LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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THE BRONX IS BURNING (ESPN, New!) - The cable channel plans to move forward with a new limited series about the New York Yankees' victory at the 1977 World Series. Here's how the network's press materials describe the project: "Set in New York City in 1977, this 8-10 episode series will focus on the Yankees, and the team�s two biggest personalities: Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin. The Yankees� first black superstar and the scrappy �working-class� Billy Martin mirror the racial and class tug-of-war that the city as a whole was facing." James D. Solomon ("The Handler") is behind the project, which is based on Jonathan Mahler's bestseller "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning," while Michael Tollin and Brian Robbins ("One Tree Hill") will executive produce via their self-titled banner. ESPN is said to be targeting a July 2007 premiere for the series, a date which coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Yankees' first World Series under owner George Steinbrenner. Additional details are expected to be announced in the near future.
ISLAND HEAT: STRANDED (Lifetime, New!) - Erica Durance (Lois Lane on "Smallville") and Carlos Ponce (Carlos Rivera on "7th Heaven") are set to topline a new original movie for the cable channel, the first of a similarly-themed trilogy set in the Caribbean. Matt Dorff ("Lies My Mother Told Me") and Bill O'Dowd ("Zoey 101") are behind the project, which Dorff will write and executive produce with O'Dowd via the latter's Dolphin Entertainment. The "Stranded" installment revolves around a bride (Durance) whose bachelorette party on the fictional island of San Carlos goes terribly wrong. Ponce then will play police inspector Raddimus, a character that will recur in all three telefilms. Production is set to begin this spring for an unspecified air date.
LOST (ABC) - Executive producers/co-showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have signed new one-year, seven-figure deals with Touchstone Television. The pact will keep them in said roles for the 2006-07 season where they'll serve alongside fellow executive producers J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk and Jack Bender.
MR. NICE GUY (ABC) - The Alphabet has opted not to move forward with the comedy project, which was set to shoot its pilot later this month. The Touchstone Television-based half-hour, about a well-meaning man (Diedrich Bader) who always ends up looking bad even when trying to do the right thing, will instead be redeveloped for midseason 2007 or the 2007-08 season. No reason for the decision, which was made shortly after a table read had taken place, was given. Andy Cadiff was attached to direct the project from a script by creator Jeff Astrof with Brillstein-Grey Television's Peter Traugott also serving as an executive producer. Cara DeLizia, Kevin Weisman and Rena Sofer were also cast.
RESCUE ME (FX) - The cable channel has confirmed the show's third season will launch on Tuesday, May 30 at 10:00/9:00c, the first Tuesday after the May sweeps period concludes.
SHE SAID, HE SAID (The CW) - Lacey Chabert (ABC Family's "Hello Sister, Goodbye Life") is set to play sister to Lindsay Sloane in the comedy pilot, about how men and women perceive relationships differently. Nick Lachey and Chris J. Johnson also star in the CBS Paramount Network Television/Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour, which comes from creators Daniel Berendsen and Heidi Clements. Garry Hart also serves as an executive producer.
THE TYRA BANKS SHOW (Syndication) - Alex Duda ("elimiDATE") has joined the syndicated talk show, where she'll serve as an executive producer alongside John Redmann. Her addition is understood to fill the void left by executive producer Kevin Applegate, who will exit the series at the end of this season.
UNTITLED DAVID HEMINGSON PROJECT (FOX, New!) - David Hemingson, the co-creator of FOX's short-lived comedy "Kitchen Confidential," has signed a multi-year, seven-figure overall with 20th Century Fox Television. The pact will keep the writer/producer at the studio until at least 2008, where he'll develop original projects and continue as a consulting producer on "Family Guy." In addition, he's also said to be close to setting up a new animated project at FOX about fraternal twins from an ordinary family who just happen to be the smartest kids in the world.
UNTITLED TOM HERTZ PROJECT (CBS) - Paulo Costanzo (Michael Tribbiani on "Joey") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about an engaged couple, a married couple and a happily single guy. He'll play the fiance of Kathleen Rose Perkins's character in the Sony Pictures Television-based half-hour, which also stars Megyn Price and Patrick Warburton. Costanzo's involvement is in second position to his duties on the NBC comedy. Andy Ackerman is directing the project from a script by Tom Hertz with Happy Madison's Adam Sandler, Doug Robinson and Jack Giarraputo also serving as executive producers.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters