[09/08/06 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: September 4-8 (Weekly Round-Up)
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!

ARMY WIVES (Lifetime) - Kim Delaney (Rebecca Bloom on "The O.C.") and Brigid Brannagh (Vanessa Dunphy on "Over There") have both joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a sassy woman (Sally Pressman) from the wrong side of the tracks who marries a soldier, moves her kids onto a military base and becomes friends with a diverse group of Army wives. Details on their characters weren't specified. Katherine Fugate is behind the Touchstone Television-based hour, which is also executive produced by Mark Gordon and Deb Sepra. Ben Younger directs.

BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE (HBO) - Adam Beach ("Flags of Our Fathers") and Anna Paquin ("X-Men: The Last Stand") have both joined the cast of the pay channel's original movie, about how American Indians were displaced as the U.S. expanded West during the latter half of the 19th century. Beach will play Charles Eastman, the love interest of Elaine Goodale (Paquin), a writer-activist who emerges as a voice for American Indian rights. The pair join the previously cast Aidan Quinn and August Schellenberg. Yves Simoneau is directing from a script by Daniel Giat with Dick Wolf and Tom Thayer executive producing. Production is set to begin this month in Canada.

ISLA DU SOL (NBC, New!)/UNTITLED TOM WHEELER PROJECT (The CW, New!) - "Empire" creator Tom Wheeler has set up a pair of drama projects as part of a new two-script with deal Warner Bros. Television. First up is the mystery/adventure entry "Isla Du Sol," about a young woman who, to fulfill her aunt's dying wish, travels to the mysterious Brazilian Isla Du Sol and discovers a past she never knew. David Heyman's Heydey Films ("Threshold") is on board to co-produce the hour alongside Wheeler. As for the CW project, the untitled hour is described as a contemporary take on the '80s adventure drama "The A-Team." Steve Pearlman and Andrew Plotkin's Class IV Productions ("Reunion") are teaming with Wheeler on the project. NBC has given a script commitment plus penalty to the former while the CW has given a script order to the latter.

JOHN FROM CINCINNATI (HBO) - Rebecca De Mornay ("Wedding Crashers"), Willie Garson (Martin Lloyd on "Stargate SG-1") and Matt Winston (Mitch Lenk on "Teachers") are the latest additions to David Milch and Kem Nunn's drama pilot for the pay channel. De Mornay will play Cissy, the aggressively unhappy wife of Mitch Yost (Bruce Greenwood), a former Imperial Beach surfing champ whose life is disrupted by the arrival of the dim but wealthy John (Austin Nichols) from Cincinnati, a savant who has come to take surfing lessons. Winston then will play Barry Cunningham, a man who returns to Imperial Beach to avenge a wrong done to him by the Yosts 23 years ago, with Garson as Dick Stein, a realtor/attorney who is a fixture in Imperial Beach. The group joins the previously cast Brian Van Holt, Ed O'Neill and Luis Guzman. Mark Tinker is directing the hour from a script by Milch and Nunn. Gregg Fienberg and Howard Rosenman also serve as executive producers.

NIP/TUCK (FX) - 4.83 million viewers tuned into the show's fourth-season premiere, including 3.4 million adults 18-49 (2.6 rating nationally) and a 2.4 rating among adults 25-54. Said 18-49 numbers marked the biggest numbers in the demo for any basic-cable series this year. Nevertheless, "Nip/Tuck" was off modestly from its season three opener, which drew 3.7 million viewers in 18-49 and 5.3 million overall. An encore at 11:00/10:00c also fared well, drawing an additional 1.2 million adults 18-49 and 1.7 more million overall.

THE RICHES (A.K.A. LOW LIFE) (FX) - The cable channel has ordered the long-in-the-works drama pilot to series following a title change and reshoots by director Peter O'Fallon to lighten the tone of the show. The Fox TV Studios/Maverick Television-based hour centers on a family of traveling con artists - Wayne (Eddie Izzard) and Dahlia (Minnie Driver) Malloy and their three kids - who assume the identify of a well-to-do "normal" family. Noel Fisher, Margo Martindale, Aidan Mitchell and Shannon Woodward also star. Dmitry Lipkin is behind the project, which he'll executive produce alongside Izzard, Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin. Maverick's Michael Rosenberg, Mark Morgan and Guy Oseary will also serve as executive producers while Carl Franklin directed the original pilot. Production on the series is set to begin in December for a second quarter premiere next year.

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (CBS) - Bianca Kajlich (Quinn on "Vanished") has joined the cast of the Eye's midseason comedy, about an engaged couple (Kajlich, Oliver Hudson), a married couple (Patrick Warburton, Megyn Price) and a happily single guy (Greg Pitts). She'll take over for Kathleen Rose Perkins, who played he fiance role in the original pilot. Sony Pictures Television, Happy Madison Productions and CBS Paramount Network Television are behind the half-hour, which comes from creator Tom Hertz. Jack Giarraputo, Doug Robinson and Adam Sandler also serve as executive producers.

SHOWTIME ORIGINAL SERIES (Showtime, New!) - Showtime has given pilot orders to three new comedy projects - its long-in-the-works adapation of the BBC's "Manchild," Tom Kapinos's ("Dawson Creek") "Californication" and Linda Wallem ("The Comeback") and Liz Brixius's "Insatiable." Darren Star ("Kitchen Confidential") and Robb and Mark Cullen ("Heist") are shepherding "Manchild," which revolves around four male friends who are rapidly approaching 50 and knee-deep in midlife crises. The trio will executive produce the half-hour via Star's Sony Pictures Television-based banner with Susie Fitzgerald serving as a co-executive producer and U.K. creator Nick Fisher likely consulting. As for "Californication," said project tracks a novelist trying to raise a kid on his own while battling addictions to sex and drugs while "Insatiable" is set in a small town where everyone has some sort of addiction. No other details were released.

SIX DEGREES (ABC) - Ken Biller ("E-Ring") has inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with Touchstone Television. The pact, which expands upon his previously signed two-script deal with the studio, calls for the writer/producer to come aboard the ABC drama "Six Degrees" as showrunner/executive producer. He'll take over Carol Flint, who's exiting due to commuting issues between the show's New York-based production and her home in Los Angeles. There he'll serve alongside creators Stu Zicherman and Raven Metzner as well as Bad Robot's J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk.

VANISHED (FOX) - FOX quietly given the freshman drama an early vote of confidence, ordering three additional scripts of the series. Said scripts will be used as part of the show's back-nine order should it go forward.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [september 2006]  


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