[03/10/11 - 11:30 PM]
Development Update: Thursday, March 10
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:

Looking to keep track of all the various projects in development? Click here to visit our signature "Devwatch" section. There visitors can view our listings by network, genre, studio and even development stage (ordered to pilot, cast-contingent, script, etc.). It's updated every day!

THE ASSISTANTS (CBS) - Lamorne Morris ("Brain Rush") has been cast in the comedy pilot, about four assistants who toil for a celebrity couple. He'll play one of them, Scott Smiley ("short, intense and excitable"). Pamela Fryman is directing the Tucker Cawley-penned half-hour for CBS Television Studios. Emily Rutherfurd and T.J. Miller also star.

AWAKENING (The CW) - The ever-busy Titus Welliver ("The Good Wife") has been cast in the drama pilot, about two combative sisters (Lucy Griffiths, Meredith Hagner) who come of age amid the beginning of a zombie uprising. He'll play the character initially known as simply "The Hunter" ("silver hair, piercing eyes, dark overcoat"), a member of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Division. Brian Hallisay co-stars in the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, from co-creators Bill Laurin and Glenn Davis. David Van Ancken is directing.

COCAINE COWBOYS (HBO) - Michelle Ashford ("The Pacific") has come board to pen a new draft of Jerry Bruckheimer/Michael Bay-produced drama, about the early days of cocaine trafficking in Miami. Meredith Stiehm wrote the original incarnation, which was set up at the pay channel back in 2008. She'll also executive produce alongside Bruckheimer, Bay and Jonathan Littman. rakontur's Corben and Alfred Spellman, who produced Billy Corben's 2006 documentary of the same name, will also executive produce with the Warner Bros. Television-based Jerry Bruckheimer Television's KristieAnne Reed as a co-executive producer.

EXIT STRATEGY (FOX) - Lily Rabe is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about a group of CIA agents who are sent in to fix operations gone bad. She's believed to be on board as Natalie Clayton ("very capable, but very unseasoned"), a junior agent who the team is tasked with rescuing. Antoine Fuqua is directing the David Guggenheim-penned hour for 20th Century Fox Television. Elyes Gabel, Ethan Hawke, Lina Esco and Megan Dodds star.

GOOD CHRISTIAN BITCHES (ABC) - Marisol Nichols ("The Gates") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about Amanda Vaughn (Leslie Bibb), a widowed mother of two who - to get a fresh start - moves back to the affluent Dallas neighborhood where she grew up. She's on board as Heather Sappington ("a hot power babe"), a successful real estate agent. Annie Potts, Jennifer Aspen and Miriam Shor also star in the ABC Studios-based hour, from director Alan Poul and writer Robert Harling.

GRACE (ABC) - Debbie Allen has booked a role on the drama pilot, about Michael Grace (Eric Roberts), a famous choreographer whose womanizing ways have produced three daughters - Sarah (Abigail Spencer), a lawyer; Shay (Sherri Saum), a photographer; Eden (Anabelle Acosta), a teenager - all with different mothers. She'll play Helen Grace, Shay's mother, "a force of nature, a mother lion; powerful, funny and wise from a life that didn't go the way she planned." Chantz Simpson, Chris Carmack, Eion Bailey, Patricia De Leon and Robert Hoffman also star. Lesli Linka Glatter is directing from a script by Krista Vernoff for ABC Studios.

HART OF DIXIE (The CW) - Cress Williams ("Friday Night Lights") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson), a young big-city doctor who inherits a medical practice in the oddball town of BlueBell, Alabama. He's believed to be playing Lavon Hayes, the town's unorthodox mayor, a former NFL star who lets Zoe stay in his plantation's carriage house. Jaime King, Nancy Travis and Wilson Bethel also star in the project, from Warner Bros. Television and writer Leila Gerstein. Jason Ensler is directing.

I HATE MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER (FOX) - Eric Sheffer Stevens ("As the World Turns") has boarded the comedy pilot, about two women - Annie Watson (Jaime Pressly) and Nikki Miller (Katie Finneran) - who now have daughters - Sophie and Mackenzie (yet to be cast) - just like the girls who picked on them in high school. He'll play Matt Gutierrez ("great looking, in a scruffy Javier Bardem kind of way"), Annie's ex and Sophie's dad. Andy Ackerman is directing the Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour, which was created by Ellen Kreamer and Sherry Bilsing-Graham.

ICELAND (FOX) - Zach Gilford is the latest "Off the Map" co-star to book a pilot, in this case a comedy about Mackenzie (Kerry Bishe), a woman whose life is shaken after her fiance passes away. He's set as Harry ("partier, man-child"), the loser best friend of the aforementioned fiance. His casting is in second position to the ABC drama. John Boyd and Krysta Rodriguez also star. Andy Bobrow penned the Sony Pictures Television-based project, to be directed by Will Gluck.

LOST & FOUND (ABC) - Jordana Spiro ("My Boys") has been tapped as the lead role on the comedy pilot, about Jolene "Jo" Hauser, a New York bartender and party girl who has her life upended when Leo Huntington, the 18-year-old son she gave up for adoption - and who happens to be conservative - finds his way into her life. She'll play Jo ("a lovable train wreck") in the half-hour, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television. Also signing on are Josh Casaubon and Gary Clayton. The latter will play the aforementioned Leo with Casaubon as Frank Thomas ("handsome, obsessed with sports and crazy woman"), Jo's friend/fellow bartender. Ted Wass is directing from a script by Marisa Coughlan. Diana Maria Riva also stars.

A MANN'S WORLD (NBC) - Ellen Barkin ("Ocean's Thirteen") has snagged a role on the drama pilot, about Allan Mann (Don Johnson), a straight Beverly Hills hairdresser in his 50s who is struggling to stay young and relevant in a place where looks are everything. She's set as Julie, Allan's first wife - and the mother his grown kids (August, 20; Amy, 23) - whom he still goes back to for advice and support. Also on board are Amanda Warren, Caitlin Crosby, J.R. Bourne, Kelly Hu, Mario Cantone, Sandra Vergara and Taylor Kinney. Michael Patrick King is writing and directing for Warner Bros. Television.

NEXT PEOPLE (Showtime New!) - Famed novelist Salman Rushdie is developing a potential drama at the pay channel which "dissects different aspects of contemporary American life." No other specifics were given about the hour, which will be produced by Working Title TV.

PLAYBOY (NBC) - Sean Maher ("Firefly") has scored a role on the pilot, a period drama set the Playboy Club in Chicago in 1963. He's believed to be playing Sean, Alice's (Jenna Dewan-Tatum) "bright, complex" husband. The ensemble cast also features Amber Heard, David Krumholtz, Jeff Hephner, Laura Benanti, Leah Cudmore, Naturi Naughton and Wes Ramsey. Director Alan Taylor and writer Chad Hodge are behind the hour, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television.

RINGER (CBS) - Kristoffer Polaha ("Life Unexpected") has booked a role on the drama pilot, about Bridget Cafferty (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a troubled young woman who, while on the run from the mob, hides out by inhabiting the life of her wealthy twin sister, Siobhan Marx, until she learns that her twin's life has a bounty on it as well. He'll play Henry Gallagher, the out-of-work-novelist husband of Siobhan's best friend Gemma (Tara Summers) who - to Bridget's surprise - was having an affair with him. Polaha's casting is the result of a talent holding deal the actor inked with the network and co-producer CBS Television Studios earlier this season. Ioan Gruffudd, Mike Colter and Nestor Carbonell also star while Richard Shepard is directing from a script by Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder.

THE RIVER (ABC) - Shaun Parkes (U.K.'s "Identity") and Paul Blackthorne ("The Gates") are the latest to scores roles on the drama pilot, about a state-of-the-art research vessel on a quest to find Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood), a missing TV explorer in the Amazon. Parkes is set as Adjay Chandrasekaran ("tattoos, pretty much a dick"), the lead cameraman for the crew documenting said endeavor; with Blackthorne as the show's producer, Clark Quitely, who has "a gift for inserting/extracting himself from the action for maximum effect." Eloise Mumford and Joe Anderson also star in the ABC Studios-based hour while Jaume Collet-Serra is directing from a script by Michael Green.

SECRET CIRCLE (The CW) - Thomas Dekker ("Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles") has booked the male lead in the drama pilot, about Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson), a California teen who moves to her mom's hometown of New Salem, Maine and discovers that she comes from a family of witches. He'll play Adam Conant ("handsome, square jaw, sexy dimple, million dollar smile"), a member of the aforementioned "secret circle," a coven of young witches. Liz Friedlander is directing the project, which was penned by Andrew Miller. CBS Television Studios and Warner Bros. Television are co-producing.

TAGGED (FOX) - Mel Rodriguez and Bret Ernst are the latest to board the pilot, a workplace comedy set at the Los Angeles County's coroner's office. The latter will play Hendricks, "a mustachioed Marlboro man type and the resident medical examiner (but not a doctor)" who's also Susan's (Lindsey Kraft) ex-husband; while the former is set as Rodriguez, a scheming driver for the department. B.J. Bales, Gary Cole, Robin Givens and Tommy Dewey also star in the Sony Pictures Television-based half-hour while Scott Ellis is directing. David Guarascio and Moses Port penned the script.

UNTITLED KARI LIZER PROJECT (NBC) - James Adomian ("Last Coming Standing") and Tim Meadows ("Glory Daze") has both scored roles on the comedy pilot, about Mary Leahy (Sarah Paulson), "a relationship-challenged woman who, with the help of her co-workers, guides people through unexpected career transitions and downsizings." Adomian is set as Joss ("young, very bright and so efficient, he's probably gay, but it can't be confirmed"), Mary's assistant; while Meadows is playing Ken ("a psychotherapist and the reality check to Mary's eternal optimism"), Mary's partner. Craig Zisk is directing the half-hour from a script by Kari Lizer while Warner Bros. Television is producing.

  [march 2011]  


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