[07/18/11 - 10:51 PM] Development Update: Monday, July 18 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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BODY OF PROOF (ABC) - Matthew Gross has reupped his overall deal with ABC Studios. The three-year pact will cover his duties as co-showrunner on the drama as well as his future development. "Proof" returns for its second season this fall.
THE DARK TOWER (NBC) - Universal Pictures has pulled the plug on the potential film/TV franchise, based on Stephen King's book series of the same name. Production had been set to begin this summer on the first film of the trilogy - followed by the first of two limited run TV series bridging the gaps - with Javier Bardem starring, Ron Howard directing, Akiva Goldsman writing and Brian Grazer producing. Said decision was understood to be over financial concerns: Universal only felt comfortable committing to the inaugural film while the producers were all in on the trilogy/TV series as a whole.
IN THE HEIGHTS (Adult Swim, New!) - Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony-winning stage show is being developed as a scripted comedy at the network. Said effort, to be penned by Thomas Kail and Anthony Veneziale, will likewise follow the exploits of the New York City Dominican-American neighborhood of Washington Heights. Utkarsh Ambudkar is attached to star in the project, which will feature original music. Ars Nova ("Black Dynamite") is producing.
LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT (NBC) - Co-star B.D. Wong won't return for the show's 13th season, the actor himself tweeted this past weekend. Wong stars in the Peacock's midseason drama "Awake," in which he plays one of star Jason Issacs's two psychiatrists. The news marks the second "SVU" departure this season, the other being Christopher Meloni.
ONCE UPON A TIME (ABC) - Giancarlo Esposito ("Breaking Bad") is set to recur on the fantasy drama. He'll play Sidney, a reporter for Storybrooke's local newspaper The Daily Mirror who's actually The Magic Mirror from Fairy Tale Land. The newcomer launches on Sunday nights at 8:00/7:00c beginning October 23.
PAN AM (ABC) - Mike Vogel ("Miami Medical") has joined the cast of the period drama. He'll take over from Jonah Lotan as the male lead, the charismatic and confident pilot Dean. No reason was given for the change. "Pan Am" bows Sunday, September 25 on the Alphabet.
POWERS (FX) - Titus Welliver ("The Good Wife") has been tapped for a role on the drama pilot, based on the Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming comic book of the same name. He'll play Triphammer, "a genius and a narcissist [who] has invented technology that can both bestow and remove superhuman abilities." Jason Patric and Lucy Punch topline the hour, which is currently in production in Chicago.
ROYAL PAINS (USA) - Constance Zimmer ("Entourage") has booked a role on the show's current third season. She'll play Abby Burton, "a psychiatrist and an old friend of Hank's who may be able to help an especially important HankMed patient." Her role is billed as a potential love interest for Mark Feuerstein's Hank. She'll presumably turn up in the back half of said run.
UNTITLED PHIL SPECTOR PROJECT (HBO) - Emmy-winner Helen Mirren ("Elizabeth I") has joined the cast of the docudrama, which "explores the client-attorney relationship between legendary music producer Phil Spector (Al Pacino) and defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden (Mirren)." She'll take over from Bette Midler, who bowed out last week mid-production for medical reasons. David Mamet, Barry Levinson and Pacino are the executive producers.