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[03/09/04 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: March 9
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:

Looking to keep track of all the various pilots and other projects in development? Be sure to check out our detailed production chart listings by clicking here.

C.S.I.: NEW YORK (CBS) - Vanessa Ferlito ("24") has scored one of the lead roles in the latest "C.S.I." spin-off. She'll play a member of the show's forensic team. "New York" will reportedly focus the lives of two main characters, a man and a woman who work together as investigators, instead of a large ensemble cast. Gary Sinise has been in talks in recent weeks for the male lead in the project, which will feature "C.S.I." creator Anthony Zuiker as the showrunner. Ferlito will first appear in the second to last episode of "C.S.I.: Miami" this season, tentatively scheduled to air on May 17.

CENTURY CITY (CBS) - The Eye has scheduled an extra Saturday installment of the midseason drama for March 20 at 10:00/9:00c. Here's how CBS describes the episode, entitled "Sweet Child Of Mine": "A distraught married couple plans to sue the doctor who performed the genetic scan on their unborn son because he did not disclose that the child would be born gay, on CENTURY CITY, on a special night and time, Saturday, March 20 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Jerry Levine directed from a script by Ellie Herman. Richard Thomas ("The Waltons") guest stars in the episode as Dr. Bressack. The couple�s doctor, Dr. Bressack, claims clerical error but research by the prosecution turns up that he hid the sexual orientation of this and many other unborn children in an effort to prevent the gay population from dwindling. In 2030, because people can choose the genetic makeup of their children, they are choosing an "easier" life for their kids, but the doctor parallels these actions to genocide. Meanwhile, a young woman "steals" the personality traits of her boyfriend by pre-setting his presence on all of her gadgets around the house. When the now ex-boyfriend literally steals back his identity, he's accused of robbery." The series, which premieres March 16, regularly airs Tuesdays at 9:00/8:00c.

THE CLUBHOUSE (CBS) - John Ortiz ("Narc") and Jeremy Sumpter ("Peter Pan") have been added to the ensemble cast of the drama pilot, a coming-of-age story about a New York Yankees batboy. Marc Donato, Dean Cain, Mare Winningham, Kirsten Storms, Dan Byrd, JD Pardo and Christopher Lloyd also star in the project, which comes from Spelling Television and Icon Productions.

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (ABC) - Jason Moore ("Everwood," "One Tree Hill") is set to direct the Alphabet's musical version of the Victor Hugo classic, with Sally Robinson ("Iron Jawed Angels") on board to re-write the script. Storyline Entertainment's Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are executive producing the project, which is now targeted for a 2005 broadcast. Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the music and lyrics for the 1996 Disney animated feature, will do the same for the ABC version.

I'M IN THE... (VH1) - Production has completed on a pilot presentation for a new reality series which sends people to participate in the media of their choice such as movies, TV shows, rodeos and music videos. The pilot's installment tracks a young woman as she works as an extra in the upcoming Denzel Washington feature "Man on Fire." Typhoon Entertainment is behind the project, which is executive produced by former Foglight Entertainment principals Jeff Bowler ("Driven") and Bill MacDonald ("Rome").

JACK & BOBBY (WB) - Jessica Pare ("Obsessed"), Edwin Hodge ("Boston Public") and John Slattery ("K Street") have all joined the cast of the drama pilot, which revolves around two teenage sons of a single mom (Christine Lahti), Jack (Matthew Long) and Bobby (Logan Lerman), one of whom is destined to become the President of the United States. The trio will play Courtney Benedict, Marcus French and Peter Benedict respectively in the project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television, Berlanti-Liddell Productions and Shoe Money Productions.

JOHNNY ZERO (FOX) - Brennan Hesser ("The Guardian") has snagged the female lead in the drama pilot, about an ex-con (Franky G) who tries to go legit and become a private eye, but is frequently tempted by the dark world he left behind. Hesser will play Velvet, a tough-talking stripper who falls under the wing of a Franky G's character. Warner Bros. Television and John Wells Productions are behind the project.

THE LAST RIDE (USA, New!) - Actor Dennis Hopper and director Rob Cohen ("The Fast and the Furious") are teaming to executive produce a new telefilm at the cable channel about an embittered ex-con who gets out of jail after 30 years and plots revenge on his antagonists. Hopper is set as Ronnie, the lead in the project, while Will Patton ("The Agency") will play Ronnie's son, a police detective, who was raised by Darryl (Fred Ward), the cop who arrested his father for murder. Chris Carmack ("The O.C.") also stars as Ronnie's grandson, who, anxious to get to know the grandfather he had idolized, helps him seek revenge against Darryl. Guy Norman Bee ("L.A. Dragnet") will direct from a script by Ron McGee. Producer Stu Segall Productions has also struck a deal with General Motors to feature the both the classic edition and the 2004 model of the Pontiac GTO in the project, production of which is set to begin in San Diego next month for a late spring or early summer bow. Cohen, who is executive producing alongside Hopper, Bruce Mellon and Angela Mancuso, came up with the idea to use the GTO while filming three TV commercials for the car's new 2004 model and approached GM about using it in a telefilm before McGee even began working on the script.

MILES TO GO (WB) - Newcomer Philip Winchester is the first to join the cast of the comedy pilot, which is loosely based on executive producer Mark Burnett's experience as a British military commando-turned-Beverly Hills nanny. Burnett, Conrad Riggs and Dave Flebotte ("The Bernie Mac Show") are behind the project, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television.

MY 11:30 (CBS) - Kathryn Hahn ("Crossing Jordan") and Brian Stokes Mitchell ("The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air") have joined the cast of the Jeff Goldblum-led comedy pilot, about a playboy New York businessman and his no-nonsense shrink. Hahn will play Goldblum's neighbor, while Mitchell will play his business partner in the project, which comes from NBC Studios and Paul Reiser's Nuance Productions.

THE NEGOTIATOR (New!) - Fox TV Studios has signed a first-look production deal with Jeff Bowler and Bill MacDonald's Typhoon Entertainment. Among the first projects in the pipeline at the studio is Typhoon's first scripted project, "The Negotiator," a one-hour drama described as a procedural show that takes off right before a crime is committed and backtracks to the beginning of the day. Also in the works is a new unscripted series that will send a handful of middle-aged adults back to school.

PRODIGY (WB) - In a correction to an earlier casting report for the project, Kate Mara ("Cold Case") will play Callie Duncan in drama pilot, not Marley Shelton as originally reported. Shelton is actually in talks to star in another show for the WB. "Prodigy" tracks the story of a teenage girl (Mara) who hides her music talents from her family, which is busy focusing their attention on her younger brother (Cody Arens), a well-known prodigy. Stacy Edwards ("Chicago Hope") also stars.

SAINT LOUIE (CBS) - Evan Handler ("Sex and the City"), Dawn Maxey ("That Thing You Do!") and Cynthia Watros ("Titus," "The Drew Carey Show") have joined the cast of the Louie C.K.-led comedy pilot. Handler will play Dave, the best friend of Louie C.K.'s character, while Maxey is set as Beth, Dave's wife. Warner Bros. Television and Mohawk Productions are behind the project, which centers on a New York couple (C.K., Watros) raising their 2-year-old.

SCARFACE (USA) - Charles Eglee ("Dark Angel," "The Shield") has climbed aboard to write and executive produce the four-hour mini-series, an updated version of the "Scarface" story that restages the gangster classic with a black cast in inner-city Los Angeles during the crack epidemic of the 1980s. The cable channel is targeting the project for a fall 2004 or early 2005 debut. No director or cast have been named. USA's development of "Scarface" marks the third filmed adaptation of the Armitage Trail novel, the first being in 1932 starring Paul Muni and the second in 1983 starring Al Pacino. Rap-music producer Defari is also on board to develop a soundtrack and serve as a technical adviser on the mini-series.

STARGATE ATLANTIS (Sci Fi) - MGM has launched the "Stargate SG-1" spin-off's official web site, which indicates the series will premiere on Friday, July 16.

SURGEONS (A.K.A. UNTITLED SHONDA RHIMES PROJECT) (ABC) - Chandra Wilson ("Law & Order: S.V.U.") is the latest to join the drama pilot, which now features the tentative title of "Surgeons." She'll play Bailey in the Touchstone Television project, which also stars T.R. Knight, Ellen Pompeo and Paul Adelstein.

TULIA, TX (CBS, New!) - Alfre Woodard is set to star and conservative commentator Arianna Huffington will executive produce a small screen docudrama at the Eye which details the story of the 1999 mass arrests of blacks in the small town of Tulia, Texas. The project will detail the 1999 police bust which saw 46 people - nearly all of them black, representing 13% of the town's black adult population - indicted for drug trafficking based solely on the testimony of a white undercover cop. Said arrests led to 19 prison sentences and drew strong protests from civil rights groups. "Tulia, TX" will center on the unlikely alliance between Mattie White (Woodard), a 50-year-old black mother of six, and Gary Gardner, a white farmer and self-described redneck, as they formed Friends of Justice, a small local organization which fights unjust convictions and advocates criminal-justice reform. Three of White's children were sent to prison for as long as 60 years and a fourth was put on probation as a result of the drug sting.

UNTITLED JESSICA SIMPSON PROJECT (ABC) - Aimee Garcia ("All About the Andersons," "Greetings From Tucson") and Ali Hillis ("Boomtown") have joined the cast of the Jessica Simpson-led comedy pilot as Amanda and Holly respectively. The Touchstone Television/Ted Harbert Productions project centers on a hard-working female producer of a primetime newsmagazine show whose world turns upside down when a pop culture icon (Simpson) signs on to do part-time work as an on-air reporter.

WE ARE FAMILY (ABC) - Tom Everett Scott ("The Street") and Nicole Sullivan ("The King of Queens") have landed the lead roles in the comedy pilot, about a man (Scott) and his estranged father who reconnect when they become dads at the same time. Sullivan will play the wife of Scott's character in the Touchstone Television project, which comes from Rob Long & Dan Staley ("Cheers") and Tim Fall ("Men, Women and Dogs").

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters





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· 24 (FOX)
· AGENCY, THE (CBS)
· ALL ABOUT THE ANDERSONS (WB)
· BERNIE MAC SHOW, THE (FOX)
· BOOMTOWN (NBC)
· BOSTON PUBLIC (FOX)
· CENTURY CITY (CBS)
· CHICAGO HOPE (CBS)
· CLUBHOUSE (CBS)
· COLD CASE (CBS)
· COMMANDO NANNY (WB)
· CROSSING JORDAN (NBC)
· CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (CBS)
· CSI: MIAMI (CBS)
· CSI: NEW YORK (CBS)
· DARK ANGEL (FOX)
· DREW CAREY SHOW, THE (ABC)
· EVERWOOD (WB)
· GREETINGS FROM TUCSON (WB)
· GREY'S ANATOMY (ABC)
· GUARDIAN, THE (CBS)
· HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, THE (ABC)
· I'M IN THE (VH1)
· IRON JAWED ANGELS (HBO)
· JACK & BOBBY (WB)
· JESSICA (ABC)
· JONNY ZERO (FOX)
· K STREET (HBO)
· KING OF QUEENS, THE (CBS)
· LA DRAGNET (ABC)
· LAST RIDE, THE (USA)
· LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT (NBC)
· MEN, WOMEN AND DOGS (WB)
· MY 11:30 (NBC)
· OC, THE (FOX)
· ONE TREE HILL (CW)
· PRODIGY (WB)
· ROME (HBO)
· SAINT LOUIE (CBS)
· SCARFACE (USA)
· SEX AND THE CITY (HBO)
· SHIELD, THE (FX)
· STARGATE ATLANTIS (SCI FI)
· STARGATE: SG-1 (SCI FI)
· STREET, THE (FOX)
· TITUS (FOX)
· TULIA, TX (CBS)
· WE ARE FAMILY (ABC)





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