[02/26/14 - 11:58 PM] Development Update: Wednesday, February 26 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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AGATHA (ABC/ABC Studios; W: Tom Donaghy; D: Jace Alexander) - Christian Keyes ("Beauty and the Beast") has been cast in the drama pilot, about Agatha McAuliffe (yet to be cast), a former convict turned big city criminologist who is brought in to help local police - including her estranged chief detective father - crack a case involving a perplexing disappearance. He'll play Zane Leaveau, "a tattooed bad boy whom she just can't seem to stay away." Erik Palladino, Jee Young Han and Meta Golding also star. (Deadline.com)CLUB, THE (A.K.A. UNTITLED GRANT & RUSSELL PROJECT) (ABC/ABC Studios/CTS; W: David O. Russell & Susannah Grant; D: TBA) - Callie Hernandez (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) is the first to be cast in the drama pilot, an upstairs/downstairs soap set at a private country club. She'll play Ana, "who works at the club, secretly stealing and pawning off nice items from her workplace." In addition, co-creator David O. Russell has bowed out as an executive producer on the project. Said development reportedly won't affect its 13-episode order. (Deadline.com)COERCION (NBC/Universal; W/D: George Nolfi) - Kenneth Choi ("Ironside") is the latest to book a role on the drama pilot, about the O'Connor family and their son, Alex (Gavin Stenhouse), a decorated American war hero and CIA analyst who is a true patriot and loves his country and family. Unbeknownst to him, both of his parents (Hope Davis, TBA) and his sister (Margarita Levieva) are part of a dormant Russian sleeper cell that has just been reactivated. He's set as Sam Luttrell, the CIA station chief for New York. (Deadline.com)CRISTELA (ABC/20th; W: Cristela Alonzo & Kevin Hench; D: John Pasquin) - The Cristela Alonzo-led comedy - about an American Latina straddling two cultures while not fully belonging to either - has received a pilot presentation commitment from the Alphabet. Alonzo also co-wrote the multi-camera project alongside Kevin Hench, which tracks Cristela, "in her sixth year of law school and living rent-free with her sister and brother-in-law, as she hopes to land a prestigious law firm internship as her mother heckles her about getting a real job, her brother-in-law encourages her to move out and her sister runs low on patience." John Pasquin is attached to direct with Marty Adelstein, Shawn Levy and Becky Clements also among the executive producers. (Deadline.com)DAMAGED GOODS (ABC/Warner Bros.; W: Lauren Iungerich; D: Declan Lowney) - Justin Hartley and Ben Lawson have both been cast in the comedy pilot, about three damaged women and two damaged men who explore the minutiae of love and relationships. The former will play one of said fellows, the handsome and smart Tim, who is "hit hard when his girlfriend and law firm colleague gets the promotion he expected to get"; with the latter as Michael, "a smart, funny, good-natured, dermatologist." Steve Talley also stars. (Deadline.com)EMPIRE (FOX/20th; W: Danny Strong & Lee Daniels; D: Lee Daniels) - Taraji P. Henson ("Person of Interest") and Jussie Smollett have both been cast in the pilot, a unique family drama set in the world of a hip-hop empire. She'll play Cookie Lyon, "Lucious's (Terrence Howard) ex-wife and former business partner who spent 17 years in prison for dealing drugs"; while he's set as their middle son Jamal ("a sensitive soul and musical prodigy who could easily rise to superstardom if he desired"), "a gay man, he's been rejected and judged by his father since childhood." (Deadline.com)HIEROGLYPH (FOX/20th; W: Travis Beacham; D: Miguel Sapochnik) - John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings) has been tapped for a role on the upcoming drama, about a notorious thief who is plucked from prison to serve the Pharoah (Reece Ritchie), navigating palace intrigue, seductive concubines, criminal underbellies and even a few divine sorcerers. He'll play Vocifer, "Ambrose's one-time mentor who was a dashing thief back in his day." Antony Bunsee, Caroline Ford, Condola Rashad, Kelsey Chow and Reece Ritchie also star. (Deadline.com)MESSENGERS, THE (The CW/CTS; W: Eoghan O'Donnell; D: TBA) - Sofia Black-D'Elia and Joel Courtney are the first to board the drama pilot, about a group of unconnected strangers who seemingly die from an energy pulse, only to awaken to learn that they have been deemed responsible for preventing the impending Apocalypse." She'll play Erin Connors, "who despite the stresses in her life, is eager to make a new life for herself and her young daughter far away from her hot-headed ex-husband"; while he's set as Peter White, "a loner who was raised in a group home and is bullied constantly." (Deadline.com)MISSION CONTROL (NBC/Universal; W: David Hornsby; D: TBA) - Michael Rosenbaum ("Smallville") has been cast in the comedy pilot, which examines what happens when Mary, a strong woman, butts heads with Tom (yet to be cast), a macho astronaut, in the race to land on the moon in 1962. He's on board as astronaut Bus, a jock and high status idiot. Jonathan Slavin and Malcolm Barrett also star. (Deadline.com)OLD SOUL (NBC/Universal; W: Amy Poehler, Jon Fener & Josh Bycel; D: David Wain) - Fred Willard ("Modern Family") is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, about Nadia (Natasha Lyonne), a young woman who's trying to find herself, but in the meantime she's working as the aide to a group of elderly people. He's set as Hector, "a veteran Broadway songwriter who has been joyously married to Rita (Rita Moreno), his writing partner, for more than 50 years." Greta Lee, Nick Thune and Rita Moreno also star. (Deadline.com)SAVE THE DATE (CBS/ABC Studios/CTS; W: Jackie Filgo & Jeff Filgo; D: Pamela Fryman) - Michelle Trachtenberg, Tom Bennett and Julie White have all booked roles on the comedy pilot, about 35-year-old and newly single Katie (Maggie Lawson), who drunkenly books a wedding venue and now is faced with the task of meeting the right man in time. Trachtenberg will play Hillary, Katie's buttoned-down, no-nonsense sister "who is sharing an apartment with her"; with Bennett as Roger, Hillary's weatherman handsome, salt of the earth boyfriend of four years; and White as Connie, Katie and Hillary's vibrant, very attractive mother. (Deadline.com)SELFIE (ABC/Warner Bros.; W: Emily Kapnek; D: Julie Anne Robinson) - Allyn Rachel ("Weeds") has landed a role on the comedy pilot, about Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan), a self-obsessed 20-something woman who enlists the help of Henry Higenbottam (yet to be cast), a marketing expert at her company to help repair her tarnished image after she becomes the subject of a viral video. She's on board as Bryn, her adorable neighbor, a hipster girl's girl. Also starring are Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Karen Gillan and Tim Peper also star. (Deadline.com)AND IN OTHER NEWS... - VH1 has reportedly given its Laura Ramsey-led drama pilot "Hindsight," from writer Emily Fox and director Michael Trim, a 10-episode series order (Deadline.com); "Strike Back" will take a six-month break from filming after co-star Sullivan Stapleton "suffered a serious injury while exploring the town in his free time" (Deadline.com); Rick Eid has been tapped as showrunner of Lifetime's "The Lottery" as part of a new two-year overall deal with producer Warner Bros. Television (Deadline.com); Entertainment Studios has cleared "America's Court With Judge Ross" in 85% of the country for seasons five and six (Deadline.com); Melody Thomas Scott will guest on "The Crazy Ones" in an unspecified role (TVGuide.com); and newcomer Mackenzie Marsh is bound for "The Following" as "a woman with anger issues (naturally) who forms an attachment to the escaped serial killer" (TVGuide.com).