LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (HBO) - Vivica A. Fox ("Missing") has joined the cast of the show's upcoming sixth season. She'll reportedly play a member of a black family that moves into the Davids' house following a major natural disaster, presumably Hurricane Katrina. The pay channel has yet to confirm a return date for "Curb."
FALLEN (ABC Family) - Bryan Cranston ("Malcolm in the Middle"), Ivana Milicevic ("Casino Royale"), Hal Ozsan ("CSI: NY"), Will Yun Lee ("Thief") and Rade Sherbedgia ("Mission: Impossible II") have all joined the cast of the limited series, which returns for four additional hours this summer. Cranston is set to play Lucifer in the project, which will also see Paul Wesley, Rick Worthy and Fernanda Andrade reprise their roles. "Fallen" chronicles the journey of an 18-year-old half-angel (Wesley), who struggles to come to terms with his newly discovered identity. Kevin Kerslake is directing from scripts by Tim Huddleston with Edward Bates and Rochelle Bates executive producing via Bad Angels Productions in association with ABC Family. Ron McLeod serves as a producer.
IMPERFECT UNION (TBS) - Beverly D'Angelo, George Wendt and Paula Cale have all been cast in the comedy pilot, about a young woman (Ashley Williams) who just took over the job as shop steward from her retired father and a young man (Zachary Levi) who just took over as head of the factory from his father. Wendt will portray Duke, the blue-collar dad of Williams' character, while D'Angelo is set as Maizy, the socialite mom of Levi's character, with Cale as Carly, his assistant. Don Woodard and Tom Maxwell are behind the single-camera half-hour, which is based at Michael Forman and Eric McCormack's Big Cattle Productions. The quartet also serve as executive producers.
JUDGE DAVID YOUNG (Syndication, New!) - Sony Pictures Television has cleared the new court series in 55% of the country for a fall 2007 launch, including 17 of the top 20 markets. The newcomer features Young, a circuit court judge in Miami-Dade County. He's best known for presiding over a case involving two former America West pilots who were convicted of operating an aircraft while intoxicated. Among the participating stations: Fox O&Os in New York (WNYW/WWOR), Los Angeles (KTTV/KCOP), Chicago (WPWR/WFLD), Dallas (KDFW/KDFI), Washington (WDCA/WTTG) and Houston (KRIV), as well as CBS O&Os in Philadelphia (KYW/WPSG), San Francisco (KBCW/KPIX), Boston (WBZ/WSBK), Atlanta (WUPA) and Detroit (WWJ/WKBD) and Sinclair stations WBFF/WNUV Baltimore, WLFL/WRDC Raleigh, N.C., WSTR Cincinnati and WVTV/WCGV Milwaukee. Said stations will pay no cash for the series, instead offering up half the show's advertising to Sony for national ad sales.
THE MADNESS OF AVA/THE VIRGIN OF AKRON, OHIO (Lifetime, New!) - The cable channel has greenlighted a pair of drama pilots, including efforts from "24" creators Robert Cochran and Joel Surnow and "Angels in America" executive producer Cary Brokaw. The Brokaw project, entitled "The Virgin of Akron, Ohio," revolves around a young woman in Manhattan who, after a stint in rehab, is sent back to her Ohio town to do community service and live with her dysfunctional family. The title refers to the fact that the woman becomes a local celebrity after published reports say that a vision of the Virgin Mary came down to bless her after she had a car accident on her way home. Jordan Budde ("Beverly Hills, 90210") is behind the hour, which he'll executive produce alongside Brokaw and Fox TV Studios with Aaron Geller also serving as a co-executive producer. Meanwhile, Rob LaZebnik ("The Simpsons") is behind "The Madness of Ava," about a brilliant neurologist who learns she is bipolar and the impact the diagnosis has on her feckless sister. Ever Carradine ("Men in Trees") has already been cast in the title role. The Fox 21-based project, which is based on a true story of a doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital, is being executive produced by LaZebnik, Cochran, Surnow and the latter two's Real Time Productions partner Howard Gordon. Tucker Gates is directing from a script by LaZebnik with production set to begin in Vancouver early next year.
MONARCH COVE (Lifetime) - The network has quietly bumped the series to Fridays at 11:00/10:00c. In addition, the FremantleMedia North America series has been cut from 20 episodes to just 14. "Cove" opened to 1.4 million viewers on November 4, tumbling to 1.1 million November 18. The series hasn't fared any better on Fridays, where it averaged 505,000 for its most-recent episodes.
ORDINARY JOE (ABC, New!) - "Felicity" co-creator Matt Reeves has scored a put pilot commitment from the Alphabet for a new "Sliding Doors"-esque drama about the three different paths a man's life takes based a central romantic choice his makes at 21 - go after the girl has loves, settle for the girl that loves him or just opt to be single. The Sony Pictures Television-based project, which is being concurrently developed by British writer Caleb Ranson for ITV, then picks up 12 years later, chronicling three versions of the main character in three separate stories, which will be linked thematically. Reeves will pen the pilot script and direct should it move forward as well as executive produce alongside his manager Howard Klein and Kudos Film & Television's Jane Featherstone and Stephen Garrett.
THE RULES OF STARTING OVER (FOX, New!) - Feature writers Chris Pappas and Mike Bernier have lined up a new single-camera comedy at the network about a 35-year-old man who got married right out of college and finds himself entering an unfamiliar territory, the singles scene, when his marriage falls apart. The pair penned the pilot script and will serve as co-executive producers. FOX has given a script commitment to the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour plus a penalty attached if it doesn't go to pilot. Conundrum Entertainment's Bobby Farrelly (who's on board to direct), Peter Farrelly, Bradley Thomas and Kevin Barnett as well as Watson Pond's Brad Johnson are also on board to executive produce. Katy McCaffrey, also of Watson Pond, is attached as a producer.
THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES (FOX) - Thomas Dekker ("Heroes") has been tapped as John Connor in the small screen take on the "Terminator" franchise. He joins Lena Headey as the previously cast Sarah Connor in the Warner Bros. Television-based project, which comes from creator Josh Friedman and fellow executive producers Mario Kassar and Andrew Vajna.
STARVEILLANCE (E!) - The network's new claymated series, which spoofs Hollywood, is set to premiere on Friday, January 5 presumably at 10:30/9:30c following "The Soup."
TWO DREADFUL CHILDREN (FOX) - Chris Kattan, French Stewart and Meredith Roberts have all signed on to lend their voices to the animated comedy pilot, about a redneck family that discovers that their two horribly disobedient fraternal twins are geniuses. Kattan and Stewart will voice their neighbors while Roberts is set as one of the twins. "Kitchen Confidential" creator David Hemingson is behind the pilot presentation, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television.
UGLY BETTY (ABC) - Executive producer/showrunner Jim Parriott has opted to exit the series for unspecified reasons. Marco Pennette, who currently consults on the show, is in negotiations to replace him. It's been speculated that the switch was made to continue to lighten the tone of the series as well as amp up its comedic elements. Parriott's background leans more toward drama ("Grey's Anatomy," "Threat Matrix") while Pennette's resume is geared more toward comedy ("Crumbs," "Caroline in the City"). Pennette, who has an overall deal with "Betty's" producer Touchstone Television, would then serve as an executive producer alongside Ben Silverman, Salma Hayek, Jose Tamez, James Hayman and creator Silvio Horta.
UNTITLED ALLISON GRODNER PROJECT (CBS, New!) - It's kids vs. adults in the Eye's latest game show offering. The untitled project, from "Big Brother" executive producer Allison Grodner, features an ensemble cast of several child geniuses (that will return every episode) taking on one adult contestant each week for a shot at $1 million. The focus of the game then will be the adults trying to take the $1 million from the kids' bank. Casting has already begun on the potential series, which CBS.com programming guru Ghen Maynard is developing alongside Grodner via her Allison Grodner Productions banner.
UNTITLED ARTIE LANGE PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Comedian and Howard Stern regular Artie Lange has inked a talent holding/development deal with the network. The pact calls for Lange to develop new series projects for both primetime and late night. Lange will then executive produce any resulting project with Peter Principato and Paul Young of Principato Young Entertainment.
UNTITLED ED BURNS & CHRISTY TURLINGTON PROJECT/UNTITLED R. SCOTT GEMMILL PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television has lined up a pair of drama projects at FOX. The first, from husband-and-wife duo Ed Burns and Christy Turlington, revolves around five twentysomethings who serve in all walks of the fashion world, such as photographer, fashion designer, makeup artist and model. The other is from R. Scott Gemmill ("ER") and revolves around two young physicists during the early part of World War II who find a way to "pinch" time and travel to 2007 to try to bring back modern technology and help the war effort. While there, one of them falls in love with a woman whose mother hasn't been born yet. Both projects are set up at 20th Century Fox Television and will be co-produced with DreamWorks Television. Spielberg and DreamWorks' Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank then will serve as executive producers alongside their respective creators. Burns is also attached to direct his hour should it move forward to pilot.
UNTITLED JOE SACHS PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Writer/producer Joe Sachs ("ER") is set to team with "Ugly Betty" executive producers Salma Hayek and Jose Tamez for a new medical drama at FOX. The project, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television, revolves around the personal and professional lives of students at an Ivy League med school, beginning with their first day on campus. Sachs, who attended Stanford Medical School, will pen the pilot script and executive produce alongside Hayek and Tamez via their Ventanarosa banner.
UNTITLED MARIO LOPEZ PROJECT (The CW, New!) - "Dancing With the Stars" runner-up Mario Lopez has inked a talent holding deal with the netlet. As usual, a pact of this type calls for the network to cast the actor in one of its existing projects or develop one around him for the 2007-08 season.
WANNA BET? (ABC, New!) - Phil Gurin ("The Weakest Link") is developing a domestic take on the popular German variety/game show of the same name. The project mixes celebrity interviews and musical performances with segments featuring everyday people betting they can pull off bizarre or extraordinary stunts. The celebs then wager if the person can complete the stunt and then must do it themselves if they are incorrect. The U.S. version however will have the contestants playing for actual money. No details beyond that were released. Gurin will executive produce the project via his the Gurin Co. The news marks the second time "Bet" has been imported to the U.S., the first being CBS, via producer Gary Grossman, who did a one-time special based on the format in 1993.
THE WILTON (The CW, New!) - Newcomers Ben and Dan Newmark have sold a new dramedy to the netlet about a group of twentysomethings pursuing their dreams and living together in an old Hollywood apartment building (nicknamed the "Wilton Hilton"). Peter Lefcourt ("Beggars and Choosers") is on board to showrun and executive produce the project, which began as a spec pilot written and produced by the Newmarks. CBS Paramount Network Television and Warner Bros. Television are behind the hour, which they'll co-produce with Tommy Mottola and Jeb Ryan, via their Mottola Co.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters