in the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, which comes from executive producer Dan Fogelman.
BECOMING GLEN (FOX) - Julie Hagerty ("Airplane") is set to play mom to Rob Corddry in the comedy pilot, about a successful fortysomething man who looks back at 1994, when he was a 32-year-old slacker (Corddry) living with his parents and spending all his time lying on the couch watching TV. Her character, Irene Abbott, is described by the casting notice as follows: "The slightly loopy, world heavyweight champion of enablers in her late 50s. She has been in aggressive denial about the harm she's been doing him, and likes to live in a gleeful fantasy world where her slacker son is too good for any woman or job out there. Deep down, though, very deep down, she's aware he possesses no definable skills, and is merely trying to protect him from the hurt and disappointment that may come his way if he's thrown cruelly out into the real world. Every day for the last decade, Irene has lived in fear that this will be the day her husband decides to engage in tough love and make adult Glen finally leave the nest. That's why the second Ron opens his mouth, Irene is always instantly ready with some quasi-insane rationale or defense. She is not quite as crazy or loopy as we first think - there is simply a mother-lifting-a-car urgency and sense of protection to her actions and words." Ken Gilchrist also stars in the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, which Terry Hughes is directing from a script by creators/executive producers Ricky Blitt and Seth MacFarlane.
ENEMIES (ABC) - Bruce McGill ("Elizabethtown") is the first to be cast in the drama pilot, about two Chicago-based best friends who grow up to become mortal enemies - one became an F.B.I. agent and the other a mob boss. He's believed to be playing Mouse Oliver in the Touchstone Television-based hour, which comes from executive producers Sean Bailey and Ken Olin. His character is described in the casting notice as: "Late 50s, this sharply tailored mobster is the head of the Chicago rackets. When he learns there's a security leak among his own ranks, he orders his underling, Mickey Callaway, to ferret out the traitor - but the ultimate revelation of who betrayed him is unexpectedly painful. In flashback, we see a younger Mouse threatening Graham's councilman father." F. Gary Gray is directing the project from a script by Bailey.
FACELESS (FOX) - Sean Bean ("The Lord of the Rings") has been tapped for the lead role in the drama pilot, about a heavy-set federal prosecutor who, after being beat up and shot, loses the weight and goes undercover as a criminal in order to take down the sprawling underworld organization responsible. Said role of Eddie Pray is described in the casting notice as: "Early 30s. Eddie Pray is a hard criminal, an asshole, an animal, determined, through cunning and brutality, to rise through the L.A. crime hierarchy for his own purposes - which happen to be those of John Robson." Joe Carnahan is directing the 20th Century Fox Television/Flame Television-based hour from a script by creator Dario Scardapane. Tony Krantz, Evelyn O'Neill, Daniel Rappaport and Carnahan are the executive producers.
HEROES (NBC) - Milo Ventimiglia ("The Bedford Diaries") is the latest addition to the ensemble drama pilot, about a group of regular people who discover that they possess superpowers. He'll join the previously cast Greg Grunberg, Ali Larter, Masi Oka, Santiago Cabrera, Tawny Cypress, Hayden Panetierre and Sendhil Ramamurthy in the NBC Universal Television-based project, which comes from creator Tim Kring. While not specified, it's believed Ventimiglia's involvement is in second position to the potential second season of the yet-to-debut "Bedford." Dave Semel is directing the two-hour pilot from a script by Kring.
HELP ME HELP YOU (ABC) - Charlie Finn ("Life on a Stick") and Darlene Hunt ("The Darwin Awards") are the first to be cast in the Regency Television-based comedy pilot, about an unusual group of people who meet through group therapy. While not specified in the casting notice, Finn is believed to be playing Dave: "20s, Caucasian, nerdy in a handsome sort of way. He's the guy everyone calls "nice," but inside, Dave is simmering with anger and frustration. After he jumps out a window at his office, Dave is referred to a shrink, Dr. Bill Hoffman, who teaches him to access his inner anger and let it out. Amazingly, Dave finds that getting good and ticked off is actually good for the soul. He not only meets a cute girl in the process, but he's upgraded from "suicidal" to merely "depressive"."
Hunt then is believed to be playing Darlene: "30s, character-type, A real mixed bag of neuroses. Darlene is a tightly wound, woman with everything from seasonal affective disorder (self-diagnosed) to acute depression. Prone to father figure obsessions, she has become fixated on her therapist, Bill, whom she obviously hero-worships. A "chronic adulterer" who tends to fall into bed with any man who expresses an interest, Darlene has a fling with Michael, a man she meets in group, a secret she keeps from her husband and the rest of the group." Jenni Konner and Ali Rushfield are behind the single-camera project, which Brian Dannelly is directing from a script by the duo.
A HERO'S WELCOME (CBS, New!) - Production has been completed on a pilot for a new reality series in which heroes are reunited with the people whose lives they saved. Patrick Duffy hosts the project, which comes from Arthur Smith, Kent Weed and Tom Klein's A. Smith & Co. ("Skating With Celebrities"). It's understood each episode will also feature a movie-style re-creation of the heroic act as well as show how events might have been different if the hero in question hadn't intervened. In addition, survivors will then work with producers to plan a special event for the person who saved their lives as a way of thanking them.
HIM & US (ABC) - Michael Trucco ("Battlestar Galactica") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about an over-the-hill gay British rock star (Anthony Stewart Head) and his relationship with his long-time manager and the rest of his colorful entourage. No specifics about his character were released. Ashley Williams also stars in the single-camera project, which Charles Shyer is directing from a script by Cindy Chupack. Michael Edelstein, Bob Halley, Elton John, Bruce Roberts and Chupack are the executive producers for Touchstone Television.
MR. NICE GUY (ABC) - Andy Cadiff ("The War at Home") has been tapped to direct the comedy pilot, about a conflict averse man who always ends up looking bad despite his best efforts to do the right thing. Jeff Astrof is behind the half-hour project, which is set up at Touchstone Television and Brad Grey Television. Peter Traugott also serves as an executive producer.
NOTES FROM THE UNDERBELLY (ABC) - Jennifer Westfeldt ("Kissing Jessica Stein") is the first to be cast in the comedy pilot, about a married couple about to have a baby and their friends. No details about her character were given. Stacy Traub is behind the Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour, which she's writing and executive producing along with Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum.
RODNEY (ABC) - Ric Swartzlander, the show's creator and executive producer, has inked a two-year overall deal with Touchstone Television. The pact, which is retroactive to last summer and runs through June 2007, calls for Swartzlander to continue in his role on "Rodney" as well as develop new projects for the studio.
SIX DEGREES (ABC) - Dorian Missick ("Freedomland") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about a group of six post-college young adults whose lives intertwine in various ways. He'll join the previously cast Jay Hernandez in the Touchstone Television-based hour, which comes from creators Raven Metzner and Stuart Zicherman. J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk and Thom Sherman also serve as executive producers through their Bad Robot Productions banner. Rodrigo Garcia is directing.
UGLY BETTY (ABC) - Eric Mabius ("The O.C.") and Ana Ortiz ("A.U.S.A.") have both joined the cast of the drama pilot, about an unattractive girl (America Ferrera) who's hired by a fashion magazine to stop her new boss's habit of sleeping with attractive assistants. Mabius will play said boss, the handsome son of the publisher who has been given the editor-in-chief job at the magazine despite his lack of qualifications. Becki Newton also stars in the Touchstone Television-based hour, which Richard Shepard is directing from a script by Silvio Horta. Reveille's Ben Silverman and Ventanarosa's Salma Hayek and Jose Tamez also serve as the executive producers along with Horta.
UNTITLED TINA FEY PROJECT (NBC) - Four-time Emmy nominee Alec Baldwin ("Will & Grace") is in final talks to join the cast of the comedy pilot, about the head writer of an "SNL"-esque variety show (Tina Fey) who has to manage her relationships with the show's volatile star and executive producer. Baldwin is believed to be playing said executive producer, Jack Donaghy, who's described in the casting notice as: "45s. Handsome and impeccably dressed. He is the new VP of development for NBC/GE/Universal...etc. He is totally uncensored, saying whatever comes to his mind, and he believes he has everyone figured out. Very corporate." He'll join the previously cast Tracy Morgan, Jack McBrayer and Rachel Dratch in the NBC Universal Television/Broadway Video-based half-hour, which Fey is writing and executive producing along with Lorne Michaels and JoAnn Alfano. Adam Bernstein ("Scrubs") recently signed on to direct.
THE WORST WEEK OF MY LIFE (FOX) - Jaime King ("Kitchen Confidential"), Charles Malik Whitfield ("The Guardian") and Jobeth Williams ("Miss Match") have all signed onto the comedy pilot, which chronicles a young engaged couple's hellacious week leading up to their wedding. King will play Paige Hunter Stratton, the female lead in the Regency Television/Hat Trick Productions-based project, which Adam Shankman is directing from a script by Ed Decter and John Strauss. Paige is described in the casting notice as: "27-32. An absolutely gorgeous young woman who runs an animal shelter, she's Nick's (Zachary Levi) fiancee and dream girl - a warm, witty, socially conscious individual who adores Nick. The fact that Paige is the blueblood offspring of one of the wealthiest families in the country is purely secondary to Nick - although Paige's parents remains suspicious of his motives. Nick's meeting with Paige's family, a mere week before the wedding, turns immediately disastrous and slides downhill from there. Paige still loves her man, but even she is put off by Nick's apparently eccentric behavior, which seems to be going from bad to worse."
Whitfield then is set as Wes - "27-32. Nick's colleague at the publishing company, he's also Nick's best friend, not to mention the best man at Nick's upcoming wedding. A real character and a bit of a slob, Wes likes cruising porn sites from Nick's office, so that the I.T. guys won't get suspicious of him. However, while he's at one of his favorite sites, Wes gets the surprise of his life - yet another disastrous occurrence in the unfolding string of disasters." - while Williams will play Libby Stratton - "50s. Paige's aristocratic and wealthy mother. On the surface, she's a bastion of elegance, but when she turns her back, she may be taking tranquilizers. She's planning Paige's elaborate wedding - and having a meltdown because her seating arrangement has gone awry. Later, just when she and Paige have solved the sticky problem, Nick unintentionally destroys their work - yet another blot on his increasingly blotchy reputation." David Ogden Stiers, Anna Galvin and Stephanie Lemelin also star.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters