[03/01/13 - 11:51 PM]
Development Update: Friday, March 1
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!

ASSISTANCE (NBC/Universal; W: Leslye Headland; D: TBA) - Zach Cregger ("Guys With Kids") has signed onto the single-camera comedy pilot, about Nora Johnson (Krysten Ritter), a magnetic hyperactive workaholic who tries to juggle the demands of her long-time boyfriend (Peter Cambor), her smug work-husband and her powerful boss. He's set as the aforementioned work-husband, Seth Campbell, who has "the smug assuredness of either a soulmate or an arch-enemy." Said role is in second position to the recently wrapped NBC comedy. (Deadline.com)

BACKSTROM (CBS/20th; W: Hart Hanson; D: TBA) - Dennis Haysbert ("The Unit") is the first to be cast in the drama pilot, about Everett Backstrom, a homicide detective/equal-opportunity misanthrope. He'll play John Almond ("kind, warm"), a Portland Police detective who works alongside Backstrom. Said effort is based on Leif G.W. Persson's literary hero. (Deadline.com)

BETRAYAL (ABC/ABC Studios; W: David Zabel; D: Patty Jenkins) - Hannah Ware ("Boss") has snagged the female lead on the drama pilot, about Sara Hayward, a beautiful but unhappily married photographer who begins a torrid affair with Jack McCutchen (yet to be cast), a lawyer for a powerful family. She'll play said woman in the project, which also stars Henry Thomas. (Deadline.com)

BIG THUNDER (ABC/ABC Studios; T: Jason Fuchs; D: Rob Bowman) - Zahn McClarnon has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a 19th century doctor who relocates his family from New York City to frontier town Big Thunder after a mysterious mining tycoon offers to fund his research only to discover all is not what is seems. He's set as Bear, a strange looking Apache who is interested in a sacred moon necklace given to Jack (Pierce Gagnon) by the aforementioned tycoon, Abel White (yet to be cast). Ana De La Reguera also stars. (Deadline.com)

BLACKLIST, THE (NBC/Sony; W: Jon Bokenkamp: D: TBA) - Megan Boone ("Law & Order: LA") has booked a lead role on the drama pilot, about Raymond "Red" Reddington (yet to be cast), the world's most wanted criminal, who turns himself into the FBI and offers to give up everyone he has ever worked with in exchange for working with Elizabeth Keen, a newly minted agent whom he seemingly has no connection. She'll play said woman ("body of a dancer; spirit of a fighter; shades of a rebellious gutter punk past") in the hour. (Deadline.com)

BRENDA FOREVER (NBC/Sony; W: Andrew Leeds & David Lampson; D: David Wain) - Tony nominee Da'vine Joy Randolph ("Ghost") has been cast in the pilot, a high-concept comedy which follows the title role (Ellie Kamper) both as a 31-year-old woman and a 13-year-old girl. She'll play Pearl Gardner ("proud, dignified, even though her life is a total mess"), her friend since the seventh grade. (Deadline.com)

DELIRIUM (FOX/20th; W: Karyn Usher; D: TBA) - Former "So You Think You Can Dance" winner Jeanine Mason has been cast in the drama pilot, based on Lauren Oliver's book trilogy about a world where love - a.k.a. deliria - is deemed illegal and can be eradicated with a special procedure. She'll play Hana, the flirty best friend of Emma Roberts's Lena who likewise is about to undergo the aforementioned evaluation. Billy Campbell, Corey Reynolds and Daren Kagasoff also star. (Deadline.com)

ENLISTED (FOX/20th; W: Kevin Biegel; D: TBA) - Chris Lowell ("Private Practice") is the latest to board the comedy pilot, about three very different brothers (Geoff Stults, Parker Young, Lowell) working together in the Army at a small base in Florida. He'll play one of them, Corporal Derrick Waits, "a smart, cynical, shit-stirring instigator" who still has a chip on his shoulder about living in the shadow of his big brother, Pete (Stults). Keith David and Angelique Cabral also star in the single-camera project. (Deadline.com)

FRIENDS WITH BETTER LIVES (CBS/20th; W: Dana Klein; D: James Burrows) - Brooklyn Decker ("The League") has been cast in the multi-camera comedy pilot, about six thirtysomething friends who each think the other has it better. She'll play one of said sextet, Jules Talley ("beautiful, patient, kind, creative"), a former model whose acting career is not where she wants it to be. James Van Der Beek also stars. (Deadline.com)

GAFFIGAN (CBS/Sony; T: Peter Tolan; D: TBA) - Tongayi Chirisa ("Crusoe") has landed a role on the comedy pilot, about a husband and wife (Jim Gaffigan, Mira Sorvino) trying to raise their five kids in a New York two-bedroom apartment. He's on board as Father Nicholas Ngungumbane, a Catholic priest from Zimbabwe who's thrilled to be living in the States. Christian Barillas also stars in the single-camera project. (Deadline.com)

INTELLIGENCE (CBS/ABC Studios & CTS; W: Michael Seitzman; D: David Semel) - Former "CSI" star Marg Helgenberger has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about the U.S. Cyber Command and its key agent, Gabriel Black (Josh Holloway), who has a microchip implanted in his brain that allows him to access the entire electromagnetic spectrum. She's set as Lillian Strand ("strong, attractive features, piercing eyes and an all business demeanor"), the head of the aforementioned CyberCom. Also starring are James Martinez and Michael Rady. (Deadline.com)

LUCKY 7 (ABC/ABC Studios; W: Jason Richman & David Zabel; D: TBA) - Summer Bishil, Anastasia Phillips, Lorraine Bruce and Christine Evangelista have all scored roles on the drama pilot, about seven employees of a service station in Queens whose lives are changed in many unexpected ways when they win a $45 million lottery jackpot. The former trio will play three of said winners: Bishil as Samira, the daughter of a Pakistani gypsy cab driver who dreams of playing her violin at Carnegie Hall; Phillips as Leanne, a single mother to her seven-year-old daughter; and Bruce, who will reprise her role of Denise from the U.K. series "The Syndicate," a constant optimist. Evangelista then is set as Mary, who's pregnant with another winner, Matt's (yet to be cast), child. Isiah Whitlock, Jr. and Stephen Louis Grush also star. (Deadline.com)

MURDER IN MANHATTAN (ABC/ABC Studios; W: Maria Maggenti; D: Cherie Nowlan) - Annie Potts ("GCB") is set to star opposite Bridget Regan in the drama pilot, about a mother and daughter - Blythe and Lex Sutton (Bridget Regan) - who team up as amateur sleuths in New York City. She's set as the aforementioned mom, Blythe ("glamorous, sophisticated yet surprisingly down to earth"), whose previous husband - Lex's step-father - was murdered. Said role is actually in first position to her duties on the USA comedy pilot "Paging Dr. Freed." Brendan Hines and Enver Gjokaj also star. (Deadline.com)

NORMAL HEART, THE (HBO; W: Larry Kramer; D: Ryan Murphy) - Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory") and Taylor Kitsch ("Friday Night Lights") will join Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer in the original movie, about the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s, taking an unflinching look at the nation's sexual politics as gay activists and their allies in the medical community fought to expose the truth about the burgeoning epidemic to a city in denial. Parsons will play gay activist Tommy Boatwright, reprising his role from the 2011 Broadway revival; while Kitsch is set as Bruce Niles, a closeted investment banker who becomes a prominent AIDS activist. (Deadline.com)

ORDAINED, THE (CBS/CTS; W: Lisa Takeuchi Cullen; D: R.J. Cutler) - Audra McDonald ("Private Practice") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about Tom Reilly (Charlie Cox), the son of a Kennedy-esque family who leaves the priesthood and becomes a lawyer to prevent his politician sister from being assassinated. She'll play Anthea Washington ("runs triathlons for fun, chews up first-years for sport"), the lead litigator at Tom's new firm. Jorge Garcia and Nestor Serrano also star. (Deadline.com)

PULLING (ABC/ABC Studios; W: Gene Stupnitsky & Lee Eisenberg; D: TBA) - Matt Oberg ("Onion SportsDome") is the latest to board the single-camera comedy pilot, based on the U.K. series about three single thirtysomething women who live together after one breaks off her engagement the day before her wedding. He'll play Karl, the fiance of June Diane Raphael's Donna. Mandy Moore also stars as her pal Louise. (Deadline.com)

RECKLESS (ABC/ABC Studios; W: Chris Black; D: Martin Campbell) - Parminder Nagra ("Alcatraz") has snagged a role on the drama pilot, about David Ritter (Patrick Fugit), a resourceful engineer who will do anything - legal or otherwise - to get back his doctor wife Susan (Eloise Mumford) after she's trapped in East Myanmar during a military coup. She's on board as Susan Lee, ("cool, competent and extremely sharp"), the chief financial officer and most trusted advisor to Susan's father Tom (yet to be cast). Also previously cast are Ashton Holmes, Ernie Hudson and Lou Taylor Pucci. (Deadline.com)

REIGN (The CW/CTS; W: Laurie McCarthy & Stephanie Sengupta; D: Brad Silberling) - British actress Celina Sinden has snagged a role on the pilot, a period drama about the teenage years of Mary, Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane) in 1557 France. She's on board as Greer ("wealthy but lacking title"), one of Mary's three ladies-in-waiting. Toby Regbo also stars as Francis II. (Deadline.com)

RETURNED, THE (ABC/ABC Studios; W: Aaron Zelman; D: Charles McDougall) - Frances Fisher is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about a family that gets caught up in a worldwide event in which loved ones return from the dead exactly as they last were in life. She's set as Lucille Garland, the family's matriarch, who lost her son 32 years ago. Matt Craven also stars as her brother-in-law, their town's sheriff; with Devin Kelley as his daughter, a doctor. (Deadline.com)

TOMORROW PEOPLE, THE (The CW/Warner Bros.; T: Phil Klemmer; D: Danny Cannon) - Madeleine Mantock has been tapped for a role on the drama pilot, about young people from around the world who possesses special powers as a result of the next stage in human evolution. She'll play Astrid ("classically beautiful, effortlessly cool"), Stephen's (Robbie Amell) childhood friend who harbors romantic feelings for him. The ensemble also includes Luke Mitchell, Mark Pellegrino and Peyton List. (Deadline.com)

UNTITLED JOHN LEGUIZAMO PROJECT (ABC/ABC Studios; T: Jeff Astrof; D: TBA) - Andrea Savage has snagged a role on the multi-camera comedy pilot, which stars Leguizamo and is based on his life as a husband, father and fish out of water on New York's Upper West Side. She'll play his wife Juicy in the project, which also stars Luke Ganalon. (Deadline.com)

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY (NBC/Sony; W: Mike Sikowitz; D: TBA) - Mary McCormack, Ella Rae Peck and Aramis Knight have all been cast in the single-camera comedy pilot, about two teens - nervous over-talker Junior Hernandez and prickly feminist Molly Yoder - whose disparate families are bonded together after they fall in love and get pregnant. Peck will play the aforementioned Molly with McCormack as her mom, Katrina ("confident and together") and the previously cast Mike O'Malley as her dad, Dan. Knight then is set as Junior's 12-year-old brother, Demetrio. (Deadline.com)

WILD BLUE, THE (FOX/Sony; W: Taylor Elmore; D: Michael Dinner) - Josh Salatin, Will Rothhaar and Alano Miller are the first to board the drama pilot, about the lives of the men and women on board the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Lexington and her Strike Group of destroyers, cruisers and various tender ships. Salatin will play Derek "Vandal" Frehley ("pretty sure he's the hottest thing ever to kick in afterburners"); with Rothhaar as James, one of the flight deck Ordys who's smitten with pilot Pilar "Maytag" Robles (yet to be cast); and Miller as Joaquin Tate ("black, urban, Muslim"), a red-shirt Ordy who's sleeping with Sarah Curtis (yet to be cast), a junior officer. (Deadline.com)

AND IN OTHER NEWS... - "Mad Men" executive producers Andre and Maria Jacquemetton have inked an overall deal with Warner Bros. Television where they'll develop new series once production wraps on the show's sixth season (Deadline.com); and original "Dallas" star Victoria Principal has released a statement saying she won't reprise her role of Pamela Ewing - last seen in a fiery car crash - on the TNT reboot (Deadline.com).

  [october 2015]  


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