LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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CAPRICA (Sci Fi) - Eric Stoltz ("The Butterfly Effect") and Alessandra Toressani ("Malcolm in the Middle") have both joined the cast of the two-hour backdoor pilot, a prequel to the network's "Battlestar Galactica." Stoltz will play Daniel Graystone, a wealthy computer engineer who, after an emotionally crippling family tragedy, uses his technological wizardry to forever change the future of Caprica. Toressani then is set as his daughter, Zoe. The pair join the previously cast Esai Morales and Paula Malcomson in the project, which comes from Universal Media Studios and executive producers David Eick, Remi Aubuchon and Ronald D. Moore. Jeffrey Reiner directs.
CLASS DISMISSED (A.K.A. SIT DOWN, SHUT UP) (FOX) - The animated comedy, which received a series commitment over the weekend, has been renamed to "Class Dismissed." The project, from creator Mitch Hurwitz, revolves around the lives of seven staff members of a dysfunctional high school in a small northeastern fishing town. 20th Century Fox Television, Granada USA, Sony Pictures Television and Tantamount are co-producing the half-hour, which is also executive produced by Bill Oakley, Josh Weinstein, Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum.
DOLLHOUSE/FRINGE (FOX) - FOX has issued formal series commitments to both of the much-ballyhooed hours. Joss Whedon is behind the former, which revolves around a top-secret world of people programmed with different personalities, abilities and memories depending on their mission. The show's ensemble cast includes Amy Acker, Dichen Lachman, Eliza Dushku, Enver Gjokaj, Fran Kranz, Harry Lennix, Miracle Laurie, Olivia Williams and Tahmoh Penikett. 20th Century Fox Television is producing while Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain also serve as executive producers alongside Whedon. As for "Fringe," said hour follows the exploits of a young female FBI agent who tackles unexplained medical and scientific phenomena. Anna Torv toplines the Warner Bros. Television-based project, which also stars Blair Brown, Jasika Nicole, John Noble, Joshua Jackson, Kirk Acevedo, Lance Reddick and Mark Valley. Alex Graves, Alex Kurtzman, Bryan Burk, J.J. Abrams, Jeff Pinkner and Roberto Orci are the executive producers. "Dollhouse" is believed to be targeted for midseason while "Fringe" will likely roll out in the fall.
EUREKA (Sci Fi) - Frances Fisher ("In the Valley of Elah") has booked an eight-episode arc on the show's upcoming third season, due on July 29. She'll play Samantha Thorne, a.k.a. "The Fixer," a corporate titan who is brought in to clean up Global Dynamics. No other specifics were released.
MY OWN WORST ENEMY (NBC) - "Boston Legal" co-star Saffron Burrows has joined the cast of the Peacock's new drama, about a suburban dad named Henry (Christian Slate) whose alter ego, Edward, is a spy. She'll play Dr. Norah Skinner in the hour, who's detailed in the casting notice as: "Early 30s, beautiful without much makeup. She is a shrink and Edward's girlfriend who slaps him when she finds out he slept with Natasha, a Russian spy, during his mission to Paris. She runs a therapy sessions of sorts with Henry to make sure his memory is wiped clean of his time as Edward, and she's surprised when Edward asks her what Henry is like." Mike O'Malley also stars in the project, which comes from Universal Media Studios and creator Jason Smilovic. David Semel is directing the pilot.
THE PHILANTHROPIST (NBC) - "Battlestar Galactica" executive producer David Eick has been tapped as the new showrunner of the upcoming drama, about a renegade billionaire who uses his wealth, connections and power to help people in need no matter what the risks or costs. He'll take over for Tom Fontana, who penned the pilot and several additional scripts before exiting due to the creative differences last month. Eick, who recently inked an overall deal with "Philanthropist" producer Universal Media Studios, then will serve alongside fellow executive producer Charlie Corwin, whose idea the show is based upon. No casting has been announced.
THE PITTS (FOX) - The network has passed on the animated project, a revival of the short-lived 2003 live-action series of the same name about the unluckiest family in the world. The network went through two table reads of the half-hour before ultimately deciding to not move forward. 20th Century Fox Television nevertheless is already shopping the project to other networks, including ABC as a potential companion to its upcoming effort "The Goode Family." Julie Thacker-Scully and Mike Scully are behind "The Pitts," whose voice cast includes Allison Janney, Andy Milonakis, Dylan Baker and Lizzy Caplan.
VIRTUALITY (FOX) - "Friday Night Lights" creator Peter Berg has signed on to direct and executive produce the two-hour drama pilot, about a long-term NASA mission and a limitless world of virtual reality. "Battlestar Galactica's" Ronald Moore and Michael Taylor co-created the project, which is set up at Universal Media Studios. Berg's Film 44 producing partner Sarah Aubrey will also serve as an executive producer, where she'll join Moore, Taylor and BermanBraun's Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters