[05/05/10 - 11:27 AM] Development Update: Wednesday, May 5 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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AMERICA IN THE KING YEARS (HBO, New!) - Oprah Winfrey has booked another project at the pay channel, this time a mini-series about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from 1954-68, including "the freedom rides, the Birmingham campaign, Selma, and the poor people's march on Washington that he was organizing when he was killed." The seven-hour project will be based on Taylor Branch's Pulitzer Prize-winning trilogy - "Parting the Waters," "Pillar of Fire" and "Canaan's Edge" - with Robert Schenkkan ("The Pacific") on board to pen the adaptation. Winfrey is executive producing alongside Kate Forte via their Harpo Films banner. The company has two other mini-series in the hopper at HBO: Carl Franklin's "The Black Panthers" and Mimosa Jones's "Ida Tarbell."
DROP DEAD DIVA (Lifetime) - Jaime Ray Newman ("Eastwick") is set to recur on the show's upcoming sophomore season. She'll play a new love interest for Jackson Hurst's character. No other specifics were given.
IN TREATMENT (HBO) - Debra Winger has closed her deal to join the cast of the show's third season. She'll play "a formerly big star in an anxiety crisis about her career, and seeks out Gabriel Byrne's psychotherapist character, Paul, for help." Dane DeHaan and Irrfan Khan are also on board the new season, due later this year.
THE KILLING (AMC) - Kristin Lehman has scored a role on the drama pilot, which tells the story of the murder of a young girl and the subsequent police investigation. She'll play Gwen Eaton, Darren Richmond's (Billy Campbell) campaign advisor, "mid 30's, razor sharp smarts meets sophisticated sexiness." Brent Sexton, Eric Ladin, Jamie Anne Allman, Joel Kinnaman, Michelle Forbes and Mireille Enos also star in the Fox Television Studios-based hour, which begins production next week. Patty Jenkins is directing from a script by Veena Sud.
PRIVATE PRACTICE (ABC) - Steve Blackman and Craig Turk have been upped to co-showrunners on the "Grey's Anatomy" spin-off. They'll take over from Robert Rovner and Jon Cowan, who stepped down from said post earlier this year. Both will serve as executive producers alongside Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Mark Gordon and Mark Tinker for the show's expected fourth season.
RIZZOLI & ISLES (TNT) - Chazz Palminteri has landed a role on the upcoming drama, about Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) and Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander), a detective and medical examiner who work together to solve crimes in Boston. He'll play Frank Rizzoli, Sr., Jane's father. Palminteri joins the previously cast Lorraine Bracco, who likewise recurs as Jane's mother Angela, and Jordan Bridges who plays Jane's younger brother, Frankie, Jr. The newcomer launches Monday, July 12 at 10:00/9:00c.
THE WALKING DEAD (AMC) - Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn and newcomer Steven Yeun have all joined the cast of the drama, about Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), a small-town police officer who leads a group of survivors of a zombie apocalypse. She'll play Andrea, a law clerk who was driving her little sister to college when the undead epidemic started, with DeMunn as Dale, a retired car salesman who becomes involved with Andrea, and Yeun as Glenn, a pizza delivery boy who was living with his parents when the apocalypse hit. Sarah Wayne Callies and Jon Bernthal also star in the hour, the pilot of which is being written and directed by Frank Darabont. Separately, Adam Fierro ("The Shield") has signed on a consulting producer.