LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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THE BORGIAS (Showtime) - Jeremy Podeswa ("The Pacific") has joined the upcoming drama - about the cunning, manipulative patriarch of The Borgia family (Jeremy Irons) who ascends to the highest circles of power within Renaissance-era Italy - as in-house director. He'll presumably helm the bulk of the show's 10-episode first season. Creator Neil Jordan is already set to write and direct the two opening installments with Michael Hirst penning the remaining eight. James Flynn, John Weber and Sheila Hockin have also been confirmed as executive producers where they'll serve alongside Jordan and Hirst. Colm Feore and Francois Arnaud also star in the project, a Canadian-Hungary-Ireland co-production.
CINEMA VERITE (HBO) - Diane Lane ("Nights in Rodanthe") is the first to be cast on the Gavin Polone-produced telefilm, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the groundbreaking 1973 documentary "An American Family." She'll play Pat Loud, "the mother and main character of the documentary, which chronicled an intimate look at a Santa Barbara family." Shari Springer Berman and Bob Pulcini are co-directing the project from a script by David Seltzer.
HELLCATS (The CW) - Sharon Leal ("Private Practice") has joined the cast of the presentation, a drama set in the world of competitive college cheerleading. She'll play Vanessa Hodge ("an elegant, striking African-American, a tough but loving taskmistress"), a former Hellcat star who now serves as the squad's coach. Meanwhile, Elena Esovolova has been confirmed as Patty "The Wedge" Wedgerman, not Sofia Vassilieva as previously rumored. Aly Michalka, Ashley Tisdale, Gail O'Grady, Heather Hemmens, Matt Barr and Robbie Jones also star in the project, which comes from director Allan Arkush and writer Kevin Murphy. CBS Television Studios, Tom Welling Productions and Warner Bros. Television are co-producing.
JERSEY SHORE (MTV) - The cable channel has announced the second season of the much-ballyhooed reality series will launch Thursday, July 29 at 10:00/9:00c. "It's official, the 'Jersey Shore' cast began filming Season 2 in Miami," said an MTV spokesperson. "Once the boardwalk heats back up, the series will return to the Jersey Shore to complete the season." In addition, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, Paul "DJ Pauly D" DelVecchio, Jenni "JWoww" Farley, Sammi "Sweetheart" Giancola, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, Vinny Guadagnino and Angelina Pivarnick will all return for the show's sophomore run while a casting site has launched "in case the show decides to explore the option of adding new cast members."
LUCK (HBO) - Jason Gedrick ("Desperate Housewives") and Jill Hennessey ("Crossing Jordan") have both landed roles on the pilot, a drama set in the world of horse racing. She'll play a veterinarian who flirts with Turo Escalante (John Ortiz). Said role, The Veterinarian, is listed as a guest star. Gedrick then is believed to be playing Jerry ("haggard good looks, wears a wryly defeated expression"), a racetrack gambling degenerate. Dennis Farina, Dustin Hoffman, Ian Hart, Kerry Condon, Kevin Dunn, Nick Nolte, Richard Kind, Ritchie Coster and Tom Payne also star in the hour, which is currently in production at the Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. Michael Mann is directing from a script by David Milch.
MILDRED PIERCE (HBO) - Mare Winningham is the latest addition to the upcoming five-hour mini-series, about a bored housewife (Kate Winslet) who gets into the restaurant business, an enterprise that leads to backstabbing, romance and murder. She'll play her friend Ida Corwin in the project, which also stars Brian F. O'Byrne, Evan Rachel Wood, Guy Pearce, James LeGros, Melissa Leo and Morgan Turner. Todd Haynes is directing off his own script while John Wells Productions, Killer Films and MGM Television are co-producing.
TRUE LOVE (CBS) - Lizzy Caplan ("Party Down") has scored a role on the comedy pilot, about four people in their 20s in New York looking for love. She's on board as Connie Grabowski, "the cynical, gruff cousin and best friend" to Kate (Minka Kelly), one of the aforementioned quartet. Caplan takes over for Ashley Austin Morris, who was previously cast in the role - now billed as a guest star. Hal Williams, Jason Biggs, Sarah Wright and Tyler Labine also star in the Matt Tarses-penned half-hour, which comes from CBS Television Studios, FanFare Productions and Sony Pictures Television. Pamela Fryman is directing.
THE TRUTH BELOW (MTV) - Reid Ewing, who currently recurs as Haley's boyfriend on "Modern Family," has joined the cast of the recently-announced telefilm, about four friends - one played by Ewing - trapped under an avalanche of snow. Gillian Zinser co-stars in the project, which Scott Glosserman directing from a script by Wendy Diane Miller. Production began this week in Calgary.
UNDERCOVER BOSS (CBS) - Chris Carlson, the Eye's vice president of alternative programming, has joined the breakout hit as an executive producer. He'll transition from the network to running day-to-day operations on the series for its second season. Carlson, who helped develop the project, will take over from Shauna Minoprio, who has left the series for unspecified personal reasons. Eli Holzman and Stephen Lambert also serve as executive producers via the latter's Studio Lambert banner.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters