CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
THE CUT (ABC, New!) - Writer Jason Cahill ("The Sopranos") and director Gregory Hoblit ("Hart's War") have landed a script commitment for a new drama series targeted for fall 2004. The duo will serve as executive producers on the Paramount Television-based project along with actress/producer Debrah Farentino. The ensemble drama focuses on the personal lives and professional struggles of first-year med students in Boston. Farentino, who is married to Hoblit, is credited with coming up with the premise for the series after hearing stories from her friends who teach at the UCLA Medical School.
ER (NBC) - Former "Freaks & Geeks" star Linda Cardellini has joined the cast of the long-running medical drama. She'll play Samantha Taggart, a 25-year-old nurse who's also a single mom. The addition was the result of a talent deal the actress signed with executive producer John Wells. Her first appearance is set for the fifth episode this season.
EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND (CBS) - The strife on the set of the CBS comedy continued this week as actress Patricia Heaton returned to work yesterday only to see co-stars Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle call in sick. Roberts cited a leg injury for her absence, while Boyle's reason was unknown, however he has a history of health problems. The news comes shortly after Brad Garrett's decision to hold out from working in order to try and renegotiate his contract. Heaton, Boyle and Roberts (all of whom are repped by the same attorney) have all reportedly expressed similar disastifaction with their current salaries and are not happy with co-creators Ray Romano and Phil Rosenthal's expected decision to end the series after the upcoming season. While it's entirely possible all of this is coincidental, CBS and the producers of the series are taking the news quite seriously. Roberts and Boyle's no-show will already push production back even further and it's not clear when they will return.
THE SIMPSONS (FOX) - Hank Azaria has won this year's Emmy for voiceover performance, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced Monday. He was recognized for his work on last season's episode "Moe Baby Blues," in which bartender Moe takes a shine to baby Maggie. The news marks Azaria's fourth Emmy win: he won two previously in the voiceover category and one for supporting actor in the ABC telefilm "Tuesdays With Morrie." The voiceover category is a juried decision, hence there are no other nominees. Azaria will be recognized at next month's Creative Arts Emmy ceremony.
UNTITLED HOLLOW MEN PROJECT (Comedy Central, New!) - Dave Foley has signed on to executive produce a pilot for the cable channel featuring the British sketch comedy group the Hollow Men. Foley will assemble a writing staff and provide advise on sketch lineups for the potential series. The group caught Foley's attention during a May showcase at the Comedy Central Stage in Los Angeles. John Moffitt ("Mr. Show") has also signed on to executive produce the project and will direct the in-studio pieces of the pilot while commercials director Danny Boyle will helm the remotes.
THE WEST WING (NBC) - Gary Cole ("The Brady Bunch Movie") is all set as the new vice president on the Peacock's drama series. He'll play Robert "Bingo Bob" Russell, a Colorado congressman who's appointed to the vacant position and immediately puts into action a few unconventional ideas. His character is expected to make several appearances this season with his first being the show's third installment this year. Cole takes over the VP role from Tim Matheson's character, John Hoynes, who resigned over a sex scandal late last season.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters