CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (FOX) - Directors Anthony and Joe Russo ("Lucky") have signed a one-year overall development deal with with 20th Century Fox Television. As part of the pact they'll helm at least four episodes of the upcoming FOX comedy, in addition to the pilot episode shot by the duo. They're also set to develop, write, direct and executive produce other series projects for the studio.
CANINE COMPANIONS - Stone Stanley Entertainment ("The Mole," "The Man Show") is looking to get back into the scripted series game as the company has pacted with actor Stephen Baldwin to develop the single-camera comedy about an unlikely male escort. The project revolves around a naive young Southerner named Cole who moves to New York to attend college and ends up working for a dog-walking service that's actually a front for an escort agency servicing an upscale female client base. Baldwin himself will have a supporting role on the series (likely a somewhat mysterious building superintendent who befriends Cole), which he created and will executive produce along with Scott Stone, David Stanley and manager-production partner Alex D'Andrea. Specific details beyond that are sketchy however the producers are hoping the show ends up offering a sense of the family among Cole and his fellow hustlers and bosses. The company is currently talking to writers to pen the pilot script for the series before shopping the project to the networks.
GROUNDED FOR LIFE (WB) - Executive producers Bill Martin and Mike Schiff have signed a two-year, seven-figure development deal at Warner Bros. Television. They're set to develop and produce new sitcoms for the studio. Currently the duo will executive produce the upcoming fourth season of "Grounded" while simultaneously creating projects for Warner Bros. TV. It's not clear however if the pair will stick with the series come next season should the pact grow into a series commitment at the networks.
MARTHA STEWART LIVING (Syndication) - Linda Corradina has joined the show's parent company Martha Stewart Living Television as senior VP and executive producer. The former Oxygen Media executive will executive produce "Living" and cable shows "From Martha's Kitchen" and "From Martha's Home."
PARADISE (Showtime) - David Strathairn ("Limbo," "Passion Fish") is in talks to star in the pay channel's drama pilot set in the world of televangelists. The project centers on a world-renowned televangelist (Strathairn), an astronaut-turned-preacher on the brink of crisis. The drama hopes to provide a behind-the-scenes look at the lucrative business of TV preachers. Oscar-winning writer-turned-director Frank Pierson ("Conspiracy") is attached to direct the pilot, one of the last greenlighted by former Showtime production president Jerry Offsay. Norman Steinberg ("Doctor Doctor") and Richard Christian Matheson ("Amazing Stories") are also on board as executive producers.
UNTITLED JEANIE BUSS PROJECT - The life of Los Angeles Lakers executive VP Jeanie Buss, the daughter of Lakers owner Jerry Buss, is being developed as a possible television series. Buss herself has pacted with Pariah to create a drama about a woman high up in the hierarchy of an NBA basketball team. Sort of a "West Wing" take on running a sports franchise, the project is executive produced by Gavin Polone under his NBC-based Pariah banner with filmmaker Audrey Wells ("Guinevere") on tap to write and direct. Also on board as an executive producer is Buss' producing partner, Linda Rambis, wife of former Lakers star Kurt Rambis, who is currently the team's assistant coach. NBA Entertainment will also lend an assist on the project, in order to give the series an air of authenticity. The NBA's involvement allows the series to take place in the "real" NBA instead of a fake basketball league. The producers hope to shop the project to networks this summer.
UNTITLED ROSANNA ARQUETTE PROJECT (ABC Family) - Rosanna Arquette (a recent guest on "The Practice" and "Will & Grace") has signed with the cable channel to develop a half-hour scripted comedy based on her life. The untitled project will star Arquette and her real-life best friend Kimberly Beck Clark, as they try to balance their Hollywood lifestyles with motherhood. Holly Goldberg Sloan ("The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course") is on board to write the pilot, one of six comedy half-hours in development at the cable chnanel. ABC Family has plans to pick up at least two scripted series for its midseason 2004 schedule.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters