[06/09/08 - 05:21 PM] Development Update: Monday, June 9 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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DIRT (FX) - The cable channel has officially pulled the plug on the Courtney Cox-led drama after two seasons. Just 1.06 million viewers turned into the show's final episode on April 13 (including a 0.6 rating/2 share in adults 18-49), literally a third of its premiere audience from 2007 (3.74 million viewers, 1.8 rating/5 share in adults 18-49). ABC Studios and FX Productions were behind the hour, which was executive produced by Matthew Carnahan, Joe Fields, David Arquette and Courtney Cox.
THE INSIDER (Syndication) - Lara Spencer has reupped her contract with the "Entertainment Tonight" spin-off. The new pact will see her move permanently from New York to Los Angeles for the show's fifth-season premiere on September 8. Said date also marks the show's switch to high definition as well as the debut of its new set. As for Spencer, she'll serve as the de facto anchor following former co-anchor Pat O'Brien's decision to reduce his duties to that of special correspondent (alongside Victoria Recano and Steven Cojocaru).
NEVER BETTER (ABC) - Jane Lynch ("Two and a Half Men") and Kathleen Rose Perkins ("Tell Me You Love Me") have both come aboard the comedy pilot, about Keith (Damon Wayans), a recovering alcoholic trying to be a good husband and father. Lynch is playing Linda, Keith's AA sponsor, while Perkins is set as Claire, an AA member who has a contentious relationship with Keith. They join the previously cast Matt Winston and Nicole Ari Parker in the ABC Studios-based half-hour. David Walpert penned the pilot script which Marc Buckland is directing.
THE PRINCE OF MOTOR CITY (ABC) - Morris Chestnut ("The Game Plan") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, a gothic family soap inspired by "Hamlet" that centers on Billy (Warren Christie), a young Harvard philosophy professor forced to return to Detroit to take over the family's auto company and reconnect with his ex-girlfriend, Meg (Piper Perabo). He'll play the recurring role of Leo Moore, who's detailed in the casting notice as: "32, African-American, gorgeous, gallant, and intelligent, he is Meg's boyfriend of over a year who works with Meg's father, Paul. Leo is crazy about Meg but senses unfinished business between Meg and Billy." Andie MacDowell, Aunjanue Ellis, Benny Ciaramello and John Carroll Lynch also star in the ABC Studios-based hour, which Jack Bender is directing from a script by Hamish Linklater and Jessica Goldberg.
SAMURAI GIRL (ABC Family) - Stacy Keibler ("What About Brian") has landed a role on the upcoming limited series, about a 19-year-old Japanese girl named Heaven (Jamie Chung) who sets out to take down her adopted father's evil empire. She'll play Heaven's rival and the ex-fiancee of her love interest, Jake (Brendan Fehr). Anthony Brandon Wong, Kenneth Choi, Kyle Labine, Saige Thompson, Darryl Quon and Steven Brand also star in the project, which was created by Luke McMullen. ABC Studios and Alloy Entertainment are co-producing.
SCREAM QUEENS (VH1, New!) - The cable channel's latest reality search will focus on 10 unknown actresses as they compete for a "major" role in an upcoming horror movie from Lionsgate Films. The project, which Lionsgate is producing alongside Joke Productions, will also feature the aforementioned actresses as they are schooled by acting coach John Homa while their skills and progress will be judged by a yet-to-be-named director. VH1 has committed to eight hourlong episodes of the series, which is being targeted for a fall launch. Joke Fincioen and Biagio Messina are the executive producers with Jim Ackerman, Dave Hamilton and Jeff Olde overseeing the project for VH1.
UNTITLED BOBBY LEE PROJECT (Comedy Central) - The Bobby Lee-led comedy has been given the green light to produce a pilot. Troy Miller ("Flight of the Conchords") has been tapped to direct and executive produce the half-hour, which focuses on the "Mad TV" veteran's point of view on living in a multicultural world. The pilot then will see Lee trying to bridge the racial divide between blacks and Koreans. Lee co-wrote the project alongside Dick Blasucci and Michael Hitchcock. The trio will also executive produce via Miller's Dakota Pictures banner.
THE UNUSUALS (ABC) - Amber Tamblyn ("Joan of Arcadia") is the latest addition to the pilot, a dramedy set at a New York police precinct. She'll play Casey Shraeger, a smart detective who also is the black sheep of her wealthy family. Adam Goldberg, Harold Perrineau and Monique Gabriela also star in the project, which comes from Sony Pictures Television and creator Noah Hawley. Stephen Hopkins is directing.
VIRTUALITY (FOX) - Joy Bryant, Sienna Guillory, Nelson Lee, Omar Metwally and Richie Coster have all joined the ensemble cast of the two-hour drama pilot, about Earth's first starship, which is equipped with advanced virtual reality modules. They'll play Alice Thibadeau, Rika Goddard, Kenji Yamaguchi, Dr. Eyal Meyer and Jimmy Johnson, respectively. The group joins the previously cast James D'Arcy, Jimmi Simpson and Kerry Bishe. Peter Berg is helming the Universal Media Studios-based project, which was created by Michael Taylor and Ronald D. Moore.