[03/19/07 - 12:52 AM]
Development Update: Monday, March 19
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!

ANCHORWOMAN (FOX) - FOX has given a six-episode order to the project, a hybrid reality/scripted comedy about a supermodel (Amber Smith) who settles down in a southern Texas town and becomes an anchorwoman for the local news. Chad Damiani and J.P. Lavin created the half-hour, which they're executive producing alongside Brian Gadinsky.

Commitment: Ordered to series (six episodes)
Cast: Amber Smith
Writers: Chad Damiani, J.P. Lavin
Director: TBA
Executive Producers: Brian Gadinsky, Chad Damiani, J.P. Lavin
Studio: Fox 21

BABYLON FIELDS (CBS) - Emmy-winner Kathy Baker ("Picket Fences") has joined the cast of the pilot, a comedic drama about a town where the dead are resurrected and resume their former lives. She's set as Shirley Wunch, a low-rent suburban housewife who, along with her daughter (Amber Tamblyn), is forced to face her cruel, abusive husband (Jamey Sheridan) whom the two of them murdered with an ax.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Amber Tamblyn (Janine Wunch), Jamey Sheridan (Ernie Wunch), Kathy Baker (Shirley Wunch), Leila Arcieri (Aimee Stanley), Ray Stevenson (Carl Tiptree)
Writers: Gerald Cuesta, Michael Atkinson
Director: Michael Cuesta
Executive Producers: Gerald Cuesta, Michael Atkinson, Michael Cuesta
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television

BEDROOMS & BOARDROOMS (ABC) - Amy Sloan ("Gilmore Girls") has been cast in the drama pilot, about four CEOs and CEOs-to-be who are best buddies and members at the same golf club. She'll play Wendy, the wife of Joshua Malina's character.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Amy Sloan (Wendy), Christopher Titus (Brody), Dylan McDermott (Duncan), Jessica Collins (Marla), Joshua Malina (Karl), Michael Vartan (James), Nia Long (Katie), Paige Turco (Lisbeth), Peyton List (Cameron)
Writer: Jon Harmon Feldman
Director: Charles McDougall
Executive Producers: Jon Harmon Feldman
Studio: Warner Bros. Television

DIRTY SEXY MONEY (ABC) - Victoria Pratt ("Day Break") has booked a potential recurring role on the pilot, a drama about an idealistic lawyer (Peter Krause) who takes on the job of tending to the legal and sometimes illegal needs of a wealthy and colorful New York family. She'll play Naomi Leeds, who's detailed in the casting notice as follows: "Late 40s. The editor-in-chief of Elite Magazine (think Vanity Fair), this attractive woman wants to profile the Darlings for a tell-all article. She enlists Nick for an in-depth, probing interview, and bluntly reveals that she thinks the Darlings are "evil" and poisonous. It turns out she's got very personal reasons for wanting to publish a dirt-filled article."

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Donald Sutherland (Tripp Darling), Glenn Fitzgerald (Brian Darling), Jill Clayburgh (Letitia Darling), Laz Alonso (Colin Davidson), Natalie Zea (Karen Darling), Peter Krause (Nick George), Samaire Armstrong (Juliet Darling), Seth Gabel (Jeremy Darling), Victoria Pratt (Naomi Leeds), William Baldwin (Senator Patrick Darling), Zoe McLellan (Lisa George)
Writer: Craig Wright
Director: Peter Horton
Executive Producers: Craig Wright, Greg Berlanti (Berlanti Television)
Studio: ABC Television Studio

GOSSIP GIRL (The CW) - Kelly Rutherford ("E-Ring") and Florencia Lozano ("The Jury") have both scored roles on the drama pilot, about privileged Manhattan high school girls. The former will play the mother of Blake Lively's character, a former ballerina and rock groupie, while the latter is set as Eleanor Waldorf, an unspecified character.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Blake Lively (Serena), Chace Crawford (Nate), Florencia Lozano (Eleanor), Kelly Rutherford, Leighton Meester (Blair), Penn Badgley (Dan), Taylor Momsen (Jenny)
Writers: Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage
Director: Mark Piznarski
Executive Producers: Bob Levy (Alloy Entertainment), Josh Schwartz (College Hill Productions), Leslie Morgenstein (Alloy Entertainment), Stephanie Savage
Studio: Warner Bros. Television

HACKETT (FOX) - The network has opted to postpone production on the comedy pilot, about a former Yale professor who winds up teaching at a public school in Ohio. It's understood the delay was made due to difficulty in casting the lead role of Thomas Hackett.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Jim Rash (Eugene Wolgenmoth)
Writer: Denise Moss
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Executive Producers: Carl Beverly (25C Productions), Denise Moss, Sarah Timberman (25C Productions)
Studio: Sony Pictures Television

HELP ME HELP YOU (ABC) - Co-creators Jenni Konner and Alexandra Rushfield have inked a six-figure blind script deal with the ABC Television Studio. The pact calls for the duo to pen two scripts - most likely comedies - for the studio. It's understood they opted for the blind script option rather than an overall deal to accommodate their busy feature slate.

I'M PAIGE ARMSTRONG (The CW) - Jaime Ray Newman ("Veronica Mars") and Neal Bledsoe ("The Guiding Light") are the first to be cast in the drama pilot, about a naive but bright twentysomething congressional aide (Newman) who becomes so infuriated by her boss' political maneuvering that she decides to run against him. Newman, who's also landed a potential recurring role of the ABC drama pilot "Marlowe," will play the title character, who's further detailed in the casting notice as follows: "25. She's bright, beautiful and somewhat irrepressible, a young woman who is either on the threshold of a brilliant career or disaster, depending on your point of view. A Stanford grad who recently completed a tour of duty in Iraq, Paige has just been hired as an assistant to Congressman Foxworthy, the Speaker of the house and one of the most influential - and dangerous - politicians on the Hill. Although Paige is a Democrat whose views differ widely from her arch-conservative new employer, she believes in Foxworthy's environmental agenda and sees her new position as a chance to put her intensely idealistic views into action. But when Paige is exploited as a pawn in a dangerous game by Foxworthy's speechwriter Birdy McGinty (who also happens to be Paige's new boyfriend), she's bitterly disillusioned in the system. With her typical can-do attitude, Paige decides to run against Foxworthy, an audacious decision that sets her on a slippery path filled with obstacles and pitfalls. As we later learn, Paige has illustrious antecedents -- but she's keeping that quiet for now."

Bledsoe then is set as Michael "Birdy" McGinty: "Late 20s. A good-natured "wunderkind," he's Foxworthy's chief speechwriter and loyal staffer. A bit of a ladies' man, he's fascinated with Paige from jump, and sets about the patient and prolonged process of seducing her. Birdy betrays Paige when he lies to her about passing on some secret information to the press - potentially deadly information that she believes to be innocuous in nature. When she learns of his treachery, their relationship ends - before they even have sex, much to Birdy's lasting regret."

Commitment: Ordered to pilot (14-20 minute presentation)
Cast: Jaime Ray Newman (Paige Armstrong), Neal Bledsoe (Michael "Birdy" McGinty)
Writer: Rod Lurie
Director: Rod Lurie
Executive Producers: Darryl Frank (DreamWorks Television), Justin Falvey (DreamWorks Television), Marc Frydman (Battle Plan Productions), Rod Lurie (Battle Plan Productions)
Studio: ABC Television Studio

THE NEWS (ABC) - Julie Gonzalo ("Veronica Mars") has been cast in the pilot, a workplace comedy set in a Phoenix newsroom. She'll play Gretchen Holt, who's described in the casting notice as: "27. A beautiful young woman. She was April's friend back in college. Gretchen has just been hired as a reporter and fill-in anchor at the news station. She appears to be a sweet, amicable sort - but in reality, she's a rabidly ambitious b-word who quickly informs Terry that she's out to get her job. However, that goal might not be as easy as Gretchen had anticipated."

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Amy Yasbeck (Terry Lynn Collins), Jay Harrington (Judd Brinkmeyer), Julie Gonzalo (Gretchen Holt), Rachel Boston (April Tarnoff), Tim Conlon (Reese Padilla)
Writer: Ric Swartzlander
Director: Marc Buckland
Executive Producers: Ric Swartzlander
Studio: ABC Television Studio

THE RETURN OF JEZEBEL JAMES (FOX) - Michael Arden ("The Good Shepherd") and Ron McLarty ("Trump Unauthorized") have both scored roles on the comedy pilot, about two estranged sisters who reunite after one of them agrees to carry the other's baby. They'll play Buddy and Donald, respectively, two unspecified characters.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Lauren Ambrose (Sarah), Michael Arden (Buddy), Parker Posey (Coco), Ron McLarty (Donald), Scott Cohen (Marcus)
Writer: Amy Sherman-Palladino
Director: Amy Sherman-Palladino
Executive Producers: Amy Sherman-Palladino (Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions), Daniel Palladino (Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions)
Studio: Regency Television

SAM I AM (ABC) - Kevin Dunn ("Prison Break") has been cast in the comedy pilot, about a woman (Christina Applegate) with amnesia who has to rediscover her life. He'll play the woman's father in the project.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Christina Applegate (Sam), Jean Smart, Jennifer Esposito (Angela), Kevin Dunn, Melissa McCarthy, Tim Russ (Frank)
Writers: Cecelia Ahern, Don Todd
Director: Robert Duncan McNeil
Executive Producers: Don Todd, Peter Traugott (Brillstein-Grey Television)
Producer: Cecelia Ahern
Studio: ABC Television Studio

UNTITLED MAGGIE FRIEDMAN PROJECT (The CW) - Annie Potts ("Men in Trees") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a young woman who is a life coach and a witch. She'll play Bunny, who's further described in the casting notice as follows: "Early 40s, Alex's sexy, bohemian and earthy mother, she runs a successful day spa in the Village in New York. Bunny is freely opinionated and enjoys "helping" her daughter with her love life. Nagging at times, she has a big heart and only wants to help. Bunny is very comfortable with her powers and has no problem casting a spell to fix a problem."

Commitment: Ordered to pilot (14-20 minute presentation)
Cast: Annie Potts (Bunny), Enuka Okuma (Joanna), Justin Hartley (Danny)
Writer: Maggie Friedman
Director: James Frawley
Executive Producers: Becky Hartman-Edwards, Maggie Friedman
Studio: Warner Bros. Television

UP ALL NIGHT (CBS) - Leslie Grossman ("What I Like About You") is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, a group of people who hang out at an all-night diner from midnight-6 a.m. She's believed to be playing Erika, who's described in the casting notice as follows: "Early 30s, any ethnicities. She is a successful surgeon and a regular at the all-night diner. Erika makes the sacrifice of working nights to curry favor with her superiors. She is driven, clearly intelligent but socially awkward and a bit too blunt. Given to saying exactly what's on her mind, she can easily alienate people."

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: J.D. Walsh (Matthew), Josh Meyers (Farrelly), Leslie Grossman (Erika)
Writer: Scott Silveri
Director: Andy Ackerman
Executive Producers: Scott Silveri
Studio: Warner Bros. Television

WANNA BET? (ABC) - Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, better known to U.K. audiences as Ant and Dec, have signed on to host the pilot, a variety/gameshow hybrid in which celebrity interviews and musical performances are mixed with segments featuring everyday people betting they can pull off bizarre or extraordinary stunts. In addition, Glenn Weiss ("The 33rd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards") has signed on to direct the project.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Anthony McPartlin (Host), Declan Donnelly (Host)
Writer: TBA
Director: Glenn Weiss
Executive Producers: Marc Jansen, Phil Gurin (The Gurin Company)

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [march 2007]  


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