LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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24 (FOX) - Michael Rodrick ("Close to Home") has landed a multi-episode arc on the veteran drama. He'll play Stokes, a deadly military operative. Rodrick's casting comes as news broke this week that production on the series will be halted for 18 days after the completion of the show's 18th installment (September 15). The unscheduled break was designed by showrunner Howard Gordon to give the writers more time to work on upcoming scripts. "24" is no stranger to such hiatuses - both scheduled and unscheduled - most notably the WGA strike, which ultimately bumped its season opener from January 2008 to January 2009.
GLEE (FOX) - Matthew Morrison ("Music and Lyrics"), Jayma Mays ("Ugly Betty") and Lea Michele ("Holy Rollers") are the first to be cast on the drama pilot, about a thirtysomething Spanish teacher at an Ohio high school who has the daunting task of taking over the school's glee club, which has become a heaven for outcasts. Morrison will play the lead role of Will Schuester, who's detailed via the casting notice as follows: "30ish, attractive, appealing, upbeat and naturally optimistic. A dreamer who's managed to evade close contact with reality for much of his life, Will is married to Terri and trying hard to become a father. A Spanish teacher at Harrison High in Ohio, Will has fond memories of his participation in the school's 1993 Glee Club (they made it to the Nationals!), and when he spots a chance to become the Glee Club coach of 2008, he seizes it - even though it will cost him money, and the club consists of five geektards. Under pressure from his wife to earn hard money and support his family, Will prefers instead to dream the impossible dream - though he'll probably wind up bearing the unbearable sorrow."
Mays then is set as Emma Pillsbury - "30ish, attractive, both endearing and quirky in a loveable way. She is the guidance counselor at Harrison High. Emma "The Ingenue" is pretty, but doesn't think so. A woman with a really bad case of OCD, who needs to scrub the table before unpacking her PBJ sandwich wrapped in tinfoil, Emma is both endearing and a little nuts, and she suffers from a bad case of unrequited love for Will Schuester. Quick to rebuff Ken Tanaka's attempts to date her, Emma is aware that Will is happily married, and wallows (perhaps pleasurably) in the hopelessness of her doomed romance." - with Michele as Rachel Berry - "18+ or emancipated to play high school. Pretty, the "star female singer" of the Harrison High Glee Club, a teenaged girl whose makeup and manner is way too theatrical, Rachel is self-absorbed, self-obsessed, self-deluded -- and an excellent singer. Rachel has a burning need to be a star. A determined young woman with two gay male parents at home, Rachel sets her cap for new Glee Club member Finn Hudson, and steams in his direction making Merman-esque assertions of desire." Ryan Murphy is behind the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, which he's also directing from a script he co-wrote with Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan.
HARPER'S ISLAND (CBS) - Harry Hamlin ("Veronica Mars") has joined the cast of the midseason effort, a serialized drama revolving around a group of friends who are terrorized when they meet on an island off the Seattle coast for a destination wedding. He'll play Marty, the groom's (Christopher Gorham) uncle Marty, an outgoing, charming womanizer who attends the wedding. Hamlin replaces Bill Pullman, who played the role in the original presentation as a favor to executive producer/director Jon Turteltaub. Elaine Cassidy and Katie Cassidy also star in the hour, which comes from CBS Paramount Network Television and creator Ari Schlossberg.
IN THE MOTHERHOOD (ABC) - The Alphabet has issued a blind 13-episode order to the project, a half-hour comedy based on the online series about the perils of parenting. Leah Remini, Chelsea Handler and Jenny McCarthy toplined the web version however no deals are in place for the TV version. Mindshare, who was behind the online incarnation, is co-producing alongside ABC Studios with original marketing partners Sprint and Suave also set to return. "Help Me Help You" co-creators Jennifer Konner and Alexandra Rushfield have been tapped to showrun the series with Stu Bloomberg and Mindshare's David Lang and Peter Tortorici also serving as executive producers.
MAD MEN (AMC) - Matthew Weiner, the creator and executive producer of the Emmy-nominated series, is reportedly making the rounds in search of an overall deal. The writer/producer isn't contractually obligated to the series after its current sophomore run. And while Lionsgate Television and AMC are in discussions to renew the show for a third go around, the overall deal would have to give Weiner the option to continue as showrunner of the period drama. "Men" is up for 16 awards, the most for any drama this year.
THE RETURN (ABC, New!) - Rene Echevarria ("Medium") and drama guru Greg Berlanti have booked a new drama at the Alphabet about the impact on the world - including the White House - when aliens land. The project is set up at the latter's ABC Studios-based banner with both serving as executive producers. No other specifics however were released.
UNTITLED JASON BIGGS/MITCH HURWITZ PROJECT (CBS, New!) - "American Pie" star Jason Biggs and "Arrested Development" creator Mitch Hurwitz are on track to team for a new hybrid single/multi-camera comedy at the Eye about adult siblings and their parents who are over-involved in one another's lives. The network has given a put pilot commitment to the project with an order for six additional scripts. Sony Pictures Television, where Hurwitz's overall deal is based, and CBS Paramount Network Television, which has a deal with Biggs, are co-producing. Hurwitz is co-writing the half-hour alongside fellow "Arrested" alum James Vallely with the pair and Biggs executive producing alongside Tantamount's Eric and Kim Tannenbaum.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters