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[03/21/07 - 03:10 AM]
Development Update: Wednesday, March 21
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!


AMERICAN INVENTOR (ABC) - The Alphabet is expected to announce today a complete overhaul for the show's second season. News anchor/reporter Nick Smith will replace Matt Gallant as host of the series while George Foreman, Pat Croce and Sara Blakely have been tapped as the newest judges. The latter trio will take over for Doug Hall, Ed Evangelista and Mary Lou Quinlan, leaving Peter Jones as the only holdover from last season. In addition, Clay Newbill ("Top Chef") has come aboard as an executive producer of the series where he'll serve alongside Simon Cowell, Siobhan Greene, Cecile Frot-Coutaz and Peter Jones. As for format changes, it's understood the series will now take place on the road for the first six weeks as the judges seek a single finalist in six cities - Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Orlando and Houston. Week seven will then see an expanded two-hour episode in which the six finalists build their prototype and deliver it to the judges, who in turn pick the top three. The viewing audience will then select the winner of the $1 million prize.


ANCHORWOMAN (FOX) - WWE alum Lauren Jones, not Amber Smith, will topline the partially scripted comedy, about a supermodel (Jones) who settles down in a southern Texas town and becomes an anchorwoman for Tyler's CBS-19 station. (Smith starred in a different incarnation.) The half-hour project will not have a "cast" outside of Jones as only her role will be scripted. CBS-19's co-anchors, crew and producers then will play "themselves" as they react to Jones' foibles. Production is set to begin in May for a mid-to-late summer premiere.

Commitment: Ordered to series (six episodes)
Cast: Lauren Jones
Writers: Chad Damiani, J.P. Lavin
Director: TBA
Executive Producers: Brian Gadinsky (The G Group), Chad Damiani, J.P. Lavin
Studio: Fox 21


THE BIONIC WOMAN (NBC) - Katee Sackhoff ("Battlestar Galactica") is set to guest star on the drama pilot, a re-imagining of the 1970s series of the same name. She'll play Sarah, an evil bionic woman and nemesis to Michelle Ryan's character.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Katee Sackhoff (Sarah), Mae Whitman (Becca Sommers), Michelle Ryan (Jaime Sommers), Molly Price (Ruth Treadwell), Will Yun Lee (Jae Kim)
Writer: Laeta Kalogridis
Director: Michael Dinner
Executive Producers: David Eick, Laeta Kalogridis
Studio: NBC Universal Television


CASHMERE MAFIA (ABC) - Lourdes Benedicto is the latest "The Nine" alum to land pilot duty. She's signed onto the cast of the drama, about four successful female executives, friends since college, who rely on each other as they juggle the demands of career, family, hard choices and high ambitions in New York City. It's not clear which character she'll be playing.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Bonnie Somerville (Caitlin Dowd), Frances O'Connor (Zoe Burden), Julian Ovenden (Eric Burden), Lourdes Benedicto, Lucy Liu (Dylan Mason), Miranda Otto (Juliet Draper)
Writer: Kevin Wade
Director: Peyton Reed
Executive Producers: Darren Star (Darren Star Productions), Gail Katz, Kevin Wade
Co-Executive Producer: Susie Fitzgerald (Darren Star Productions)
Studio: Sony Pictures Television


CW NOW (The CW, New!) - The netlet has issued a pilot order for a potential new half-hour newsmagazine. Said project, an evolution of its current advertiser-sponsored "content wraps," will include features on fashion, music, upcoming movies and new technology. "Extra" executive producers Lisa Gregorisch and Mike Miller are shepherding the pilot, which is being targeted for the network's Sunday, 7:00/6:00c slot.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: TBA
Writer: TBA
Director: TBA
Executive Producers: Lisa Gregorisch, Mike Miller
Studio: TBA


FOOTBALL WIVES (ABC) - Spencer Garrett ("Bobby") has landed a role on the drama pilot, about three ordinary women's lives as they are transformed by the celebrity and fortune that come with being married to sports superstars. No specifics about his character were released.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Arielle Kebbel (Nicole), Brian White (Kyle), Eddie Cibrian (Jason), Gabrielle Union (Chardonnay), Holly Robinson Peete, James Van Der Beek, Kiele Sanchez (Donna), Lucy Lawless (Tanya), Spencer Garrett, Ving Rhames (Frank)
Writer: Marco Pennette
Director: Bryan Singer
Executive Producers: Ann McManus (Shed Productions), Bert Salke (Brancato-Salke Productions), Bryan Singer (Bad Hat Harry Productions), Chris Brancato (Brancato-Salke Productions), Eileen Gallagher (Shed Productions), Marco Pennette, Maureen Chadwicke (Shed Productions)
Studio: ABC Television Studio


MR. & MRS. SMITH (ABC) - Julia Ormond ("Beach Girls") has scored a role on the drama pilot, a small screen take on the 2005 feature starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. She'll play Mother, a potentially recurring role, the boss of Jane Smith (Jordana Brewster).

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Bridgette Wilson-Sampras (Ann), Jordana Brewster (Jane Smith), Julia Ormond (Mother), Martin Henderson (John Smith), Rebecca Mader (Jordan)
Writer: Simon Kinberg
Director: Doug Liman
Executive Producers: Dave Bartis (Dutch Oven Productions), Doug Liman (Dutch Oven Productions), Simon Kinberg
Studio: Regency Television


NUMB3RS (CBS) - Ridley and Tony Scott have inked a new two-year overall deal with CBS Paramount Network Television. The pact will keep the duo's Scott Free Productions based at the studio where they'll continue to develop new projects as well as oversee their veteran drama "NUMB3RS."


PHENOMENON (Sci Fi, New!) - Newcomers Brad Follmer and Lauren Iungerich are developing a new drama at the cable channel about a team of scientists and medical experts - lead by a young female prodigy with a mysterious past - as they try to find explanations for phenomena that appear to defy the laws of physics and biology. The project, which is being eyed as a two-hour pilot, is set up at Fox 21 and Kiefer Sutherland's East Side Entertainment. Follmer and Iungerich are penning the script with Sutherland executive producing and East Side topper Maggie Murphy serving as a co-executive producer.

Commitment: Script
Cast: TBA
Writers: Brad Follmer, Lauren Iungerich
Director: TBA
Executive Producers: Kiefer Sutherland (East Side Entertainment)
Co-Executive Producer: Maggie Murphy (East Side Entertainment)
Studio: Fox 21


POWER OF 10 (CBS, New!) - "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire's" Michael Davies is the latest to land a game show pilot at the Eye, this time with a jackpot of up to $10 million. The Sony Pictures Television-based project will feature contestants as they try to guess the results of nationwide surveys with the finalist moving on to a bonus round in which their winnings multiply by 10 for each of its five questions. No other details about the format were released. Davies then will executive produce via his Sony-based Embassy Row Productions banner.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: TBA
Writer: TBA
Director: TBA
Executive Producers: Michael Davies (Embassy Row Productions)
Studio: Sony Pictures Television


THEM (FOX) - Tricia Helfer ("Battlestar Galactica") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about an extraterrestrial sleeper cell operating in Los Angeles. She'll play one of them, Naomi Tyler Moore, who is "seductive as she is free-spirited, using her powerful sexuality to gather information on unsuspecting human males," according to the network's description.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Ben Feldman (Floyd Grunwald), Freya Stafford (Tara Spader), James D'Arcy (Cain Johnson), Rachel Nichols (Donna Shaw), Reg Rogers (Ezekial Smits), Steve Toussaint (Uriah Selleck), Tricia Helfer (Naomi Tyler Moore)
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


TIN MAN (Sci Fi) - Neal McDonough ("Medical Investigation"), Kathleen Robertson ("Hollywoodland") and Raoul Trujillo ("Apocalypto") have all been cast in the upcoming mini-series, about a young woman (Zooey Deschanel) plucked from her humdrum life and thrust into the Outer Zone, a world filled with wonder but oppressed by dark magic. McDonough and Trujillo will play The Tin Man (Cain) and The Cowardly Lion (Raw) archetypes, respectively, with Robertson as The Wicked Witch of the West analogue Azkadellia. Production on the project is set to begin this month in Vancouver for a December premiere.

Commitment: In production
Cast: Alan Cumming (Glitch), Kathleen Robertson (Azkadellia), Neal McDonough (Cain), Raoul Trujillo (Raw), Richard Dreyfuss (The Mystic Man), Zooey Deschanel (DG)
Writers: Craig W. Van Sickle, Steven Long Mitchell
Director: Nick Willing
Executive Producers: Craig W. Van Sickle, Robert Halmi, Jr., Robert Halmi, Sr., Steven Long Mitchell
Studio: RHI Entertainment


Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters





  [march 2007]  
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· AMERICAN INVENTOR (ABC)
· ANCHORWOMAN (FOX)
· BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (SYFY)
· BEACH GIRLS (LIFETIME)
· BIONIC WOMAN (NBC)
· CASHMERE MAFIA (ABC)
· CW NOW (CW)
· DEVELOPMENT UPDATE (TFC)
· EXTRA (SYNDICATION)
· FOOTBALL WIVES (ABC)
· MEDICAL INVESTIGATION (NBC)
· MR. & MRS. SMITH (ABC)
· NINE, THE (ABC)
· NUMB3RS (CBS)
· PHENOMENON (SYFY)
· POWER OF 10 (CBS)
· THEM (FOX)
· TIN MAN (SYFY)
· TOP CHEF (BRAVO)
· WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE? (ABC)









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