[03/25/11 - 11:04 PM]
Development Update: Friday, March 25
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) - Sarah Wright ("Mad Love") has scored a role on the comedy pilot, about four assistants who toil for a celebrity couple. She'll play Tina Burd ("spunky and cute"), said couple's nanny whom Mike Beadle (David Henrie), the new house assistant, develops a crush. Emily Rutherfurd, Heather Locklear, Lamorne Morris and T.J. Miller also star in the Tucker Cawley-penned half-hour, from CBS Television Studios. Pamela Fryman is directing.

COVERT AFFAIRS (USA) - Ben Lawson and Rena Sofer are both set to recur on the show's upcoming second season. He'll play Dr. Scott Weiss, "a charming and handsome Doctors Without Borders-type physician Annie (Piper Perabo) meets when she takes her niece, Chloe, to the emergency room"; while she's set as Gina, "Arthur's (Peter Gallagher) smart, kind-hearted ex-wife who re-enters his life." The series returns Tuesday, June 7 on the cable channel.

ENTOURAGE (HBO) - Andrew Dice Clay is set to recur on the show's upcoming final season, due to launch on Sunday, July 24. He'll play one of Johnny Drama's (Kevin Dillon) co-stars on his new animated series. No other details were given.

GAME CHANGE (HBO) - Two-time Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson is the latest addition to the telefilm, which is based on John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's book about John McCain (Ed Harris) and Sarah Palin's (Julianne Moore) failed 2008 election campaign. He'll play Steve Schmidt, McCain's senior campaign strategist and advisor. Jay Roach is directing the project from a script by Danny Strong. Roach also serves as an executive producer alongside Playtone's Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman with Strong as a co-executive producer.

I HATE THAT I LOVE YOU (NBC) - Danneel Ackles ("Friends With Benefits") and Jaime Lee Kirchner ("Mercy") have booked the final principal roles on the pilot, a twisty romantic comedy about two couples - one straight (Brad and Missy), one lesbian (Allie and Sarah) - whose lives become even more complicated after Allie becomes pregnant with Brad's baby. Ackles will play Allie ("fabulous looking, east coast, tons of style") with Kirchner as Missy ("attractive, strong"), joining the previously cast Anna Camp as Sarah and Nick Thune as Brad. Jhoni Marchinko is behind the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, to be helmed by Nicole Holofcener.

LONGMIRE (A&E) - Katee Sackhoff, Lou Diamond Phillips, Bailey Chase and Cassidy Freeman have all been cast in the drama pilot, a small screen take on Craig Johnson's literary hero Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor), the charismatic, dedicated and unflappable sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. Sackhoff and Chase will play Walt's deputies, Victoria "Vic" Moretti ("beautiful, with Southern Italian blood coursing through her veins"), a former homicide detective from Philadelphia; and Branch Connally ("a young guy who looks good in his deputy uniform"), who plans to run against him in the next election. Phillips then is set as Henry ("a handsome Cheyenne man"), Walt's best friend who tries to loosen him up; with Freeman as Cady ("dressed a bit more professionally than most of the folks in Durant"), Walt's lawyer daughter. Warner Horizon Television is behind the hour, from writers Hunt Baldwin and John Coveny. Greg Yaitanes ("House") is attached to direct.

MY LIFE AS AN EXPERIMENT (NBC) - Anjelah Johnson ("MADtv") is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, about A.J. Wilder (Jon Dore), an immersion journalist whose unusual assignments frequently affect his home life in Brooklyn with his wife, Stacie (Paget Brewster), and two kids. She's on board as Luciana, "their hot as hell Brazilian babysitter [who has] clearly been sitting for them for a while." Adam Campbell and Donald Sutherland also star in the Sony Pictures Television-based half-hour, from co-creators Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith.

RECONSTRUCTION (NBC) - Billy Brown ("Lights Out") is the latest addition to the pilot, a period drama about Jason Edding (Martin Henderson), a Civil War veteran who crosses the country and settles into a complicated town where he is welcomed as its savior - whether he likes it or not. He'll play Sam, "a former slave with a hearty, life-affirming laugh" who befriends Jason. Bill Sage, Claire Wellin, Emma Bell, Rachelle Lefevre and Robert Knepper co-star in the Universal Media Studios-produced hour, which Peter Horton is directing from a teleplay by Joshua Brand.

SECRET CIRCLE (The CW) - Gale Harold ("Hellcats") has been cast 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 Thomas Meade ("an attractive man; piercing eyes; pale skin; eerie beautiful"), Diane's (Shelley Hennig) father, who along with Vice Principal Dawn Chamberlain (Natasha Henstridge) take a unique interest in Cassie. Jessica Parker Kennedy, Louis Hunter, Phoebe Tonkin and Thomas Dekker also star in the CBS Television Studios/Warner Bros. Television-based hour, from writer Andrew Miller and director Liz Friedlander.

WEEKENDS AT BELLEVUE (FOX) - Aaron Yoo ("Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist") has landed a role on the drama pilot, about Ellie Harlow (Lauren Ambrose), the weekend physician in charge of Bellevue's psychiatric emergency room, a one-woman front line charged with assessing and treating some of the city's most vulnerable and troubled citizens. He'll presumably play the character formerly known as Maneesh Sarma ("dryly understated"), Ellie's psychiatry intern who competes with fellow newbie Claire Cohen (Amber Stevens) for cases. Jack Bender is directing the Lisa Zwerling-penned hour for Universal Media Studios. David Alpay, Eric Winter, Janet McTeer and Xzibit also star.

UNTITLED ADAM GIBGOT PROJECT (FX, New!) - Writer Adam Gibgot, director Oliver Stone and Richard Branson's Virgin Group have booked a potential drama at the cable channel about "a secret group known as Darkhorses who manufacture fake news stories on grand scale to service powerful clients' agendas." The project, from Fox Television Studios, will presumably be executive produced by the trio alongside Virgin's Michael Forman with Stone attached to direct from a script by Gibgot should it move forward to pilot.

UNTITLED EMILY SPIVEY PROJECT (NBC) - Maya Rudolph ("Saturday Night Live") has been cast in the comedy pilot, about Reagan (Christina Applegate), an acerbic working mother with a stay-at-home husband, Will, and opinionated parents, Dennis and Angelique. She'll presumably play Katie ("super-hot, talented"), Reagan's second-in-command at her advertising agency. Universal Media Studios and Broadway Video Television are behind the half-hour, from writer Emily Spivey.

UNTITLED KARI LIZER PROJECT (NBC) - Adrian Pasdar ("Heroes") has been tapped to star in the comedy pilot, about Mary Leahy (Sarah Paulson), a relationship-challenged woman who guides people through unexpected career transitions and downsizings. He'll play Brad ("super confident, probably good at his job and in bed"), a former one night stand of Mary's who - much to her surprise - becomes one of her clients. James Adomian and Tim Meadows also star in the Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour, to be directed by Craig Zisk.

  [march 2011]  


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