LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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THE C WORD (Showtime) - Oliver Platt ("Huff") is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, which stars Laura Linney as Cathy, "a suburban wife and mother forced to face a diagnosis of cancer but who manages to find the lighter side of a dark situation." He'll play her husband, Paul, "a narcissistic but lovable manchild." John Benjamin Hickey and Phyllis Somerville also star in the half-hour, which is also expected to feature Gabourey Sidibe in a recurring role. Darlene Hunt wrote the script, to be directed by Bill Condon, with Neal Moritz, Vivian Cannon and Linney also serving as executive producers.
DAD CAMP (VH1, New!) - 3 Ball Productions has booked a new reality series at the cable channel in which "first-time fathers receive a crash course in grown-up responsibilities." The project is the latest effort by VH1 to rebrand its image away from its current controversial light. No other specifics were given about the project, which will be executive produced by JD Roth, Jeff Olde, Adam Greener, Todd Nelson, Matt Assmus, Jill Holmes, Sean Boyle and Csherian Coleman.
DEFYING GRAVITY (ABC) - In an interview with CliqueClack.com, creator James Parriott indicates the sets for the series have been struck and the actors have been released from their contracts. Said development comes as Fox Home Entertainment prepares to release the 13 completed episodes on DVD on January 19. ABC ran eight installments over the summer but has remained mum on air dates from the remaining five episodes (which have since broadcast in Canada). Sources suggest it's unlikely those episodes unseen by U.S. viewers will be broadcast here before said date.
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC) - Marc Cherry and Bob Daily have both reupped their respective overall deals with ABC Studios. The two-year extensions will keep the creator and his top lieutenant at the helm of the veteran soap should it run through its ninth season. Currently the principal cast members are only locked in through the 2010-11 season, the show's seventh. Cherry likewise will continue to develop new projects for the studio, including a previously announced drama co-written by Alexandra Cunningham. Also in the works is a multi-camera comedy from writers Jeffrey Bowen and Hunter Bell about two mismatched brothers - one gay and one straight - who share a gynecological practice, but neither knows the first thing about women. Sabrina Wind and Michael Barresse are also attached as executive producers to said half-hour, which Cherry is shepherding.
UNTITLED DAN FESMAN PROJECT (NBC, New!) - Dan Fesman ("NCIS") is developing a new drama at the network about "a master magician whose career is in ruins after he develops stage fright and agoraphobia" who is subsequently recruited by an elite law enforcement agency to take an unusual approach to cracking tough cases. David Percelay ("Level 9") and Jon Amiel ("Entrapment") are also on board to executive produce the hour for Universal Media Studios. Amiel is likewise attached to direct.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters