LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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AUSTIN GOLDEN HOUR (The CW) - Justin Hartley ("Smallville") is the first to join the cast of the pilot, a real-time medical drama about a team of young emergency room surgeons and emergency medical technicians. Hartley, who has a talent holding deal with the network, will play one of them. Lance Gentile and Mal Young created the hour, which is set up at CBS Paramount Network Television and Simon Fuller's 19 Entertainment.
THE BAD MOTHER'S HANDBOOK (ABC, New!) - "Help Me Help You" creators Jennifer Konner and Alexandra Rushfield are back the Alphabet, this time for a new comedy based on Kate Long's book of the same name. The single-camera half-hour then will revolve around 32-year-old Karen, whose life is consumed by taking care of her 16-year-old daughter and 48-year-old mother. The project, which they're executive producing alongside Stu Bloomberg, is the result of a two-script deal the duo signed with ABC Studios last summer. Long's book is no stranger to television as Catherine Tate, Anne Reid and Holly Grainger toplined a U.K. adaptation last year.
CAN OPENERS (CBS) - Lauren Lee Smith ("The L Word") has scored the lead role on the drama pilot, which centers on a twentysomething female brain surgeon (Smith) who fights to survive in the intensely competitive boys club that is the seven-year neurosurgical residency. Elle Johnson is behind the project, which is based at Sony Pictures Television and Denis Leary and Jim Serpico's Apostle Productions banner.
CAPTAIN COOK'S EXTRAORDINARY ATLAS (ABC, New!) - Tom Wheeler ("Empire") has landed a pilot commitment from the Alphabet for a new fantasy drama about a young girl who finds a magical atlas that reveals a secret world underneath our own. The project is set up at Warner Bros. Television where Wheeler will write and executive produce.
CASTLE (ABC, New!) - Feature writer Andrew Marlowe ("Hollow Man") has landed a pilot presentation commitment from the network for a new drama about a horror novelist who consults for the NYPD Homicide department. The project is set up at ABC Studios and Beacon Television where he'll executive produce alongside the latter's Armyan Bernstein and Laurie Zaks.
CSI: MIAMI (CBS) - Sunil Nayar, a co-executive producer on the series, has inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with CBS Paramount Network Television. The pact calls for the writer/producer to be upped to executive producer next season. In addition, he'll develop new projects for the studio, including a blind script commitment for CBS with a mid-six-figure penalty attached.
EX LIFE/THE KINGDOM (CBS) - The Eye has quietly passed on both projects despite their previous commitments. "The Kingdom," a Middle Ages-based drama about four average young men, one of whom discovers he's heir to the throne, was given a hefty $2 million put pilot order back in July while "Ex Life," a comedy about on a newly single guy who is taken under the wing of a group of more experienced guys, was ordered to pilot last month. Rob Greenberg and CBS Paramount Network Television were behind the latter while Chad Hodge, director Barry Sonnenfeld and Sony Pictures Television were attached to the former.
FINNEGAN (ABC, New!) - Trent Jones ("Threat Matrix") has scored a pilot presentation order for a new drama at the network. The project, which is set up at ABC Studios, focuses on the organized crime/vice unit in Los Angeles, which is led by a tough female detective. He'll write and executive produce alongside Francie Calfo.
HOW TO TEACH FILTHY RICH GIRLS (The CW) - Joanna Garcia ("Welcome to the Captain"), Lucy Kate Hale ("Bionic Woman") and Ashley Newbrough ("The Best Years") have all been cast in the drama pilot, about a Yale-educated woman who is hired to be the live-in tutor/life coach to two rich heiresses in Palm Beach, Florida. Garcia will play said woman, Megan Smith, while Hale and Newbrough are set as heiresses Rose and Sage Baker. Marsha Mason and Michael Cassidy also star in the hour, which is based on the book series by Zoey Dean. Rina Mimoun is writing and executive producing for Warner Bros. Television alongside Alloy Entertainment's Bob Levy and Leslie Morgenstein.
THE INN (FOX) - "Arrested Development" alum Jason Bateman has signed on to direct the comedy pilot, described as "Upstairs/Downstairs" set at a hip New York hotel. Bateman, who helmed episodes of "For Your Love" (as well as an episode of "Development"), will work from a script by creator Abraham Higginbotham. Niecy Nash stars in the half-hour, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television, Reveille and Principato-Young Entertainment.
KINGS (NBC) - Christopher Egan ("Eragon") and Ian McShane ("Deadwood") are the first to be cast on the drama pilot, a contemporary soap loosely based on the story of King David. Egan will play David, a pure-hearted young warrior who joins the royal court after saving the life of his king's son. McShane's then is set as the charismatic and authoritative King Silas. Universal Media Studios is behind the hour, which comes from creator Michael Green.
THE MENTALIST (CBS) - Simon Baker ("Smith") has been tapped for the lead role while Owain Yeoman ("The Nine"), Amanda Righetti ("The OC"), Shaun Toub ("The Kite Runner") and Tim Kang ("Third Watch") have also joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a man who uses his keen sense of observation to solve crimes as an independent detective working with the police. Baker will play the title character, Patrick Jane, with Yeoman, Righetti, Toub and Kang as unspecified characters. Bruno Heller is behind the Warner Bros. Television-based hour which David Nutter is directing.
SPACED (FOX) - Sara Rue ("Less Than Perfect") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about two strangers (Rue, Josh Lawson) who pose as a married couple in order to rent an apartment. She'll play Daisy Steiner, said woman, in the half-hour. Jessica Stevenson originated the role in the U.K. version. She joins the previously cast Federico Dordei and Will Sasso on the Warner Bros. Television/Granada International/Wonderland Sound and Vision-based project, which Charles Stone is directing from a script by Adam Barr.
STARTING UNDER (FOX) - Bert Belasco ("Dash 4 Cash") is set to play son to Bernie Mac in the comedy pilot, about a larger-than-life and opinionated man (Mac) who, after a divorce, finds himself living with and working for his introverted twentysomething son (Belasco). Ken Davitian also stars in the half-hour, which comes from creator Bruce Helford and director Andy Ackerman. Warner Bros. Television and Mohawk Productions are co-producing.
THE UNUSUALS (ABC, New!) - Noah Hawley ("Bones") has lined up a pilot presentation order from the Alphabet for an hourlong dramedy set at a New York police precinct. He penned the script and is executive producing alongside Peter Tolan for Sony Pictures Television.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters