[03/13/06 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: March 13
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!

THE 12TH MAN (FOX) - Newcomer Brian Thomas Smith has been tapped for the lead role in the comedy pilot, about a benchwarmer player for an NBA team. He'll join the previously cast Julius Carry, Natalie Garza, Andrew Katz and Jodi Lyn O'Keefe in the 20th Century Fox Television-based comedy pilot, which Chris Koch is directing from a script by creator Dan Fogelman. Tim Story also serves as an executive producer.

60 MINUTE MAN (ABC) - Gabriel Casseus (ABC's "Their Eyes Were Watching God") and Alex Fernandez (Anthony Prado on "Commander-In-Chief") have both joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a suburban family man (David James Elliott), who discovers he might be the key player in a conspiracy that could alter the course of U.S. history. They'll play detectives in the Touchstone Television-based project, which comes from executive producers Chris Brancato, Bert Salke and Graham Yost. Jon Avnet directs while Erika Alexander, Orla Brady, Sarah Jones and Colm Meaney also star.

ALPHA MOM (NBC) - Alexondra Lee (Tina Knowles on "Boston Public") has booked the lead role in the comedy pilot, about a corporate mom who tries to balance kids, a stay-at-home husband and a job. She joins the previously cast Scott Holroyd, Justina Machado and Kevin Rahm in the NBC Universal Television-based half-hour, which Bill Lawrence is directing from a script by creator Kerry Ehrin.

BEYOND (FOX) - Seth Gabel (Adrian Moore on "Nip/Tuck") and Adrian Lester (Mickey Stone on "Hustle") have both joined the cast of the pilot, a thriller set at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. They'll play David, a scientist, and Morris, the head of the research lab, respectively in the 20th Century Fox Television/Imagine Television-based project, which Breck Eisner is directing from a script by David Self. Brian Grazer and David Nevins also serve as executive producers while Jonah Lotan and Rachael Stirling also star.

GREY'S ANATOMY (ABC) - Director/co-executive producer Peter Horton has inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with Touchstone Television. The pact calls for Horton to be upped to executive producer on the medical drama next season as well as continue as a regular director on the series. In addition, Horton is also expected to direct and executive produce "Grey's" creator Shonda Rhimes's drama pilot under consideration for next season at ABC.

IF YOU LIVED HERE, YOU'D BE HOME BY NOW (FOX) - Jennifer Coolidge (Bobbie Morganstern on "Joey") has booked the final principal role in the comedy pilot, about a diverse group of people who live at a temporary housing complex in Los Angeles. She'll play the mother of Zac Efron's character in the project. Her character, Sherry, is described in the casting notice as follows: "Mid 30s-early 40s. Sherry is a fun, impulsive single mom with a flair for the dramatic. She has raised her sixteen years old son, Cody, all by herself, and has worked hard to give him everything he could ask for and more; he has no idea that she has made her living as stripper, and she would die before letting him find out. She is fiercely protective of him, but also close enough in age-both literally and emotionally to be his friend. Fun and adventurous, she's full of big dreams and infectious optimism." While not specified, Coolidge's involvement is likely in second position to her duties on "Joey." Boris Kodjoe, Cameron Richardson, Reg Rogers and Michael Simpson also star in the CBS Paramount Network Television-based half-hour, which Peter Lauer is directing from a script by creators Ted Cohen and Andrew Reich.

JERICHO (CBS) - Pamela Reed (Lynne on "Pepper Dennis") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about a small town in Kansas that's dealing with life after a series of nuclear attacks destroys most of America's big cities. She'll play Gail in the CBS Paramount Network Television-based hour, which also stars Michael Gaston, Sprague Grayden, Lennie James, Eric Knudsen, Gerald McRaney, Kenneth Mitchell, Ashley Scott and Skeet Ulrich. Stephen Chbosky is behind the project, which Jon Turteltaub is directing.

MAD MEN (AMC, New!) - The cable channel has placed its first-ever drama pilot order for a new project about the personal and professional lives of a group of New York advertising executives in the 1960s. Matthew Weiner ("The Sopranos") is behind the hour, which Alan Taylor ("Big Love") is directing. As for specifics, "Men" tracks Don Draper, the thirtysomething creative director for the Sterling Cooper ad agency, which hawks everything from cigarettes to political candidates, as he juggles his work load and his increasingly complicated romantic life. @radical.media is producing the pilot which is set to begin production next month for a potential series order in 2007. The network hopes to green light two other pilots in the near future.

MR. NICE GUY (ABC) - Kevin Weisman (Marshall Flinkman on "Alias") and Carla DeLizia (Marcy Kendall on "Boston Public") are the first to be cast in the comedy pilot, about a well-intentioned guy who always ends up looking bad. Weisman will play the lead role of Guy in the Touchstone Television-based half-hour. His character is detailed in the casting notice as: "Early-mid 30's. The people who know Guy well love him: he's smart, he's funny, and deep down he's really nice. Unfortunately, he is predisposed to say and do inappropriate things that invariably make him look like an ass. In fact, the harder he tries, the more he winds up sticking his foot in his mouth. Despite this, Guy is determined to get through a single day without saying or doing something that pisses someone off. Having to cope with his new out-of-his-league wife, his needy best friend and his crazy sister make this almost impossible."

DeLizia's character, Max, then is described as: "Mid-late 20's. Guy's younger sister, who is constantly over his and Annie's house. Max has a love-hate relationship with just about everyone and everything: especially food. Although she's a size eight, in her eyes, she's a size eighty. She is wickedly funny, brutally selfdeprecating, and extremely defensive. Max often shows flashes of vulnerability, but those moments are quickly covered by biting sarcasm. She also has a bit of a strained relationship with Annie, who's an effortless size zero and knows how to take a compliment-two traits that Max will never possess." Andy Cadiff is directing the project from a script by Jeff Astrof. Peter Traugott also serves as an executive producer.

OCTOBER ROAD (ABC) - Laura Prepon (Donna Pinciotti on "That '70s Show") and Warren Christie (Tarn on "Battlestar Galactica") have both joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a writer who returns to his small New England hometown. They'll play Hannah and Ray respectively in the Touchstone Television-based project, which comes from director Gary Fleder and fellow executive producers Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec and Scott Rosenberg. Brad William Henke, Evan Jones, Jay Paulson and Geoff Stults also star.

PINK COLLAR (ABC) - Alicia Silverstone (Kate Fox on "Miss Match") has been cast in the lead role of the comedy pilot, about female relationships within the workplace. Her character, Hayden Flynn, is described in the casting notice as: "Early 30s. Hayden is a single businesswoman, with no romantic prospects, who works among a cluster of other women in a middle management job at American Accident Insurance. Smart, likeable and observant, Hayden has one problem: she sucks at office politics. Jaded after a high-profile screw-up, Hayden sees her career as dead in the water, but cannot become sharklike enough to chomp her way out of trouble." Patricia Breen is behind the HBO Independent Productions-based half-hour, which has also added Alan Poul ("Big Love") as director.

PRIMARY (FOX) - Rosemarie DeWitt (Heather on "Rescue Me") and Raquel Alessi ("Ghost Rider") have both joined the cast of the drama pilot, about male (Ron Livingston) and female hostage negotiators who balance their budding relationship and their job. DeWitt will play said female lead while Alessi's character wasn't detailed. Craig Silverstein is behind the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, which fellow executive producer Tim Story is directing.

SIX FEET UNDER (HBO) - Bravo's purchase of the show's repeat rights from the pay channel (read the story) is understood to be valued in the $15 million dollar range or about $250,000 for each of the show's 63 one-hour episodes. The four-year exclusive deal begins this fall with episodes most likely running after the 10:00/9:00c hour. No launch specifics however were mentioned.

SOUTHERN COMFORT (ABC) - Shawn Hatosy (A&E's "Faith of My Fathers") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a nerd-turned-billionaire (Johnny Lewis) who moves back to his small hometown and butts heads with his jock older brother. Hatosy will play the latter role in the 20th Century Fox Television-based project, which comes from creator Brad Copeland and director Roger Kumble.

THREE MOONS OVER MILFORD (ABC Family) - Elizabeth McGovern (Helen Shaw on "The Brotherhood of Poland, N.H.") has been cast in the lead role of the project, a quirky drama set in a small town whose residents take their lives to the extreme upon learning that a cosmic explosion is threatening Earth's existence. She'll play Janet Montgomery in the Touchstone Television-based series, which received an eight-episode order earlier this year (read the story). Her character is detailed in the casting notice as: "A fit and fetching 35-45 years old woman. She's hard-working, disciplined and bright. The happily married mother of two teenagers, [Janet] finds her sedate suburban existence rudely disrupted when a meteor crashes into the moon, fragmenting it into three parts, any of which could plummet towards Earth and destroy the planet at any given moment."

"The strong-willed [Janet] is trying to pretend that nothing is amiss, but meanwhile all around her are melting down, including her scientist husband, who quits his job as the president of a huge biotech company and goes mountain climbing in Africa with no thought to the financial devastation of his family. One moment, [Janet] is the wealthy wife of a successful captain of industry. The next, she is virtually indigent. It doesn't help matters when her daughter Lydia, convinced she is a witch, accidentally burns down the high school while casting spells, or when her son Alex, 16, becomes romantically entangled with an older woman. The only island of sanity in [Janet]'s life is Mack, a local attorney who offers [Janet] a job and some much appreciated moral support. Meanwhile, despite the threat of imminent cataclysm, [Janet] valiantly tries to hold her family together." Sam Murphy, Nora Dunn, Samantha Quan and Rob Boltin also star.

UGLY BETTY (ABC) - Alan Dale (Metcalfe on "E-Ring") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about an unattractive young woman (America Ferrera) who works at a fashion magazine. He joins the previously cast Ashley Jensen, Eric Mabius, Becki Newton, Ana Ortiz, Tony Plana and Charlotte Ross in the Touchstone Television-based hour, which comes from writer Silvio Horta and director Richard Shepard. Salma Hayek, Ben Silverman, Jose Tamez and Teri Weinberg also serve as executive producers alongside Horta.

UNTITLED BONNIE HUNT PROJECT (ABC) - Jonathan Kimmel ("The Andy Milonakis Show") has scored a guest starring role in the comedy pilot, about a recently divorced woman who works at a detective agency. He'll play Xavier in the project, which also stars Malcolm Barrett, Michael Landes, Joe Mantegna, Dennis Miller, Anthony Russell and Lauren Tom. Co-stars Hunt and Don Lake penned the pilot script with the former directing.

VANISHED (FOX) - Ming-Na (Rachel Lu on "Inconceivable") and Robert Hoffman (Matt on "Quintuplets") have both joined the ensemble cast of the drama pilot, which chronicles the disappearance of a senator's wife. Ming-Na will play Lynn Andrews, an F.B.I. agent assigned to the case, while Hoffman is set as a news cameraman who covers the case. Josh Berman and Mimi Leder are behind the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, which also stars John Patrick Amedori, Chris Egan, Rebecca Gayheart, Gale Harold, Joanne Kelly, Margarita Levieva and John Allen Nelson.

WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE GYM (CBS) - Jennifer Aspen (Trina Hamilton on "Rodney") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about three best friends with young kids - all with very different attitudes toward marriage, motherhood and their careers. She'll play one of said friends in the Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour, which also stars Teri Polo. Aspen's involvement is likely in second position to her duties on the ABC comedy. Gabrielle Allan is behind the project, which has also added John Pasquin ("Freddie") as director.

WOMEN IN LAW (ABC) - Paige Turco (Terri Lowell on "The Agency") has joined the cast of the pilot, a dramedy about women working at a law firm. No details about her character were given. Garcelle Beauvais Nilon, Regina King, Jill Ritchie, Julie Warner and Kelli Williams also star in the Sony Pictures Television-based project, which comes from executive producers Steven Banks, Claudia Grazioso, Carl Beverly and Sarah Timberman. Robert Luketic is directing from a script by the former two.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [march 2006]  


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