[03/20/06 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: March 20
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!

COMPANY TOWN (CBS) - Gary Cole (Lieutenant Conrad Rose on "Wanted") and Catherine Bell (Emily Patterson on "The Triangle") have both joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a suburban Washington, D.C., cul-de-sac that's home to government officials. Cole will play Martin Amberson in the CBS Paramount Network Television-based project, who's detailed in the casting notice as: "Early-Late 40's. A member of the CIA possibly working as a double agent, Martin Amberson is a lethally seasoned operative, first seen on a mission in the Ukraine. As a man who is as comfortable with a gun in his hand as he is with a child in his arms he must lead a double life and is forced to keep his work with the CIA distinctly separate and secert from his home life with wife Angie [Sherry Stringfield], son Kevin and daughter Ronni. One moment he is an attentive and loving dad at his son�s baseball game and the next he is a CIA operative put in the hot seat after an informant is killed during a supposed botched overseas operation."

Bell then is set as Maggie Shaunessy: "Mid 30's-early 40's. A presumably widowed military wife (her husband has been M.I.A for the past four years), she is struggling to raise a teenaged daughter who is convinced that her father is still alive. She is described as a quiet beauty haunted by the desperate realization that she wants and needs a man in her life. She is currently sleeping with the local lothario and has no idea that he's also been seeing her close friend and neighbor Bridget [Michael Michele]." Blair Underwood also stars in the hour, which Thomas Carter is directing from a script by creator Elwood Reid. Larry Sanitsky also serves as an executive producer.

THE GREG BEHRENDT SHOW/JUDGE MARIA LOPEZ (Syndication) - Sony Pictures Television has upped the clearances on both series to 94% and 98% respectively. Recently signing on for "Behrendt" are WRBW/WOFL in Orlando and WRAZ in Raleigh-Durham, N.C. while "Lopez" has added KWGN in Denver and WRDQ in Orlando. Both shows are set to launch this fall.

HAPPY HOUR (FOX) - John Sloan (Aron Ackerman on "The Triangle") and Nat Faxon (Bodie on "Joey") have booked the final principal roles on the pilot, an odd-couple buddy comedy about two roommates (Sloan, Lex Medlin). Sloan's character, Henry Beckman, is detailed in the casting notice as: "Early-mid 30s. He is a handsome, affable, good-natured guy, whose life is turned upside-down when Heather, his girlfriend of three years, unceremoniously dumps him. The two have recently moved to Chicago, where Heather's decided she wants to enjoy being single again. Not only has Henry lost his girl, he soon learns that he's no longer employed and has no place to live. Determined to woo Heather back, a resilient, but somewhat misguided Henry moves in with another fellow in the complex and begins making reunification plans."

Faxon then is set as Brad Cooper: "30s. An amiable guy with a mild-mannered exterior but the heart of a party animal. A former roommate of Larry, he's recently gotten engaged to the man-eating Tina. Clearly under her thumb, Brad is afraid to do anything to upset his bride-to-be, but has only reluctantly given up his wild bachelor life with Larry." Brooke D'Orsay, Jamie Denbo and Beth Lacke also star in the Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour, which comes from creators Jackie Filgo and Jeff Filgo. Andy Ackerman is directing while Eric Gold, Jimmy Miller and Tom Werner serve as executive producers along with the Filgos. (Note: An earlier version of this report incorrectly identified Sloan's character as Larry Cone.)

IF YOU LIVED HERE, YOU'D BE HOME BY NOW (FOX) - Brendan Hines (a guest star on "Angel") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a diverse group of people who live at a temporary housing complex in Los Angeles. It's not clear if Hines is replacing one of the current cast members or playing a role not specified in the casting notice. Ted Cohen and Andrew Reich are behind the CBS Paramount Network Television-based half-hour, which stars Jennifer Coolidge, Zac Efron, Boris Kodjoe, Cameron Richardson, Reg Rogers and Michael Simpson. Peter Lauer is directing.

MR. NICE GUY (ABC) - Rena Sofer (Christie Dunbar on "Blind Justice") have scored the female lead in the comedy pilot, about a well intentioned guy (Diedrich Bader) who always ends up looking bad. She'll play Annie, the wife of Bader's character in the project, who's detailed in the casting notice as: "Late 20's-early 30's. Annie is Guy's way-out-of-his-league wife: she's beautiful, loving, loveable, spiritual and extremely appropriate. If she has one fault, it's that she can be too nice. She's extremely sensitive and open-minded and her soft spot for the damaged explains a lot of the reasons why she loves Guy and his family. She and Guy have been married for only a few months." Cara DeLizia and Kevin Weisman also star in the Touchstone Television-based half-hour, which comes from creator Jeff Astrof, director Andy Cadiff and executive producer Peter Traugott. (Note: Two previous reports incorrectly identified Weisman's character as Guy, the title role.)

PALM SPRINGS (The CW) - Cheryl White (Victoria Conlin on "The Book of Daniel") and D.W. Moffett (Worth Webster on "The Book of Daniel") have both signed onto the drama pilot, where they'll join the previously cast Michael Cassidy, Taylor Handley, Amber Heard, Sharon Lawrence, Gail O'Grady and Ellary Porterfield. Kevin Williamson is behind the Lionsgate Television-based hour, which Scott Winant is directing.

RUNAWAY (The CW) - Donnie Wahlberg (Detective Joel Stevens on "Boomtown"), Dustin Milligan (Steve Colter on "The Days") and newcomer Nathan Gamble have all joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a family that become fugitives in order to prove the innocence of the family patriarch. Wahlberg will play Paul Rader, the father of said family, while Milligan and Gamble are likely playing his children. Leslie Hope also stars in the Sony Pictures Television-based hour, which has also added Mikael Salomon (TNT's "The Grid") as director. Chad Hodge, Darren Star and Ed Zuckerman are the executive producers with Hodge penning the pilot script.

SHARK (CBS) - Alexis Cruz (Sgt. Joaquin Garcia on "American Family") and Sophina Brown ("Chappelle's Show") have both joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a celebrity attorney-turned-prosecutor (James Woods). Cruz will play a young D.A. while Brown's character wasn't specified. Ian Biederman is behind the 20th Century Fox Television/Imagine Television-based hour, which Spike Lee is directing. Biederman, Brian Grazer and David Nevins are the executive producers. Sarah Carter also stars.

SOUTHERN COMFORT (ABC) - Bruce Davison (Doug Hellman on "Close to Home") and Lee Garlington (Alana Waterman on "The West Wing") have been added to the cast of the comedy pilot, about a nerd-turned-billionaire (Johnny Lewis) who returns to his small hometown. Details on their respective characters weren't released. Gill Gayle and Shawn Hatosy also star in the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, which Roger Kumble is directing from a script by creator Brad Copeland.

UNTITLED PAUL REISER PROJECT (CBS) - Mercedes Ruehl (Lifetime's "Mom at Sixteen") is in talks to play mom to Bobby Cannavale in the comedy pilot, about an ambitious guy who takes over the family car dealership in Queens, N.Y. Her character, Rochelle, is described in the casting notice as follows: "60-something, female. Danny's widowed mother. A comfortably middle class woman who keeps close tabs on her children and the family business. She's a tough cookie who, while devoted to her husband when he was alive, will not allow his recent passing to interfere with her pursuit of happiness or her smoking."

Also signing on is stage actress Jennifer Cody as Clarissa Ruiz: "29, any ethnicities (prefer Hispanic), female. Receptionist/know-it-all at car dealership. She briefly dated Danny. It didn't end well. Clarissa's now alternately protective, petty and possessive of Danny, but he could never replace her because she's just too good at her job." Hector Elizondo also stars in the CBS Paramount Network Television-based half-hour, which comes from creator Paul Reiser.

THE WEDDING ALBUM (FOX) - Tara Summers (Carol on "Alfie") and Ashlie Atkinson (Theresa on "Rescue Me") have both joined the cast of the Bruno Campos-led drama pilot, about the personal and professional foibles of a wedding photographer who shoots big-deal nuptials in New York. They'll play his assistant and office manager respectively in the Fox Television Studios-based hour, which comes from creators Wink Mordaunt and Andy Tennant.

THE WEEKEND (CBS) - Kevin Hart (James Ricky on "Barbershop") and British actor Chris O'Dowd (Roy on "The IT Crowd") are the first to be cast in the comedy pilot, about three male friends whose social lives revolve around the weekends. It's not clear which characters on the casting notice they'll be playing. Ed Roe is behind the half-hour, which is set up at CBS Paramount Network Television.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [march 2006]  


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