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[02/24/06 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: February 24
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!

13 GRAVES (FOX) - Eric Stonestreet ("C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about an ex-treasure hunter (Matthew Lillard) whose search for his missing brother puts him in the hunt for Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizzaro's fabled Incan gold. He'll play Andrew in the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, which comes from creator Joel Wyman. His character is described in the casting notice as follows: "Mid 30s, any ethnicity. Think Andy Richter, but not necessarily heavy-set. Andrew has a corporate job he hates, and an even worse home life. He has a real chip on his shoulder. After finding an elderly neighbor dead in his apartment, he discovers information about a treasure, and leaves home with no word to his wife, to embark on the hunt for the buried gold." Norman Reedus also stars in the project, which Dominic Sena is directing from a script by Wyman.

BEYOND (FOX) - Jonah Lotan ("24") and Rachel Stirling ("Five Little Pigs") are the first to be cast in the drama pilot, about the scientists at N.A.S.A.'s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and their efforts to win the next space race, following an unspecified global crisis. Lotan will play Matt while Stirling is set as Guilaen in the project, which comes from creator David Self and fellow executive producers Brian Grazer and David Nevins of the 20th Century Fox Television-based Imagine Television.

BROTHERS & SISTERS (ABC) - Rachel Griffiths ("Six Feet Under") and Calista Flockhart ("Ally McBeal") are the latest additions to the drama pilot, about the lives of five adult siblings. Flockhart will play Kitty March, who's described in the casting notice as: "Early-mid 30's, beautiful, very appealing, articulate, politically right of center, Kitty is the host of a radio show broadcast nationally on satellite and a moderate Republican who yearns for the Republican party of Eisenhower and Lincoln--and her dad. One of five children born to a vigorous, well-to-do, close-knit Southern California family, whose fortune was made by their "Golden Bear" specialty foods, Kitty lives in New York City, where she's in love with venture capitalist Jonathan Sternfeld, but she's only too happy to go back home to Malibu for her 30th birthday with her family. Devastated by the unexpected death of her beloved father but bolstered by his lifelong love and encouragement of her (and all his children), Kitty puts her grief behind her and it's business as usual when she auditions for a TV talk show based in L.A. - a huge new opportunity for her. Somewhat putting a damper on her excitement when she's offered the job is a counter-offer by Jonathan to marry him, settle in New York and raise a family--and though she loves Jonathan, her independent, ambitious spirit feels "cornered" by his untimely request."

Griffiths then is set as Nora March: "Late 30's, a woman who sometimes moves too fast, breathtakingly clear-headed and yet furiously romantic, strong, tough, decisive, loving and compassionate, Nora is the eldest March child. Married to Michael Trayler (a teacher) and the mother of two children, one of whom has Asperger Syndrome, Nora is an expert in corporate overhauls and has been brought in by her father to halt the decline of the family business, Golden Bear Foods. Frustrated by a lack of modern business techniques and an air of genteel laissez-faire at the company, Nora is further challenged by her brother, Charlie, a longtime worker at the company who clearly resents her presence. Like the others, Nora is rocked by her father's death, and in the aftermath learns exactly what is causing the gradual decline of Golden Bear." The pair join the previously cast Dave Annable, Balthazar Getty and Ron Rifkin in the Touchstone Television-based hour, which Ken Olin is directing from a script by creator Jon Robin Baitz.

IN THE SHADOW OF THE LAW (CBS) - Alan Tudyk ("Firefly") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a group of smart legal associates trying to make partner at a powerful Washington, D.C.-based law firm. No details were given about his character in the project, which comes from creator Carol Mendelsohn and CBS Paramount Network Television. Joshua Jackson and Jacob Pitts also star in the hour, which Danny Cannon is directing from a script by Mendelsohn.

OUR THIRTIES (ABC) - Dennie Gordon, who's already directing FOX's "The Adventures of Big Handsome Guy and His Little Friend," has also signed on to direct said half-hour, about a group of San Francisco-based thirtysomethings dealing with adulthood. She'll direct the Touchstone Television-based project from a script by creator Dave Walpert. Warren Littlefield also serves as an executive producer.

PLAY NICE (CBS) - Swoosie Kurtz is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, about a responsible sister (Sara Rue) and irresponsible brother (Timm Sharp) who run the family toy factory together. No details about Kurtz's character were released. Fred Willard also stars in the CBS Paramount Network Television-based project, which comes from creators Tucker Cawley and Lew Schneider. The pair penned the pilot script and are executive producing along with Phil Rosenthal.

PRIMARY (FOX) - Ron Livingston ("Sex and the City") has been tapped as the male lead in the drama pilot, about a man and a woman who dance around their budding relationship while focusing on their jobs as hostage negotiators. Craig Silverstein and Tim Story are behind the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, which Story is directing from a script by Silverstein. No additional details were released about Livingston's character.

SEX, POWER, LOVE & POLITICS (CBS) - James Van Der Beek ("Dawson's Creek") has booked the final principal role in the comedy pilot, about four underachieving staffers in their mid-30s who work on Capitol Hill and live next to each other. He'll join the previously cast Jay Harrington, Jane Krakowski and Amy Sloan in the Sony Pictures Television-based half-hour, which Pamela Fryman is directing from a script by creator Greg Malins.

TRAVELER (ABC) - Steven Culp ("The West Wing") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about two friends (Matt Bomer, Logan Marshall-Green) who are framed as terrorists by someone they both thought was their friend (Aaron Stanford). No details were given about his character in the Warner Bros. Television/Jinks-Cohen Co.-based hour, which also stars Viola Davis. David Nutter is directing the project from a script by David Digilio with Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen also serving as executive producers.

ULTRA (CBS) - Peter Dinklage ("Threshold") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a single city girl (Lena Headey) who's also a superhero. He'll play "The Scientist" in the CBS Paramount Network Television-based hour, which comes from Barbara Hall and co-executive producers David Alpert and David Engel.

VANISHED (FOX) - John Allen Nelson ("24") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about the search for a senator's wife (Joanne Kelly) who goes missing as part of a larger conspiracy, as told through the eyes of law enforcement, family members and the media. Nelson will play said senator in the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, which Mimi Leder is directing from a script by creator Josh Berman. Chris Egan, Gale Harold and Margarita Levieva also star.

WATERFRONT (CBS, New!) - Joe Pantoliano ("dr. vegas") is set to topline a new drama at the Eye and Warner Bros. Television about the quirky mayor of Providence, Rhode Island who tries to balance his work and family life. "dr. vegas" creator Jack Orman is behind the hour, which he'll write and executive produce. The network has given a pilot order to the project.

WOMEN IN LAW (ABC) - Kelli Williams ("The Practice") is the first to be cast in the project, a "Desperate Housewives"-esque drama about a group of women who work together at the same law firm. No details were given about her character in the Sony Pictures Television-based hour, which comes from creators Steven Banks and Claudia Grazioso. In addition, Robert Luketic ("Legally Blonde") has come aboard to direct the pilot from a script by the duo. Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly also serve as executive producers through their 25C Productions banner.

WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE (ABC) - Heather Locklear ("LAX") is in talks to join the cast of the comedy pilot, about a recently a widowed woman who embarks on a new life with her two best friends. Allison Adler is behind the Touchstone Television-based half-hour, which is being executive produced by Adler, Stu Bloomberg, Jeff Judah and Gabe Sachs.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters





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· 13 GRAVES (FOX)
· 24 (FOX)
· ADVENTURES OF BIG HANDSOME GUY AND HIS LITTLE FRIEND, THE (FOX)
· ALLY MCBEAL (FOX)
· BEYOND (FOX)
· BROTHERS & SISTERS (ABC)
· CAPITAL LAW (CBS)
· CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (CBS)
· DAWSON'S CREEK (WB)
· DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC)
· DR. VEGAS (CBS)
· FIREFLY (FOX)
· HIGH BAR (ABC)
· LAX (NBC)
· OUR THIRTIES (ABC)
· PLAY NICE (CBS)
· POIROT: FIVE LITTLE PIGS (A AND E)
· PRACTICE, THE (ABC)
· SEX AND THE CITY (HBO)
· SEX, POWER, LOVE & POLITICS (CBS)
· SIX FEET UNDER (HBO)
· STANDOFF (FOX)
· THRESHOLD (CBS)
· TRAVELER (ABC)
· ULTRA (CBS)
· VANISHED (FOX)
· WATERFRONT (CBS)
· WEST WING, THE (NBC)
· WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE (ABC)





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