[10/02/03 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: October 2
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

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

BEAUTIFUL GIRL (ABC Family) - The cable channel has scheduled the telefilm for Sunday, October 19 at 8:00/7:00c. According to the network's press release, "Girl" tells "the story of an unlikely beauty pageant contestant who takes the pageant world by storm with her undeniable spunk and incredible voice." 2003 Tony Award winner Marissa Jaret Winokur, Fran Drescher and Mark Consuelos topline the cast.

CARNIVALE (HBO) - The first season of the dark drama is scheduled to wrap on Sunday, November 30 at 9:00/8:00c. So far this season the drama has averaged 3.6 million viewers. The series bowed on September 14 to 5.3 million viewers.

EPOCH: EVOLUTION (Sci Fi) - The sequel to the well-received "Epoch" is set to air Saturday, November 29 at 9:00/8:00c. David Keith ("Deep Shock"), Billy Dee Williams and Playboy Playmate Angel Boris ("Interceptor Force") star in the second installment which has the Torus, a towering "substance-structure," returning to Earth.

FAULT LINE (ABC, New!) - The Alphabet network has given a put pilot commitment to a new drama from former "Law & Order" executive producer Barry Schindel and "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" director Jonathan Mostow. The project revolves around a former federal agent who's partnered with a female detective in Los Angeles. Not surprisingly both have their different styles: she's a by-the-book investigator while he's interested in figuring out why a crime has been committed, not just the who and how. Schindel and Mostow will team with "T3's" Hal Lieberman as executive producers on the drama with Mostow set to direct.

FIRST COMES LOVE (NBC, New!) - The Peacock has lined up "Boston Public" star Michael Rapaport for a new comedy project for the network. Rapaport will co-write the comedy, which has a pilot commitment, with writer/producer Les Firestein ("Wanda at Large"). The pair describe the project as an interracial take on "When Harry Met Sally" which examines the relationship of a young couple who has just moved in together after dating for a few months. The territory isn't entirely new for Rapaport who as a young actor starred in drama "Zebrahead," which touched on similar themes. It's not clear which studio is behind "First."

INSOMNIA (ABC, New!) - After birthing "Karen Sisco" from the feature "Out of Sight," ABC is looking to do it again with the recent Al Pacino film "Insomnia." The Alphabet network has given a put pilot commitment to Warner Bros. Television and Alcon Entertainment for a new drama focusing on Hilary Swank's character, Det. Ellie Burr. The film's writer, Hillary Seitz, is set to write the pilot and will executive produce with Jack Orman ("ER"), who will serve as showrunner should it go to series. The series won't be a direct sequel or prequel to the feature, it will simply be a law enforcement ensemble set in the Alaskan frontier with Burr's character at the center. Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove are the executive producers for Alcon/Warner Bros. Television.

K STREET (HBO) - The political drama will wrap its first season run on Sunday, November 16 at 10:00/9:00c. Through three episodes this season, the political reality series has averaged 2.4 million viewers. The series bowed to 3.0 million viewers on September 14.

SCOTT TUROW'S REVERSIBLE ERRORS (CBS) - Shemar Moore ("Birds of Prey"), Monica Potter and Felicity Huffman ("Out of Order") are set to join William H. Macy and Tom Selleck in the Eye's four-hour miniseries, based on author Scott Turow's legal thriller of the same name. The project, which comes from Von Zerneck/Sertner Films, centers on Arthur Raven (Macy), a corporate lawyer who reluctantly takes on a 10-year-old triple-murder case after being appointed by the court to handle the last-minute appeal of the convicted killer, who is on death row. Another inmate's (Moore) confession to the crime triggers Raven's quest for the truth in the case.

SHUT UP AND LISTEN (A.K.A. UNTITLED TONY KORNHEISER PROJECT) (CBS) - Jason Alexander will play Washington Post sports columnist Tony Kornheiser is a sitcom based on the latter's life. The project, which has been in development since last season, had been hampered up until this point by casting issues. Alexander's involvement triggered a greenlight on production of the pilot, which is could be ready in time for midseason consideration but more likely will be targeted for fall 2004. Executive producing the pilot, which comes from Regency Television are Lindy DeKoven, Jeff Martin ("The Simpsons") and Andy Ackerman ("Seinfeld"). Ackerman is set to direct the pilot script written by Martin. As part of his pact, Alexander will also receive a producing credit as well as a development deal with the network should the pilot not go forward to series.

STEALING CHRISTMAS (USA) - The Tony Danza-led holiday comedy is set to air Sunday, November 30 at 8:00/7:00c.

TEEN WOLF (UPN, New!) - The netlet is developing a new drama series with Warner Bros. Television loosely based on the 1985 Michael J. Fox feature of the same name. UPN is hoping to transition the franchise from its comedic roots to a more black humor/fantasy-driven series a la "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." The new take will still however feature a college student who discovers that he's a werewolf. The network has committed to a pilot script from veteran TV director Terry Hughes ("Friends," "3rd Rock From the Sun") and writer Ron Milbauer ("Idle Hands") for the series. Warner Bros. Television acquired the rights to "Teen Wolf" from MGM, which owns the original feature.

PLAYMAKERS (ESPN) - The football drama has averaged a solid but unspectacular 2.2 million viewers to date, not too far from its 2.7 million viewer start in August.

THAT '70S SHOW (FOX) - Alyson Hannigan ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") has signed on to appear on two episodes of the show's upcoming season. She'll play a new recruit in the police academy where Kelso (Ashton Kutcher) is also enrolled. The news marks Hannigon's first TV role since "Buffy" wrapped in May.

UNTITLED GREG BEHRENDT PROJECT (NBC, New!) - Comic Greg Behrendt ("Sex and the City") is set to team with writer Alan J. Higgins ("Senior White," "Cracking Up," "Malcolm in the Middle") and Lorne Michaels' Broadway Video for a new half-hour comedy at the Peacock. The project is the first output by Broadway since JoAnne Alfano ("The Tracy Morgan Show") took over the company's TV reigns after exiting NBC. Alfano teamed Behrendt, who had a talent holding deal last year with NBC, and Higgins to create and executive produce the sitcom, which has a premium script commitment from the network as well as a penalty attached should it not go to pilot. Behrendt told Daily Variety the series is "a 38-year-old man's coming-of-age story." Adding, "It's about a guy who in the last three years has gotten sober, found this fantastic woman in his life and had a child. He realizes the things that were important aren't as important as before."

UNTITLED JIMMY SMITS PROJECT (NBC, New!) - Jimmy Smits ("N.Y.P.D. Blue") is attached to star in an untitled NBC drama from Warner Bros. Television about a Los Angeles private investigator who fixes problems for the rich and famous. Writer David Mills ("Kingpin," "The Corner") and uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer ("C.S.I.") are said to be behind the project, details of which should be released shortly.

UNTITLED ROBERT SCHIMMEL/HOWARD STERN PROJECT (WB, New!) - Robert Schimmel and Howard Stern are set to team for a new comedy series about Schimmel's experience of falling in love with his daughter's friend after winning his fight with cancer three years ago. The untitled comedy, which has a pilot commitment, will tell the real-life story of Schimmel, who married a friend of his 25-year-old daughter, Jessica, and found himself living under the same roof with his grown-up daughter, his new wife and their newborn baby. WB topper Jordan Levin approached the duo after hearing Schimmel's story on Stern's radio show. The show, which is looking for a writer, is a comeback for Schimmel, whose newly picked-up series at FOX had to be scrapped after he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2000.

UNTITLED SIMON COWELL/TED HARBERT PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Simon Cowell ("American Idol") is looking to get into the scripted game as the prolific reality producer has pacted with the network and 20th Century Fox Television-based producer Ted Harbert for an hourlong music-themed drama. Writers Chris Lynch ("Unhappily Ever After") and Loren Segan ("Guiding Light") are set to write the pilot script, which will be set at a Los Angeles version of the Julliard School. In addition to following the personal stories of the students and faculty, the producers plan to add an "American Idol"-esque subplot throughout its first 13 episodes focusing on a competition to find the best performer in the school although there will be no voting by the viewers. While still in the early stages of development, the producers hope the first season will end with a live episode in which the winner of the fake competition is crowned.

WANDA AT LARGE (FOX) - Executive producers Brian Hargrove and Jack Kenny ("Titus") are set to exit the sophomore comedy series after 13 episodes. The pair's split from the Warner Bros. Television-produced series was reportedly due to the mutual desires of all parties involved. It's expected Hargrove and Kenny will turn their attention to developing new projects for the studio. With Hargrove and Kenny gone, Bruce Helford will remain as the sole showrunner but will likely look for replacements for the duo, who joined the series over the summer.

WILDER DAYS (TNT) - The Peter Falk-led telefilm is set to air Sunday, October 19th at 8:00/7:00c. According to the network's press release "Days" is an "adventurous drama about the challenges and rewards of maintaining family connections and keeping the magic of childhood alive." Also starring are Tim Daly ("The Object of My Affection"), Josh Hutcherson ("Miracle Dogs") and Kate Vernon ("Malcolm X"). The project is the third pairing of TNT and Johnson & Johnson. The first, "Door to Door," recently took home several Emmys.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [october 2003]  

· ER (NBC)

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