LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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AMERICA'S KARAOKE CHALLENGE (ABC, New!) - The Alphabet has ordered six episodes of a new reality series which tracks the annual Karaoke World Championships. Lincoln Square Productions is behind the project, which will roll out in July with a host and three-judge panel yet to be announced. As for specifics, the show will begin with regional competitions in four states with the 8 to 12 finalists then assigned coaches to help them smooth out their performance. The winners - one female and one male - will ultimately be crowned at the finals in Las Vegas. The Karaoke World Championships have grown in prominence in recent years, having featured performances by then-unknowns Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.
AWAKENING (The CW) - Brian Hallisay ("Privileged") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about two combative sisters - Jenna (Lucy Griffiths) and Jayce (Meredith Hagner) - who come of age amid the beginning of a zombie uprising. He'll play Matt Yeager ("piercing blue eyes, Calvin Klein handsome"), Jenna's boyfriend. Bill Laurin and Glenn Davis are behind the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, to be directed by David Van Ancken.
BENT (NBC) - Jeffrey Tambor and Margo Harshman are the latest additions to the comedy pilot, about Alex Meyers (Amanda Peet), a recently divorced "type A" single mother who tries hard not to fall for Pete Riggins (David Walton), the sexy "surfer-dude" contractor she hires to re-do her kitchen. She'll play Screwsie, Alex's "hot, free spirited" sister, a chef; with Tambor as James, Pete's father, a washed-up actor turned piano player at Nordstrom's who lives with him. Craig Zisk is directing the Tad Quill-penned half-hour for Universal Media Studios. Joey King also stars.
COUNCIL OF DADS (FOX) - Rick Gomez ("Justified") and Richard T. Jones ("Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles") will round out the "council of dads" in the comedy pilot, about Michael Wells, a dying man who appoints his four closest friends to help raise his two kids following his death. The former will play "fitness dad" Randy Iwai, who was in the same running club as Michael; with the latter as "homework dad" Bill Hillard, Michael's business partner for the last 11 years. Diane Farr, Ken Howard, Kyle Bornheimer and Patrick Breen also star in the project, from Sony Pictures Television. Peter Tolan penned the half-hour while Anthony and Joe Russo are directing.
GRIMM (NBC) - Sasha Roiz ("Caprica") is the newest addition to the drama pilot, about Nick Burckhardt (David Giuntoli), a police detective who discovers fairy tale creatures live among us and is tasked with defending humans from these mythical beasts. He'll play Captain Ericson, Nick's supervisor, in the Universal Media Studios-based project, which also stars Bitsie Tulloch, Russell Hornsby and Silas Weir Mitchell. David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf penned the pilot, to be directed by Marc Buckland.
HALLELUJAH (ABC) - Arielle Kebbel ("Life Unexpected") has boarded the drama pilot, about a tiny town in Tennessee which finds itself being torn apart by the forces of good and evil. She's presumably playing Veda Roman, the stunning wife of Del Roman (yet to be cast), a local mobster. Frances O'Connor and Jesse L. Martin co-star in the Marc Cherry-penned hour, which is set up at ABC Studios. Michael Apted is directing.
OTHER PEOPLE'S KIDS (ABC) - Judith Light ("Ugly Betty") has been cast in the comedy pilot, about Adam (Jesse Bradford), a 32-year-old guy with no responsibilities who suddenly finds himself with an insta-family when he falls in love with Michelle (Bonnie Somerville), an older woman with two kids. She'll play Laura, the mother of Michelle's ex Dave (Johnny Sneed). Claire Engler also stars as Emily, Michelle's wise beyond her years daughter, with Malcolm Barrett as Magnus, Adam's best friend. ABC Studios is behind the half-hour, which Michael Fresco is directing from a script by Hunter Covington.
PAN AM (ABC) - Kelli Garner ("My Generation") and Jonah Lotan ("Generation Kill") have both joined the cast of the pilot, a period drama about the pilots and flight attendants working at the iconic Pan Am airline in the 1960s. She'll play Kate, a stewardess who's envious of Laura (Margot Robbie, who graces the cover of the latest edition of Life Magazine). Lotan then is set as Dean, a pilot - always wearing his signature aviator sunglasses - who carries himself with a confident swagger. Christina Ricci and Michael Mosley also star in the Sony Pictures Television-based hour, from director Thomas Schlamme and creator Jack Orman.
POE (ABC) - Natalie Dormer ("The Tudors") has joined the cast of the pilot, a period drama which envisions famed author Edgar Allan Poe (Chris Egan) as the world's very first detective in 1840s Boston. She'll play Celeste Chevalier ("a beautiful spitfire with a firm moral center -- the logical yin to Poe's wildly theoretical yang"), the owner of the Boston Sentinel who doesn't buy into Poe's often outlandish theories. Alex Graves is helming the Warner Bros. Television-based pilot, which was penned by Chris Hollier. Kevin McNally, Leslie Odom Jr. and Tabrett Bethell also star.
PRIME SUSPECT (NBC) - Brian O'Byrne ("Flash Forward") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about Jane Timoney (Maria Bello), "an iconoclastic female detective who has to make her bones in a tough New York precinct dominated by men." He's believed to be playing Reg Duffy ("thin and mean"), a detective who's the most hostile towards Jane. Aidan Quinn, Joe Nieves, Kirk Acevedo, Tim Griffin and Toby Stephens also star. Peter Berg is directing the Universal Media Studios-based hour, which was penned by Alexandra Cunningham.
REVENGE (ABC) - Gabriel Mann ("Mad Men") and Connor Paolo ("Gossip Girl") have both scored roles on the drama pilot, about Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp), a mysterious young woman who comes to the Hamptons to exact revenge on the people who destroyed her family. The former will play Nolan Ross, "a Howard Hughes/Mark Zuckerberg-ian tech genius cum social misfit" who helps Emily in her quest; with the latter, based on his age, presumably as Declan Porter ("a rough and tumble kid"), the pill-popping black sheep of the blue collar Porter family. Ashley Madekwe also stars in the ABC Studios-based hour, from creator Mike Kelley and director Phillip Noyce.
S.I.L.A. (NBC) - Madchen Amick ("Damages") is the latest to board the pilot, about a drama depicting a complex web of crime, policework and politics in Los Angeles. She'll play Mary McCarthy, a successful lawyer at a high-profile firm in Century City. Also featured in the ensemble are Daniella Alonso, Danny Pino and Matthew Levy. Stephen Gaghan wrote and will direct the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour.
SMASH (NBC) - Tony-nominee Brian d'Arcy James has booked a role on the drama pilot, a show-within-a-show vehicle about a group of people who come together to put on a Marilyn Monroe-themed Broadway musical. He's on board as Frank, the husband of Debra Messing's character, Julia, with whom he has two children: 15-year-old Lobo and seven-year-old Laura. The ensemble cast also includes Anjelica Huston, Christian Borle, Jack Davenport, Katharine McPhee, Megan Hilty and Raza Jaffrey. Michael Mayer is directing the hour from a script by Theresa Rebeck for Universal Media Studios.
SMOTHERED (ABC) - Brooke D'Orsay ("Gary Unmarried") has booked the female lead on the comedy pilot, about a young couple - Zach (Kyle Howard) and Gillian (D'Orsay) with a one-year-old daughter who find themselves smothered by their two very different sets of parents - his (Marcia Gay Harden, Adam Arkin) are pretentious and disengaged while hers (John C. McGinley, Julie White) are scrappy and exuberant. She'll play the aforementioned Gillian in the Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour, from co-creators Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen. Andy Ackerman is directing the project, which films next Friday.
UNTITLED SUSANNAH GRANT PROJECT (CBS) - Afton Williamson has scored a role on the drama pilot, about Michael Halstead (Patrick Wilson), an ultra-competitive surgeon whose life is changed forever when his ex-wife, Anna Lindberg (Jennifer Ehle), dies and begins teaching him what life is all about from the hereafter. She'll play Autumn, a "tough as jerky" social worker who works at Anna's family clinic. Jonathan Demme is helming the project, from CBS Television Studios and creator Susannah Grant.
WORK IT (ABC) - Ben Koldyke and Kirstin Eggers have scored roles on the comedy pilot, about two out-of-work car salesmen who dress as women by day to get jobs working as pharmaceutical reps. He'll play one of them, Lee Standish, a "working class, guy's guy"; with Eggers as one of Lee's new co-workers, Kristin ("quirky, vulnerable"). Amaury Nolasco, John Carapulo and Rebecca Mader also star in the half-hour, from Warner Bros. Television. Beth McCathy-Miller is directing from a script by Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen.