[02/22/08 - 06:30 PM]
Development Update: Week of February 18-22
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!

12 MILES OF BAD ROAD (HBO) - A decision is reportedly forthcoming on the fate of the freshman series, an hourlong comedy about a Dallas real estate agent (Lily Tomlin) and her family. Six of the 10 episodes ordered were completed before the strike and the HBO brass is mulling whether to complete production on the remaining installments. Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and Harry Thomason are behind the project, which also stars Mary Kay Place and Gary Cole.

BOSTON LEGAL (ABC) - ION Media Networks's purchase of the show's off-network run on Tuesday (read the story) is reportedly valued between $175,000 to $200,000 per episode. Said pact with Twentieth Television, which kicks off in September, covers all episodes filmed to date with a ceiling of 106 hours. The deal isn't exclusive as Twentieth also hopes to sell an additional weekday window to a cable network. ION however can opt to match any potential bidder's offer in order to keep exclusivity. Twentieth previously cleared a weekend run of the series on local stations covering 50% of the country.

ELEVENTH HOUR (CBS) - British actor Rufus Sewell ("John Adams") is set to topline the CBS pilot, about a special science adviser to the government who, with his feisty female bodyguard in tow, saves people from the worst abuses of science. Sewell will play said adviser, Jacob Hood, a role originated by Patrick Stewart in the U.K. version. Jerry Bruckheimer Television, Granada International Media and Warner Bros. Television are all behind the hour, which Danny Cannon is directing from a script by Mick Davis. The pair then will executive produce alongside Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman and Robert Green.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (NBC) - NBC and Universal Media Studios are reportedly in talks with several other networks to carve out an additional broadcast window for a potential third season of the drama. The CW, DirecTV, E!, G4 and TNT were among the networks mentioned by the trade publications this week. A deal however may prove to be a challenge as "some people familiar with the talks have complained that Peacock's asking price for [the show] is too high." Nevertheless, all of the parties involved have declined to comment on the negotiations.

IN THE LOOP WITH IVILLAGE (Syndication) - The syndicated talk show, which airs on the 10 NBC owned-and-operated stations, will cease production at the end of next month. The news had been widely expected following the clearance of Warner Bros.' upcoming offering "The Bonnie Hunt Show" on said stations this fall. It's unclear what will fill the hour until then.

LAS VEGAS (NBC) - TV Guide's Michael Ausiello has reported NBC won't renew the series for a sixth season. "Vegas" wrapped its fifth season this past Friday to the tune of 7.98 million viewers (including a 2.3 adults 18-49 rating), bringing its season average down to 8.29 million viewers. Last season, in which the series aired in the earlier 9:00/8:00c hour, "Vegas" averaged 8.96 million viewers and a 2.8 rating among adults 18-49. NBC however won't confirm said cancellation as the fate of all its returning series won't be decided until April, when its new fall schedule is announced.

LAW & ORDER (NBC) - After months of speculation, Jesse L. Martin will exit his nine-year role of Ed Green on the series after this season. It's understood he'll film at least one more episode to explain his character's departure after which a new partner will be brought in for Jeremy Sisto's Cyrus Lupo. Already on the top of the list - Anthony Anderson ("K-Ville"), whom sources suggest is close to signing a 13-episode commitment with the option for more.

LIBERTYVILLE/RITA ROCKS (Lifetime, New!) - Lifetime is set to team with Media Rights Capital to develop a new multi-camera comedy for the network. The deal calls for MRC to film two pilots for the channel - "Libertyville," about a divorced mother fearful of dating whose life is complicated by her lazy 22-year-old daughter and cantankerous father who live with her; and "Rita Rocks," about an overworked wife and mother in the middle of a full-blown identity crisis who starts a garage band with her postwoman and neighbor. Lifetime may then pass on both projects with the caveat being if they do so, two more pilots will be filmed, one of which ultimately must be given a series commitment. The resulting series will be co-owned by Lifetime and MRC with an eye towards an accelerated production schedule to syndicate it as quickly as possible. As for the projects themselves, Christine Ebersole will topline "Libertyville," which comes from creator Tom Saunders and fellow executive producer Caryn Mandabach. Said title comes from the name of Saunders's hometown in Ohio. The project was previously set up at Lionsgate Television but didn't move past the script stage. Stan Zimmerman and Jim Berg then are behind "Rita." Both projects are expected to film next month with Mindy Schultheis and Michael Hanel ("Reba") consulting and MRC's Keith Samples executive producing.

MOONLIGHT (CBS) - Showrunner/executive producer Chip Johannessen has exited the series, which was recently asked to produce four more episodes for the spring. Executive producer Joel Silver and the writing team will collectively shepherd the remaining installments as a new showrunner won't be named until when/if the show is renewed for a second season. No reason was given for Johannessen's departure. The writer/producer joined the series earlier this season to take over for original showrunner David Greenwalt.

ROOMMATES (A.K.A. ROOMIES) (ABC Family) - Dorian Brown ("Psych") has been tapped for the female lead on the upcoming multi-camera series. The show, about pals who move in together post-college, had been contingent on finding said lead following the departure of Megan Stevenson. She joins the previously cast Tyler Francavilla, Tommy Dewey, Tamera Mowry and David Weidoff. Kieron Quirke and Robin French are behind the half-hour, which is also executive produced by Michael Hanel and Mindy Schultheis of Acme Productions.

SPLITSVILLE/UNTITLED TOM FORMAN PROJECT (CBS, New!) - The Eye has added two more pilots to its reality roster - "Splitsville," a game show for divorcing couples who battle it out for their belongings in a series of competitive challenges; and an untitled effort featuring a team of law enforcement officials helping people who have been victims of a crime. Actor/producer Jamie Kennedy and Magic Molehill Productions's Jay Bienstock and Jeffrey Kramer are behind the former while "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" creator Tom Forman is behind the later. The pair join the previously greenlighted trio of "Secret Talents of the Stars," "Game Show in My Head" and "America's Top Dog" read the story).

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [february 2008]  


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