[10/07/08 - 06:24 PM] Development Update: Tuesday, October 7 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS (FOX, New!) - Christine Zander ("Samantha Who?") is developing a domestic take on the infamous U.K. comedy, about the friendship of two boozy, over-40 best friends who are desperate to stay hip and youthful. The project, which has script commitment with a penalty attached, is set up at Mitch Hurwitz, Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum's Sony Pictures Television-based Tantamount banner. Jennifer Saunders, the mind behind the U.K. original, along with Ian Moffitt will also executive produce via BBC Worldwide Productions. ABC was the last network to take a stab at importing the show nearly a decade ago with Roseanne Barr and Carrie Fisher in the roles made famous by Saunders and Joanna Lumley.
THE RICHES (FX) - The cable channel confirmed this week the Minnie Driver/Eddie Izzard-led drama won't return for a third season. The news had been widely expected as its strike-shortened sophomore run experienced a significant 44% drop in the key 18-49 demographic. Dmitry Lipkin was behind the hour, which was co-produced by Fox Television Studios, FX Productions and Maverick Television.
THE WASHINGTONIENNE (HBO) - Rachael Taylor, Amanda Walsh and Bitsie Tulloch have scored the lead roles in the Sarah Jessica Parker-produced comedy, about the professional and personal lives of three smart, sophisticated 28-year-old girls working on Capitol Hill. Taylor will play Jackie, "a recent transplant from New York who has decided to pursue a career as a speechwriter but first must work her way up from the intern desk"; with Tulloch as April, her mentor friend from college "who has been on the Hill since graduation and lives a prematurely middle-age lifestyle with a boyfriend who seems more in love with his flashy senator boss than with her"; and Walsh as Laura, "a small-town girl whose workaholic ways often come at the expense of a social life and who is constantly defending her Republican views to her liberal friends." Also signing on is David Furr as April's boyfriend Tom, an aide to a charismatic senator. Susanna Fogel and Joni Lefkowitz penned the pilot script based on Jessica Cutler's semi-autobiographical book. Vanessa Taylor was previously attached to pen the adaptation. Parker, Parker's producing partner Alison Benson, Sarah Condon and Stacy Traub are the executive producers.
WIPEOUT (ABC) - Japanese broadcaster Tokyo Broadcasting System has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against ABC, alleging "Wipeout" is "a blatant copycat" of several of its classic Japanese competition series, including "Takeshi's Castle," "Sasuke" and "Kuniochi." Spike TV's "MXC" and G4's "Ninja Warrior" feature footage from "Castle" and "Sasuke," respectively, here in the U.S. "ABC's willful and wrongful use of Plaintiff's shows to create 'Wipeout' is egregious, inexcusable and not to be tolerated," the complaint reads. Among its claims: ABC bought search terms such as "MXC" on Google to help drive traffic to the official "Wipeout" page and a memo from Alphabet executive VP Howard Davine indicating producers to "carefully scrutinize" whether licensing foreign formats "is necessary or appropriate." A separate lawsuit against producer Endemol is also said to be pending.
THE WISHING WELL (Hallmark, New!) - Ernest Borgnine, Jordan Ladd and Sally Kellerman are set to star in a new original movie at the cable channel about a reporter (Ladd) sent to Slow Creek, Illinois, to write a fluff piece on the local wishing well, which ends up having an impact on her life. Borgnine then plays a local innkeeper with Kellerman as a waitress/the unofficial town therapist. David Jackson is directing the movie, from a script by Steven H. Berman with Larry Levinson executive producing and Brian Gordon and Susan McGuire producing.