[01/16/09 - 06:09 PM]
Development Update: Friday, January 16
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!

ABC AT THE TCA - Alphabet chief Steve McPherson has confirmed the network won't be picking up "King of the Hill" after it completes its run on FOX. ABC flirted with the idea back in November, opening talks with producer 20th Century Fox Television to order addition scripts of the series. Meanwhile, Mike Judge's new animated comedy "The Goode Family" may not roll out until May while "In the Motherhood" is expected to bow in March, potentially as a lead out to "Dancing With the Stars." On the development side, McPherson said he hopes to shoot 10 comedy and drama pilots for next season with pick-ups set to begin as early as next week. And finally, fans looking for the remaining produced installments of axed dramas "Eli Stone," "Dirty Sexy Money" and "Pushing Daisies" will have to wait a bit longer - they could be burned off over the summer or streamed online at some point in the future.

LEGALLY MAD (NBC) - Hugh Bonneville ("Five Days") has booked the male lead in the drama pilot, about Brady Hamm (Charity Wakefield), a twentysomething woman who takes a job at her father's law firm. He'll play her father, Gordon Hamm, whom the casting notice details as follows: "Late 40s, any ethnicity. The firm's senior partner, part F. Lee Bailey, part Harold Hill of "The Music Man." Fun-loving, fast-talking, a little slick...it was either a career in law or used cars. He chose the law." Jon Seda and Kristin Chenoweth also star in the hour, which comes from Warner Bros. Television and creator David E. Kelley.

LEVERAGE (TNT) - The cable channel has quietly asked for six additional scripts of the series, which opened to 5.6 million viewers last month. The drama wraps its inaugural 13-episode run in February.

MAD MEN (AMC) - After months of negotiations, Matthew Weiner has finally closed a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with producer Lionsgate Television. The pact puts the writer/producer back at the helm of the Emmy-winning drama. He'll also develop new series projects for the studio, including a potential feature. It's understood AMC is helping fund Weiner's deal as is typical on the cable side. Production on the new season then is set to begin in time for a summer premiere.

PHIL ROSENTHAL PROJECTS (HBO, New!) - Emmy-winner Phil Rosenthal ("Everybody Loves Raymond") has lined up three projects at the pay channel - a comedy, a drama and a original movie. First up is "The Jeannie Tate Show," a comedy based on TheWB.com digital series created by Liz Cackowski and Maggie Carey about a neurotic soccer mom (Cackowski) who hosts a talk show from her minivan. Cackowski and Carey are penning the pilot and co-executive producing under Rosenthal's supervision with TheWB.com's Rich Rosenthal, Phil's brother, producing. Warner Bros. Television originally developed the project and remains a passive partner. Next is "Random Family," a drama based on the nonfiction book of the same name by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc and revolves around a multigenerational family in the South Bronx. LeBlanc and Chris Terrio likewise are writing the script and co-executive producing with Rosenthal and Neal Gabler serving as executive producers. And finally there's an original movie based on portions of Raymond Arsenault's book "Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice." Wayne Kramer is in talks to write and direct the film, which "chronicles civil rights activists' harrowing ride on buses through the South that escalated to a point where segregationists threw Molotov cocktails at them." Rosenthal and Gabler are executive producing.

Separately, Rosenthal is now editing the feature-length documentary "Exporting Raymond," about his outrageous experiences while remaking his own show in Russia. The series, "Vse Lubyat Kostya" (Everybody Loves Kostya), was ordered to pilot by Russian broadcaster CTC using Rosenthal's original "Raymond" script and produced by local production company Lean-M. Sony Pictures Television International, Worldwide Pants and HBO Independent Productions are behind the export, with Rosenthal's film chronicling the casting, the prep and the shooting of the pilot in December and ending with CTC's decision on whether or not to move forward with the show. No distributor has been set for the film, although Sony is widely expecting to.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [january 2009]  


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