[08/12/11 - 10:25 PM]
Development Update: Friday, August 12
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!

90210 (The CW) - "American Idol" alumnus Kellie Pickler has snagged a role on the netlet's veteran soap. She'll play Sally, "the country-singing cousin of local cowboy Austin (Justin Deeley)." Said role will include performing "Tough," her latest single to land on Billboard's Hot Country chart.

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER (NBC) - Upright Citizens Brigade performer Luka Jones has been tapped as the male lead on the midseason comedy, about best friends (Jessica St. Clair, Lennon Parham) who promise to support each other - no matter what the cost or circumstances. He'll play the latter's live-in boyfriend Joe, a role originated by Adam Pally. With Pally in first position to ABC's "Happy Endings" this past development cycle, producers were forced to recast the role. Stephen Schneider and Daija Owens also star.

BODY OF PROOF (ABC) - Nathalie Kelley ("The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift") is set to recur on the show's sophomore run. She'll play Dani, the "confident, street smart" driver of the M.E. van who "has a real interest in forensics and ultimately wants to be a part of the team."

COMMUNITY (NBC) - Mel Rodriguez ("Running Wilde") has snagged a recurring role on the show's upcoming third season. He'll play "Sergeant" Nunez, a campus cop who takes his job very seriously. Other new faces this season include John Goodman and Michael K. Williams.

THE GREGORY BROTHERS (Comedy Central, New!) - Viral video standouts The Gregory Brothers ("Auto-Tune the News") are set to topline a pilot for the cable channel featuring "the musical and comedic stylings of the Emmy-nominated trio, Andrew, Evan and Michael, along with Evan's wife Sarah." It's understood Peyton Reed is in talks to direct the effort, which is being co-written by Tom Scharpling ("Monk"). Dave Becky will then executive produce alongside Scharpling.

LOVE'S CHRISTMAS JOURNEY (Hallmark New!) - Sean Astin, JoBeth Williams, Natalie Hall, Dylan Bruce and Greg Vaughan are set to star in the latest installment of the Janette Oke franchise, due in November. Here's the network's description: "While still mourning the loss of her husband and daughter, recently widowed Ellie King (Hall) visits her brother Aaron Davis, (Vaughan) a sheriff in the small town of Haddonton, and his two children during the Christmas holiday. Ellie does her best to enjoy the holidays, even making new friends with Beatrice (Williams), a local shop keeper and Deputy Strode (Bruce). Settling in nicely with her brother's family, Ellie agrees to watch her niece and nephew when Aaron travels out of town to purchase adjacent land for farming. But when a corrupt attorney in town leaves a young man to blame for Mayor Wayne's (Astin) barn catching fire and burning, Ellie ignores distrusting townspeople and steps in to help to prove his innocence. To her dismay, the season's festivities are threatened when Aaron goes missing. When all seems lost, Ellie not only gets the perfect holiday miracle-her brother delivered home safely on Christmas morning-but also the chance at a new life when she finds herself falling in love again."

MODERN FAMILY (ABC) - Aubrey Anderson-Emmons has been tapped as Lily, the adopted daughter of Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), on the third season of the series. She'll take over for Jaden and Ella Hiller, who originated the newly expanded role. Meanwhile, Benjamin Bratt is set to return as Javier - ex-husband of Gloria (Sofia Vergara) and absentee father of Manny (Rico Rodriguez) - in an upcoming installment set at a race track.

THE OFFICE (NBC) - Justin Spitzer has inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with producer Universal Media Studios. The pact covers his duties on the veteran comedy, where he serves as a writer/co-executive producer, and calls for him to develop new series projects for the studio.

UNTITLED SHAWN RYAN/SIMON MIRREN PROJECT (CBS, New!) - Shawn Ryan ("The Chicago Code") and Simon Mirren ("Criminal Minds") have snagged a put pilot order from the Eye for a new drama about "a genetic scientist who uses his newfound discovery that he has the psychopath gene to help the FBI catch killers." Mirren will pen the hour, which is based on the true story of UC Irvine Professor James Fallon, "a brilliant but genetically flawed scientist who, while helping to unlock the mysteries of the genome code, discovered that he was a psychopath linked to a long line of serial killers, including axe murderer Lizzie Borden." He'll also executive produce alongside Ryan for Sony Pictures Television where both recently signed overall deals.

  [august 2011]  

· 90210 (CW)

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