[03/22/07 - 02:00 AM]
Development Update: Thursday, March 22
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!

THE BIONIC WOMAN (NBC) - Miguel Ferrer ("Crossing Jordan") and Chris Bowers ("Rescue Me") have landed the final principal roles on the drama pilot, a re-imagination of the 1970s series of the same name. Bowers will play Dr. Eric Masters, who's described in the casting notice as follows: "Early-Mid 30's, good-looking, sexy, likeable and devoted. He is Jaime's supportive boyfriend of two months who already knows she is the one. As a young prodigy (finished college at age 15 and became a surgeon at 22) he's a genius in his field - bionics - and the only one capable of performing the illegal, complex surgeries the government has been experimenting with. When Jaime nearly dies in a car accident, Eric doesn't hesitate using bionic surgery on her, even though this means going against his superiors and breaking every rule in the book. His innovative behavior and past deeds make him a target of deadly Sarah Corvus."

Ferrer then is set as Jonas Bledsoe - "50s-60's, forceful and not above lying to get what he wants. He is the ruthless leader of the secret government agency that turned Jaime into a Bionic Woman. Though furious with Eric for wasting $50 million worth of classified, illegal technology on "some girl," Jonas decides to use Jaime to track down and retrieve the other Bionic creations who escaped. Topping his list of fugitives is insane, deadly Sarah Corvus, whose violent break-out and subsequent revenge streak haunts Jonas to this day. After using unscrupulous means to manipulate Jaime into joining his organization, Jonas agrees to her terms and we get the feeling he will treat her with respect and honesty from now on." Ferrer's involvement is in second position to his "Jordan" duties however it's understood he could play both roles concurrently.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Chris Bowers (Dr. Eric Masters), Katee Sackhoff (Sarah Corvus), Mae Whitman (Becca Sommers), Michelle Ryan (Jaime Sommers), Miguel Ferrer (Jonas Bledsoe), 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

JOHN ADAMS (HBO) - Tom Wilkinson ("The Last Kiss") and David Morse ("House") have both been cast in the upcoming mini-series, based on David McCullough's book about the life of the second U.S. president (played by Paul Giamatti), as told through the eyes of his wife, Abigail (Laura Linney). Wilkinson will play Benjamin Franklin while Morse is set as George Washington. Also confirmed as cast members are Stephen Dillane as Thomas Jefferson, Danny Huston as Samuel Adams, Rufus Sewell as Alexander Hamilton, Justin Theroux as John Hancock and Guy Henry as Jonathan Sewall.

Commitment: In production
Cast: Danny Huston (Samuel Adams), David Morse (George Washington), Guy Henry (Jonathan Sewall), Justin Theroux (John Hancock), Laura Linney (Abigail Adams), Paul Giamatti (John Adams), Rufus Sewell (Alexander Hamilton), Stephen Dillane (Thomas Jefferson), Tom Wilkinson (Benjamin Franklin)
Writer: Kirk Ellis
Director: Tom Hooper
Executive Producers: Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks
Co-Executive Producer: Kirk Ellis
Studio: Playtone

ME & LEE? (FOX) - Jamie Kennedy ("The Jamie Kennedy Experiment") has been tapped for the lead role in the comedy pilot, about a guy with chronic back pain who gets more than he bargained for when he undergoes "bionic" back surgery in a secret lab run by actor Lee Majors in the basement of his Beverly Hills mansion. He'll play Joel Salsberg, said guy in the project.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Jamie Kennedy (Joel Salsberg), Lee Majors (Lee Majors)
Writer: Matthew Salsberg
Director: Paul Dinello
Executive Producers: Allan Loeb (Scarlet Fire Productions), Jenji Kohan, Matthew Salsberg
Studio: Lionsgate Television

THE NEWS (ABC) - Barry Bostwick ("Spin City") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a chaotic Phoenix TV newsroom. He's set as Harvey Deegan, who's further detailed in the casting notice as: "45-55. This news director is a golf fanatic who is more interested in sneaking off to the links than he is in overseeing his frequently fractious news team. He's promoted April to take care of running things for him. Plagued with money problems and demanding ex-wives, Harvey tries to avoid problems whenever he can. Later, he and April furiously disagree over whether to cut away during a critical moment in a live newscast."

Also signing on in potentially recurring roles are Kristy Wu ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") and Andre Holland ("Law & Order"). The former is believed to be playing Darla - "23. She's a somewhat hapless intern who is understandably dismayed when the newly promoted April decides to treat everyone to coffee - which means that Darla has to schlep 10 blocks carrying 30 cups of hot java." - while the latter is set as Deshawn Burkett - "30. He's Judd's photographer, a wry guy who comments on how April's recent promotion has changed her from a nice person to an uptight control freak."

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Amy Yasbeck (Terry Lynn Collins), Andre Holland (Deshawn Burkett), Barry Bostwick (Harvey Deegan), Jay Harrington (Judd Brinkmeyer), Julie Gonzalo (Gretchen Holt), Kristy Wu (Darla), Rachel Boston (April Tarnoff), Tim Conlon (Reese Padilla)
Writer: Ric Swartzlander
Director: Marc Buckland
Executive Producers: Ric Swartzlander
Studio: ABC Television Studio

PENNY & CINDY (TV Land, New!) - The cable channel reportedly is developing a new scripted comedy about real-life friends - and "Laverne & Shirley" alums - Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams. Jim Vallely ("Arrested Development") is penning the pilot script and will executive produce alongside Gay Rosenthal. Additional details are expected to be released this Friday at the network's upfront presentation.

Commitment: Script
Cast: Cindy Williams, Penny Marshall
Writer: Jim Vallely
Director: TBA
Executive Producers: Gay Rosenthal (Gay Rosenthal Productions), Jim Vallely
Studio: TBA

TWO AND A HALF MEN (CBS) - Co-creator Lee Aronsohn has signed onto the series for at least two more seasons as part of a new overall deal with the show's producer Warner Bros. Television. In addition to continuing as an executive producer on the veteran comedy, he'll also develop new series projects for the studio via a blind script commitment.

UNTITLED GABE SACHS/JEFF JUDAH PROJECT (ABC) - "Boy Meets World" alum Ben Savage has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about co-workers at a top law firm. He'll play Todd, a new attorney at the firm.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Ashley Williams (Julie), Ayda Field (Elise), Ben Savage (Todd), Geoffrey Arend, Kym Whitley (Theresa), Scott Wolf
Writer: Gabe Sachs, Jeff Judah
Director: Gary Halvorson
Executive Producers: Gabe Sachs, Jeff Judah
Studio: ABC Television Studio

UNTITLED VICTORIA PILE PROJECT (ABC) - Orlando Jones ("Men in Trees") has scored a role on the comedy pilot, about the eccentric characters in a police precinct. He'll play a charming and naive rookie detective assigned to the team. Also landing roles: Stephen Mangan ("Green Wing") and Sarah Lafleur ("Playmakers") as two unspecified characters.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Kathleen Rose Perkins, Orlando Jones, Sarah Lafleur, Stephen Mangan
Writer: Victoria Pile
Director: Victoria Pile
Executive Producers: Victoria Pile
Studios: ABC Television Studio, CBS Paramount Network Television

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [march 2007]  

· ME & LEE? (FOX)

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