[12/26/08 - 06:43 PM] Development Update: Week of December 22-26 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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BITCHES (FOX, New!) - Feature writer Michael Dougherty ("Superman Returns") has scored a hefty script commitment from the network for a new drama about a quartet of female friends in New York who are werewolves. The project, which has a penalty attached should it not move forward to pilot, is set up at Warner Bros. Television. Writer/producers Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts ("Pushing Daisies") have been tapped to supervise Dougherty and executive produce. No other specifics were given.
GILMORE GIRLS (The CW) - One day after filing a lawsuit against CBS over "Two and a Half Men" (see below), Warner Bros. Television itself has been sued by producer Gavin Polone over "Gilmore Girls." The breach-of-contract lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims the vertically integrated Time Warner companies Warner Bros. Television and The WB "have colluded to defraud the originator of hit 'Gilmore Girls' television series with a scheme that rivals the greed and bravado of any story line defendants could script." Hofflund/Polone, Polone's company with Judy Hofflund, alleges the "modified adjusted gross," the money the show earns after costs are deducted, for "Gilmore's" first six seasons was modified by the studio - through "collusion among defendants to set below-market license fees" and a series of improper charges - which cut into Hofflund/Polone's profits as a result. A third-party audit commissioned by Hofflund/Polone in October 2006 alleges that number was understated by $45.5 million and the company has asked for "tens of millions of dollars" in damages as a result. Warner Bros. has yet to comment on the suit.
LOST & FOUND (NBC) - Australian actor Damon Herriman ("All Saints") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, which centers on Tessa Cooper (Katee Sackhoff), an offbeat LAPD detective who, after butting heads with higher-ups, is sent as punishment to the basement to work on John and Jane Doe cases. He'll play Anthony Yeckel, an oddball civilian consultant to the police's lost-and-found department who has an obsessive love of old detective TV shows. Brian Cox and Josh Cooke also star in the Universal Media Studios/Wolf Films-based hour, which Michael Engler is directing from a script by creator Chris Levinson.
TWO AND A HALF MEN (CBS) - Warner Bros. Television filed a $49 million breach of contract lawsuit against CBS on Tuesday. Said suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims the network owes Warner Bros. additional fees toward the production deficit carried by the studio. The "deficit recoupment" was understood to be tied to "Men" hitting certain ratings milestones as specified by the show's original four-year license agreement signed in 2003. The suit indicates the studio incurred a $61.1 million deficit over the course of the first four years of the show (for instance CBS paid $750,000 per episode during "Men's" first season while Warner Bros. actual cost to produce the show came in at $1.22 million), a cost which CBS would cover should "Men" finish as a top 10 show. Additionally, should "Men" finish in the top five in its fourth season, CBS would pay an additional $650,000 more per episode in the fifth and sixth seasons (with a downward scale from there). "CBS has reaped the benefits of the tremendous success of 'Two and a Half Men" but wants to deny Warner Bros. the right to its agreed-upon share," Warner Bros. said in a statement. CBS countered with simply, "Wow, I wonder what they got the other networks for Christmas."
UGLY BETTY (ABC) - "Dexter" co-star Lauren Velez has booked a multi-episode arc on the Thursday dramedy. She'll play Elena, a nurse that enters the lives of the Suarez family, whom reports speculate will be linked to a major plot development. It's not clear when her first episode will air.
UNTITLED MARIA BELLO PROJECT (HBO, New!) - Maria Bello ("The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor") is set to topline a potential new drama at the pay channel about a woman who's forced into a life of crime to support her three teenage sons after her husband is killed. Gary Lennon ("The Shield") is penning the hour, which sees the woman using her sons as henchmen, leading them all down a destructive road. Bello herself will executive produce alongside Lennon, Gavin Polone and John Carrabino.