[08/13/08 - 06:59 PM]
Development Update: Wednesday, August 13
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:

Looking to keep track of all the various projects in development? Click here to visit our signature "Devwatch" section. There visitors can view our listings by network, genre, studio and even development stage (ordered to pilot, cast-contingent, script, etc.). It's updated every day!

ABC'S MIDSEASON PILOTS - The Alphabet confirmed on Wednesday that casting has been completed on 18 of its midseason pilots, including 10 comedies and eight dramas. On the drama front, casting has been locked on "Captain Cook's Extraordinary Atlas," "Castle," "Cupid," "Finnegan," "Good Behavior," "Prince of Motor City," "Untitled David Hemingson Project" and "The Unusuals." And on the comedy side, ensembles have been completed on "18 to Life," "Bad Mother's Handbook," "Better Off Ted" (previously known as "Untitled Victor Fresco Project"), "Five Year Plan," "Never Better," "Roman's Empire," "Single With Parents," "The More Things Change," "This Might Hurt" and "Untitled Kohan and Mutchnik Project" (previously known as "Fourplay"). Look for individual updates - if given - for each project later in today's report.

BAD MOTHER'S HANDBOOK (ABC) - Horatio Sanz and Kelvin Yu have both been cast in the single-camera comedy pilot, about a 32-year-old woman (Alicia Silverstone) too busy taking care of her teenage daughter (Alia Shawkat) and her mother (Megan Mullally). They'll play Matt and Phil, respectively, in the half-hour, which also stars Dorian Missick. Richard Shepard is directing the project from a script by co-creators Alexandra Rushfield and Jennifer Konner

BETTER OFF TED (A.K.A. UNTITLED VICTOR FRESCO PROJECT) (ABC) - Maz Jobrani ("The Knights of Prosperity") has been cast in the pilot, an office comedy that centers on Ted (Jay Harrington), the highly moral head of research and development at a major company. He's set as Dr. Bhamba in the half-hour, now confirmed as a co-production of 20th Century Fox Television and ABC Studios. Andrea Anders, Jonathan Slavin, Malcolm Barrett and Portia de Rossi also star in the project, which comes from writer Victor Fresco and director Mike Fresco.

CAPTAIN COOK'S EXTRAORDINARY ATLAS (ABC) - Jonathan Cake ("Six Degrees") and Hal Holbrook ("ER") are the final additions to the drama pilot, about a young girl (Jodelle Ferland) who finds a magical atlas that reveals a secret world underneath our own. Cake will play the mysterious Bishop, whom the casting notice details as follows: "Mid 30s-Early 40s, Caucasian, a gruff, handsome loner, "Clive Owen meets Indiana Jones". He's a treasure-hunter who seeks the Atlas in order to pay off a mysterious debt. Despite his protestations that he doesn't have time to help a kid, he follows Gwen from a distance and saves her life on two occasions. Still, he warns her that he's not dependable and she shouldn't rely on him. Courageous and possibly a daredevil, his connection to Gwen is not yet fully revealed." Holbrook then is set as Dean Winters in the Warner Bros. Television-based project, which also stars Janel Moloney, Nathan Gamble and Patrick Breen. Tom Wheeler penned the script, which Thomas Schlamme is directing.

CASTLE (ABC) - Stana Katic ("Heroes"), Monet Mazur ("The House Bunny"), Susan Sullivan ("The Nine"), Jon Huertas ("Generation Kill") and Colby French (also of "Heroes") have all joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a famous mystery novelist Nick Castle (Nathan Fillion) who helps the NYPD solve crimes. Sullivan is playing Martha Heath, whom the casting notice details as: "60s. Nick's mother, Martha is a classic broad in the Broadway mold. A former actress on the Great White Way, she never made it nearly as big as she thinks she did. A woman whose makeup is overdone and whose love life is still fiercely active, Martha has moved in with Nick and likes to pass an unquiet evening by propping herself on the piano and singing numbers from "Oklahoma." Close to her granddaughter Alexis and her former daughter-in-law Gina, Martha is quietly worried about Nick's writer's block, afraid that the golden goose of the family has stopped laying golden eggs." Katic then is set as Kate Beckett, the detective who recruits Castle, with Mazur as his long-suffering ex-wife Gina, who also happens to be his editor. Lastly, Jon Huertas and Colby French are set as Javier Esposito and Frank McNulty respectively. They all join the previously cast Molly Quinn and Ruben Santiago-Hudson in the ABC Studios-based hour, which comes from director Rob Bowman and creator Andrew Marlowe.

FINNEGAN (ABC) - Will Yun Lee ("Bionic Woman") has been cast in the drama pilot, about the organized crime/vice unit in Los Angeles, which is led by a tough female detective named (Teri Polo). He'll play Taki, who's further detailed via the casting notice as: "Early-Mid 30s, Male, Asian-American. A outwardly-scruffy guy (though he'll clean up very well), Taki is an Organized Crime detective with a deep knowledge of Asian crime syndicates, and strong street connections via his current undercover role as a black market wholesaler. When Finnegan deduces that Triad assassins are behind the murder of David Garner, Taki has a series of clandestine meetings with her, and helps her assemble the pieces of the puzzle to find the killer." Billy Zane, Domenick Lombardozzi, Jacob Vargas, Malachi Weir, Tasha Smith and Tzi Ma also star in the hour, which is based at ABC Studios. Trent Jones penned the pilot script, which Gary Fleder is directing.

FRANK TV (TBS) - Actor-comedian-impressionist Mike MacRae has joined the cast of the late-night sketch comedy series. He'll join Frank Caliendo on the half-hour, which returns with new episodes on Tuesday, October 21 at 11:00/10:00c.

HUNG (HBO) - Jane Adams ("The Wackness") has landed the female lead opposite Thomas Jane on the drama pilot, about a well-endowed struggling middle-age high school basketball coach who figures out a way to use his best asset. She'll play Tanya, an artsy single woman, in the project, which Alexander Payne is helming from a script by Colette Burson and Dmitry Lipkin.

MAID IN MANHATTAN (ABC, New!) - Jennifer Lopez's 2002 feature is being developed for the small screen. To that end, the Alphabet has given a put pilot commitment to the project, which Lopez herself is executive producing alongside Chad Hodge, Joe Roth, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas. The TV incarnation, which isn't a direct follow-up or remake, will revolve around a young Latina from the Bronx working at a Manhattan hotel who tries to make it in the world. Lopez and Roth then will executive produce alongside their respective producing partners Nina Lederman of Joe Roth Television and Simon Fields of Nuyorican Productions for Sony Pictures Television. Hodge is penning the pilot script.

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (MTV) - British Sky Broadcasting's Sky Movies has signed on to co-finance MTV's remake of the cult classic film. Fox TV Studios, BermanBraun and Lou Adler are also behind the project, which will work from the original script by Jim Sharman and Richard O'Brien. Casting and other auspices have yet to be announced.

ROMAN'S EMPIRE (ABC) - Brad Beyer ("Jericho") has booked the final principal role on the comedy pilot, about Leo Park (Nick Thune), a lovable guy who, after getting dumped by his girlfriend Nikki (Christine Woods), tries but cannot extricate himself from her wealthy family, the Prettys, and her outrageous, overbearing father, Roman (Kelsey Grammer). He'll play Seb, Nikki's "interestingly bizarre and entertaining" new boyfriend. Carla Gallo, Laura Leigh and Zachary Knighton round out the pilot's ensemble. Marc Buckland is directing the CBS Paramount Network Television-based half-hour from a script by Alan J. Higgins.

SURVIVING SUBURBIA (The CW) - "Men in Trees" alum Cynthia Stevenson has been cast as Bob Saget's wife on the comedy series, about a misanthropic family man in suburbia trying his best to be left alone. Kevin Abbott is behind the Media Rights Capital-based half-hour, which is also executive produced by Michael Hanel and Mindy Schultheis.

UNTITLED DAVID HEMINGSON PROJECT (ABC) - Jonathan Adams ("Bones") has landed a role on the drama pilot, about a law school grad (Matt Long) from a blue-collar background who joins a Los Angeles boutique law firm. He'll play Robert in the untitled hour, which also stars Ben Lawson, Gail O'Grady, Morena Baccarin, Norbert Leo Butz, Roger Bart and Tina Majorino. Dean Parisot is directing the 20th Century Fox Television-based project from a script by David Hemingson.

UNTITLED KOHAN/MUTCHNICK PROJECT (A.K.A. FOURPLAY) (ABC) - John Pasquin ("Freddie") has been tapped to helm the comedy pilot, about two men - Derek (Josh Cooke), who is straight, and Drew (Alan Tudyk), who is gay - who are lifelong best friends and business partners. He'll work from a script by co-creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick. Ayda Field, Rizwan Manji and Ty Burrell also star in the half-hour, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television.

THE UNUSUALS (ABC) - Joshua Close ("The Pacific") is the latest addition to the pilot, an offbeat dramedy set at a New York police precinct. He'll play Henry Cole, a deeply religious detective with a shady past. Adam Goldberg, Amber Tamblyn, Harold Perrineau, Jeremy Renner, Joshua Close, Kai Lennox, Monique Gabriela Curnen and Terry Kinney also star in the Sony Pictures Television-based hour, which comes from creator Noah Hawley and executive producer Peter Tolan. Stephen Hopkins is directing.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [august 2008]  

· 18 TO LIFE (CW)
· ER (NBC)

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