CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
BECK & CALL (UPN) - The netlet has greenlighted a pilot presentation for the project, a drama set in the New York fashion world, as seen through the personal lives of the industry's executives and assistants. Dan Bucatinsky ("All Over the Guy") wrote the script to the pilot, which will be executive produced by Greer Shephard and Michael Robin ("Nip/Tuck") for Warner Bros. Television. Bucatinsky's production partner Lisa Kudrow ("Friends") is also reportedly in talks to come aboard as an executive producer.
FRANKENSTEIN (USA, New!) - Martin Scorsese and author Dean Koontz are looking to resurrect Mary Shelley's Dr. Frankenstein and his monster as a weekly series for the cable channel. The duo has teamed with director Marcus Nispel ("Texas Chainsaw Massacre") and producer Tony Krantz ("24," "Felicity") on the project, which has been given a production green light to produce a two-hour pilot as well as four additional scripts. The producers however are operating under the assumption all six hours of the series will be completed in time for a fall 2004 launch. Scorsese, Koontz and Krantz will executive produce the project throught the latter's Warner Bros. Television-based Flame Television with Nispel directing the two-hour pilot. Casting is expected to begin next week for a mid-April production start date. As for plot specifics, the series is expected to take place in present-day Seattle with both Dr. Frankenstein and his monster surviving the past two centuries thanks to genetic engineering on both subjects. The two are then discovered by a female cop and her partner through a routine homicide investigation. Over the course of the pilot, Frankenstein's monster joins forces with the cops and will combat Dr. Frankenstein and his other creations in successive weeks. Koontz himself wrote the two-hour pilot and is expected to write the additional scripts as well.
THE GROWING PAINS MOVIE 2 (ABC, New!) - The Alphabet is fast-tracking a second reunion movie for the series, which originally ran on ABC from 1985-92. Writers Christina Lynch and Loren Segan ("Noah's Ark") are behind the telefilm which is expected to begin shooting next month for a May sweeps air date. The project apparently has been in development for some time as the original reunion movie, which aired in November 2000, attracted 15.1 million viewers and a 5.8 rating/14 share among adults 18-49. Executive producers Mark Bacino and Jim Green are back to produce the new installment which finds the Seaver kids (Kirk Cameron, Tracey Gold, Jeremy Miller, Ashley Johnson) up in arms after their parents (Alan Thicke, Joanna Kerns) decide to sell the family house. Kerns, who has gone on to be a successful TV director, will helm the Warner Bros. Television project. Chelsea Noble also stars, as Mike's wife Kate.
IT MUST BE LOVE (A.K.A. SURVIVING LOVE) (CBS) - The Eye has scheduled the telefilm, which stars Ted Danson ("Becker") and Mary Steenburgen ("Joan of Arcadia"), for Sunday, February 15 at 9:00/8:00c. The drama "revolves around a long-married couple on the verge of divorce who rediscover their love for each other during a freak snowstorm," according to a network press release.
MONK (USA) - 6.0 million viewers (4.6 household rating) tuned into "Monk's" first original episode of 2004 on Friday, making it the most-watched episode of the series to date. In addition, the series posted a 2.4 rating in adults 18-49 and a 3.2 rating in adults 25-54, good enough to beat beat CBS' "The Handler" in the latter in tie it in the former. Both scores were also up 14% from its second season premiere this past June.
NIKKI & NORA (UPN, New!) - Writer/producers Nancylee Myatt ("Living Single") and Leonard Dick ("Tarzan") have landed a pilot commitment from UPN for a new drama about two lesbian private detectives based in New Orleans. The duo will executive the project for Warner Bros. Television.
RAISING WAYLON (CBS) - The telefilm, which stars Thomas Gibson ("Dharma & Greg"), Poppy Montgomery ("Without a Trace") and Doris Roberts ("Everybody Loves Raymond"), has been scheduled for Sunday, February 22 at 9:00/8:00c. According to a CBS press release, in the romantic comedy, "two people discover many surprising things about themselves and each other when they unexpectedly become the parents of their pint-sized godchild."
REAL WORLD/ROAD RULES CHALLENGE (MTV) - The eighth season of the reality series, which will feature the subtitle "The Inferno," is set to premiere Monday, February 2 at 10:00/9:00c. MTV also plans to air a special preview of the new season, "Battle Scars: From The Gauntlet to The Inferno" on Monday, January 26 at 10:00/9:00c. Cast members for the new season include: Mike (New York), Syrus (Boston), Coral (New York), Julie (New Orleans), Ace (Paris), David (Seattle), Trishelle (Las Vegas), Chris (Paris), Mallory (Paris) and Leah (Paris) from "The Real World" and Kendal (Campus Crawl), Veronica (Semester at Sea), Katie (The Quest), Darrell (Campus Crawl), Timmy (Road Rules Season 2), Jeremy (South Pacific), Shane (Campus Crawl), Holly (Latin America), Christena (South Pacific) and Abram (South Seas) from "Road Rules."
UNTITLED KATHRYN BIGELOW PROJECT (FOX) - Director Kathryn Bigelow's untitled drama pilot has been given a production green light by the network. The project, which comes from 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television, centers on a woman who goes undercover inside a high school. Todd and Glenn Kessler ("Robbery Homicide Division") are writing the pilot, which previously had a put pilot commitment at FOX. Imagine's Brian Grazer and David Nevins will executive produce along with the Kesslers and Bigelow, who will direct. Bigelow's untitled project joins the similarly themed "Hollywood Division," from Universal Network Television, on FOX's pilot slate.
UNTITLED JASON HORWITCH PROJECT (A.K.A. UNTITLED LANDSCAPE ENTERTAINMENT PROJECT) (NBC) - The Peacock has given a cast-contingent pilot commitment to Bob Cooper and Scott Vila's Landscape Entertainment for a new drama about a man who unravels medical mysteries. Jason Horwitch ("The Pentagon Papers") will write and executive produce the project, which will be co-produced by NBC Studios. The pick-up fulfills NBC's three-for-one deal with Landscape to develop three projects for the network, one of which would ultimately go to pilot (read the story). Cooper and Vila will executive produce along with Horwitch.
VERONICA MARS (UPN) - Joel Silver has come on board to executive produce the project, which has received a green light to produce a pilot. Rob Thomas ("Cupid") will write and executive produce the project, a drama about a spoiled teen girl who reunites with her estranged, down-on-his-luck father and ends up helping with his detective agency. Silver's Warner Bros.-based Silver Pictures is behind the project.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters