[04/22/15 - 11:34 PM]
Development Update: Wednesday, April 22
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!

COUNTERPART (Starz, New!) - Oscar-winner J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) is set to team with writer Justin Marks (The Jungle Book) and director Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) for a new sci-fi thriller at the pay channel about Howard Silk (Simmons), "a lowly cog in a bureaucratic UN agency who is turning the last corner of a life filled with regret, when he discovers the agency he works for is guarding a secret: a crossing to a parallel dimension. Through Howard and his "Counterpart" on the other side, Prime, the show will navigate themes of identity, idealism, what ifs, and lost love." MRC, Anonymous Content and Gilbert Films are behind the hour, with all three auspices executive producing alongside Keith Redmon, Bard Dorros, Jordan Horowitz and Gary Gilbert. (Deadline.com)

HAP & LEONARD (SundanceTV; W: Jim Mickle & Nick Damici; D: Jim Mickle) - Jimmi Simpson ("House of Cards") has joined the cast of the upcoming drama, based on the rollicking Joe Lansdale Southern noir book series about an unlikely pair of best friends and martial arts experts - Hap Collins and Leonard Pine (Michael Kenneth Williams) - who struggle through misadventure, to stay on the right side of the law in 1980's East Texas. He'll play Soldier, "a mysterious and most likely psychopathic criminal who along with his Amazonian girlfriend threatens the plans of our heroes." Bill Sage also stars. (Deadline.com)

HIGHSTON (Amazon, New!) - Oscar-nominated writer Bob Nelson (Nebraska) and directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine) have booked a pilot order from Amazon Studios for a half-hour coming-of-age comedy about Highston Liggetts, "a kind 19-year-old and perched on the edge of adulthood. When he encounters a world he doesn't understand, like Elwood P. Dowd, he retreats into his vast imagination, where famous 'friends' are his companions and mentors." Four by Two Films' Sacha Baron Cohen and Todd Schulman and Bungalow Media + Entertainment's Todd Hoffman and Bob Friedman will also serve as executive producers alongside said trio. (Deadline.com)

UNDERGROUND (WGN America/Sony; W: Joe Pokaski & Misha Green; D: Anthony Hemingway) - Marc Blucas ("Killer Women") has been tapped for a role on the period drama, set in the pre-Civil War South and following the slaves who set foot on the fabled Underground Railroad, the secret network of men and women who risked their lives aiding them, and the mercenaries tasked with hunting them down at any cost. He'll play John Hawkes, "an abolitionist lawyer who will break the laws he's sworn to uphold in order to serve a greater good," succeeding the previously cast Devon Gummersall. Alano Miller, Amirah Vann, Christopher Meloni, Adina Porter, Johnny Ray Gill, Mykelti Williamson, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Reed Diamond, Aldis Hodge and Jessica De Gouw also star. (Deadline.com)

AND IN OTHER NEWS... - "The Leftovers" co-creator Damon Lindelof has inked new three-year overall deal with producer Warner Bros. Television, where he'll develop new projects for broadcast and cable (THR.com); Griffin Dunne will recur on "Manhattan" as "a tenacious and self-destructive newspaper reporter who finds his way inside the gates at Los Alamos, discovering not only the scoop of a lifetime, but a chance to turn his life around" (Deadline.com); Maggie Grace is bound for "Masters of Sex" as "a well-respected and confident gynecologist who helps out at the clinic on a case with international implications" (THR.com); Amelia Rose Blaire will visit "Scream" as Piper Shay, "the smart, quirky host of a wildly popular podcast who comes to town to investigate the recent deaths" (TVLine.com); and Haley Lu Richardson has booked an arc on ABC Family's "Recovery Road" as a smart, ambitious "friend" of Maddie (Jessica Sula) (TVLine.com).

  [april 2015]  


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