LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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THE ANONYMOUS LAWYER (NBC, New!) - Jeremy Blachman's blog-turned-book is set to be the focus of a potential drama series at the Peacock. Said project, which is set up at Sony Pictures Television-based Krasnoff/Foster Entertainment, revolves around his "The Devil Wears Prada"-esque experiences as a Harvard Law School grad working for a high-powered law firm. Jeff Rake ("The Practice") is on board to co-write the script with Blachman as well as executive produce alongside Russ Krasnoff and Gary Foster. NBC has given a script commitment to the hour with a penalty attached if it isn't ordered to pilot.
C.S.I.: MIAMI (CBS) - Rob Estes ("The Evidence") has booked a multi-episode arc on the veteran drama. He'll play a convicted felon with ties to Eva LaRue's character Natalia Boa Vista. No other specifics, such as when his first appearance will be, were given.
C.S.I.: N.Y. (CBS) - Spike TV has indicated its off-network run of the "C.S.I." spin-off will begin on Sunday, October 1. Episodes will run once a week in the Sunday, 11:00/10:00c hour before its five-night-a-week run begins in the fall of 2008.
CABLE RATINGS ROUND UP (Week of July 17-23) - TNT's "The Closer" (5.7 million, #2; 1.4/4 in adults 18-49) was the second most-watched program on cable last week, falling behind USA's "WWE Raw" coverage (5.8 million, #1). Also finishing in the top 15: USA's "Monk" (5.09 million, #4; 1.5/5 in adults 18-49), "Psych" (4.69 million, #T7; 1.6/5 in adults 18-49) and the premiere of Sci Fi's "Eureka" (4.05 million, #9; 1.3/4 in adults 18-49). Outside the top 15 but still making some noise were week two of Bravo's "Project Runway" (2.58 million, 1.4/4 in adults 18-49), a new episode of "Rescue Me" on FX (2.57 million, 1.2/4 in adults 18-49), the ESPN premiere of "The Contender" (1.23 million, 0.6/2 in adults 18-49) and the ABC Family original "Fallen" (2.55 million, 0.9/3 in adults 18-49). Also of note: "My Fair Brady: The Wedding Special" drew more than 2.0 million viewers for VH1 on Sunday while week two of TNT's "Nightmares & Dreamscapes" fell to 2.9 million and 3.1 million viewers respectively for its third and fourth installments. As for the current week, FX's "30 Days" returned to the tune of 1.5 million viewers (1.0 million in adults 18-49) on Wednesday, on par with its first season average while "Rescue Me" posted an above-average 3.0 million viewers with week two of ESPN's "The Contender" climbing to 1.5 million.
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC) - Josh Henderson (Bo Rider on "Over There") is the latest addition to the show's third season. He'll play Austin, the sexy, bad-boy nephew of Nicollette Sheridan's character, who's expected to make his first appearance in the show's second episode this season.
GREY'S ANATOMY (ABC) - Lifetime's eleventh-hour victory over Oxygen and TNT for the show's off-network rights (read the story) is reportedly valued at $1.2 million per episode, just shy of its own record of $1.3 million per episode for NBC's "Medium" and more than double its $500,000 an episode pact for "Desperate Housewives." The cable channel will begin airing the series once a week outside of primetime starting in January before expanding to five nights a week in the fall of 2009 (as well as a repurposed broadcast of its original ABC run). The deal however isn't exclusive as Buena Vista Television will also offer weekend only repeats of "Grey's" to local stations across the country also starting in the fall of 2009.
IN TREATMENT (HBO) - The pay channel is moving forward with executive producer Mark Wahlberg's half-hour project, about a therapist who is calm, smooth, insightful and nonconfrontational with his patients but turns into a testy, self-doubting individual full of barely concealed anger when he is a patient seeing his own shrink. Rodrigo Garcia ("The Nine") is on board to direct and co-executive produce the series, which begins production later this month. Hagai Levi, Steve Levinson and Noa Tishby will also serve as executive producers alongside Wahlberg.
LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT (NBC) - Neal Baer, a longtime executive producer on the veteran Peacock drama, has inked a new two-year, seven-figure overall deal with NBC Universal Television. The pact calls for the writer/producer to continue with his co-showrunning duties on the "Law & Order" spin-off (along with Ted Kotcheff) as well as develop new projects for the studio.
THE LONGEST WINTER (ABC, New!) - James Sadwith (CBS's "Elvis") and Sony Pictures Television are developing a new four-hour mini-series at the Alphabet based on Alex Kershaw's book of the same name. The project, which Sadwith plans to write and direct, revolves around the true story of teenage American soldiers captured by Germany as Hitler was making his last stand. Frank Von Zerneck, Bob Sertner and Judith Verno then will also serve as executive producers.
LOST (ABC) - Elizabeth Mitchell ("House") is said to be the latest regular to join the cast of the popular ABC drama. She'll play Juliet, a character who's believed to be a new love interest for Jack (Matthew Fox) on the show. Not surprisingly, no other specifics were given.
THE NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE (CBS) - Blair Underwood has booked a recurring role on the sophomore comedy. He'll play Mr. Singer, a hunky new teacher at the school attended by the son of Julia Louis-Dreyfus's character. It's not clear when his first episode will air.
THE NUT (FOX, New!) - Feature film writer Ron Shelton ("Hollywood Homicide") has scored a put pilot commitment from the network for a new single-camera comedy about an ambitious, successful guy who juggles life, money and a loving but eccentric family in a daily effort to keep his head above water financially and cover his monthly bills. Russ Krasnoff and Gary Foster's Sony Pictures Television-based banner is behind the half-hour, which Shelton will write and executive produce along with Krasnoff and Foster.
THE OFFICE (NBC) - Ed Helms ("The Daily Show With Jon Stewart"), Charles "Chip" Esten ("Whose Line Is It Anyway?") and Rashida Jones ("Boston Public") have all landed recurring roles on the show's upcoming third season. Esten will reprise his role of Josh Porter, the regional manager at another branch of Dunder Mifflin, while specifics on Helms and Jones's characters weren't given.
PANDEMIC (Hallmark, New!) - Tiffani Thiessen, Vincent Spano, Faye Dunaway, Eric Roberts, French Stewart, Bruce Boxleitner, Renee Taylor and Bob Gunton are all set to star in RHI Entertainment's latest four-hour mini-series for the cable channel. The project, co-produced with Larry Levinson Productions, centers on a deadly unknown virus that's unleashed after inexplicable flu-like symptoms kill a young man aboard an airliner en route to Los Angeles from Australia. Thiessen and Stewart will play doctors Kayla Martin and Carl Ratner respectively, who work for the Centers for Disease Control, with Gunton as their boss, Roberts as the mayor of Los Angeles and Dunaway as the governor of California. Boxleitner, Spano and Taylor's characters however weren't specified.
PETER PAN (ABC, New!) - Sony Pictures Television and Craig Zadan and Neil Meron's Storyline Entertaiment are developing a contemporary musical revival of "Peter Pan." Irene Mecchi ("Annie") is on board to write the project, with Storyline's Royce Bergman producing alongside Zadan and Meron.
RETURN FROM THE DEAD (A&E, New!) - The cable channel is developing an original movie about a pediatrician who becomes a believer in life after death. The project, which is loosely based on a Rolling Stone article about the subject, comes from executive producers Diana Kerew and Judith Verno. Robert Caswell ("Something the Lord Made") is on board to write the script.
ROCCO (A&E, New!) - "The Restaurant" alum Rocco DiSpirito is set to be the focus of another reality project, this time from A&E and 44 Blue Productions. The cable channel has given a pilot commitment to the singularly titled entry, which will feature DiSpirito solving problems for everyday folk with the help of food such as winning back an ex-girlfriend with a romantic meal or impressing a future mother-in-law with a fancy engagement dinner. No other details were released.
THE SINGING OFFICE (CBS, New!) - Fox TV Studios and executive producer Laurie Girion are developing a new reality competition series in which staffers at two different companies are asked to do impromptu singing auditions right at their workplaces, the best of which are flown to Hollywood to face off in front of a studio audience. The Eye has given a pilot order to the project, which would feature the top five from each office performing a fully choreographed two-minute song-and-dance number with the studio audience choosing the winner of an unspecified cash prize. Each episode will be self-contained with the potential for a "best of" showdown at the end of each season to be voted on by the viewing audience at large.
SITUATION: COMEDY (Bravo) - Executive producers Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner have inked a one-year overall deal with CBS Paramount Network Television. The pact, which has the option for a second year, will set up their Hazy Mills Productions banner at the studio after two years at NBC Universal Television, where they'll develop scripted and unscripted projects.
SIX FEET UNDER (HBO) - Bravo's off-cable run of the HBO drama reportedly will begin on Monday, October 2 with back-to-back episodes starting at 9:00/8:00c. With the addition of commercials, it's understood each installment will run for 75 minutes, meaning the two "Six Feet Under" episodes will air in a two-and-a-half-hour block.
TIM STACK'S FAMILY VACATION (Nick at Nite, New!) - Actor/writer Timothy Stack ("Son of the Beach") is set to be the focus of a potential new comedy at the cable channel about the patriarch of an RV-bound family going on a cross-country road trip. The half-hour project marks Nick at Nite's second scripted effort currently in the works, the other being the sitcom pilot "Darlene Westgor" from Carol Leifer and said "Funniest Mom in America" winner. Stack and fellow "Beach" alum David Morgasen will executive produce the half-hour along with George Verschoor ("Nashville Star"). Production on said project is set to begin next month.
TRAVELER (ABC) - Pascale Hutton, late of NBC's "The Singles Table," has joined the cast of the midseason drama. She'll take over for Gillian Jacobs in the role of Kimberly, the girlfriend of Matthew Bomer's character. No reason was given for the change.
UNTITLED GUILLERMO DEL TORO PROEJCT (New!) - Filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro ("Hellboy") has inked a one-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television. The pact calls for him to develop new projects for the studio with an eye towards directing any resulting pilot. Thus far no specific project has been announced however he's expected to stay within the fantasy/sci-fi genre he's best known for.
UNTITLED JEFF RAKE PROJECT (ABC, New!) - Writer/producer Jeff Rake ("Head Cases") has scored a put pilot commitment from the Alphabet about the personal and professional lives of first-year cops in the Los Angeles Police Department's Pacific division. The untitled hour is set up at Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly's Sony Pictures Television-based 25C productions. Rake will write and executive produce the project alongside Timberman and Beverly.
UNTITLED JOHN LLOYD YOUNG PROJECT (ABC, New!) - Tony Award winning actor John Lloyd Young ("Jersey Boys") has signed a one-year talent holding deal with ABC and Touchstone Television. The pact calls for the network and studio to develop a project around the actor or cast him in one of their existing projects.
UNTITLED LL COOL J PROJECT (CBS, New!) - LL Cool J, a guest on FOX's "House" this past season, reportedly has signed a one-year, seven-figure talent holding deal with CBS. The pact calls for the Eye to develop a new series project around the actor. He'll also receive a producing credit on any resulting project along with Alchemy Entertainment's Jason Barrett.
WILDFIRE (ABC Family) - Executive producers Lloyd Segan and Shawn Piller have inked a multi-year, first-look development deal with the show's producer Lionsgate Television. The pact will give the studio first crack at any of the pair's projects in development for the foreseeable future.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters