[01/19/10 - 07:33 PM] Development Update: Tuesday, January 19 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 5TH GRADER? (Syndication) - Twentieth Television has cleared the syndicated incarnation of the game show for a second season. The series is a go in the top five markets, including WPIX New York, KTTV/KCOP Los Angeles and WFLD/WPWR Chicago. Mark Burnett and Zoo Productions are behind the project.
BODY OF EVIDENCE (ABC, New!) - Chris Murphey ("Dead Lawyers") has snagged a pilot order from the Alphabet for a new drama about Megan Hunt, "a former neurosurgeon-turned-medical examiner who brings a unique and crime-solving perspective to the ME's office that often puts her at odds with her superiors." Murphey penned the hour and is executive producing alongside Matt Gross, on whose idea the project is based. ABC Studios is producing.
HAPPY ENDINGS (ABC, New!) - Newcomer David Caspe has booked a pilot commitment from the network for a new single-camera comedy about "a couple that breaks up at the altar, forcing them and their group of friends to figure out how to maintain their friendships after the split." Sony Pictures Television is behind the half-hour, which is executive produced by Jamie Tarses and her studio-based FanFare Productions banner.
NEVERMIND NIRVANA (FOX, New!) - Ajay Sahgal is once again developing the multi-camera comedy, about "two brothers from a traditional Indian background - one defies his family's expectations by dating a Caucasian woman, while the other agrees to enter an arranged marriage." FOX has ordered a pilot for the 20th Century Fox Television-based project, the third time it has received such a commitment. NBC originally took a stab back in the spring of 2004 with Kal Penn and Judy Greer in the lead roles. David Schwimmer helmed the half-hour, which didn't make the cut for the 2004-05 season. The producers then opted to reshoot the pilot that summer with Sahgal himself as the male lead but the Peacock passed on that incarnation as well. FOX topper Kevin Reilly shepherded both versions while at NBC, making its revival not much of a surprise. Sahgal won't topline the FOX version, which is likewise based on his experiences as the son of Indian immigrants who eventually married a Caucasian woman (actress Kelli Williams). It's not clear if original executive producers Schwimmer, Jamie Tarses and Karey Burke will be involved in the update.
THE ODDS (CBS, New!) - Feature writer/director Jeff Wadlow ("Never Back Down") has scored a pilot order from the Eye for a new drama billed as "a buddy cop show set in Las Vegas where the cops are just as outrageous as the crimes they solve." Wadlow penned the Warner Bros. Television-based hour and is executive producing alongside Joel Silver with Beau Bauman producing. No other specifics were given.
OFF THE MAP (ABC) - The Alphabet has greenlit production on Jenna Bans's ("Grey's Anatomy") drama pilot, about "three doctors, each anxious for a fresh start, [who] leave the comfort of the States to work at an isolated tropical clinic, where they face both exotic and unusual medical challenges as well as personal ones." ABC Studios is behind the hour, which is set up at Shonda Rhimes's studio-based Shondaland banner. Bans and Rhimes then will executive produce alongside Betsy Beers.
THE STRIP (A.K.A. UNTITLED THOMAS LENNON PROJECT) (NBC) - The Thomas Lennon led comedy has received a pilot order from the Peacock. The multi-camera half-hour revolves around "a former child star (Lennon) who now owns a Hooters-type restaurant in a strip mall on the outskirts of Vegas." Lennon and Robert Ben Garant co-wrote the script to the Universal Media Studios-based project, which Garant will also co-star in a supporting role. The duo will also executive produce alongside Peter Principato and Paul Young.
TORCHWOOD (FOX) - Russell T. Davies is developing a U.S. incarnation of the "Doctor Who" spin-off about "a covert group that investigates and fights alien activity." BBC America currently holds the broadcast rights to the original incarnation, which wrapped its third season last summer. The Hollywood Reporter suggests co-star John Barrowman may be part of the new version, however the project is still in the early stages of development. Davies, Julie Gardner and Jane Tranter are the executive producers attached for BBC Worldwide Productions.
UNTITLED BROADWAY MUSICAL PROJECT (Showtime) - Theresa Rebeck ("Canterbury's Law") has been tapped to pen the potential drama, which "chronicles the development of an original Broadway musical, from the inception of the idea through the opening night and everything in between." Storyline Entertainment's Craig Zadan and Neil Meron and DreamWorks Television's Steven Spielberg, Daryl Frank and Justin Falvey are all behind the hour, which would spawn an actual Broadway musical at the end of the first season. Also on board are Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman as songwriters, who are expected to receive an executive producing credits.