[01/22/09 - 06:55 PM] Development Update: Thursday, January 22 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!
MERCY (NBC, New!) - Elizabeth Heldens ("Friday Night Lights") has received a pilot order for the Peacock for a new drama about three nurses bound together in friendship by the highs and lows of their personal and professional lives. The project is set up at Universal Media Studios with Heldens executive producing.
RHI ENTERTAINMENT PROJECTS (Various) - TV movie mogul Robert Halmi Sr., who's currently celebrating his 85th birthday and his 30th year in the television business, has lined up a slew of new projects at Sci Fi and ABC. The former has already commissioned three efforts: "The Phantom," based on Lee Falk's adventure comic strip about a costumed crimefighter operating from the African jungle, is slated to begin filming in Montreal in late winter/early spring (with Paolo Barzman directing); "Riverworld," a new take on Philip Jose Farmer's book in which the human race is resurrected as illness-free immortal beings on an Earthlike planet, will begin filming in Vancouver in March (with Stuart Gillard directing); and "Alice," a contemporary retelling of "Alice in Wonderland," is on track for a May start in Vancouver (with Nick Willing directing). Meanwhile at the Alphabet, Halmi is developing "Planet Earth Conspiracy," a thriller set against the backdrop of our planet in peril because of climate change, and "Grapes of Wrath," a long-in-the-works adaptation of John Steinbeck's infamous novel. And finally, Halmi is also eyeing a sequel (or even a weekly series) based on NBC's "The Last Templar," premiering this weekend, this time set in India. Halmi is executive producing all the aforementioned projects alongside his son Robert Halmi Jr.
THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK (ABC) - The Alphabet has ordered a pilot for its small screen take on the John Updike novel, best known as the 1987 feature that starred Cher, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeifer and Jack Nicholson. Maggie Friedman ("Related") is behind the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, which will center on three women who discover they have supernatural powers after a mysterious man comes to their small town. Friedman penned the pilot and will executive produce.