LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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AUSTIN GOLDEN HOUR (The CW) - Michael Trevino ("Cane") and newcomer Cassidy Freeman have been cast in the pilot, a real time medical drama set in Austin, Texas. The former will play Charlie, an easy-on-the-eyes but tough country girl in her first day as a paramedic in the Shock Trauma Unit, while Trevino will play an aspiring musician who works as a part-time medic. Sanford Bookstaver ("Jericho") recently signed on to direct the CBS Paramount Network Television/19 Entertainment-based project, which was created by Lance Gentile and Mal Young.
CAPTAIN COOK'S EXTRAORDINARY ATLAS (ABC) - Thomas Schlamme ("Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip") has come on board to direct and executive produce the drama pilot, about a young girl who finds a magical atlas that reveals a secret world. He'll work from a script by creator Tom Wheeler. Warner Bros. Television is producing.
FAMILY GUY (FOX) - Gary Janetti ("Will & Grace") is returning to the animated comedy for the first time since its original 2003 cancellation. Said development is the result of a new overall deal the writer/producer has inked with producer 20th Century Fox Television. The two-year pact, which has an option for a third, also calls for him to develop new series projects for the studio. It's understood he and "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane are looking to create a traditional multi-camera comedy together however no specifics were given.
FRINGE (FOX) - Jeff Pinkner ("October Road") has been tapped to run the upcoming drama, about an FBI agent (Anna Torv), who teams with a guy (Joshua Jackson) and his scientist father (John Noble), to confront the spread of unexplained phenomena. There he'll serve as an executive producer alongside J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk and co-creators Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. Warner Bros. Television is behind the project, which recently completed production on its two-hour pilot.
THE INN (FOX) - Molly Stanton ("Twins"), Jesse Tyler Ferguson ("The Class"), Jolene Purdy ("Donnie Darko") and Brando Eaton ("Zoey 101") have all joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about the staff of a hip Manhattan hotel. They'll play Nicole, Larry, Molly and Jason respectively, all presumably staffers at the hotel. The casting of Stanton comes as the result of a talent holding deal the actress inked with producer 20th Century Fox Television last year. Niecy Nash also stars in the half-hour, which Jason Bateman is helming off a script by creator Abraham Higginbotham. Principato-Young Entertainment and Reveille are also co-producing.
THE TOWER (CBS) - Cole Hauser ("K-Ville") and CCH Pounder ("The Shield") have both been cast on the drama pilot, about a group of Chicago reporters who treat breaking news as cases to be both investigated and solved. Hauser will play Sean Castleman, a crime reporter, while Pounder is set as the paper's managing editor. Meredith Stiehm is behind the CBS Paramount Network Television-based hour, which Davis Guggenheim is directing.
UNTITLED MEHMET OZ PROJECT (Syndication, New!) - "The Oprah Winfrey Show" fixture Dr. Mehmet Oz is set to be the focus of a potential syndicated talk show executive produced by the daytime queen. The health and wellness series is being eyed for a fall 2009 launch as Winfrey's Harpo Productions is talks with various distributors. CBS Television Distribution, who currently distributes Harpo's "Dr. Phil" and "The Rachael Ray Show," is widely seen as the most logical fit however said company has its own medical talk show in the works, "The Doctors," due this fall. Other options include Disney-ABC Domestic Television, who has carried "Oprah" on its sister owned-and-operated stations from the very beginning, and Twentieth Television, whose sister company HarperCollins publishes the books Oz co-authors. Any resulting deal is expected to include an option for Harpo to repeat the show on the forthcoming OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. Oz, head of the cardiovascular program at New York's Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, also hosts "Second Opinion With Dr. Oz" on the Discovery Channel.
UNTITLED TRICIA HELFER PROJECT (FOX, New!) - "Battlestar Galactica" co-star Tricia Helfer has inked a talent holding deal with the network. The one-year pact calls for FOX to cast her in one of its upcoming projects. Last season, Helfer starred in the pilot "Them" for the network.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters