LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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ANYTOWN BEATDOWN (G4, New!) - "The Celebrity Apprentice" alum/Ultimate Fighting Championship champ Tito Ortiz is developing a new reality series at the cable channel in which friends and rivals resolve their differences by fighting in "The Octagon." G4 has given a pilot order to the project, originally dubbed "Anytown Throwdown," which will track Ortiz as he trains the participants in mixed-martial arts fighting and then lets them duke it out. No other specifics were released.
DOLLHOUSE (FOX) - Tahmoh Penikett ("Battlestar Galactica"), Fran Kranz ("Welcome to the Captain"), Dichen Lachman and Enver Gjokaj are the latest wave of additions to the Eliza Dushku-led drama, about a top-secret world of people programmed with different personalities, abilities and memories depending on their mission. Penikett will play Paul Smith, who's billed in the casting notice as: "30s, any ethnicity, good-looks hardened by a cynical distaste for most of humanity. An FBI field agent, he's been chasing the urban myth of the "Dollhouse" long enough to have lost any shot at promotion. Becomes obsessed with, and twisted romantic foil for, Echo." Kranz then is set as Topher Brink - "20's, any ethnicity, genius programmer who's articulate, nerdily attractive and blithely amoral. He's responsible for imprinting the dolls - and making sure they stay unaware of anything. Is fascinated by the science and kind of digging the illegality. Fun to be around, but might not be remotely trustworthy." - with Lachman as Sierra - "20's, Asian or any ethnicity - certainly not Caucasian. Strikingly beautiful. A Doll like Echo, she has every personality in the world but her own. Is not as self-aware as Echo, but is instinctively drawn to her as a friend." - and Gjokaj as Victor - "20's, any ethnicity, handsome and fit. A Doll, and the other closest thing to a friend Echo has. Childlike when he's inactive, and everything from Errol Flynn to (young) DeNiro when he's active." Joss Whedon is behind the hour, which is based at 20th Century Fox Television.
MYTHOLOGICAL X (CBS) - Rachel Boston, late of FOX's comedy pilot "Hackett," has signed onto the drama pilot, about a woman who, after learning from a psychic that she already has dated the man she's supposed to marry, revisits all her past relationships. She'll play Denise, who's detailed in the casting notice as: "26-32. Michaela's little sister and a bundle of sass and energy. She's fiercely loyal to her older sister, defending her at every turn, mostly when it's unnecessary. She's a professional dancer of the non-exotic variety. She's the girl who had posters of ballet shoes on her walls throughout her youth then went away to college to fully reinforce the negative stereotype of partying, promiscuous dance majors. She makes her living doing videos and commercials but the ageist industry is starting to shun her. She is about to get married to her long-term boyfriend." Diane Ruggiero is behind the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, which Timothy Busfield is helming.
NY-LON (CBS) - Elisha Cuthbert ("24"), Caterina Scorsone ("1-800-Missing") and Johnny Whitworth ("CSI: Miami") are the first to be cast in the drama pilot, about a New York literacy teacher/record store clerk and a London stock broker who embark on a cross-continental romance. Cuthbert is playing the female lead, Edie Miller, who's detailed via the casting breakdown as follows: "25-29, American, an incredibly appealing, feisty, cool downtown woman who's adopted NY as her home. She teaches adults literacy, and she's totally committed to her students, although she doesn't make much money doing this. She believes in doing what she can to help the world. To make ends meet she also works at a Bleeker Bob's-type used record store for serious music-heads; she loves music. She comes from money but has rejected it, living independently in NYC. Her mother died of cancer when she was young. She's emotional, feisty, strongminded and loyal, someone who women totally identify with and men will follow anywhere. Edie meets Michael (a Brit) on a trip to London. When her bag gets stolen and she finds herself in a bar - broke and without a phone - she asks Michael for help. What starts up as a guarded but flirty exchange ends up as a full-on New York-London relationship, two people not looking for love but falling into it nonetheless."
Scorsone then is set as Astrid - "25-29, American (can be any ethnicity) and Edie's rocker, bohemian, slutty roommate. She's in London with Edie on this fateful trip. She works as a bartender in a funky bar and sleeps around unapologetically. She's totally committed to her "downtown" lifestyle. While she's hip, edgy and audacious, underneath it all, she is clearly lonely. She has relied on sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll to hook up, but we see her vulnerability in that she's in love with Luke, Edie's ex." - with Whitworth as Luke - "Mid-Late 20's, American. Edie's hot, cool, soulful, very sexy bad boy rocker and ex-boyfriend with whom she has recently broken up. His life on the road was too much for her, especially since she suspects he cheated on her. Now that he's just about to "break" as a musician, he doesn't want to be tied down and is totally absorbed with his career. But when his brother, Cookie, dies of an overdose in Edie's apartment (Cookie was house sitting while Edie and Astrid were in London), Luke leans heavily on Edie and quickly realizes that he should never have let her go. He has a long history with Edie and they continue to be attracted to each other. Luke is the guy you've been waiting for forever to come around but never has. Now it feels like he might just be ready. Is it too late? He's intense, he feels things deeply, and he's hot." Rashida Jones, Rachel Miner and David Rogers originated said roles in the U.K. original. Larry Shaw is directing the ABC Studios-based hour from a script by co-creators Lara Runnels and Patti Carr.
THE PRINCE OF MOTOR CITY (ABC, New!) - Playwright Jessica Goldberg, actor Hamish Linklater ("The New Adventures of Old Christine") and executive producers Chris Brancato and Bert Salke are set to team for a new gothic family soap with "Hamlet" overtones set in the world of the Detroit auto business. Goldberg and Linklater penned the pilot script to the project, which is based at ABC Studios. Goldberg, Brancato and Salke then are executive producing with Linklater, who's not attached to star, serving as a consulting producer.
SUMMER HEIGHTS HIGH (HBO, New!) - The pay channel is importing all eight episodes of Chris Lilley's Australian comedy series, a mocumentary about life at a high school. Lilley created and executive produced the half-hour, which sees him assuming three different roles: Mr. G, a self-important, high-strung drama teacher; Ja'mie, a haughty, private-school female exchange student; and Jonah, a delinquent, break-dancing obsessed student. Bruce Kane also serves as an executive producer with Laura Waters producing and Stuart McDonald directing. It's understood HBO plans to pair the series with its new animated series "The Life and Times of Tim" on Friday nights this June.
UNTITLED DAVID HEMINGSON PROJECT (ABC) - David Hemingson's dramedy has been given the green light to produce a pilot. The untitled hour revolves around a recent law school grad with blue collar roots who ends up working in a boutique L.A. firm. Hemingson penned the pilot script and is executive producing for 20th Century Fox Television. The Alphabet originally gave the project a put pilot commitment back in August (read the story).
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters