[12/18/08 - 06:42 PM]
Development Update: Thursday, December 18
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!

1%/LAST OF THE NINTH (HBO) - On the heels of HBO ordering "Hung" to series (see below), the pay channel has reportedly passed on both Michael Tolkin's "1%" and David Milch's "Last of the Ninth." The former, set in the world of biker gangs, starred Donal Logue, Abraham Benrubi, James LeGros, Jason Matthew Smith, Kim Dickens, Lucy Punch, Marisa Ryan, Timm Sharp and W. Earl Brown. Alan Taylor helmed the hour from a script by Tolkin with Alex Hertzberg and Guymon Casady also serving as executive producers. "Ninth" was a gritty 1970s cop drama toplined by Jonah Lotan and Ray Winstone. Carl Franklin directed the pilot from a script by Milch and Bill Clark. Clifton Powell, Fredric Lehne, Lily Rabe, Michael Gaston and Michael Raymond-James also co-starred.

AN AMERICAN FAMILY (ABC) - The Alphabet has given a pilot order to Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd's comedy, about the lives of three families living in the same suburb as told through a documentary crew. 20th Century Fox Television is behind the half-hour, which previously had a put pilot commitment. As for specifics, the families include "a traditional family comprised of a working dad, stay-at-home mom and three kids; another that includes a 60-year-old man who becomes a stepfather after marrying a Colombian single mom who is 30 years his junior; and a gay couple who have just adopted a Vietnamese baby." Levitan likens the show to "FootHooker," a low-budget FOX pilot from a few years ago about an American rock band that's huge in Asia but not in the States. Levitan and Lloyd penned the pilot and are executive producing.

HOUSE OF CARDS (FX, New!) - "The Shield" star Michael Chiklis has landed a script commitment from the cable channel for a drama about the operator of a Ponzi scheme, in which a few early participants gain considerable wealth through the investment of later contributors rather than earned profits from a product or business. Chiklis has been developing the project since February, when he and his wife were revealed to having been Ponzi scheme victims themselves. It's also proving to be nothing but timely - headlines this week were dominated by news that Wall Street investment manager Bernie Madoff allegedly pulled off a similar scheme on a major scale. Chiklis will executive produce but won't star in the hour, which is currently searching for a writer/showrunner.

HUNG (HBO) - The pay channel has given a 10-episode commitment to the drama project, which stars Thomas Jane as a well-endowed struggling high school basketball coach who figures out a way to use his best asset. Alexander Payne helmed the pilot from a script by co-creators Dmitry Lipkin and Colette Burson. The pair had already been writing the fifth installment in anticipation of a series order. Production then is set to begin shortly for a June premiere, making it one of the fastest turnarounds in the network's history. It's understood Payne will stay on the series as an executive producer alongside Lipkin and Burson as well as Blueprint Entertainment's Michael Rosenberg, Noreen Halpern and John Morayniss.

LEGALLY MAD (NBC) - "Pushing Daisies" alum Kristin Chenoweth is the first to be cast in the drama pilot, about an aging partner and his daughter who work together at a Chicago law firm. She'll play the supporting role of Skippy Pylon, whom the cast notice details as: "30ish, female, any ethnicity, a pixie, dresses like a sixteen-year old, knee-sox, delights in being confused for a teenager. Speaks in a cheerful sing-songy Stepford tone, she's either medicated or should be. She can go from The Flying Nun to Mommy Dearest in a nano-second. A brilliant attorney, but not well." David E. Kelley is behind the hour, which comes from his new home of Warner Bros. Television.

THE OFFICE (NBC) - "The Office" stars Rainn Wilson and Jenna Fischer have each landed scripts at the Peacock and Universal Media Studios. "Hump Tulips," from Wilson and Adam Braff ("Night Life"), is a single-camera comedy about a lawyer who winds up in a small Washington town in pursuit of the woman he loves. The pair are co-writing and executive producing. Fischer then is developing an untitled hour about a lumber salesman who solves a crime and becomes a private eye, along with a ragtag group of pals. She'll serve as a non-writing executive producer on the project, the writers of which weren't specified.

POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS (Showtime) - Eva Amurri and Kimberly Quinn are the latest additions to Tim Robbins's drama pilot, about the Hunt family, which runs a pharmaceutical firm. Amurri - the daughter of Robbins' partner, Susan Sarandon - will play Libby, the angst-ridden lesbian daughter of Max Hunt (Josh Lucas), with Quinn as Max's wife. Ellen Burstyn, Jason Butler Harner and Tim Blake Nelson also star in hour, which was written and directed by Robbins.

TIMBERMAN/BEVERLY PRODUCTIONS (A.K.A. 25C PRODUCTIONS, Various) - Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly's Sony Pictures Television-based Timberman-Beverly Productions, formerly known as 25C Productions, has lined up eight projects across the cable landscape. Best known for such broadcast fare as NBC's "Kidnapped," the company has subsequently dipped its toe into cable, including the drama "Danny Fricke" at A&E earlier this year. Currently in the hopper are: ABC's "The Nelsons," from writers Peter and Dee Steinfeld and director Barry Sonnenfeld, a drama about "an average American family who, unbeknownst to their neighbors and friends, are superheroes"; CBS's "Holly Gale," from Barbara Wallace and Tom Wolfe, a single-camera comedy about "a former cheerleading star who returns to her hometown to take over as head cheerleading coach, becoming a dubious mentor to her teen charges"; an untitled hour from Becky Mode at CBS about "New York City pediatricians who have to contend with a generation of overly involved, micromanaging modern parents, in addition to their own family, romantic and professional entanglements"; Lifetime's "Between Smith and Jones," from Mimi Schmir, a drama about "the lives of three families from the same Santa Monica neighborhood through the eyes of the manny they share"; Showtime's "Carry Me," from Dan Bucatinsky, a single-camera comedy about "an outspoken and sometimes crass surrogate mom who rents her womb out to a different set of intended parents each season"; Showtime's "Fade to Black," from Chris Keyser and Amy Lippman, a drama which "tells the intertwined stories of a group of Tinseltown writers, directors and actors whose lives are irrevocably altered by the Hollywood Blacklist"; FX's "Hit Man," from writer/director Michael Dinner, a drama based on Lawrence Block's book trilogy about a regular lonely urban guy who happens to be a hitman; and FX's "Fire in the Hole," from writer Graham Yost (based on Elmore Leonard's short story) and director Michael Dinner, a drama about "Kentucky U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens and chronicles his cases as well his personal life, including his unfinished business with an ex-wife and his aging father." Timberman and Beverly are executive producing each effort.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [december 2008]  


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