[07/14/09 - 06:32 PM] Development Update: Tuesday, July 14 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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HAPPY TOWN (ABC) - Steven Weber ("Brothers & Sisters") and newcomer Ben Schnetzer are both on track to join the cast of the midseason drama, a mystery set in a small town rattled by the return of a serial kidnapper. They'll take over as John Haplin and Andrew Haplin, respectively. Dean Winters originated the former role, the head of the local bread factory who is still obsessed and filled with agony over the disappearance of his daughter years ago. John Patrick Amedori likewise played his son Andrew, a wealthy teenager entangled in a Romeo & Juliet-style romance, in the original two-hour pilot. No reason for the changes were given.
LIVE NUDE COMEDY (Showtime, New!) - Shannon Elizabeth is set to host a new series at the pay channel featuring a mix of standup comedy and modern-day burlesque. The half-hour project, which has a six-episode commitment, launches on Thursday at midnight. As for format specifics, it's understood Elizabeth will open the show with an audience-participation sketch followed by an alternating mix of two comedians and two dancers. Gary Binkow then is executive producing the series via his Salient Media banner alongside Michael Green and The Collective. Sam Tripoli, Ian Edwards, Andy Dick and Whitney Cummings are all set to appear during the show's run with Dakota Ferreiro and Tonya Kay performing in the opener. It's also understood producers are working on an accompanying live touring component, which will start in Atlantic City with an eye towards expanding into Los Angeles.
MODERN FAMILY (ABC) - Director Jason Winer has inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with producer 20th Century Fox Television. The pact calls for the multihyphenate to serve as a co-executive producer on the newcomer, as well as helm at least six of its 12 episodes beyond the pilot. He'll also develop new series projects at the studio.
SCRUBS (ABC) - Eliza Coupe has been upped to series regular for the show's ninth season, Entertainment Weekly reports. She'll continue on as Denise (a.k.a. "Jo"), an insensitive intern at the hospital. Coupe's promotion comes as the show undergoes a major overhaul for its new season, which will see Donald Faison and John C. McGinley as the only returning regulars. Former co-stars Zach Braff, Sarah Chalke, Judy Reyes and Ken Jenkins nevertheless are expected to make occasional appearances.