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[09/15/06 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: September 11-15 (Weekly Round-Up)
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 newly branded "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!

ARMY WIVES (Lifetime) - Former "JAG" star Catherine Bell is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about a sassy woman (Sally Pressman) from the wrong side of the tracks who marries a soldier, moves her kids to a military base and becomes friends with a diverse group of Army wives. She'll play one of said wives in the project, which also stars Kim Delaney and Brigid Brannagh. Katherine Fugate is behind the Touchstone Television-based hour, which Ben Younger is directing. Mark Gordon and Deb Sepra also serve as executive producers.

ENTOURAGE (HBO) - Lauren London ("ATL") has booked a multi-episode arc on the pay channel series. She'll play a love interest for Jerry Ferrara's character when the series returns for the back half of its third season next year.

FAMILY GUY (FOX) - Twentieth Television has cleared the show's off-network run in nearly 70% of the country. KSAZ Phoenix, KMSP Minneapolis, WOFL Orlando, WMOR Tampa-St. Petersburg and WPGH Pittsburgh are among the latest stations to sign on, where they'll join Tribune Broadcasting's previously announced 20 TV stations among others. The run, which begins in the fall of 2007, includes the non-exclusive repeat rights to the 96+ episodes that will have aired by then. Participation stations will pay a cash license fee as well as carve out three 30-second spots within each run for Twentieth to sell to national advertisers. Overall, Twentieth reportedly will rake in $1.9 million per half-hour between "Guy's" runs on local stations, TBS and Cartoon Network.

FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS (HBO, New!) - New Zealand folk parody duo Flight of the Conchords are set to be the focus of a new single-camera comedy series at the pay channel. HBO has ordered 12 half-hour episodes of the series, which will star "Conchords'" Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement in a fictional version of their lives (a la "Curb Your Enthusiasm"). Stu Smiley ("Everybody Loves Raymond"), Troy Miller ("Greg the Bunny") and James Bobin ("Da Ali G Show") executive produced the show's pilot presentation (which Bobin directed) and are expected to continue on the series. NBC had originally developed the project for the 2005-06 season but passed on ordering the script to pilot. As for McKenzie and Clement, whose original music will also be featured on the show, they'll also serve as co-executive producers.

GIRLFRIENDS (The CW) - Christina Vidal (Gabriela Lopez on "10-8: Officers on Duty") has landed a recurring role on the veteran comedy. She'll play a tough celebrity fitness trainer on the series. It's not clear when her first episode will air.

GREY'S ANATOMY (ABC) - Peter Horton has signed a new two-year, seven-figure overall deal with Touchstone Television. The new pact, which replaces his existing deal, calls for Horton to continue as an executive producer on "Grey's Anatomy" as well as Shonda Rhimes' upcoming drama pilot not to mention remain as a consultant on "Six Degrees," all of which are based at the studio.

HEROES (NBC)/HIDDEN PALMS (The CW) - Nicole Bilderback (Heather Tracy on "Dawson's Creek") has landed recurring roles on both freshman series. On "Heroes" she'll play Sakamoto, a woman who is plucked from Harvard University to run a wealthy businessman's casino while on "Palms" she's set as Blair Meadows, the mayor's bitchy second wife. No other specifics about the roles were released.

THE MEANT TO BE'S (CBS, New!) - "Medium" creator Glenn Gordon Caron has scored a put pilot order from the Eye and CBS Paramount Network Television for a new drama about a young woman who dies, but in order to "pass over," she must return to Earth and help people improve their lives. The concept is understood to be a redeveloped version of a script Caron sold to ABC for the 2003-04 season. Caron then will write and executive produce the hour via his CBS Paramount-based Picturemaker Productions banner.

MONARCH COVE (A.K.A. BIANCA) (Lifetime) - Lifetime has quietly retitled its upcoming soap "Bianca" to "Monarch Cove." The series, which bows on Saturday, October 14 at 10:00/9:00c is described as follows: "Imagine spending six years behind bars for a crime you didn't commit. Welcome to Bianca's world. Now she's a free woman and has returned to Monarch Cove to pick up where her quiet life left off. But this ex-con's future is far from peaceful � scandalous affairs, hidden secrets and even murder are just around the corner!" Kieren Hutchinson, Matt Funke, Rachel Ward, Samantha Shelton, Shirley Jones, Simon Rex, Stephen Martines, Vanessa Lengies and Virginia Williams all star in the project, which comes from FremantleMedia North America.

NOLA (A.K.A. UNTITLED SPIKE LEE PROJECT) (NBC) - Spike Lee ("When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts") is developing a new drama at the Peacock about the post-Katrina lives of New Orleans residents from different social and economic backgrounds. Sid Quashie ("King of the Gods") is on board to pen the script, the first project to result from Lee's development deal with the network and studio NBC Universal Television back in July. It's understood Lee will likely direct the hour should it move forward to pilot with filming taking place in New Orleans itself.

ONE TREE HILL (The CW) - Ernest Waddell (Lee Rasmussen on "The Bedford Diaries") has been tapped for a recurring role on the show's upcoming fourth season. He'll play a character who will wreak havoc in the life of one of the main characters for at least five episodes, additional details of which weren't specified.

THE SINGLES TABLE (NBC) - Alicia Silverstone ("Miss Match") has joined the cast of the midseason comedy, about five strangers who bond after sitting together at the singles table at a mutual friend's wedding. She'll take over for Pascale Hutton in the role of Georgia, a successful doctor who realizes she has a great career but no life. Conor Dubin, Jarrad Paul, John Cho and Rhea Seehorn also star in the half-hour, which comes from 20th Century Fox Television and creators Bill Martin and Mike Schiff.

STATE OF MIND (Lifetime) - Lolita Davidovich (Francesca Wolff on "The L Word"), Kevin Chamberlin ("Lucky Number Slevin") and Devon Gummersall (Lisa on "The L Word") have all joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a therapist (Lili Taylor) with more troubles than her patients. Details on their respective characters however weren't released. Amy Bloom is behind the Warner Horizon Television-based hour, which is also executive produced by Michael M. Robin and Greer Shephard.

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS (Spike TV, New!) - Denis Leary's Apostle Films is developing a new drama series about an elite squad of agents who race against the clock to put away criminals who are on the verge of beating the statute of limitations for their crime. The project is set up at Sony Pictures Television, where Leary's company has an overall deal. No other specifics about "Statute" were released.

UNTITLED DENIS LEARY/DON REO PROJECT (FOX, New!) - "My Wife and Kids" co-creator Don Reo has scored a put pilot commitment from FOX for a new single-camera comedy about a larcenous 15-year-old boy who moves in with his grandfather, who's also a thief. The untitled half-hour is set up at Denis Leary's Sony Pictures Television-based Apostle Films with Leary and Jim Serpico executive producing alongside Reo.

UNTITLED FLAVOR OF LOVE SPIN-OFF (VH1, New!) - The cable channel is moving forward with a "Bachelorette" version of "Flavor of Love" from executive producers Cris Abrego and Mark Cronin. Said project, which has a 10-episode commitment, will feature one of the eccentric contestants from the first season of "Flavor" in her own dating show. Specifics beyond that however weren't released. Production is set to begin later this month.

UNTITLED MIKE NEWELL PROJECTS (ABC, New!) - Feature director Mike Newell ("Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire") has inked a three-for-one pilot deal with the Alphabet and Touchstone Television. The pact calls for Newell to develop three scripts at the studio via his 50 Cannon Entertainment, at least one of which will move forward to pilot. Cannon's Cam Jones will spearhead the scripts' development with Newell himself directing the resulting pilot.

UNTITLTED PAUL MCKENNA PROJECT (Syndication, New!) - Mark Burnett Productions and Telepictures Productions are developing a new syndicated strip featuring British hypnotist and self-help guru Paul McKenna. The project, which has yet to settle on a format, will likely focus on the weight loss, smoking cessation, confidence-boosting techniques that McKenna promotes in his best-selling books, including last year's "Change Your Life in Seven Days," and his Paul McKenna Training business. McKenna is no stranger to U.S. audiences however, having toplined the 1996 ABC special "The World's Funniest Hypnotist."

UNTITLED VICTOR FRESCO PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Writer/producer Victor Fresco ("My Name Is Earl") has scored a put pilot order from FOX for a new multi-camera comedy about a middle-class family and the unique relationship that forms between an outrageous grandpa who moves in with his overworked, overscheduled grandson. 20th Century Fox Television is behind the half-hour, which Fresco will write and executive produce via his overall deal with the studio.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters





  [september 2006]  
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· 10-8 (ABC)
· ARMY WIVES (LIFETIME)
· BACHELORETTE, THE (ABC)
· BEDFORD DIARIES, THE (WB)
· CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (HBO)
· DA ALI G SHOW (HBO)
· DAWSON'S CREEK (WB)
· ENTOURAGE (HBO)
· EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND (CBS)
· FAMILY GUY (FOX)
· FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS (HBO)
· GIRLFRIENDS (CW)
· GREG THE BUNNY (FOX)
· GREY'S ANATOMY (ABC)
· HEROES (NBC)
· HIDDEN PALMS (CW)
· I LOVE NEW YORK (VH1)
· JAG (CBS)
· L WORD, THE (SHOWTIME)
· MEANT TO BE'S, THE (CBS)
· MEDIUM (CBS)
· MISS MATCH (NBC)
· MONARCH COVE (LIFETIME)
· MY NAME IS EARL (NBC)
· MY WIFE & KIDS (ABC)
· NOLA (NBC)
· ONE TREE HILL (CW)
· SINGLES TABLE, THE (NBC)
· SIX DEGREES (ABC)
· STATE OF MIND (LIFETIME)
· STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS (SPIKE TV)
· UNTITLED LEARY & REO PROJECT (FOX)
· UNTITLED MIKE NEWELL PROJECT (ABC)
· UNTITLED PAUL MCKENNA PROJECT (SYNDICATION)
· UNTITLED VICTOR FRESCO PROJECT (FOX)





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