LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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ALLEN GREGORY (FOX) - David A. Goodman ("Family Guy") has been tapped as the showrunner of the upcoming animated comedy, about "the world's most celebrated seven-year-old embarking on the greatest challenge of his life: attending elementary school with regular kids." Jonah Hill, Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel co-created the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, which has a seven-episode order for next season. Goodman, who's based at the studio, will then executive produce alongside the trio and Chernin Entertainment's Katherine Pope and Peter Chernin.
THE BIGGEST LOSER (NBC) - Trainer Jillian Michaels is departing the series after its upcoming 11th season. Michaels herself confirmed the news earlier today via her Twitter account. The new season of "The Biggest Loser" premieres Tuesday, January 4 at 8:00/7:00c.
CITY OF DREAMS (ABC, New!) - M. Scott Veach ("Leverage") has booked a second drama at the Alphabet, this time "an action adventure series in the vein of 'National Treasure.'" ABC Studios is behind the hour, which is based on William Martin's book of the same name. The Littlefield Co.'s Warren Littlefield also serves as an executive producer alongside Veach.
Here's how publisher Forge Books details the project: "'Can I interest you in saving America?' That's the text message Peter Fallon receives from a Wall Street bigwig. It's not a challenge he can turn down, especially since the country is in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Hidden somewhere in New York City is a box of 1780 bonds with a face value of ten thousand dollars. The Supreme Court is about to decide if these bonds still have value. If the decision is yes, those ten thousand dollars, at five percent interest, will be worth a very pretty penny... Peter Fallon and his girlfriend, Evangeline Carrington, must find the box - and fast. Suddenly, their race against time becomes a race through time as Peter and Evangeline track the stories of New Yorkers whose lives have been changed by the bonds... and all the while they'll unravel the thrilling and inspiring origins of the City of Dreams."
DETAIL (CBS, New!) - Sarah Thorp ("Hawthorne") has snagged a script commitment from the Eye for a new drama "inspired by top celebrity bodyguard Kim Maree Penn and follows a private female security expert." Said hour comes from CBS Television Studios and Anthony E. Zuiker's Dare To Pass Productions. Zuiker and Thorp then will executive produce with Matthew Weinberg serving as a co-executive producer.
FREE RIDE (FOX, New!) - Mark Perry and Michael Patrick Jann are developing a new single-camera comedy at the network about "a middle aged man at the end of his rope, who accidentally falls to his death and wakes up as himself at 18 on his first day of college and has the opportunity to relive his live differently." 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television are behind the half-hour, which Jann would direct from a script by Perry.
HEADHUNTER (ABC, New!) - Feature writer Eric Heisserer ("Nightmare on Elm Street") is looking to import the 2009 Danish film as a TV series for ABC. Said hour would revolve around "a headhunter entangled into a corporate power game." Laurie Zaks ("Castle") will executive produce the project alongside Heisserer for ABC Studios.
LIE TO ME (FOX) - Network and studio sources have confirmed FOX has passed on a back nine order for the show's third season. The series nevertheless will remain under consideration for a fourth season come May. The remainder of its third season kicks off on January 10 with its season finale set for January 31.
PRICKLY SPHERES (The CW, New!) - Matt Goldman ("The Wizards of Waverly Place") has booked a new drama at the netlet about "a classical-music prodigy who turns down a full ride at Julliard and instead ends up joining an alternative-rock band in Minneapolis filled with quirky but super-talented musicians." Prospect Park's Jeff Kwatinetz, Paul Frank and Rich Frank are also on board to executive produce. No studio was indicated as attached.
RUINED (HBO, New!) - The pay channel is looking to bring Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning play to the small screen with Oprah Winfrey in talks to star. The project "focuses on a brothel in war-torn Congo and the struggles of its madam, Mama Nadi, to keep herself and the women working for her from getting caught between the government and rebel armies." Nottage is set to pen the script with Winfrey and Kate Forte executive producing via their Harpo Films banner.
SPIRITS (The CW, New!) - Jesse Alexander ("Day One") has landed a script commitment from the netlet for "a paranormal procedural described as 'Paranormal Activity' meets 'CSI' with a little 'Charmed' mixed in and centers on a team of three young women who solve paranormal mysteries." Said hour is set up at CBS Television Studios and Dare To Pass Productions. The latter's Anthony E. Zuiker will executive produce alongside Alexander with Matthew Weinberg also serving as a co-executive producer.
SUNNYSIDE (ABC, New!) - Victor Fresco ("Better Off Ted") is back in business with the Alphabet as the writer/producer has booked a new comedy about "a guy who moves, along with his wife and child, back to his hometown. Once home, the couple struggles not to turn into their parents." ABC Studios and Stockholm-Copenhagen Productions ("My Generation") are behind the half-hour, which is based on Felix Herngren's Swedish series "Solsidan." The Littlefield Co's Warren Littlefield and Henrik Bastin then will executive produce alongside Fresco.
TRUE BLOOD (HBO) - Christina Moore ("Hawthorne"), Neil Hopkins ("Lost") and Chris Butler ("The Good Wife") have all landed arcs on the show's upcoming fourth season. She'll play Suzanne McKittrick, "a WASPy Texas housewife who possesses certain special abilities," with Hopkins as Claude, "Claudine's (Lara Pulver) mysterious brother," and Butler as Emory, "a prissy and conservative shapeshifter with his own agenda."
UNTITLED MENKEN/PENNETTE/ZIPPEL PROJECT (ABC, New!) - Marco Pennette ("Desperate Housewives") is set to team with composer Alan Menken ("The Little Mermaid") and lyricist David Zippel ("City of Angels") for a potential series about "a young female musician living with other musicians as they try to make their way into the world." Said effort, which would feature two to three original songs per episode, is loosely based on the life of Menken's daughter. Pennette, who conceived the idea alongside Menken and Zippel, will pen the script and executive produce alongside the duo for ABC Studios.
UNTITLED GODFREY PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Comedian Godfrey has booked a potential animated comedy at the network based on his stand-up routine, "including his relationship with his father, a conservative Nigerian immigrant." Kenya Barris ("The Game") and Godfrey will co-write the half-hour with Bernie Cahill and Jordan Tilzer also executive producing for 20th Century Fox Television. Godfrey will provide many of voices for the characters as well as serve as a co-executive producer.