LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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CAPTAIN COOK'S EXTRAORDINARY ATLAS (ABC) - Nicole Yorkin and Dawn Prestwich ("The Riches") have signed on to help shepherd the drama pilot, about a young girl (Jodelle Ferland) who finds a magical atlas that reveals a secret world underneath our own. They'll act as consulting producers on the pilot with an eye towards serving as its showrunners if it goes to series. Tom Wheeler penned the pilot script, which he's executive producing alongside director Thomas Schlamme. Nathan Gamble, Janel Moloney and Patrick Breen also star in the project, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television.
THE EMANCIPATION OF ERNESTO (FOX, New!) - "That '70s Show" co-star Wilmer Valderrama has been tapped to star in a new "The Jerk"-esque comedy for the network about a guileless innocent embarking on an epic quest to find his father and a long-lost love amid a Los Angeles landscape polluted with excess. Emily Kapnek ("Emily's Reasons Why Not") is behind the 20th Century Fox Television-based project, which was sold on spec with Valderrama attached. FOX has committed to a pilot for the potential series - the first-ever hourlong to come out of the network's comedy department - with Kapnek executive producing and Valderrama serving as a co-executive producer. As for further details, Ernesto - who narrates the show - was raised in a Mexican prison and is working in a Twinkie factory when the events of the pilot catch up to him.
THE END OF STEVE (Showtime, New!) - Matthew Perry ("Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip") is set to topline a new comedy at the pay channel about an afternoon talk show host on local TV who is genial onscreen but embittered when the camera's off. Showtime has given a pilot commitment to the Sony Pictures Television-based project, which Perry will co-write with Peter Tolan ("Rescue Me"), with significant penalty attached. As for specifics, the half-hour will depict Perry's character trying to find professional and personal happiness, which includes love with the station's morning show host.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters