LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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24 (FOX) - Kiefer Sutherland has inked a massive three-year, eight-figure deal with 20th Century Fox Television to remain with the series through the 2008-09 season. The pact also calls for the actor to establish a 20th-based production company starting in June where he'll develop new series projects. The acting portion alone is said to be worth more than $40 million, likely making Sutherland the highest paid actor in a drama series. So far however FOX has only formally committed to "24" through the 2006-07 season, during which Sutherland will be elevated from a co-executive producer to executive producer. There he'll serve alongside fellow executive producers Joel Surnow, Robert Cochran, Howard Gordon and Evan Katz. It should also be noted the deal is for Sutherland's TV services only as any potential movie incarnation would be handled separately.
THE BIG BANG THEORY (CBS) - Johnny Galecki (Jay on "Hope & Faith") is set to star opposite Jim Parsons in the comedy pilot, about two brilliant theoretical physicists (Galecki, Parsons) who meet a woman who shows them how little they know about real life. Iris Bahr also stars in the Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour, which comes from creators Bill Prady and Chuck Lorre.
HIM & US (ABC) - Deren Leroy ("Mr. & Mrs. Smith") has been upped to series regular on the comedy pilot, about a fictional British rock star (Anthony Stewart Head) and his entourage. Leroy plays one of the bodyguards of Head's character. Ashley Williams, Hugh Sachs, Kim Cattrall and Michael Trucco also star in the Touchstone Television-based half-hour, which Charles Shyer directed from a script by Cindy Chupack. Bob Halley, Bruce Roberts, Elton John and Michael Edelstein also serve as executive producers.
THE KING OF QUEENS (CBS) - Liz Astrof, a co-executive producer on the series, has inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with CBS Paramount Network Television. The pact will keep Astrof on board the veteran comedy should it return next season as well as call for her to develop new projects for the studio.
SHE SAID/HE SAID (The CW) - Smith Cho (Glitter Cho on "Emily's Reasons Why Not") has joined the cast of the pilot, a romantic comedy starring Nick Lachey and Lindsay Sloane told from men's and women's perspectives. She'll play the best friend of Sloane's character in the CBS Paramount Network Television/Warner Bros. Television-based project, which also features Chris J. Johnson and Lacey Chabert. Daniel Berendsen and Heidi Clements are behind the half-hour, while Garry Hart also serves as an executive producer.
YOU'VE REACHED THE ELLIOTTS (CBS) - Danielle Savre (Callie on "Summerland") is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, about a man (Chris Elliott) who navigates being a celebrity and a parent. She'll play the daughter of Elliott's character in the Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour, which also stars Christopher McDonald and Cynthia Stevenson. Rob Des Hotel is behind the project, which also comes from executive producers Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters