LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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1%/PATIENT 2344 (HBO, New!) - HBO has greenlighted two new drama pilots - one from Oscar-nominated writer Michael Tolkin and the other from Oscar-winning director Robert Zemeckis. The former, dubbed "1%," is set in the world of biker gangs. Tolkin penned the pilot and will executive produce alongside Management 360's Alex Hertzberg and Guymon Casady. Said title refers to a 50-year-old statement put out by the American Motorcycle Association that said gangs don't represent the legitimate motorcycle community but the 1% who are a threat to the American way of life. The quote has subsequently become a badge of honor for biker gang members who often feature a "1%" tattoo. The latter project, "Patient 2344," was created by feature writer John J. McLaughlin ("Man of the House") and revolves around a cutting-edge medical research institute in the near future. McLaughlin then will executive produce alongside Zemeckis, Jack Rapke ("Monster House") and Tony To ("Band of Brothers"). In addition, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, chair of the Department of Clinical Bioethics at the Warren G. Magnuson Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health, has signed on as a consultant along with Gail Cook.
24 (FOX) - Ever Carradine is set to recur on the show's upcoming season. She'll play an FBI agent on the series, a role which she'll play in conjunction with her duties on the ABC newcomer "Women's Murder Club."
ACCESS HOLLYWOOD (Syndication) - Billy Bush has reupped his deal with NBC Universal to host the veteran newsmagazine. Bush has been with the show for nearly six years, joining as East Coast correspondent in December 2001 before rising to co-anchor alongside Nancy O'Dell in June 2004.
BOUNDARIES (ABC, New!) - The Alphabet has issued a put pilot order to a new drama from Jill Soloway ("Six Feet Under") about a cable access psychologist who is forced to take a job as a mobile notary. The project is set up at J.J. Abrams's Warner Bros. Television-based Bad Robot banner where Soloway will write and executive produce alongside Abrams and Bryan Burk with Bad Robot's Kathy Lingg also serving as a producer. The hour stems from a blind script commitment Soloway inked with Bad Robot over the summer.
CARPOOLERS (ABC) - Joe and Anthony Russo, who helmed and executive produced the show's pilot, have inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with Sony Pictures Television. The pact, which won't affect their duties on "Carpoolers," calls for the duo to develop new hour and half-hour series projects for the studio.
CUPID/OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE (ABC, New!) - Rob Thomas ("Veronica Mars") is redeveloping his short-lived 1998-99 series for the Alphabet and ABC Studios. The original effort, which was based at Sony Pictures Television, starred Jeremy Piven as a man who thinks he's been sent to earth by Zeus to help out romantically challenged souls. As for the new version, it's understood the show will relocate from Chicago to Los Angeles while an expanded main title sequence will explain the show's concept so the characters don't have to rehash it each week. Separately, Thomas is also shepherding a domestic version of the New Zealand series "Outrageous Fortune," a drama about a family of blue-collar criminals. Said hour likewise is set up at ABC and ABC Studios with South Pacific Pictures producing. Michael Larkin, Michael Goldstein, Bruce Cervi and John Lansing ("Walker, Texas Ranger") then will also serve as co-executive producers. Cervi and Lansing are penning the script with Thomas executive producing.
FRINGE (FOX, New!) - J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci ("Alias") are set to re-team for a new sci-fi drama about a young female FBI agent who, forced to confront the spread of powerful and unexplained phenomena, must work with an institutionalized scientist whose life's work may be at the center of the coming storm. FOX has given a hefty two-hour pilot commitment to the project with a $10 million budget and a potential series license fee of up to $2 million per episode. The trio penned the pilot script and will executive produce via Abrams's Warner Bros. Television-based Bad Robot banner alongside the company's Bryan Burk. Casting is set to begin shortly with production likely to be completed by the end of 2007. As for specifics, it's understood the series will feature three leads - the FBI agent; the scientist, Walter Bishop, described as a mix of Einstein and Dr. Frankenstein; and his grownup son, with whom he has a dysfunctional relationship.
GREY'S ANATOMY (ABC) - Lauren Stamile ("CSI: NY") has booked a recurring role on the popular drama. No details about her character were given other than she'll interact with Patrick Dempsey's character.
HEY PAULA (Bravo) - In an interview with the USA Today on Monday (read the story), Paula Abdul confirmed the series will not return for a second season. The report says she "flatly refused" to participate in a second go around and will instead opt to focus on her fragrance, skin care, clothing and jewelry lines. "[The show] was hard for me to watch. Disturbing," said Abdul. "They'd put a camera on me when I got wind that my dog was in a coma, and they'd make it (seem) like it was about hair and makeup."
HOUSE (FOX) - Kal Penn, Olivia Wilde and Peter Jacobson are all reportedly set to continue on as regulars for the rest of the show's fourth season. The trio - along with Anne Dudek and Edi Gathegi - were all brought in this season as potential replacements for Jennifer Morrison, Jesse Spencer and Omar Epps's characters, all of whom departed from House's team at the end of last season. It's understood the original plan was to only keep two actors however the cutdown process proved to be more difficult that originally thought. The script with the final selections apparently went out this week, revealing said developments.
JINGLES (CBS, New!) - Reality guru Mark Burnett is following up his short-lived "Pirate Master" with "Jingles," a new reality series in which teams of players will be given weekly jingle-writing assignments and then have to perform them in front of a studio audience. The Eye has given an eight-episode commitment to the project, which will use viewer votes to determine a winner. Burnett, who's hoping to land several high-profile sponsorships for the show, will executive produce alongside Roy Bank, David Hurwitz and Paul Cockerill. Said sponsors will also provide on-camera reps to serve as judges with the winning team's jingle ultimately being used in an actual commercial. It's not clear however how the ultimate winner will be determined as no elimination format was specified.
JOHNNY DYNAMITE (NBC, New!) - Dick Wolf ("Law & Order"), D.J. Caruso ("Disturbia") and J.H. Wyman ("Keen Eddie") are set to team for a small screen adaptation of Max Allan Collins's graphic novel of the same name. The project, which is set up at Wolf's Universal Media Studios-based Wolf Films, revolves around an ex-cop who travels to Las Vegas in search of his missing girlfriend, only to discover that Satan is living there, buying and selling souls. It's understood the hour is being conceived as being shot entirely in front of a green screen. Caruso is attached to direct the pilot from a script by Wyman with each executive producing alongside Wolf, Nena Rodrigue and Peter Jankowski. Collins himself will also serve as a co-executive producer alongside Jason Netter and Ken Levin of Kickstart Productions.
KATH & KIM (NBC) - "SNL" alum Molly Shannon has been tapped for one of the title roles on the comedy pilot, about a dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship. She'll play Kathy Day, who's detailed in the casting notice as follows: "41-46. An attractive, fun loving, down to earth, maternal woman, with her own tacky personal style. She's a gal loving this new chapter in her life - getting fit, loving life and dating Carl, the man she hopes will "pop the question" soon! Kath is divorced, her daughter married and she is enjoying her empty nest and is less than enthusiastic when her daughter Kim shows up on her doorstep after having left her husband of 6 months - for no good reason. Kath loves Kim and they usually get along really well, but Kath refuses to put her own life on hold while Kim wallows in self pity and she happily winds up planning her own wedding just as it seems her daughter might be looking at divorce." Michelle Nader penned the pilot, from Universal Media Studios and Reveille, and is executive producing alongside Gina Riley, Jane Turner and Rick McKenna.
LONG ISLAND CONFIDENTIAL (Lifetime) - Lorraine Bracco ("The Sopranos") and Jeffrey Pierce ("The Nine") have both been cast in the drama pilot, about a female detective (Alison Elliott) juggling family and career. Bracco will play Nora, said woman's mother, with Pierce as Mike Jr., her partner on the force. Jan Oxenberg is behind the hour, which comes from Bender-Brown Productions and ABC Studios. Ruben Santiago-Hudson also stars while Guy Bee directs.
MISS/GUIDED (ABC) - Emmy winner Todd Holland has inked a new two-year, seven-figure overall deal at 20th Century Fox Television, the studio where he's been based since 2001. The pact covers his duties on the midseason comedy as well as any development during the period. On said front, Holland is currently shepherding the studio-based drama "Miracle Man" with co-creator Tim Minear for ABC. The Alphabet gave the project a put pilot order last month.
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS (Showtime) - The pay channel has given a pilot order to the Tim Robbins-created drama, about a family that runs a pharmaceutical company and the political, scientific and bureaucratic machinery that makes up the pharmaceutical industry. Robbins is also on board to direct the hour as well as executive produce alongside Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Daniel Thomas. The multi-hyphenate however won't star in the project. No other details were released.
THE PREMIER AND I (Lifetime, New!) - LisaRaye McCoy-Misick ("All of Us"), the first lady of Turks and Caicos Islands - a British overseas territory in the West Indies, is being eyed as the star of a potential new reality series for the network. Warner Horizon Television is behind the project, which will track the relationship between the actress and her husband of 17 months, Turks and Caicos Premier Michael Misick. Greg Johnston ("The Osbournes") then is on board to executive produce the pilot, which will film in November.
THE SHOWBIZ SHOW WITH DAVID SPADE (Comedy Central) - The network has pulled the plug on the David Spade-hosted series after three seasons. Comedy Central confirmed the news this week however did not comment on the decision. Co-produced by Pariah and Brillstein Entertainment, "Showbiz" averaged about one million total viewers per week in each of its three seasons.
TELL ME YOU LOVE ME (HBO) - The pay channel has issued an early renewal for the freshman drama, which bowed last month to underwhelming ratings. Through four airings, the series has averaged 910,000 total viewers. The network nevertheless hopes the show's cult following will eventually translate into more mainstream success. No specific episode count however was given. Cynthia Mort and Gavin Polone are the executive producers.
UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT (HBO, New!) - Stuart Taylor Jr. and K.C. Johnson's book, subtitled "Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case," is set to be the focus of a potential movie at the pay channel. The project then would explore the dynamics of racism and class issues that made the case a national story as well as the rise and fall of Durham district attorney Michael Nifong, who was disbarred after withholding crucial evidence that disproved his flimsy case. Josh Maurer ("The Pentagon Papers") and Alixandre Witlin are on board to executive produce.
UNTITLED CATHY LANIER PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Tony Piccirillo (USA's "Kojak") is developing a new drama at the network inspired by the story of Cathy Lanier, the newly appointed chief of police of Washington, D.C. Bob Cooper's Landscape Entertainment and Fox Television Studios are behind the hour, which would potentially track Lanier's transition from high school dropout and teen mother to become D.C.'s first female police chief in an organization dominated by black male officers. Cooper then is expected to executive produce alongside Piccirillo.
UNTITLED KEN MOK PRJOECT (MTV, New!) - Ken Mok has booked a pilot order from the cable channel for a new reality series to be executive produced by the "America's Next Top Model" mastermind. No details about the project were released other than it's likely to be one of several ideas pitched by the creator.
UNTITLED SAM BAUM PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Sam Baum ("The Evidence") has snagged a put pilot commitment from FOX for a new drama about a former law enforcer with the uncanny ability to read people to determine if they're lying who teams with a female clinical psychologist to open up an agency and put his skill to work. The project is set up at 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television with Baum, Brian Grazer and David Nevins serving as executive producers. No additional specifics were given.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters