LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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AMERICAN DAD (FOX) - "Family Guy" alum Rich Appel has reupped his seven-figure overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television through June 2009. As part of the move he's been tapped as an executive producer/co-showrunner on "American Dad." There he'll serve alongside fellow showrunners Mike Barker and Matt Weitzman and executive producer Seth MacFarlane. This past season he served as a co-executive producer on "Guy" and had previously spent time on fellow Sunday mainstays "King of the Hill" and "The Simpsons."
CAVEMEN (ABC) - Sam Huntington ("Superman Returns") has joined the cast of the upcoming comedy series, about a group of Atlanta-based cavemen. He'll play Andy, the younger brother of Bill English's character, who comes to visit after breaking up with his girlfriend. He'll take over for Dash Mihok, who's character of Jamie is being written out of the show. In addition to reshooting the show's pilot, producers reportedly will use a different episode to kick off the series which delves more into the cavemen's backstories.
CHRISTMAS CAPER (ABC Family, New!) - Shannen Doherty ("Charmed") is set to topline a new original movie for the cable channel about a professional thief who retreats to her hometown in Connecticut after a con goes bad and gets stuck baby-sitting her niece and nephew until their parents can make it home for Christmas. Regent Entertainment ("Christmas Do-Over") is behind the project, which David Winkler ("Finding Graceland") will direct from a script by April Blair. The company's Paul Colichman, Jeffrey Schenck and Stephen P. Jarchow then will executive produce. Production is currently underway in Vancouver for an air date later this year as part of the network's annual "25 Days of Christmas" stunt.
CRIMINAL MINDS (CBS) - Co-star Mandy Patinkin reportedly didn't show up for the show's first table read this week, fueling rumors of a potential sick out or friction between the actor and the show's producers. All of the parties involved however have yet to comment on the situation.
DECISION HOUSE (A.K.A. DIVORCE WARS) (MyNetworkTV) - Lynn Toler ("Divorce Court") and Dr. Tara Fields ("Intervention") have both signed onto the netlet's new reality series, in which the duo and other yet-to-be-cast experts "help couples on the brink of disaster tackle issues ranging from financial hardships to infidelity." Each hour of the project, formerly known "Divorce Wars," will follow said couples during a three-day immersion in non-stop surveillance and counseling at the title location. Toler, Fields and company then will issue a "verdict" on whether the couple should stick together or file for divorce. Jay McGraw is executive producing via his Stage 29 Productions.
DOUBTING THOMAS/TRADE (Showtime, New!) - The pay channel is developing a pair of new dramas from executive producers George Clooney and John Singleton. The former is behind "Doubting Thomas," about a black sheep who returns home to run his family's televangelist business after his father suffers a stroke. Peter Spears ("John From Cincinnati") and Tom C. Smith are penning the pilot script and will executive producer alongside Clooney and Grant Heslov via their Smokehouse banner. Showtime veteran Brian Kirk is also on board to direct should the pilot be greenlit. Singleton then is shephering the latter, about the personal and professional lives of high-class call girls. Meredyth Smith ("Angel") is writing said hour and will executive produce with Singleton.
FX THE TCA (FX) - The cable channel confirmed during its session at the TCA its comedy series "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" will return for its third season on Thursday, September 13 at 10:00/9:00c. Meanwhile, "Nip/Tuck" creator/executive producer Ryan Murphy confirmed Rosie O'Donnell will be returning for "several episodes" of the show's upcoming fifth season.
THE HOT YEARS (FOX) - Molly Stanton, who co-starred in the pilot this past development season, has inked a talent holding deal with producer 20th Century Fox Television. The pact calls for the actress to be cast in one of the studio's upcoming projects or to have one developed around her.
JURY DUTY (Syndication) - Phyllis Diller, Ed Begley Jr., Bruce Vilanch, Paula Poundstone, Kevin Sorbo, Scott Hamilton, Dick Van Patten, Tiffany, Todd Bridges, Brande Roderick, Shadoe Stevens, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Charlene Tilton, James Avery and Lee Meriwether are among the various celebrities set to participate on the upcoming syndicated court show, which is presided over by Bruce Cutler. The series, from Vincent and Linda Dymon's Radar Entertainment, has been cleared in 85% of the country for its September 17 launch.
LOST (ABC) - Director/producer Stephen Williams has inked a two-year overall deal with ABC Studios. The pact calls for him to be promoted to co-executive producer next season, where he'll continue to regularly direct for the series. To date Williams has helmed 16 episodes of "Lost," including the penultimate episode last season - "Greatest Hits."
PRIVATE PRACTICE (ABC) - KaDee Strickland ("The Wedding Bells") has joined the cast of the upcoming "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff. She'll play Charlotte, a doctor and hospital administrator, on the series.
SHARK (CBS) - Kevin Pollak ("The Lost Room") and Kevin Alejandro ("Drive") have both scored roles on the show's upcoming second season. The former will play Lloyd Cutler, the show's new Los Angeles District Attorney. He'll take over for Jeri Ryan's character, who lost her bid for re-election. Ryan nevertheless will continue on the series as a member of Sebastian Stark's team. As for Alejandro, he's set as William Lyons, a street-smart, tough prosecutor specializing in organized crime. His addition is designed to fill the void left by the exiting Samuel Page.
SNOW GLOBE (ABC Family) - Christina Milian ("Pulse") and Matt Keeslar ("Scream 3") are set to topline the original movie, about a woman (Milian) who finds she can magically leave the real world behind for the Christmas-themed dreamland in her grandmother's snow globe. Keeslar then will play her love interest, a resident of said globe. Ron Lagomarsino is directing the project from a script by Garrett Frawley ("Santa Baby") with Craig McNeil and Jody Brockway executive producing. Production is set to begin later this month in Calgary for an air date during the channel's annual "25 Days of Christmas" event.
TEMPTATION (Syndication) - Twentieth Television and FremantleMedia have upped the new game show's clearance to 199 markets reaching 96% of the country. WTTA Tampa (MyNet affiliate), KCPQ Seattle (Fox), KMYQ Seattle (MyNet), WOIO Cleveland (CBS), KTVD Denver (MyNet), KPLR St. Louis (CW), XETV San Diego (Fox), WLFL Raleigh, N.C. (CW), KTVU San Francisco (Fox), WMYD Detroit (MyNet) and WSVN Miami (Fox) are among the latest stations to sign on to carry the series, where they'll join the previously announced WWOR New York, KCOP Los Angeles and WPWR Chicago among others. The "Sale of the Century" remake, which bows in September, features three contestants as they answer a series of questions about pop culture and current events only to be tempted to use their winnings to "buy" high-end prizes at incredible bargain prices.
WHAT PEREZ SEZ (VH1, New!) - The cable channel has ordered six one-hour specials featuring much-ballyhooed celebrity blogger Perez Hilton (a.k.a. Mario Lavandeira). World of Wonder is behind the project, which will likely air in conjunction with the Oscars and other large-scale, red carpet Hollywood events. No other specifics were released.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters