CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
BOSTON PUBLIC (FOX) - Newcomer Natalia Baron has joined the cast of the David E. Kelley drama, which moves to Fridays at 9:00/8:00c this fall. She'll play Carmen Torres, a young, idealistic and unapologetic rookie teacher just out of college who joins the staff of Boston's Winslow High.
ROME (HBO, New!) - The pay channel is close to greenlighting a new drama series set in ancient Rome. Oscar-nominated screenwriter John Milius ("Apocalypse Now") and William J. MacDonald ("The Saint") have signed on to executive produce the project along with creator Bruno Heller ("The Huntress"). Location scouting in Europe for the series, which was originally eyed as a mini-series, has been completed however producers are waiting for final approval on a budget acceptable to HBO.
THAT '70S SHOW (FOX) - Shannon Elizabeth ("American Pie") has signed on to guest star in two episodes of the comedy series' upcoming sixth season with an option to appear in another two. She'll play a new love interest of Ashton Kutcher's character. The news extends Elizabeth's relationship with FOX as she signed a talent holding deal with the network last fall.
THE TWELVE (Sci Fi, New!) - Martin Scorsese has signed on to executive produce a new mini-series for the channel. The project, targeted to premiere in 2005, chronicles an F.B.I. agent's confrontation with a bizarre series of events he suspects to be signs of an impending apocalypse timed for the Twelfth Day of Christmas. David Pirie wrote the script for the mini-series (originally planned for the BBC) and is expected to remain on the project at Sci Fi. Currently set to run at least six hours, the mini-series marks yet another high-profile creator coming to work for the channel. Already in the works are "Red Mars" from Gale Anne Hurd ("The Hulk") and "The Triangle" from Dean Devlin ("Independence Day") and Bryan Singer ("X2: X-Men United").
UNTITLED ROCKET SCIENCE PRODUCTIONS PROJECT (FOX, New!) - FOX has signed a seven-figure, multi-year development deal with the company which is behind such series as "Joe Millionaire" and "Temptation Island." The pact, which keeps the company exclusive to FOX, includes a blind series commitment from the network as well as the opportunity to develop scripted series for FOX. Rocket Science toppers Jean-Michel Michenaud and Chris Cowan didn't outline any specific plans.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters