[08/03/07 - 05:50 PM]
Development Update: Week of July 30-August 3
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!

BACKYWARDS & BULLETS (NBC) - Mathew St. Patrick ("Six Feet Under") and Billy Burke ("The Jury") are the latest additions to the drama pilot, about a suburban Neighborhood Watch group gone awry. Burke will play the lead role of Lonnie, the new chief detective, while details on St. Patrick's character weren't released. The pair join the previously cast Kristen Lehman, Abigail Spencer, Richard Ruccolo, Enuka Okuma and Casey LaBow. Charles McDougall is directing the Sony Pictures Television/Pariah-based hour from a script by Ed Decter and John J. Strauss.

BIONIC WOMAN (NBC) - Bruce McGill ("Elizabethtown") has booked a recurring role on the freshman drama. He'll play a high-ranking operative who overseas the bionics project.

CLASH OF THE MUSIC VIDEOS (VH1, New!) - Actress/producer Drew Barrymore is developing a new reality competition series at the network in which contestants will be given a small amount of money to remake a classic 1980s music video with the actual stars of the original video serving as judges. The cable channel reportedly has given a series commitment to the project whoever it's not clear how many episodes will be produced. Barrymore, via her Flower Films banner, then will executive produce alongside Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti, David Touhy and Chris Miller of The Family Van Productions and John Foy and Troy Searer of Tijuana Entertainment with Michael Hirschorn, Jeff Olde, Stella Stolper, Alex Demyanenko, Jill Holmes and Noah Pollack overseeing for VH1.

DIRTY SEXY MONEY (ABC) - Tamara Feldman ("Boston Legal") has landed a recurring role on the upcoming drama, about an idealistic lawyer (Peter Krause) who goes to work for Tripp Darling (Donald Sutherland), the patriarch of one of New York's richest families. Feldman will play the former best friend of the youngest Darling, who comes back and causes controversy for the family.

THE DRESEN FILES (Sci Fi) - The cable channel has confirmed the freshman drama won't be returning for a second season. The series averaged a solid 1.23 household rating over the course of its 12-week run, just shy of lead-out "Battlestar Galactica's" average 1.26 household rating during the back half of its third season. The key adults 18-49 demographic however told a different story as "Dresden" averaged 810,556 viewers, nearly 25% shy of "Galactica's" 1,079,511 average. Nevertheless, co-star Paul Blackthorne has quickly moved on, landing a recurring role on the ABC newcomer "Big Shots." There he'll play a sophisticated, iconic tycoon that the four leads aspire to be.

ELI STONE (ABC) - Julie Gonzalo ("Veronica Mars") has joined the cast of the midseason drama, about a thirtysomething attorney (Jonny Lee Miller) who begins to have larger-than-life visions. She'll play a junior associate at Stone's law firm. No other details were given.

FAMILY MAN (TNT) - The network has greenlit production on the drama pilot, about Todd Becker (William H. Macy) - a respected father of three, upright citizen and advice-dispensing pillar of his community by day and the leader of a somewhat dysfunctional, bickering gang of burglars by night. Macy co-wrote the script with director Steven Schachter and will executive produce alongside Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. The latter's Storyline Entertainment then will co-produce with Sony Pictures Television.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (NBC) - Chris Mulkey ("Sleeper Cell") has signed on for a recurring role on the show's second season. He'll play the new coach of the Dillon Panthers, who unlike Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler), isn't instantly popular with the players.

GREEK (ABC Family) - The cable channel has ordered 10 additional episodes of the freshman drama bringing its season total to 20 installments. The news comes after the series hit series highs in several key demographics - females 12-34 (476,000), teens (370,000) and female teens (302,000) - last week despite an overall audience of just 1.0 million. The 10 new episodes are expected to roll out early next year.

HEROES (NBC) - Jessica Collins ("The Nine") is the latest addition to the show's second season ensemble. She's set as Sophie, a mysterious woman with powers who works at the organization that is tracking all heroes. It's not clear when her first episode will air.

K-VILLE (FOX) - Amanda Righetti ("Reunion") has landed a recurring role on the freshman drama. She'll play a beautiful, earthy Bohemian woman who lives in a FEMA trailer park. No other details about her role were released.

LIPSTICK JUNGLE (NBC) - Oliver Goldstick ("Ugly Betty") has been tapped as the troubled dramedy's latest showrunner/executive producer. The news comes on the heels of a two-year, seven-figure overall deal the writer/producer recently inked with "Jungle" producer Universal Media Studios. There he'll take over for Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline, who were let go last month as part of a change in the creative direction of the show. Production on the series is set to begin in November.

MOONLIGHT (CBS) - Chip Johannessen ("Empire") has joined the producing team on the freshman drama, about a private investigator (Alex O'Loughlin) who is a vampire. He'll serve as the project's new showrunner following the exit of David Greenwalt last week for personal and health reasons. Co-creators Ron Koslow and Trevor Munson also serve as executive producers on the series along with Gerard Bocaccio, Joel Silver and the pilot's director Rod Holcomb.

THE NINE (ABC) - Co-star Scott Wolf has inked a talent holding deal with ABC and its sibling ABC Studios. The pact calls for the pair to develop a new series project around the actor for the 2008-09 season or cast him in one of their existing properties in development for the period.

THE PACIFIC (HBO) - Tim Van Patten ("The Sopranos") and Carl Franklin ("The Riches") have both signed on to direct installments of the upcoming 10-hour mini-series. The former will helm the inaugural episode with Franklin set to oversee the fifth segment. Additional directors are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. Production on the project is set to begin next month in Austrailia.

SHARK SWARM (Hallmark, New!) - Daryl Hannah, John Schneider and Armand Assante are set to topline a new three-hour original movie for the cable channel about usually tame sharks who morph into man-eating fish when toxins are secretly released into the water by a greedy corporate real estate developer (Assante). Schneider then will play a local fisherman who becomes aware of the toxic dumping and tries to stop it with Hannah as his wife. James Contner ("Jaws 3") is directing the project from a script by Matthew Chernov and David Rosiak with Kyle Clark and Steve Niver producing for Larry Levinson Productions. Shooting is currently underway in the Red Triangle area of Northern California, home to great white sharks.

THE SIMPLE LIFE (E!) - The cable channel confirmed this week the show's fifth season finale this Sunday will be the show's last. Through eight episodes this season, the series is averaging 843,000 total viewers, down 20% from its 1.1 million fourth season average. A statement released by the network said: "'Simple Life' has been a wonderful addition to the E! schedule for two years, and we will always be grateful to Paris and Nicole for their hard work and graciousness." Repeats of the series however will continue to be featured on the cable channel for the foreseeable future.

SMALLVILLE (The CW) - "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" alum Dean Cain is set to guest star on the long running drama. He'll play Dr. Curtis Knox, a villainous killer, on the show's fourth episode this season. No other specifics about his role were released.

UNTITLED DAVID FEIGE/STEVEN BOCHCO PROJECT (TNT) - Jane Kaczmarek, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Gloria Reuben, Melissa Sagemiller, Currie Graham, Teddy Sears, J. August Richards and Jonathan Scarfe have all joined the cast of the drama pilot, about young lawyers who have been friends since law school but now work on opposing sides. Kaczmarek will play a stylish, imperious and a bit crazy judge who runs her courtroom like her own private fiefdom with Gosselaar as "a charismatic and fiercely idealistic public defender who frequently finds himself pitted against the vicissitudes and injustices of an unwieldy bureaucracy." Rueben then is set as "the funny, bright and savvy head of the public defender's office who monitors the other public defenders' case loads and lives." Rounding out the cast then are Sagemiller as an up-and-coming attorney in the DA's office who won't hesitate to put her career on the line for her beliefs; Graham as the tough, ball-busting and lecherous assistant district attorney; Sears as a privileged young attorney who has forgone a cushy job with his father's firm to become a public defender; Richards as a sharply intelligent man with a don't-mess-with-me attitude who works for the DA's office; and Scarfe as the handsome, charismatic law clerk to Kaczmarek's character. Steven Bochco and David Feige are behind the hour, having co-wrote the pilot script.

WOMEN'S MURDER CLUB (ABC) - Linda Park ("Star Trek: Enterprise") has joined the cast of the Alphabet's new drama, about four girlfriends (Angie Harmon, Laura Harris, Aubrey Dollar, Paula Newsome) who solve murder cases together in San Francisco. She'll play Yuki Castellano, a role originated by Elizabeth Ho in the pilot. Meanwhile, executive producer Brett Ratner has inked a new two-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television, the pilot's producer. The pact will keep his Rat Television based at the studio for another two years where he'll develop new series projects. Ratner then will also continue to serve as an executive producer on the newcomer as well as retain a similar credit on "Prison Break," which returns for its third season this fall.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [august 2007]  


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