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[02/16/07 - 12:42 AM]
Development Update: Friday, February 16
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 signature "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!


CANTERBURY'S LAW (FOX) - Trieste Dunn ("United 93") has booked an unspecified role on the drama pilot, about a rebellious female defense attorney (Julianna Margulies) who pushes the boundaries of the law to protect innocent clients.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Ben Shenkman, Julianna Margulies, Trieste Dunn
Writer: Dave Erickson
Director: Mike Figgis
Executive Producers: Denis Leary (Apostle Productions), Jim Serpico (Apostle Productions)
Co-Executive Producer: Dave Erickson
Producer: Julianna Margulies
Studio: Sony Pictures Television


FAMILY OF THE YEAR (ABC) - Dina Waters ("Six Feet Under") is the first to be cast in the comedy pilot, about the 10-time family of the year winner, the Holloways, who are thrown for a loop when a local (and possibly more deserving) family starts encroaching on their territory. She'll play Barbara Anderson, the big, bland Mormon wife in the Holloways' rival family. Her character is further detailed in the casting notice as follows: "35-45, the most genuinely nice woman ever. She is Jim's big bland blonde Mormon wife, and she's very much a family woman: her family sings together, eats at the country club together, and drives into the desert to rescue illegal aliens from thirst and starvation together. Sadly aware that Tatum has dropped out of the local pageant, Barbara talks Jackie into coaching her "discovery," Maria, as a potential beauty queen."

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Dina Waters (Barbara Anderson)
Writer: Erica Rivinoja, Pam Brady
Director: Michael Lehmann
Executive Producers: Erica Rivinoja, Pam Brady
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television


THE FRANK SHOW (A.K.A. UNTITLED FRANK CALIENDO PROJECT) (TBS) - Frank Caliendo's sketch comedy pilot has been given a series order of eight episodes. The project, from New Wave Entertainment, will be shot in front of a live audience and will include pretaped segments shot on location that will utilize Caliendo's impersonation skills. It's understood the series is being eyed for the 11:00/10:00c slot where it will likely be paired with "Family Guy" repeats.

Commitment: Ordered to series (eight episodes)
Cast: Frank Caliendo (Host)
Writers: Frank Caliendo, John Bowman, Matt Wickline
Director: TBA
Executive Producers: Barry Katz, Frank Caliendo, John Bowman, Matt Wickline
Studio: New Wave Entertainment


GRAVITY (The CW) - Brooke Nevin ("The 4,400") is the first to be cast in the pilot presentation, an ensemble drama about rookie cops and their training officers. She'll play one of the rookies in the project. In addition, brothers Josh and Jonah Pate ("Surface") have signed on to direct.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot (14-20 minute presentation)
Cast: Brooke Nevin
Writer: Caleb Kane
Directors: Jonas Pate, Josh Pate
Executive Producers: Darryl Frank (DreamWorks Television), Justin Falvey (DreamWorks Television)
Co-Executive Producer: Caleb Kane
Consulting Producer: Charles Segars
Studio: CBS Paramount Network Television


LIPSTICK JUNGLE (NBC) - Christopher Wiehl ("Jericho") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a trio of power-hungry, rich professional women in New York. He'll play Shane Healy, the husband of Brooke Shields' character.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Brooke Shields (Wendy Healy), Christopher Wiehl (Shane Healy), Kim Raver (Nico O'Neilly)
Writers: DeAnn Heline, Eileen Heisler
Director: Gary Winick
Executive Producers: Candace Bushnell, DeAnn Heline, Eileen Heisler
Studio: NBC Universal Television Studio


M.I.L.F. & COOKIES (A.K.A. UNTITLED RANDI MAYEM SINGER PROJECT) (The CW) - Randi Mayem Singer's comedy has been given a pilot order by the network. The single-camera project, now dubbed "M.I.L.F. and Cookies," revolves around four young, attractive single mothers living in a large apartment complex who realize that "it takes a village" to raise their kids and have a single life as narrated by the complex's security guard. Singer penned the pilot script and is executive producing alongside Overbrook Entertainment's Jada Pinkett Smith, James Lassiter and Will Smith.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot (previously script)
Cast: TBA
Writer: Randi Mayem Singer
Director: TBA
Executive Producers: Jada Pinkett Smith (Overbrook Entertainment), James Lassiter (Overbrook Entertainment), Randi Mayem Singer, Will Smith (Overbrook Entertainment)
Studio: CBS Paramount Network Television


THE MAN (CBS) - Jessica Collins ("The Nine") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about an undercover Los Angeles cop (LL Cool J) who juggles his job and taking care of a boy orphaned after one of his drug busts. She'll play Constance Brielle, who's further detailed in the casting notice as: "25-30. Part of Manny's undercover team, a sexy, confident woman, she works in counter intelligence. Competent and quick, she graduated magna cum laude and enjoys role playing during undercover jobs, whether she's pretending to be a high-class escort or a loving wife."

Note: The original article incorrectly listed the Jessica Collins of "Tru Calling" fame as the actress attached to this project. She is actually attached to the ABC drama pilot "Bedrooms & Boardrooms." Our apologies for the confusion.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot (14-20 minute presentation)
Cast: Jessica Collins (Constance Brielle), LL Cool J (Manny "The Man" Baxter)
Writer: Anthony Zuiker
Director: TBA
Executive Producers: Anthony Zuiker
Producers: Jason Barrett (Alchemy Entertainment), LL Cool J
Studio: CBS Paramount Network Television


THE NEWS (ABC) - Marc Buckland ("My Name Is Earl") has come aboard to direct the half-hour, a single-camera workplace comedy set in a Phoenix newsroom.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: TBA
Writer: Ric Swartzlander
Director: Marc Buckland
Executive Producers: Ric Swartzlander
Studio: ABC Television Studio


NIP/TUCK (FX) - Ryan Murphy has inked a massive three-year, eight-figure overall deal with FX, FOX and 20th Century Fox Television. The pact, believed to be the largest of its type for cable (an estimated $15 million), calls for Murphy to continue as showrunner on an expanded 22-episode fifth season of "Nip/Tuck." In addition, he'll develop new series projects for 20th Century Fox Television with FOX getting first crack at any resulting projects. ("Nip/Tuck" is produced by Warner Bros. Television and The Shephard-Robin Company.) Also still in the works: Murphy's previously announced drama pilot "4 oz." at FX, about the metamorphosis of a married sportswriter who decides to get a sex change. He's writing, directing and executive producing the project alongside Plan B's Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner.


REAPER (The CW) - Feature helmer Kevin Smith ("Clerks 2") has been tapped to direct the drama pilot, about a 21-year-old slacker who ends up becoming Satan's bounty hunter, retrieving souls lost from Hell. He'll work from a script by creators Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: TBA
Writers: Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters
Director: Kevin Smith
Executive Producers: Deborah Spera (The Mark Gordon Company), Mark Gordon (The Mark Gordon Company), Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters
Studio: ABC Television Studio


SUSPECTS (ABC) - "Sleeper Cell" alum Michael Ealy has scored the lead role in the pilot, a procedural drama which examines all of the suspects in a recently committed crime, dissecting and re-enacting their stories until the true criminals are discovered. He'll play a smart cop dedicated to his job and determined to solve the crime.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Michael Ealy
Writer: Ed Zuckerman
Director: Guy Ritchie
Executive Producers: Carl Beverly (25C Productions), Ed Zuckerman, Guy Ritchie, Sarah Timberman (25C Productions)
Studio: Sony Pictures Television


THEM (FOX) - Rachel Nichols ("Alias") is the first to be cast in the drama pilot, about an alien agent who must locate a rogue operative on Earth and finds himself tempted by the planet's offerings. She'll play Donna Shea, an all-American beauty who works for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Rachel Nichols (Donna Shea)
Writers: David Eick, John McNamara
Director: Jonathan Mostow
Executive Producers: David Eick, John McNamara, Jonathan Mostow,
Co-Executive Producers: David Alpert (Circle of Confusion), David Engel (Circle of Confusion), Lawrence Mattis (Circle of Confusion)
Studio: CBS Paramount Network Television


UNTITLED MAGGIE FRIEDMAN PROJECT (The CW) - James Frawley ("Related") has been tapped to direct the drama pilot, about a young life coach/witch in New York who uses her magical powers to help others solve their problems.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot (14-20 minute presentation)
Cast: TBA
Writer: Maggie Friedman
Director: James Frawley
Executive Producers: Becky Hartman-Edwards, Maggie Friedman
Studio: Warner Bros. Television


VIVA LAUGHLIN! (CBS) - Carter Jenkins ("Surface") and Ellen Woglom ("The O.C.") have both landed roles in the drama pilot, a rollicking musical about Ripley Holden (Lloyd Owen) and his family as they attempt to run a casino in Laughlin, Nevada. No details about their respective characters were released.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Carter Jenkins, Ellen Woglom, Hugh Jackman (Guest Star), Lloyd Owen (Ripley Holden)
Writer: Bob Lowry
Director: Gabriele Muccino
Executive Producers: Bob Lowry, Gabriele Muccino, Hugh Jackman (Seed Productions), John Palermo (Seed Productions), Paul Telegdy (BBC Worldwide Productions), Peter Bowker (BBC Worldwide Productions)
Studios: CBS Paramount Network Television, Sony Pictures Television


WILD AT HEART (The CW) - Bryan Gordon ("Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip") has signed on to direct the drama pilot, about a New York veterinarian who moves his second wife and their two sets of children to a South African game reserve run by his father-in-law.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Judith Hoag, Rutger Hauer
Writer: Michael Rauch
Director: Bryan Gordon
Executive Producers: Charlie Pattinson (Company Pictures), George Faber (Company Pictures), Michael Rauch
Studio: CBS Paramount Network Television


THE WORLD ACCORDING TO BARNES (The CW) - Jason Ensler ("Help Me, Help You") has been tapped to direct the netlet's drama pilot, about two geeky Princeton University students who use their inventive skills to help solve crimes.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot (14-20 minute presentation)
Cast: TBA
Writer: Tom Wheeler
Director: Jason Ensler
Executive Producers: Andrew Plotkin (Class IV Productions), Steve Pearlman (Class IV Productions), Tom Wheeler
Studio: Warner Bros. Television


Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters





  [february 2007]  
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· 4400, THE (USA)
· ALIAS (ABC)
· CANTERBURY'S LAW (FOX)
· DEVELOPMENT UPDATE (TFC)
· FAMILY GUY (FOX)
· FAMILY OF THE YEAR (ABC)
· FRANK TV (TBS)
· GRAVITY (CW)
· HELP ME HELP YOU (ABC)
· JERICHO (CBS)
· LIFE IS WILD (CW)
· LIPSTICK JUNGLE (NBC)
· MAN, THE (CBS)
· MILF & COOKIES (CW)
· MY NAME IS EARL (NBC)
· NEWS, THE (ABC)
· NINE, THE (ABC)
· NIP/TUCK (FX)
· OC, THE (FOX)
· PRETTY/HANDSOME (FX)
· REAPER (CW)
· RELATED (WB)
· SIX FEET UNDER (HBO)
· SLEEPER CELL (SHOWTIME)
· SPELLBOUND (CW)
· STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP (NBC)
· SURFACE (NBC)
· SUSPECT (ABC)
· THEM (NBC)
· VIVA LAUGHLIN (CBS)
· WORLD ACCORDING TO BARNES, THE (CW)











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