[03/06/14 - 11:48 PM] Development Update: Thursday, March 6 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!
ELLEN MORE OR LESS (NBC/Universal; W: J.J. Philbin; D: Peyton Reed) - Chris Diamantopoulos ("Episodes") is the latest to be cast in the comedy pilot, about Ellen (Stacey McGunnigle), an average-size woman who, after losing 100 pounds, begins reinventing herself in life and love. He's set as Jerry, her impossibly handsome and charming co-worker. (Deadline.com)EMPIRE (FOX/20th; W: Danny Strong & Lee Daniels; D: Lee Daniels) - Rapper Bryshere Y. Gray has been cast in the pilot, a unique family drama set in the world of a hip-hop empire. He'll play Hakeem Lyon, the bad boy son of music superstar Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), who "might be the front-runner to head Empire Entertainment." Jussie Smollett and Taraji P. Henson also star. (Deadline.com)EXPOSED (ABC/Universal; W: Charles Randolph; D: TBA) - Fran Kranz ("Dollhouse") has scored a role on the drama pilot, about Anna Loach (yet to be cast), an investigative journalist who will stop at nothing to uncover the truth including making questionable alliances. He's on board as her hipster brother Jeremy, "a tech genius who runs a corporation and has top-secret security clearance." Brian F. O'Byrne, Sandrine Holt, Pedro Pascal and Peter De Jersey also star. (Deadline.com)MADAM SECRETARY (CBS/CTS; W: Barbara Hall; D: David Semel) - Bebe Neuwirth, Erich Bergen and Evan Roe have all snagged roles on the drama pilot, about the personal and professional life of maverick Secretary of State Elizabeth Faulkner McGill (Tea Leoni) as she drives international diplomacy, wrangles office politics and balances a complex family life. Neuwirth will play Nadine Tolliver, her Chief of Staff; with Bergen as Blake Calibrese, Elizabeth's young, Kennedy handsome assistant; and Roe as Adam, Elizabeth's 13-year-old son, a budding anarchist. Geoffrey Arend, Patina Miller and Tim Daly also star. (Deadline.com)OUTLAW PROPHET (Lifetime, New!) - Tony Goldwyn ("Scandal") is set to star as Warren Jeffs in an original movie about "the leader of a Fundamentalist Mormon polygamist sect who spent more than a year on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List." Said effort is based on Stephen Singular's New York Times best-selling book "When Men Become Gods" with Gabriel Range directing from a script by Art Monterastelli, Steve Kornacki and Bryce Kass. Sony Pictures Television is behind the hour with Judith Verno, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron executive producing. (THR.com)SAINT FRANCIS (ABC/ABC Studios; W: Christopher Moynihan; D: TBA) - Spencer Grammer ("Ironside") has booked the female lead on the comedy pilot, about Francis Quinlan (Michael Imperioli), a blue-collar, no-nonsense Long Island cop and family man who butts heads with the modern, liberal world when his 29-year-old sister gets pregnant out of wedlock. She's set as said sister, Heather, in the project, which also stars Henry Simmons and Paget Brewster. (Deadline.com)SALVATION (NBC/Universal; W: Liz Heldens; D: Jeffrey Reiner) - Ryan McPartlin ("Chuck") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, a family saga set against the backdrop of a Texas mega church where faith, family and corruption are explored in equal measure. He'll play Todd Bishop, Lilly's (Meg Steedle) Congressman husband, "an ambitious man whose political life keeps him from home, making him a bit of an absent husband and father." Ashley Judd, Emma Dumont, Jake Picking, Meg Steedle, Rob Brown, Stark Sands and Warren Kole also star. (Deadline.com)SELFIE (ABC/Warner Bros.; W: Emily Kapnek; D: Julie Anne Robinson) - David Harewood ("Homeland") is the latest to be cast in 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. He'll play Sam Saperstein, the off/crazy president of their company, Kinderlabs Pharmaceuticals. Allyn Rachel, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Karen Gillan and Tim Peper also star. (Deadline.com)UNTITLED KEVIN WILLIAMSON PROJECT (CBS/Warner Bros.; W: Kevin Williamson; D: Liz Friedlander) - Mariana Klaveno ("Devious Maids") has boarded the drama pilot, a psychological thriller centering around a pair of detectives who handle stalking incidents for the Threat Management Unit of the LAPD. She's set as Janice Lawrence, a flashy detective who can be underestimated, which is a mistake because she's usually the smartest person in the room. Dylan McDermott also stars. (Deadline.com)AND IN OTHER NEWS... - Isaiah Washington will return to "Grey's Anatomy" for a May episode that will mark the departure of fellow original co-star Sandra Oh (Deadline.com); Paul Reiser is set to recur on FX's new comedy "Married" as "the older love interest of co-star Jenny Slate's character" (Deadline.com); Michael Cerveris has been cast as "the charming and well-liked Cook County state's attorney" on "The Good Wife"(Deadline.com); "Hawaii Five-0" showrunner Peter M. Lenkov has inked a two-year overall deal with producer CBS Television Studios (Deadline.com); Steve Carell's Carousel Television and Jessica Biel's Iron Ocean Productions have both signed development deals with Universal Cable Productions (Deadline.com); and Entertainment One Television and Gary Oldman and Douglas Urbanski's Flying Studio are developing "The Diabolic," a serialized horror drama series (Deadline.com).