[03/06/09 - 06:31 PM] Development Update: Friday, March 6 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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THE BODY POLITIC (The CW) - "The West Wing" alum Tim Matheson has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about young staffers in Washington. He'll play a charming, JFK-type senator. Bill Robinson and Jason Rothenberg are behind the CBS Paramount Network Television-based hour, which Scott Winant is attached to direct.
CHOCOLATE NEWS (Comedy Central) - David Alan Grier has confirmed the series won't be returning for a second season. In the March 13 issue of Entertainment Weekly, Grier, talking about his turn on "Dancing With the Stars," remarked: "They asked me before and [I said] no. But then my show, Chocolate News, didn't get picked up by Comedy Central. I said, 'Get Dancing With the Stars on the phone!'"
COUGAR TOWN (ABC) - Josh Hopkins ("Swingtown") and Ian Gomez ("Rita Rocks") have both joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a 40-year-old newly single mom (Courteney Cox) with a teen son. They'll play neighbors of Cox's character. Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel co-created the half-hour, which is set up at ABC Studios.
DIARY OF A MANHATTAN CALL GIRL (HBO) - "Sex and the City" creator Darren Star is returning to the pay channel, inking a two-year, first-look deal with the network. The pact gives HBO first crack at the prolific writer/producer's output, either from himself or other writers he's supervising. Star had previously set up "Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl" at the channel, which didn't move forward to pilot.
GOSSIP GIRL (The CW) - Andrew McCarthy is the latest "Lipstick Jungle" alum to join the cast of the potential spin-off, about Lily's (Brittany Snow) wild teen years in 1980s Los Angeles. Also reportedly close to signing on: Cynthia Watros and Ryan Hansen. McCarthy and Watros are on track to play Lily's parents, Celia and Rick Rhodes, with Hansen as Shep, the best friend of the previously cast Shilo Fernandez, who's got a crush on Lily's sister Carol (Krysten Ritter).
HUMAN TARGET (FOX) - Chi McBride ("Pushing Daisies") and Jackie Earle Haley ("Watchmen") have joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a mysterious freelancer (Mark Valley) who takes on a different identity each week to help those in need. They'll play two of the man's associates - Winston, his business partner, and Guerrero, his information gatherer, respectively. Simon West is helming the hour from a script by Jon Steinberg.
IMPACT (ABC, New!) - The Alphabet has acquired the domestic rights to a new mini-series about a meteor that strikes the moon and sends it on a collision course with Earth. David James Elliott, Natasha Henstridge, Steven Culp and James Cromwell topline the $14 million production, which comes from Tandem Communications, Jaffe/Braunstein Entertainment and Muse Entertainment. It's understood that the Alphabet will air the Michael Rohl-directed project as a limited series this summer with a second window on Sci Fi and a DVD release from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment shortly thereafter.
THE LAW (ABC) - Madchen Amick and Ryan Devlin have both joined the cast of the Cedric the Entertainer-led comedy pilot, about reserve police officers. They'll play two of them - a soccer mom-turned-reservist and a rookie reservist, respectively. Cedric co-created the ABC Studios-based project alongside Bob Fisher.
MAGGIE HILL (FOX) - Stuart Townsend ("Night Stalker") has joined the cast of the pilot, a drama about a brilliant surgeon with schizophrenia (Christina Cole). He'll play her imaginary boyfriend in the hour, which comes from 20th Century Fox Television, creator Ian Biederman and director Stephen Hopkins.
PARENTHOOD (NBC) - Erika Christensen ("Six Degrees") is the first to be cast in the drama pilot, an update of Ron Howard's 1989 feature of the same name. She'll play Julia Braverman, "a go-getting corporate attorney having trouble jumping off the fast track and becoming more involved with her family." Jason Katims is behind the hour, which is based at Universal Media Studios and Imagine Television.
PULLING (ABC, New!) - Rob Hanning has booked a last-minute pilot order for a new comedy about three single women who move in together after one breaks off her engagement the day before her wedding. The project, which is based on Sharon Horgan and Dennis Kelly's U.K. series of the same name, is set up at ABC Studios with Elliot Hegarty directing. Hanning, Horgan and Kelly then will executive produce the single-camera half-hour alongside showrunner Stacy Traub and Francie Calfo.