[04/14/06 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: April 13-14
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!

BROTHERS & SISTERS (ABC) - Marti Noxon ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Point Pleasant") has joined the drama pilot as an executive producer where she'll serve as its showrunner should it be ordered to series. Noxon's involvement comes as the result of a two-year, seven-figure overall deal the writer/producer has signed with "Brothers" producer Touchstone Television. The pact also calls for her to develop new series projects for the studio. Ken Olin and creator Jon Robin Baitz also serve as executive producers on "Brothers."

C.S.I.: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (CBS) - Liz Vassey, who plays lab technician Wendy Simms on the veteran crime drama, has inked a deal to return next season for at least 10 episodes. No other details about the pact were given.

A DAY IN THE LIFE (ABC) - Stephnie Weir ("Mad TV") has been upped to series regular on the comedy pilot, about a young couple's (Josh Cooke, Marla Sokoloff) wedding day as told from the points of view of the various participants. Weir plays the wedding planner in the Sony Pictures Television-based half-hour, which also stars Kurt Fuller, Miriam Shor, Stephen Rannazzisi and Wendie Malick. Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith are behind the project, which Michael Spiller is directing.

DRIVE (FOX) - Andres Saenz-Hudson (a guest star on "Criminal Minds") and newcomer Shahine Ezell are the latest additions to the drama pilot, about an underground road race across America. They'll play Winston Salazar and Sean Salazar, two brothers participating in the race. The former character is detailed in the casting notice as: "23, Hispanic. He's another racer who is participating in the contest, along with his younger brother, Sean. A couple of characters, they are riding in a stolen, pimped out Caddy. Always bickering, the duo wait for instructions on the red cell phone that links them to the contest's organizers. They are determined to win the 32 million dollar purse but they may learn that there's a big downside to this high-stakes competition."

Sean then is described as: "18, Hispanic. He's Winston's younger brother, a character who is a bit of a germo-phobe. He wants to win the big prize money, but he and his brother waste of lot of time in bickering. Sean and Winston give the disgruntled young Violet a ride in their pimped out (and stolen) Caddy." The pair join the previously cast Alan Ruck, Emily Stone and Melanie Lynskey in the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, which comes from creators Ben Queen and Tim Minear. Greg Yaitanes is directing.

FEAR FACTOR (NBC) - Matt Kunitz, the veteran showrunner of the NBC series, has inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with Endemol USA. The pact calls for Kunitz to exit his role on the NBC Universal Television-based "Factor" at the end of this season where he'll begin developing projects for Endemol. First up, Kunitz will spearhead ABC's version of the "American Idol"-esque "Operation Triumph." Casting has already begun on said project, which could bow as early as this summer. In addition to his duties on "Factor," Kunitz also served as a consultant on the upcoming NBC series "Treasure Hunters."

FLIRT (The CW) - Marco Sanchez (a guest star on "Hot Properties"), Guy Torry (a guest star on "Blind Justice") and Marcelle Larice (Holly on "The Bad Girl's Guide") have all joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about the only man (Wayne Brady) working at a women's magazine. They'll play Simon, Jed and Allison respectively in the Touchstone Television-based half-hour, which comes from creator Barry Wernick and fellow executive producers Claudia Lonow, Kevin Kelly Brown and Lawrence Bender. Gary Halvorson is directing.

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (FX) - Anne Archer (Beth Gordon on "Ghost Whisperer") has signed on to appear in four episodes of the show's upcoming second season. She'll play the wife of Danny DeVito's character on the series, which returns in June.

OCTOBER ROAD (ABC)/UNTITLED TOM HERTZ PROJECT (CBS) - Elizabeth Bogush (Max Dowling on "The Mountain") has booked guest starring roles on both projects. No details however were given about either of her characters, which are understood to be potentially recurring should they move forward to series.

ORPHEUS (CBS) - Patrick J. Adams (a recent guest star on "Numb3rs") has been confirmed as a cast member on the drama pilot, about a young man (Nick D'Agosto) whose girlfriend (Mena Suvari) is involved in a sophisticated, modern-day cult and draws him to it. He plays Barry on the CBS Paramount Network Television-based hour, which also stars Eion Bailey and Fairuza Balk. Bruce Beresford directed the project from a script by Nicholas Meyer with David W. Zucker, John McNamara, Ridley Scott and Tony Scott also serving as executive producers.

ROB & BIG BLACK (MTV, New!) - The life of professional street skateboarder Rob Dyrdek and his bodyguard/best friend, Christopher "Big Black" Boykin, are set to be the focus of a new reality series for the cable channel. MTV has committed to eight episodes of the project, which comes from "Wildboyz" executive producer Jeff Tremaine and fellow co-creator Ruben Fleisher. The half-hour series, set to launch this fall, will track the "odd couple"-esque pair as they live together in Dyrdek's Hollywood Hills home.

SHARK (CBS) - Lindsay Frost (a recent guest star on "The Unit") has been cast as the ex-wife of James Woods's character in the drama pilot, about a celebrity defense attorney-turned-prosecutor. She'll join the previously cast Alexis Cruz, Danielle Panabaker, Jeri Ryan, Romy Rosemont, Samuel Page, Sarah Carter and Sophina Brown in the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, which comes from creator Ian Biederman and director Spike Lee. Brian Grazer and David Nevins of Imagine Television also serve as executive producers.

UNTITLED STEINBERGS PROJECT (ABC) - Jeffrey Pierce (a recent guest star on "N.C.I.S.") has scored a guest starring role on the drama pilot, about the lives of nine hostages who endure a 52-hour hostage standoff. He'll play Randall Reese, a potentially recurring character, on the Warner Bros. Television-based project, which also stars Camille Guaty, Chi McBride, Dana Davis, Jessica Collins, John Billingsley, Kim Raver, Lourdes Benedicto, Owain Yeoman, Scott Wolf and Timothy Daly. Alex Graves is directing the hour from a script by creators Hank Steinberg and K.J. Steinberg.

UNTITLED TINA FEY PROJECT (NBC) - Scott Adsit (a recent guest star on "Monk") has been confirmed as a cast member on the comedy pilot, about the life of the head writer (Tina Fey) of a fictional sketch comedy series. No details about his character were given. Alec Baldwin, Jack McBrayer, Judah Friedlander, Rachel Dratch and Tracy Morgan also star in the NBC Universal Television-based half-hour, which Adam Bernstein directed from a script by Fey. David Miner, JoAnn Alfano, Lorne Michaels and Marci Klein also serve as executive producers.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [april 2006]  

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