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[07/30/03 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: July 30
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:

DIVORCE COURT/TEXAS JUSTICE (Syndication) - 20th Century Fox Television has officially renewed both series for the 2003-04 season. Both had previously been cleared for the upcoming season on Fox owned-and-operated stations back in November 2002. This fall will mark the fifth season of "Divorce" (cleared in 94% of the country) while season three of "Justice" (cleared in 96% of the country) hits local stations in January. During May sweeps, "Divorce" averaged a 2.9 household rating, up 7% from the previous year while "Texas" remained consistent with its 2002 numbers, posting an average 2.2 rating. Both series will see some fresh blood as Laura Gelles ("Power of Attorney," "Judge Mathis," "Change of Heart") has been named an executive producer on the former with Karen Melamed ("Your Moment of Truth" and "The Oprah Winfrey Show") a co-executive producer on the latter.

MR. ED (FOX) - Despite no casting or production commitments, FOX executives are insisting the Jack Handey-scripted remake is still in development.

PLATONICALLY INCORRECT (ABC) - The Alphabet network has given the okay to Touchstone Television to produce a new pilot for the comedy, which stars Tom Everett Scott and A.J. Langer as best friends and co-hosts of a "Trading Spaces"-type cable access show. In addition, they've committed to a completely new second episode as well as some additional scripts all of which are targeted for ABC's midseason 2004 schedule. Gabe Sachs, Jeff Judah, Darlene Hunt, Michael Bostick and Tom Shadyac are the executive producers of the series.

THE SAVAGES - Fox Television Studios and Regency Television are looking to import the U.K. series for American audiences. British's comedy vets Beryl Vertue ("Coupling") and Simon Nye ("Men Behaving Badly") have signed on to executive produce the project with Nye writing the pilot script. The comedy revolves around a successful cartoonist and his travel agent wife, both of whom are coping with parenthood and living with the fomer's father. Vertue and Nye are expected to be paired with a U.S. executive producer as the development process furthers and the project is pitched to the networks.

UNTITLED FREDDIE PRINZE JR. PROJECT (MTV) - Freddie Prinze, Jr. (who recently scripted an episode of "Mutant X") has signed on to develop and co-write a teen movie comedy for the cable network. He'll partner with Conrad Jackson on the project, which will be executive produced by Stan Rogow ("Lizzie McGuire"). The untitled telefilm centers on a group of teenagers trying to throw a prom. MTV executives say the project takes a comedic look at how the traditional American rite of high school is changing with the increasing cultural diversity of the typical student body. The telefilm, unlike the network's recent fare, will not be a musical but will feature music heavily.

UNTITLED MICHAEL PILLER PROJECT (WB) - The Frog has given a script commitment to an untitled drama from Michael Piller ("The Dead Zone") about a girl in her late teens who ends up working with a racehorse. Lions Gate Television is behind the project, which would track the horse's development from rookie to champion. Undoubtedly the pickup comes on the heels of the popularity of the recent feature "Seabiscuit."

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters





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· CHANGE OF HEART (SYNDICATION)
· DEAD ZONE, THE (USA)
· DIVORCE COURT (SYNDICATION)
· FREDDIE (ABC)
· JUDGE MATHIS (SYNDICATION)
· MR. ED (FOX)
· MUTANT X (SYNDICATION)
· OPRAH WINFREY SHOW, THE (SYNDICATION)
· PLATONICALLY INCORRECT (ABC)
· POWER OF ATTORNEY (SYNDICATION)
· TEXAS JUSTICE (SYNDICATION)
· UNTITLED FREDDIE PRINZE, JR. PROJECT (MTV)
· WILDFIRE (ABC FAMILY)





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