[02/05/09 - 06:53 PM]
Development Update: Thursday, February 5
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!

THE BIG D (CBS) - Jackie Filgo and Jeff Filgo's comedy has been given a pilot commitment by the network. Based at Warner Bros. Television, the multi-camera project centers on a New York couple who moves to the man's hometown of Dallas, where his Southern-belle mother makes life complicated for his East coast wife. The Filgos penned the half-hour and are executive producing.

BLACK PANTHER (BET) - Kerry Washington ("Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer"), Alfre Woodard ("My Own Worst Enemy"), Carl Lumbly ("Alias") and Stan "The Man" Lee have all joined the cast of the animated series, a small screen adaptation of Reginald Hudlin's "Who Is The Black Panther" run of the Marvel Comics title. Djimon Honsou was previously cast in the title role. Washington is set to provide the voice for Princess Shuri with Woodard as Dondi Reece, Lumbly as Uncle S'Yan and Lee as General Wallace. Production is underway on the series for a third quarter premiere.

THE BODY POLITIC (The CW) - The netlet has ordered a pilot to Jason Rothenberg and Bill Robinson's long-in-the-works drama about a group of you Washington, D.C. staffers. The project was originally sold to The WB back in November of 2005 by ABC Studios (then known as Touchstone Television). The CW has since redeveloped the hour, which is now based at CBS Paramount Network Television. Peter Horton is still on board to executive produce although it's not clear if he's still attached to direct. As for specifics, the show will focus on a young woman who comes to work in D.C. for the first time and becomes an aide in order to get close to her estranged biological father.

GOSSIP GIRL (The CW) - Krysten Ritter ("Gilmore Girls") is the first to be cast in the potential "Gossip Girl" spin-off, about the teen exploits of Lily van der Woodsen (played as an adult by Kelly Rutherford). Ritter is set as Carol Rhodes, Lily's older sister, whom the casting notice details as follows: "Female, 20-25. Caucasian. Lily's sister. Adorable and sweet, but a bit of a disaster. Less mature and responsible than her younger sister. Always making mistakes - dating the wrong guy, making bad decisions about her career as an actress and otherwise. Must be strong with comedy." Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage are penning the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, which will air as a backdoor pilot episode of "Gossip Girl" on May 11.

IMAGINE TELEVISION PROJECTS (FOX, New!) - In addition to pilot orders at NBC ("Parenthood") and FOX ("Maggie Hill"), Brian Grazer and David Nevins's Imagine Television has lined up three comedy projects at the latter network. Daniel Palladino ("Gilmore Girls") is behind "The Chairman of Chatsworth," a single-camera half-hour loosely based on Grazer's father, Tom - a lawyer with a slightly questionable moral compass. FOX is also looking at a redeveloped version of the failed 2007 ABC pilot, "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office," starring Jayma Mays and Jane Curtin. Jennifer Robinson, Dyanne Stempel and Rob Lotterstein are penning an updated version, which will also use Lois Frankel's book of the same name (subtitled "101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers") as a springboard. (Jeff Ventimilia and Josh Sternin wrote the ABC incarnation.) And finally, Lela Lee's comic book "Angry Little Girls" is being developed as an animated series. Originally based at Oxygen by Jennifer Love Hewitt's Love Spell Productions in 2006, "Girls" has likewise moved to FOX, which has given it a six-minute presentation commitment. Josh Weinstein is on board to shepherd the adaptation, taking over for Alex Borstein.

MAGGIE HILL (FOX) - Stephen Hopkins ("Californication") has been tapped to direct the drama pilot, about a brilliant female surgeon who has schizophrenia. Ian Biederman is behind the project, which comes from 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television.

NCIS (CBS) - Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J are in talks to topline the much-ballyhooed "NCIS" spin-off, which will air as a backdoor pilot episode of the parent series later this season. O'Donnell would play Callen, "an average guy born to do undercover work as the ultimate chameleon, taking on different identities," with LL Cool J as Sam Hannah, "a former U.S. Navy Seal who is tough but charming." "NCIS" showrunner Shane Brennan is penning the installment with Tony Wharmby directing.

VAMPIRE DIARIES (The CW) - Kevin Williamson's small screen take on L.J. Smith's young adult novels has been given a pilot order by the netlet. Originally published in 1993, pre-dating the similarly-themed "Twilight," "Diaries" revolves around a young woman who's torn between two vampire brothers - one good, one evil - battling for her soul, and the souls of her pals, family and the small town where they live. Warner Bros. Television and Alloy Entertainment ("Gossip Girl," "Privileged") are behind the hour, which Williamson co-wrote with Julie Plec ("Kyle XY"). The pair then are executive producing alongside Alloy's Leslie Morgenstein and Bob Levy.

THE VINEYARD (The CW, New!) - 25/7 Productions ("The Biggest Loser") is casting for a new reality series set in the famed Massachusetts vacation spot. The casting notice for the show details the project as follows: "There are moments in life that change who you are - one summer that defines you... New friends are made, others fade away, lust simmers, and sometimes, mistakes are made with no regret. But one thing is for sure, you'll never forget your summer on The Vineyard. On an Island inhabited by high-profile residents, movie stars, politicians, writers and artists you join a prominent clique. Whether you're returning to the Island in search of a good time, are a first timer looking for a new experience, or are a local who's seen it all, what you'll ultimately find, is your place. The friends you choose, the parties you attend, and the decisions you make will define who you are. Summertime at Martha's Vineyard: finally get away from the pressures of home, school, family and discover where you belong. The CW network in association with 25/7 Productions and Doron Ofir Casting is currently seeking groups of friends who are available to spend the summer on Martha's Vineyard for a groundbreaking Docu-Soap. Year-round locals of the vineyard, returning summer revelers and first time visitors between the ages of 19 and 28 are encouraged to apply."

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [february 2009]  


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