[10/19/11 - 10:56 PM] Development Update: Wednesday, October 19 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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THE COMMUNION LETTERS (Syfy, New!) - Dave Matalon and Jonathan Gruber ("Kyle XY") are developing a small screen take on Whitley Strieber and Anne Strieber's book which "examines claims by those who believe they have been abducted by or have had encounters with aliens." Universal Cable Productions is behind the hour, which they'll executive produce alongside Vincent Newman. (Variety.com)DEVIOUS MAIDS (ABC, New!) - "Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry is developing a domestic take on the Televisa telenovela "The Disorderly Maids of the Neighborhood." The project is set up the ABC Studios-based Cherry/Wind Productions with Cherry, Sabrina Wind, David Lonner, Larry Shuman and John Mass executive producing. It's understood the U.S. incarnation, to be penned by Cherry, "will center on four Latina women who are maids in Beverly Hills." (Deadline.com)DRONES (FX, New!) - Chad Kultgen (CBS's "Waiting to Die") has snagged a script order from the cable channel for a dark comedy about "drone pilots in Nevada who commute to war." He'll write and executive produce alongside Milo Ventimiglia and Russ Cundiff of Divide Pictures. No other specifics were released. (Deadline.com)FAT CHANCE (TBS, New!) - Jay Lacopo (NBC's "Man of Your Dreams") has booked a potential multi-camera comedy at the cable channel about "what happens to two best friends - the overweight Chance Hubbard and the incredibly good-looking Rollie - when a beautiful girl named Alex enters their lives." Said half-hour is set up at Warner Horizon Television with Conaco's Conan O'Brien, David Kissinger and Jeff Ross executive producing alongside Lacopo. (THR.com)MISFITS (New!) - "Chuck" co-creator Josh Schwartz is looking to bring the U.K. drama - about a group of young offenders forced to work in a community service program, where they obtain supernatural powers after a strange electrical storm - to the States. Schwartz's Warner Bros. Television-based Fake Empire has reportedly secured the rights to the show, which has delivered more than 9 million views to date on Hulu. No details however were given about the U.S. take, which Schwartz and original creator Howard Overman will co-write and executive produce alongside Stephanie Savage, Len Goldstein and Clerkenwell Films' Murray Ferguson. (NYMag.com)PALM BEACH (NBC, New!) - Feature helmer Burr Steers ("Charlie St. Cloud") has sold a new drama to the Peacock billed as an "Upstairs, Downstairs"-style family soap set in the exclusive enclave of Palm Beach. ABC Studios is behind the hour, which Di Bonaventura Pictures Television's Lorenzo DiBonventura and Dan McDermott will executive produce alongside Steers, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Shawn Simon. (Deadline.com)SWAMPLANDIA (HBO, New!) - The pay channel is developing a comedy based on Karen Russell's book of the same name, about Ava Bigtree, "a 12-year-old alligator wrestler who embarks on an improbable journey through the mangrove wilderness of southwest Florida as she searches for her lost sister." Scott Rudin ("The Social Network") is behind the half-hour, which is currently searching for a writer. Russell herself will serve as a consultant. (THR.com)UNTITLED MINNIE DRIVER PROJECT (ABC, New!) - Minnie Driver has inked a talent holding deal with the Alphabet. The pact calls for the network to develop a series project around the actress or cast her in one of its existing properties. Driver toplined the drama pilot "Hail Mary" at CBS this past development cycle however the deal isn't limited to dramas. (Deadline.com)VANISH (NBC, New!) - Trevor Munson ("Moonlight") has booked a new drama at the Peacock about "a man with a mysterious past who protects deserving people from danger, and helps them disappear." Sony Pictures Television is behind the hour with Stars Road Entertainment's Sam Raimi and Joshua Donen executive producing alongside Michael Dinner, who's also attached to direct. No other details were given. (THR.com)AND IN OTHER NEWS... - Marissa Jaret Winokur will take over for Casey Wilson as David's (Johnathan McClain) sister Amy on season two of TV Land's "Retired at 35"(Deadline.com); French Stewart will visit "Community" as the owner of a celebrity impersonator service Abed (Danny Pudi) uses for his latest film (EW.com); plus Madchen Amick will swing by "Ringer" as a "confident, sexy and strong-willed" socialite who once counted Siobhan (Sarah Michelle Gellar) as one of her closest friends (TVLine.com).