[06/15/07 - 06:27 PM]
Development Update: Week of June 11-15
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!

24 (FOX) - Director-producer Brad Turner has inked a two-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television. The pact calls for him to continue with his duties on the veteran drama as well as helm other projects for the studio. Currently on his plate: the post-pilot episode of newcomer "K-Ville" (also airing on FOX). Turner also directed the post-pilot installments of "Prison Break" and "Standoff."

BACK TO YOU (FOX) - Sitcom veteran James Burrows, who directed the pilot, has come aboard as an executive producer of the series. He'll helm the bulk of the show's initial 13 installments as well as executive produce alongside co-creators Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd.

BOSTON LEGAL (ABC) - In addition to Wednesday's cast additions (read the story), the Alphabet also confirmed this week the options on co-stars Julie Bowen, Mark Valley, Constance Zimmer and Rene Auberjonois were not picked up. Said development means the quartet won't return as regulars next season however they could turn up on a recurring or guest-starring basis.

CANTERBURY'S LAW (FOX) - Keith Robinson ("Dreamgirls") has joined the cast of the midseason drama, about a rebellious defense attorney (Julianna Margulies) who pushes the boundaries of the law to protect innocent clients. He'll play Chester Fields, a role originally played by Jocko Sims in the pilot. No specific reason was given for the casting change. Robinson spent the past development season co-starring on the FOX drama pilot "The Apostles."

DEXTER (Showtime) - Jaime Murray ("Hustle") has landed a recurring role on the pay channel drama. She'll play Lila, a wild, unconventional, smart and daring artist/former addict who becomes a close ally and friend to the title character. She's set to appear in 10 of the 12 planned installments this season. This past development season, Murray co-starred in the CBS drama pilot "Demons."

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC) - Co-executive producer Bob Daily has inked a hefty three-year, mid-seven-figure overall deal with ABC Studios. The pact calls for the veteran writer/producer to be upped to executive producer for the show's fourth season, where he'll serve as second-in-command to creator Marc Cherry for the next two seasons. In the third year then Daily will shift to developing new series projects for the studio. Separately, fellow co-executive producers Joey Murphy and John Pardee likewise have been upped to executive producers for the show's upcoming season. There they'll serve alongside the previously mentioned Daily, Cherry and George W. Perkins.

THE FACTORY (Spike TV, New!) - "Strangers With Candy" co-creator Mitch Rouse is developing a new comedy at the cable channel in which actors will improvise off of an outline. Rouse himself will executive produce, write and direct as well as star in the project for 3 Arts Entertainment. No other details were given about the project. The news comes as the network shifts its development focus following the exit of original programming chief Pancho Mansfield from drama to comedy. It's understood current programming executives Bill McGoldrick and Sharon Levy will assume Mansfield's duties.

LADY OR A TRAMP (FOX, New!) - "The Apprentice's" Donald Trump is developing a new reality competition series at the network in which girls in love with the party life will be sent to a charm school where they will receive a stern course on debutante manners. RDF USA is co-producing the project with Chris Coelen, Greg Goldman and Bruce Toms executive producing alongside Trump and his Trump Productions chief Andy Litinsky. As for specifics, the series is an imported version of the U.K.'s "Ladette to Lady" in which the girls were sent to the famed Eggleston Hall, where they were required to wear tweed skirts and pearl necklaces, and taught the finer points of skills like flower arranging and needlework. One girl then is expelled each week, following an elimination challenge and an evaluation by the show's judges (one of which could potentially be Trump himself). Casting is currently underway.

LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT (NBC) - Co-stars Vincent D'Onofrio, Chris Noth and Kathryn Erbe have all agreed to return for the show's seventh season. The trio however won't receive their annual 5% pay bump due to belt tightening by producers Wolf Films and NBC Universal Television Studio. Below-the-line crew members are taking an even bigger hit as most will see 5% to 10% pay cuts next season.

MEN IN TREES (ABC) - Former "Gilmore Girls" showrunner David Rosenthal has joined the show's writing staff for its second season. Fellow "Girls" alum Jennie Snyder has also signed on, as has Mike Kramer ("The Big House").

MISS/GUIDED (ABC)/VERONICA MARS (The CW) - The CW officially confirmed this week that "Veronica Mars" will not be returning for a fourth season. Creator Rob Thomas however didn't have to wait long to find a new gig - he's come aboard the Alphabet's midseason comedy "Miss/Guided" as its executive producer/showrunner. In addition, Thomas recently filmed a self-financed spec pilot entitled "Party Down," about a group of twentysomethings who move to L.A. to make it in Hollywood but end up working as caterers. Thomas mainstays Paula Marshall and Enrico Colantoni reportedly both made cameos in the presentation.

THE MOM SHOW (Syndication, New!) - Twentieth Television and Ben Silverman's Reveille are developing an hourlong parenting-themed series for the syndicated marketplace. The project, which is targeting a fall 2008 launch, would feature celebrities and authorities in the field of parenting, touching on family topics and sharing the latest trends in the areas of cooking, fashion, fitness and finances. A panel of celebrity moms then would host the series, which would also feature an interactive web site as well as segments devoted to cooking with kids, creating arts and crafts and learning about the latest in family-friendly entertainment. Reveille's Howard T. Owens and Mark Koops are the executive producers.

MTV ORIGINAL SERIES (MTV) - The cable channel has renewed both "Run's House" and "Laguna Beach" for fourth seasons while "The Hills" has received an expanded 18-episode order for its upcoming third season, due on Monday, August 13. Return dates however weren't given for "Run's" or "Laguna," the latter of which will once again feature an all new cast at an unnamed Orange County school. In addition, the network issued a series order to "The Life of Ryan," about teen skateboarder and San Clemente native Ryan Scheckler; and is developing a trio of scripted projects. Among them: an untitled animated series from Tom Stern ("Crank Yankers") about life in a U.S. high school from the point of view of a teenage boy with some of the characters being based on actual viewers; "Darius," a thriller from executive producer Tony Krantz about the dark, secret life of an all-American teenager; and "Cheerleader Camp," a campy-horror show from Scout Productions ("Queer Eye") and Charles F. Bohl described as "Heathers" meets "Scream."

THE PACIFIC (HBO) - James Badge Dale ("Fort Pit"), Joe Mazzello ("Matters of Life and Death") and Val Lauren ("Live From Baghdad") are set to topline the long-in-the-works 10-hour mini-series, about the intertwined odysseys of three U.S. Marines - Robert Leckie (Dale), John Basilone (Lauren) and Eugene Sledge (Mazzello) - across the vast canvas of the Pacific, from the first clash with the Japanese in the jungles of Guadalcanal to the triumphant return home after V-J Day. Production is set to begin next month in Austrailia with the books "With the Old Breed" by Sledge and "Helmet for My Pillow" by Leckie serving as the basis. Hugh Ambrose, son of "Band of Brothers" author Stephen E. Ambrose, will also serve as a consultant on the project. DreamWorks Television's Steven Spielberg and Playtone's Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are the executive producers with fellow "Band" alums Tony To and Graham Yost serving as co-executive producers.

PUSHING DAISIES (ABC) - Barry Sonnenfeld, who directed and executive produced the pilot to the upcoming dramedy, has inked a new first-look deal with Sony Pictures Television. The pact gives the studio first crack of any of the prolific director's new projects. Susan Ringo, Sonnenfeld's wife, is expected to help shepherd any of the resulting efforts. Separately, Sonnenfeld also serves as an executive producer on the returning comedy "Notes from the Underbelly" (also at ABC) and plans to direct the FOX comedy pilot "Hackett" (also at Sony). As for "Daisies," he's set to direct at least three episodes out of its first 13 installments.

RESCUE ME (FX) - Denis Leary and Jim Serpico's Apostle banner has inked a new three-year overall deal with Sony Pictures Television. The pact covers their duties on the veteran drama "Rescue Me" at FX as well as the midseason drama "Canterbury's Law" at FOX. In addition, the duo - along with their newly named development chief Adrienne O'Riain - will develop new series projects exclusively for the studio with as many as eight to 10 set to go out for the 2008-09 season. Also earning a promotion in the Apostle ranks is Tom Sellitti, who's been upped to supervising producer status on both "Rescue" and "Law."

SCRUBS (NBC) - Co-star Aloma Wright, whose character of Laverne Roberts was killed off last season, nevertheless is set to return for the show's seventh and final season. This time around she'll play Laverne's twin sister, Shirley, a single, alcoholic woman who shuns religion - the complete opposite of her sister.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [june 2007]  

· 24 (FOX)

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