LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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AMERICA: THE STORY OF US (History) - Meryl Streep, Michael Douglas, Colin Powell, Brian Williams, Buzz Aldrin, Tommy Franks, Donald Trump, John Lasseter and Stevie Wonder have all been tapped to participate in the upcoming 12-part event, which will "focus on the elements that distinguish American democracy, the conflicts that shaped it and the myriad social and industrial innovations that have fueled the country's prosperity." Said talent will serve as on-camera commentators with Jane Root executive producing via her Nutopia production banner. "America" is due sometime in 2010.
DELTA BLUES (TNT) - Alfre Woodard ("Three Rivers") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about Dwight Hendricks (Jason Lee), "a Memphis police officer who lives with his mother (Celia Weston) and moonlights as a tribute artist." She'll play "the formidable new lieutenant who tries to exercise her power over Dwight," a role presumably in second position to the hiatused "Rivers." Warner Horizon Television and Smokehouse Productions are behind the hour, which also stars Abraham Benrubi, DJ Qualls, Leonard Howz, Robyn Lively and Sam Hennings. Clark Johnson is directing from a script by Joshua Harto and Liz Garcia.
FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS (HBO) - Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement have announced via their web site their pay channel series won't be returning for a third season. "We've noticed the less we say about the future of the show, the more people want to talk about it, so in an effort to reverse this trend we are today announcing that we won't be returning for a 3rd season," said the statement. "We're very proud of the two seasons we made and we like the way the show ended. We'd like to thank everyone who helped make the show and also everyone who watched it. While the characters Bret and Jemaine will no longer be around, the real Bret and Jemaine will continue to exist." The show wrapped its second season back in March.
GLEE (FOX) - Tony-winning actress Idina Menzel ("Wicked") is reportedly in talks to recur on the back half of the show's freshman season. She would play the coach to glee club "Vocal Adrenaline," the McKinley High glee club's main competition. Menzel had already been the focus of a fan campaign to cast her as Rachel Berry's (Lea Michele) biological mother. Also signing on for a five to six episode arc is Jonathan Groff. He'll play the lead male vocalist of "Vocal Adrenaline" and a potential love interest for Rachel Berry. Groff co-starred opposite Michele in the Broadway production of "Spring Awakening."
KEEP HOPE ALIVE (FOX) - Kate Micucci ("Scrubs") has landed a role on the comedy pilot, about Jimmy (Lucas Neff), "a 25-year-old single parent raising an infant with the help of his quirky family after the mother of the baby -- with whom he had a one-night stand -- ends up on death row." She'll play Mike, "an unkempt, fairly oblivious cousin of Jimmy living in a tent in the laundry room of their great-grandmother's house." Said role was originally envisioned a male. Garrett Dillahunt, Kate Micucci, Martha Plimpton and Olesya Rulin also star in the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, which Michael Fresco is directing from a script by Greg Garcia.
THE SIX (ABC, New!) - Merv Griffin Entertainment has landed a presentation order from the Alphabet for a new game show based on the Russian format "What? Where? When?" Said project, which has been running for 35 years in its home country, is being redubbed "The Six," after the number of contestants on the show. The late Vladimir Voroshilov created (and hosted) the series, which pits a panel of six knowledgeable persons against the viewing audience. Said experts are tasked with answering audience-submitted questions listed on a spinning horizontal wheel divided into segments. If the experts answer correctly in the allotted 60 seconds they receive a point, if they don't the audience receives a point with question's author also earning a prize. (Sample question: "They first appeared in 1908 in Mexico. There were two of them. Over time, they came closer and closer together, like wings of a black raven. Name them." Answer: "Frida Kahlo's eyebrows.") Exact format details however are still being worked out. Merv Griffin's Roy Bank is executive producing the project alongside Ukranian-born actor Alex Reznik, Jonathan Barry and Ron Ward. Dwight Smith and Michael Agbabian are the showrunners with Brian Veskosky serving as a co-executive producer.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters