LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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THE BIG BANG THEORY (CBS) - Kaley Cuoco ("Charmed") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about two brilliant physicists (Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons) and a woman (Cuoco) who shows them how little they know about real life. She'll take over for Amanda Walsh, who played the role in the original pilot. The Eye has since asked for a new pilot to be shot, with production set to begin in January. Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady are behind the Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour, which also stars Iris Bahr.
CALIFORNICATION/YOGA MAN (Showtime, New!) - David Duchovny ("The X-Files") is planning his return to television as the actor/producer is set to topline and executive produce the drama pilot, about Hank Moody, a charming but self-destructive writer and father of one, whose obsession with women and honesty both enriches and harms his life and work. Tom Kapinos ("Dawson's Creek") is behind the hour, which Stephen Hopkins is attached to direct, both of which will also executive produce. Duchovny's manager Melanie Greene is also on board as a co-executive producer with Kate Garwood receiving a co-producing credit. Separately, Duchovny has also sold the comedy "Yoga Man," described as "Shampoo" in a yoga studio, to the network. He co-wrote the pilot script alongside Bart Freundlich ("Trust the Man") and Scott Burns ("Wonderland").
DODGE (The CW, New!) - Brian Lynch has booked a script order from the netlet for a new drama about an immortal man who battles evil. No other details were given about the project, which is set up at Chris Bender and JC Spink's Fox 21-based Benderspink-banner. Charlie Gogolak ("Kyle XY") is also on board to executive produce the hour alongside the trio.
ELI STONE (ABC) - Loretta Devine ("Grey's Anatomy") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about a lawyer (Jonny Lee Miller) who finds out he might be a prophet. She'll play the assistant to Miller's character, a sardonic and refreshingly candid woman who always says exactly what she feels. Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim are behind the hour, which is set up at Berlanti's Touchstone Television-based Berlanti Television.
F.E.M.A.: THE UNTOLD STORY (FOX, New!) - "The Bernie Mac Show" creator Larry Wilmore has scored a script commitment from FOX for a new single-camera comedy which chronicles the political and social workings of the much-maligned agency. He'll write and executive produce the half-hour for Regency Television, the company behind "Mac."
I'M WITH STUPID/THE I.T. CROWD/KATH & KIM (NBC, New!) - The Peacock has reportedly given cast-contingent pilot orders to all three projects, all of which are based at NBC Universal Television. "Stupid," a co-production with Reveille and BBC Worldwide Productions, is about a down-and-out guy who befriends a wheelchair-bound young man and winds up moving into his group home for the disabled. Wil Calhoun penned the pilot script and will executive produce alongside Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Ben Silverman, Kenton Allen and Bradley Thomas. As for "Crowd," the series is a hybrid multi- and single-camera comedy based on the U.K. series about the geeky and unappreciated I.T. workers at a company. David Guarascio, Moses Port, Joe Port and Joe Wiseman are all writing and executive producing the half-hour, which is being co-produced by FremantleMedia North America. Finally, "Kath & Kim" is based on the hit Australian sitcom about a divorced mother and her miserable daughter who live together in the suburbs. Nancy Pimental penned the pilot script and will executive produce alongside Reveille's Ben Silverman.
LAW DOGS (CBS) - The Eye is moving forward with Barry Schindel's ("NUMB3RS") long-in-the-works drama pilot, about the lives, relationships, cases and careers of a team of public defenders. Originally set up at NBC and the then NBC-less Universal Domestic Television back in 2003, the project has since moved on to CBS where Ridley Scott, Tony Scott and David Zucker have come aboard to executive produce via their CBS Paramount Network Television-based Scott Free Productions. Schindel penned the pilot script and will executive produce alongside the trio. Production will likely begin on the pilot early next year.
LIFE (NBC) - David Semel ("Heroes") has been tapped to direct and executive produce the drama pilot, about a cop who's wrongly imprisoned and adopts a Zen-like approach to capture criminals after he's released. Rand Ravich is behind the NBC Universal Television-based hour, which he's writing and executive producing alongside his producing partner, Far Shariat.
MANCHILD (Showtime) - Kevin Smith ("Clerks II") and James Purefoy ("Rome") have both joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a group of fortysomething male friends (Smith, Purefoy, John Corbett, Paul Hipp) who are knee-deep in midlife crises. Smith will play Paul, the cynic of the group, an angry divorced guy who loathes himself, his ex and his ex's perfect new husband, while Purefoy is set as Joe, the ad hoc leader of his circle of pals, who is attractive, polished, virile and wealthy, goes to the hottest new clubs and doesn't date anyone over 25. In addition, Stephen Gyllenhaal ("Lucky") has signed on to direct the half-hour from a script by fellow "Lucky" alums Robb and Mark Cullen. The Cullens also serve as executive producers on the Sony Pictures Television-based project alongside Darren Star and Nick Fisher.
THE MEMORY TRACE (ABC, New!) - Best-selling Irish novelist Cecelia Ahern and writer/producer Don Todd are set to team for a new single-camera comedy about a 30-year-old psychiatrist who, after becoming the victim of a hit and run, develops amnesia and has to rediscover her life, her relationships and herself. Touchstone Television and Brillstein-Grey Entertainment are behind the half-hour, which Todd will write from an outline by the duo. Todd and Peter Traugott then will serve as executive producers with Ahern receiving a producing credit.
NEW AMSTERDAMN (FOX, New!)/UNTITLED MIKKO ALANNE PROJECT (FX, New!) - Feature producers Allan Loeb and Steven Pearl have lined up a pair of drama scripts at FOX and FX. "Amsterdam," from writer Christian Taylor ("Miracles"), revolves around a man cursed with immortality who works as a homicide detective in New York, while the FX hour, from feature writer Mikko Alanne, is about Internal Affairs cops living in a "Copland"-type suburb. Both hours are set up at Regency Television via Loeb and Pearl's Scarlet Fire Productions. FOX has given a script commitment plus penalty to "Amsterdamn" while FX has given a script order to the Alanne-penned hour.
OBJECTS OF DESIRE (The CW, New!) - "Gilmore Girls" star Lauren Graham is developing a new dramedy at the netlet about the complicated relationships among staffers of a renowned auction house. Holly Sorensen ("Friends in Low Places") is writing the pilot script and executive producing with Graham and Kathy Ebel via their Warner Bros. Television-based Good Game Entertainment banner. As for specifics, it's understood the hour will mix the usual workplace antics with a procedural aspect in which each object's history is revealed over the course of the episode.
OCCUPIED (ABC, New!) - Writer/producer Don Todd has landed a script commitment for a new "M*A*S*H"-esque dramedy about the efforts of a U.S. transitional team that acts as a provisional government in an African country. Todd is writing and executive producing the Touchstone Television/Brillstein-Grey Entertainment-based project alongside Peter Traugott.
ONE TREE HILL/VERONICA MARS (The CW) - The netlet has quietly asked for three additional scripts of both series, each of which began the 2006-07 season with 13-episode commitments. The respective extensions will give the network a few extra weeks to decide each show's ultimate fate.
THE PRO (Spike TV, New!) - Garth Ennis and Amanda Conner's comic of the same name about a prostitute superhero is being developed as a TV series for the cable channel by Chris Bender and JC Spink. No writer is currently attached to the project, which is set up at their Fox 21-based banner.
THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES (FOX) - Lena Headey ("Imagine Me & You") has scored the lead role in the drama pilot, a small screen continuation of the "Terminator" movie franchise centering on Sarah (Headey) and her son John, as they fight attackers from the future in present-day Los Angeles. Linda Hamilton played said role in the first two "Terminator" features. David Nutter is directing the Warner Bros. Television/C2 Pictures-based hour from a script by Josh Friedman. The pair also serve as executive producers alongside Andrew G. Vajna and Mario Kassar with James Middleton producing.
SHARK (CBS) - Illeana Douglas ("Not Like Everyone Else") has booked a recurring role on the freshman drama. She'll play a smart, sexy defense attorney who goes head-to-head with James Woods's character and is "confident enough to have fun doing it." It's not clear when her first episode will air.
STEPHANIE SPRING (VH1, New!) - Feature writer Nora Maccoby ("Buffalo Soldiers") is developing a new drama at the cable channel about a girl who tries to save her best friend from getting sucked into a mysterious cult. No other specifics were given about the project, which is set up at Chris Bender and JC Spink's Fox 21-based Benderspink banner.
THEM (FOX, New!) - Jonathan Mostow ("Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines"), David Eick ("Battlestar Galactica") and John McNamara ("Eyes") are set to team for a new drama about a sleeper cell of extraterrestrial terrorists who take the shape of humans only to have their mission compromised when they start experiencing human emotions, which act like a drug on the aliens. The project is based on the graphic novel "Six," written by Michael Oeming and Daniel Berman, with Eick and McNamara penning the pilot script and Mostow attached to direct. The trio will then executive produce alongside Circle of Confusion's David Engel and David Alpert via CBS Paramount Network Television. The network has given a script commitment plus a penalty if it doesn't go to pilot.
THE TOURNAMENT (FOX, New!) - Thomas Schlamme ("Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip") is developing a U.S. version of the Canadian comedy of the same name, which used a mockumentary style to chronicle the adventures of an athletically challenged youth hockey team and its underdog bid to qualify for the championship tournament. The U.S. version not surprisingly will switch the show's focus from hockey to a Little League baseball team. Howard Busgang, Howard Nemetz and Marty Putz, co-creators of the original "Tournament," are on board to pen the imported version with Schlamme executive producing via his Warner Bros. Television-based Shoe Money Productions.
UNTITLED AMANDA CONGDON PROJECT (HBO, New!) - Amanda Congdon, co-founder and former host of the comedy video blog Rocketboom.com, is developing a new comedy project for the pay channel. It's understood Congdon will star, write and executive produce the untitled half-hour which is expected to include an online video component. No other specifics were given. Currently, Congdon can be found chronicling her National Resources Defense Council-sponsored, environmental issue-driven, cross-country trek at www.amandaacrossamerica.com.
UNTITLED CAROLYN OMINE/DOUG STEINBERG PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Carolyn Omine ("The Simpsons") and Doug Steinberg ("Psych") are developing a new dark comedy at the network about a corporate underling who works her way up through the executive ranks by offing her co-workers. No other details were given about the project, which is set up at Regency Television.
UNTITLED DAVID MANSON PROJECT (FX, New!) - David Manson ("Saved") has scored a blind script commitment from the cable channel and Regency Television. The pact calls for the writer/producer to develop a new drama series project for the network.
UNTITLED KELLIE PICKLER PROJECT (FOX, New!) - "American Idol" finalist Kellie Pickler is set to topline a potential new semi-autobiographical comedy at the network about a naive small-town Southern girl who discovers that her biological father is the state's well-respected governor. Chris Peterson and Bryan Moore ("That '70s Show") are attached to pen the project, which they'll executive produce alongside Watson Pond's Brad Johnson and 19 Entertainment's Simon Fuller and Malcolm Young. FOX has given a script commitment to the half-hour, which is based at 20th Century Fox Television.
UNTITLED JESSI KLEIN PROJECT (NBC, New!) - Jessi Klein ("The Showbiz Show With David Spade") has received a script commitment (plus a penalty if it doesn't go to pilot) for a new "Mary Tyler Moore"-esque comedy about a skeptical, newly single woman who is a rising star at a self-help empire. Jill Soloway ("Six Feet Under") is shepherding the single-camera half-hour alongside Klein for Regency Television.
UNTITLED JILL SOLOWAY PROJECT (ABC, New!) - Jill Soloway ("Six Feet Under") has landed a script order from the Alphabet for a new comedy about a successful Los Angeles marketing maven who makes a drastic career change when she falls for her local city councilman. Regency Television is behind the half-hour, which is believed to be a single-camera comedy.
UNTITLED MARK BURNETT PROJECT (CBS, New!) - The Eye has quietly given a 13-episode commitment to a new pirate-themed series from reality guru Mark Burnett. Format specifics about the project have yet to be released other than it will involve both land and sea-based challenges as well as elimination ceremonies. Casting is currently underway on the series, which is being targeted for a summer 2007 premiere.
UNTITLED NICHOLAS STOLLER PROEJCT (CBS, New!) - Feature writer Nicholas Stoller ("Fun With Dick and Jane") is developing a new single-camera comedy at the Eye about a new teacher taking a job at the boarding school he once attended. No other details were given about the half-hour, which is set up at Regency Television.
UNTITLED P.K. SIMONDS PROJECT (ABC, New!) - P.K. Simonds ("Windfall") is developing a new drama the Alphabet about a charismatic, phony faith-healer who suddenly develops real powers. Simonds is penning the Regency Television-based hour and will executive produce alongside Michael Valeo and Jon Marcus. The network has given a script commitment plus penalty to the project.
UNTITLED RICK WIENER/KENNY SCHWARTZ PROJECT (FOX, New!) - "American Dad" writer/producers Rick Wiener and Kenny Schwartz are developing a new multi-camera comedy at FOX that looks at love from three very different perspectives. No other specifics were given about project, which is based at Regency Television.
UNTITLED TERI SCHAFFER PROJECT (The CW, New!) - Writer/producer Teri Schaffer ("The Bernie Mac Show") has landed a script order from the netlet for a new multi-camera comedy about a 1970s blended family. No other specifics beyond said description were given for the half-hour, which is based at Regency Television.
THE WORST WEEK OF MY LIFE (FOX) - Regency Television is reportedly redeveloping the pilot, about a couple's nightmarish week before their wedding, for the 2007-08 season with Ben Wexler attached to pen a new script. Anna Galvin, Charles Malik Whitfield, David Ogden Stiers, Jaime King, JoBeth Williams, Stephanie Nicole Lemelin and Zachary Levi all starred in the original pilot, which came from Ed Decter and John J. Strauss with Adam Shankman directing.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters