[03/18/10 - 12:07 AM] Development Update: Thursday, March 18 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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BEAT THE CHEFS (CBS, New!) - RelativityReal ("Find My Family") has scored a pilot commitment from the Eye for a new competition series in which "talented amateurs with a staff of family and friends cook their classic family recipe as top chefs make their own versions of the same dish." Judges then will ultimately decide who receives the cash prize. Tom Forman is executive producing the hour, additional details of which weren't released.
KEEP HOPE ALIVE (FOX) - Skyler Stone (Comedy Central's "Con") has booked a role on the comedy pilot, about "a 25-year-old single parent (Lucas Neff) raising an infant with the help of his quirky family after the baby's mother, with whom he had a one-night stand, ends up on death row." He'll play Mike, the man's best friend, "an unkempt, fairly oblivious guy in his early twenties." Kate Micucci originated the role, which is being recast. Cloris Leachman, Garrett Dillahunt, Martha Plimpton and Shannon Marie Woodward also star in the project, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television. Michael Fresco is directing from a script by Greg Garcia.
LEAPFROG (ABC) - Josh Cooke ("Big Day") has scored a role on the comedy pilot, about two sisters Maddie (Jennifer Finnigan) and Mia (Joanna Garcia) at different stages in their romantic relationships. He'll play Ben ("attractive, stylish and clearly in love"), Maddie's boyfriend of nine years. Debra Jo Rupp also stars in the half-hour, which comes from Warner Bros. Television and creator Shana Goldberg-Meehan.
NOMADS (The CW) - Michaela McManus ("One Tree Hill") and Warren Kole ("Mental") are both the latest additions to the presentation, a drama about a group of nearly broke young backpackers - Zack, Nadia, Donna and John (Scott Porter) - traveling the world who agree to earn money by working secret missions for the CIA. He'll play Ryker, the group's handler, who's "well-dressed, perfectly average to the edge of bland looking... but with hard, authoritative eyes." McManus then is believed to be playing Donna ("pretty in an accessible way"), an Army brat who grew up in Korea, Okinawa and Germany that passed on an analyst desk at the Clandestine Service in order to prove herself as a potential field agent. Production is set to begin shortly on location in Thailand with Ken Sanzel directing from his own script. CBS Television Studios, Scott Free Productions and Warner Bros. Television are co-producing.
PARKS & RECREATION (NBC) - The Peacock and Universal Media Studios have confirmed production on the show's third season has been moved up to accommodate co-star Amy Poehler's pregnancy, which will not be written into the show. The series is expected to stay in continuous production after it wraps its sophomore run. It's not clear how many installments will be banked. Poehler's due date is in September, when the comedy would have been in the middle of production on season three.
PATRIOTS (New!) - "24" executive producer Howard Gordon is looking to import the Israeli drama "Prisoners of War," about "three soldiers who return home from 17 years in Syrian captivity and must readjust to life in Israel and reunite with their families." 20th Century Fox Television and Keshet Broadcasting Group (FOX's "Traffic Light") are co-producing the hour, which Gordon will co-write alongside fellow "24" writer Alex Gansa and "War" creator Gideon Raff. The American version is expected to revolve around "three soldiers who were captured soon after the war on terror began in the wake of 9/11," two of which are finally released a decade later from their captors while the other died under mysterious circumstances. Said incarnation will also introduce a new character, a counterterrorism agent, who is looking into "suspicions that one of the returning soldiers may have turned rogue - and could be a terrorist threat himself." Keshet's Avi Nir is executive producing alongside Gordon, Gansa and Raff.
RIDE ALONG (FOX) - Jason Clarke ("Brotherhood") has been tapped for the lead role in the drama pilot, a police procedural set (and filmed) in Chicago. He'll play Jarek Wysocki, who's detailed as follows: "A local legend and outsized character, Jarek stands at center of the show that takes place in the center of the country. Like the city of Chicago itself, Jarek is razorblades and brass knuckles wrapped in politeness and ego-less charm. He's a Polish-American, Chicago-born and raised detective with a wicked sense of humor, a cynic's eye, but a romantic's heart." Clarke joins the previously cast Devin Kelley, Matt Lauria and Todd Williams. Charles McDougall is directing while Shawn Ryan penned the script.