[03/16/12 - 11:33 PM]
Development Update: Friday, March 16
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 AMERICANS (FX) - Matthew Rhys ("Brothers & Sisters") is set to star opposite Keri Russell in the drama pilot, about the complex marriage of two KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington DC in the early 1980's. Said hour, from director Gavin O'Connor and writer Joe Weisberg, details the arranged marriage of Phillip (Rhys) and Elizabeth (Russell) Jennings, who have two children who know nothing about their parents' true identity, grows more passionate and genuine by the day, but is constantly tested by the escalation of the Cold War and the intimate, dangerous and darkly funny relationships they must maintain with a network of spies and informants under their control. DreamWorks Television, Fox Television Studios and FX Productions are all producing. (Deadline.com)

AWESOMETOWN (ABC) - Comedian Dennis Miller has been cast in the comedy pilot, about a group of twentysomethings in the suburbs of Seattle, a mecca for the folks who have happily put on the cruise control of life. He'll play architect Nelson Burke ("a genius, has never smiled, and is surgical with his cut downs"), Dusty (Ben Rappaport), Sam (Amanda Crew) and Andrew's (Nick Kocher) boss. Jesse Peretz is directing the Adam Sztykiel-penned half-hour, from 20th Century Fox Television. James Earl III also stars. (Deadline.com)

BABY BIG SHOT (CBS) - Pablo Schreiber ("A Gifted Man") has joined the cast of the Dana Calvo-penned drama pilot, about Martina Garretti (Janet Montgomery), a working-class woman who uses her street smarts to compete with her more polished colleagues at a Manhattan law firm. He's on board as Luke Aaronson, a senior partner at Stark & Cohen who still leads with his looks and athletic prowess. Said role is presumably in second position to "Man." The Sony Pictures Television-based hour also stars Erin Cummings, Felix Solis, Kyle MacLachlan and Toni Trucks. (Deadline.com)

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (The CW) - Brian White ("Men of a Certain Age") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about Catherine Chandler (Kristin Kreuk), a police detective who teams with Vincent Koslow (Jay Ryan), a genetically altered Afghanistan war veteran to solve crimes in New York City. He'll play Joe Profeta, Catherine's handsome superior at the NYPD. Austin Basis, Max Brown, Nicole Gale Anderson and Nina Lisandrello also star in the CBS Television Studios-based hour, from director Gary Fleder and co-writers Sherri Cooper and Jennifer Levin. (Deadline.com)

DEVIOUS MAIDS (ABC) - Tom Irwin ("Saving Grace") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about four maids (Ana Ortiz, Dania Ramirez, Roselyn Sanchez, Judy Reyes) with ambition and dreams of their own while they work for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills. He's set as renowned fashion designer Adrian Powell ("eccentric and enthusiastic"), whose maid was recently murdered, a development which Marisol (Ortiz) has taken upon herself to investigate. The ensemble cast also includes Amir Talai, Angelique Cabral, Brett Cullen, Brianna Brown, Drew Van Acker, Edy Ganem, Grant Show, Mariana Klaveno, Rebecca Wisocky and Susan Lucci. Marc Cherry penned the ABC Studios-based hour, to be directed by Paul McGuigan. (Deadline.com)

DILFS (NBC) - Courtney Henggeler ("Working Class") will round out the cast of the comedy pilot, about a trio of thirtysomething guys who live in the same high-rise - Nick (Zach Cregger), Chris (Jesse Bradford) and Gary (Anthony Anderson) - dealing with parenthood despite the fact they haven't grown up themselves. She's set as Sheila, Chris's ex-wife, who's now dating former NBA star Patrick Ewing. Charlie Grandy penned the Universal Television-based half-hour, to be directed by Scott Ellis. Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Tempestt Bledsoe co-star. (Deadline.com)

EL JEFE (FOX) - Mercedes Ruehl, Jessica Camacho and Will Greenberg are the latest to board the comedy pilot, about Josh Turkus (Ryan Hansen), a rich layabout who gets booted out of his parents' house and moves in with his longtime housekeeper and her family. Ruehl will play said housekeeper, Delmi Rodriguez ("sturdy peasant stock - imagine a Jewish mom who's capable of being a professional mover"); with Camacho as Lucia Consuelos, her son Al's (Victor Rasuk) Latino bombshell girlfriend. Greenberg then is set as the dual roles of Noel and Leon Landsman, Josh's best friends, who have the benefit of having a father with a successful business to insert them into. Ana Nogueira also stars in the Sony Pictures Television-based half-hour, from director Michael Patrick Jann and co-creators David Guarascio and Moses Port. (Deadline.com, Deadline.com)

THE JOB (CBS, New!) - Mark Burnett, Michael Davies and James Sunderland are set to team for a potential reality series at the Eye in which "five contestants - selected from thousands of applicants - will go head-to-head for the chance to score their dream job at one of America's most prestigious companies." Lisa Ling is set to host the Sony Pictures Television-based project, which has a pilot order. Burnett, Sunderland and Davies of Embassy Row then will executive produce. No other specifics were given. (THR.com)

LET IT GO (FOX) - Joel David Moore ("Avatar") and Kat Foster ("'Til Death") have both been cast in the Zachary Levi-led comedy pilot, about a married couple (Levi, Foster), his best friend (Moore) and her sister (yet to be cast) as they navigate, negotiate and manipulate society's unspoken rules. She'll play said wife, Gracie, with Moore as Spencer, Ben's (Levi) friend and business partner. DJ Nash is behind the single-camera project, which is set up at Sony Pictures Television. (Deadline.com, TVLine.com)

THE LIFE (ABC) - Erin Moriarty ("One Life to Live") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about Marta Walraven (Radha Mitchell), the widow of an assassinated criminal who is suddenly forced to adopt her late husband's role in order to protect her family. She's set as Natalie, her pretty, artsy, off-beat bohemian daughter. The ABC Studios-based hour, from director Mark Pellington and writer Melissa Rosenberg, also stars Jaime Ray Newman, Jakob Salvati, Lee Tergesen, Luke Goss, Rade Serbedzija, Sterling Beaumon and Suleka Mathew. (Deadline.com)

MIDNIGHT SUN (NBC) - Oz Zehavi and Lucia Walters have both been cast in the pilot, a drama about the FBI's investigation into the disappearance of a remote cult in Dugan, Alaska - led by Bennett Maxwell (Titus Welliver) - which taps into a grander political conspiracy. Zehavi presumably will play Alex Roth, a member of said cult who has a four-year-old son with the daughter (Emma Bell) of the town's police chief (Connor O'Farrell). Walters then is set as Vanessa Watson, another member of Midnight Sun. Alexia Fast, Daniella Pineda, David Harbour, Julia Stiles and Michael Raymond-James also star in the Lisa Zwerling-penned hour, from Universal Television. Brad Anderson is directing. (Deadline.com)

MISTRESSES (ABC) - Yunjin Kim, Erik Stocklin and Cameron Bender are the latest to book roles on the upcoming drama, which follows the lives of four female friends and their involvement in an array of illicit and complex relationships. She'll play Katie Roden, a therapist who slept with one of her patients, John, before his death. Stocklin then is set as Sam Gray, John's 24-year-old son, who finds himself falling in love with Katie; with Cameron Bender as Richard, a recently divorced, adorable man who hires April (Rochelle Aytes) to redecorate his new apartment and starts a romance with her. Jes Macallan also stars in the ABC Studios-based hour, the pilot for which is being directed by Cherie Nowlan from a script by K.J. Steinberg. (Deadline.com)

THE NEW NORMAL (NBC) - Jayson Blair ("The Hard Times of R.J. Berger") has booked a role on the comedy pilot, about a gay couple - Bryan (Andrew Rannells) and Andrew (Justin Bartha) - and Goldie (Georgia King), the woman who becomes a surrogate to help them start a family. He'll guest as Clay Clemmons ("dangerously sexy, entitled, peaked in high school"), Goldie's husband, whom she's just caught cheating. Bebe Wood and Ellen Barkin co-star in the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, from co-creators Ali Adler and Ryan Murphy. (THR.com)

SCRUPLES (ABC) - Mimi Rogers and Gilles Marini have both scored roles on the drama pilot, about the staggeringly luxurious life of a Beverly Hills boutique in 1978 and the people who work in it. She'll guest as Harriet Toppington, the Anna Wintour-esque editor of Vogue Magazine who is behind Spider's (Chad Michael Murray) banishment to Los Angeles; while Marini is set as Renee Dufaux, a handsome, scruffy French Count from Billy's (Claire Forlani) past. Boris Kodjoe, Gary Cole, Jessica McNamee, Karine Vanasse and Noot Seear also star while Michael Sucsy is attached to direct. Bob Brush and Mel Harris penned the hour for Warner Bros. Television. (Deadline.com, Deadline.com)

AND IN OTHER NEWS... - Deran Sarafian has joined Netflix's "Hemlock Grove" as an executive producer/in-house director (Deadline.com); "Prime Suspect" executive producer Alexandra Cunningham has inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with its producer Universal Television (Deadline.com); Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey's Film 44 banner likewise is staying put at Universal Television as part of a new two-year overall deal (Deadline.com); rapper-turned-actor T.I. is set to recur on "Boss" as "a former gangbanger with designs on a career in Chicago's City Hall who represents a symbiosis between politics and crime in Chicago" (Deadline.com); Sakina Jaffrey has been cast as Linda Vasquez, the President Elect's cunning, newly appointed Chief of Staff, on Netflix's upcoming "House of Cards" (Deadline.com); Bravo has pulled newcomer "Love Broker" after two episodes as "Bethenny Ever After" will now move back an hour into the show's Monday, 10:00/9:00c slot (TVGuide.com); and Jennifer Tilly will cameo as herself on "The Simpsons" in an instructional DVD that Lisa watches to brush up on her card skills (EW.com).

  [march 2012]  


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