LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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BOLDLY GOING NOWHERE (FOX) - Jonathan M. Goldstein ("The New Adventures of Old Christine") has been tapped as an executive producer on the pilot, a high-concept comedy set in the future and focused on the mundane world of a spaceship captain when he's not on a mission. RCG's Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia") are all behind the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, which is set to film this fall. FOX has also commissioned five additional scripts for the project, which is based on an idea from "Sunny" writers' assistant Adam Stein. 3 Arts Entertainment's Michael Rotenberg and Nick Frenkel also serve as executive producers.
DR. OZ (Syndication) - Sony Pictures Television has cleared the "Oprah" spin-off on stations covering 40% of the country for a fall 2009 launch. Said clearances including 13 of the top 20 TV markets, such as the Fox owned-and-operated stations in New York (WNYW), Los Angeles (KTTV) and Chicago (WFLD). Other station groups on board include Gannett, Post-Newsweek, Belo, Scripps Howard, Fisher, McGraw Hill and Hearst-Argyle. Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions is producing the project, which is being targeted for late afternoons.
FLASH FORWARD (ABC, New!) - "Threshold's" David S. Goyer and Brannon Braga have booked a pilot at the Alphabet for a new drama which chronicles the chaos that ensues after everyone in the world blacks out for two minutes, 17 seconds and has a mysterious vision of the future that changes lives forever. The network has also given a series penalty to the project, which is based on Robert J. Sawyer's novel of the same name. Goyer and Braga penned the hour, which was originally developed by HBO (who retains a piece of the backend), on spec with Goyer attached to direct. Braga however won't be involved with the day-to-day operations of the series due to his commitment to the current season of FOX/20th Century Fox Television's "24." Jessika Borsiczky Goyer ("Revelations") will also executive produce alongside Vince Gerardis and Ralph M. Vicinanza ("Jumper"), who own the rights to the book. ABC Studios is in negotiations to produce.
GOSSIP GIRL (The CW) - Wade Allain Marcus ("American Mall") has scored a multi-episode arc on the much buzzed about soap. He'll play Max, an attractive (but manipulative) 19-year-old hipster photographer with ties to the New York fashion and art world. It's not clear when his first episode will air.
LETTERS TO SANTA: A MUPPETS CHRISTMAS (NBC) - Uma Thurman and Jesse L. Martin have both joined the cast of the holiday special, in which "Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo and the rest of the gang mistakenly avert three letters from making their way to Santa Claus." Thurman will play Joy, a ticket clerk for the North Pole Airlines who also serves as Santa's flight attendant, with Martin as a singing and dancing postal worker. The pair join the previously cast Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Sirico, Steve Schirripa, Richard Griffiths and Madison Pettis. Muppets Productions is behind the hour (airing December 17), which will also feature songs by "The Muppet Movie" songwriter Paul Williams.
KATHY GRIFFIN: MY LIFE ON THE D-LIST (Bravo) - The cable channel has ordered a fifth season of the two-time Emmy winning reality series. The news comes despite rumblings Kathy Griffin would take the show elsewhere due to her at times tenuous relationship with the network. While no air date was specified for the new season, "D-List" historically has rolled out each summer since 2005.
SAVE US THEN THE WHALES (FOX, New!) - Asad Gardezi ("Mind of Mencia") has landed a cast-contingent pilot order from the network for a new comedy set at a politically incorrect nonprofit organization. 20th Century Fox Television and Peter Engel ("Last Comic Standing") are behind the half-hour, which centers on Herbie Grueber, a middle-aged wheeler-dealer who works for a nonprofit that's trying to stay current. Gardezi will pen the pilot and presumably executive produce alongside Engel.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters