CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
ANONYMOUS REX (Sci Fi) - The long-in-the-works drama project is officially a go at the cable channel as Sci Fi has greenlighted production on a two-hour backdoor pilot as well as two additional scripts. "Rex" is based on a series of books by author Eric Garcia about a group of dinosaurs who have evolved to be six-feet tall and have integrated themselves into modern society by disguising themselves with human-looking latex costumes. Joe Menosky ("Star Trek: Voyager") will write the pilot script to the dramedy, which will use "Casual Rex," Garcia's prequel to "Anonymous Rex," as a template. The "Rex" series tells the story of Vincent Rubio, a high-tech private investigator who is also a Velociraptor. "Rex" has been in development for over three years at Sci Fi, as the project was originally announced in November of 2000. Production is set to begin in March with Julian Jarrold ("Great Expectations") directing.
THE COMPLETE ASSHOLE'S GUIDE TO LIFE (A.K.A. THE COMPLETE ASSHOLE'S GUIDE TO HANDLING CHICKS) (FOX) - The comedy has been retitled "The Complete Asshole's Guide to Life." Renegade 83, 20th Century Fox Television and Benderspink are all behind the project, which is being adapted from the book "The Complete Asshole's Guide to Handling Chicks" by Dan Indante & Karl Marks.
COVER GIRL (Lifetime, New!) - The cable channel has committed to a pilot script for a new drama series based on the true story of an affluent housewife who spent 20 years as an undercover P.I. without her family's knowledge. Renegade 83 ("Blind Date"), Lions Gate Television and Once Upon a Time Films are all behind the project, additional details of which are not available. Renegade's David Garfinkle and Jay Renfroe as well as the latter's wife, Maira Suro ("Platinum") who recently joined the company, are expected to executive produce.
DEADWOOD (HBO) - The pay channel's western has been scheduled to premiere on Sunday, March 21 at 10:00/9:00c following "The Sopranos." The series, which incorporates historical figures -- such as "Wild Bill" Hickok (Keith Carradine) and his sidekick Calamity Jane (Robin Weigert) -- with fictional characters, is set in the prospecting town of Deadwood and begins two weeks after the Battle of Little Bighorn.
EVERYDAY LIFE (A.K.A. UNTITLED ROB REINER PROJECT) (NBC) - Mary Gallagher ("Friends") and Josh Radnor ("The Court") have landed the lead roles in Rob Reiner's comedy pilot at the Peacock, which now features the title "Everday Life." The duo play a newlywed couple, both of whom are shrinks, who end up moving in with Radnor's character's family, comprised of more psychiatrists and other eclectic characters.
THE LARRY ELDER SHOW (A.K.A. UNTITLED LARRY ELDER PROJECT) (Syndication) - Warner Bros.-based Telepictures has confirmed the former "Moral Court" host's talk show is a firm go for fall 2004, announcing clearances on on Viacom-owned duopoly stations in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco, among others. No specific clearance rate was given however.
LAW & ORDER (NBC) - Michael Chernuchin has left his post as showrunner and executive producer of the series. Executive producer Matthew Penn and co-executive producers Eric Overmyer and Roz Weinman are said to be filling in for Chernuchin, who exited due to a "falling out" with the creator Dick Wolf according to The Hollywood Reporter. Chernuchin is now focused on developing new projects through his overall deal with Universal Network Television.
LIVING IT UP WITH ALI & JACK (Syndication) - Maureen Fitzpatrick has been added as a new executive producer on the struggling series. While distributor King World has two-year contracts for the talk show in most markets, rumors persist the show will be replaced by either Larry Elder or Steve Harvey's talk show on Viacom-owned stations come the fall.
THE OFFICE (NBC) - Steve Carrell ("The Daily Show," "Watching Ellie") is in talks to star in the U.S. version of the recent Golden Globe winning BBC comedy series. Carrell would play Michael Scott, the office's insufferable boss, a character based loosely on Ricky Gervais' David Brent in the U.K. version. (Gervais also took home a Golden Globe for best actor at the awards show last week.) While the network and the producers are reportedly eager to cast Carrell, he's currently attached to the Peacock's midseason comedy "Come to Papa." NBC executives are said to be looking into resolving the conflict. Meanwhile, Rainn Wilson ("Six Feet Under"), Jenna Fischer ("Undeclared") and John Kasinski have all signed onto the cast. Wilson will play an oddball named Dwight, Fischer a put-upon assistant named Pam and Kasinski a likeable character named Jim. Greg Daniels ("King of the Hill") is writing and executive producing the U.S. version, which unlike fellow import "Coupling" is not a script-by-script or character-by-character copy. Ben Silverman and Howard Klein are also executive producing the pilot, which comes from the former's Universal Network Television-based Silverman's Reveille.
PORNOCOPIA (Spike TV, New!) - Renegade 83 ("The Surreal Life") is developing a new weekly half-hour series at the cable channel which takes adult films and edits out the explicit stuff, leaving behind six-minute vignettes. No other details were available.
SCAMMERS (MTV, New!) - The cable channel is developing a new game show which follows contestants as they choose one of two "professionals" (one's a scammer and one's legit) to make their fantasies come true. Renegade 83 is producing the project, additional details of which were not given.
UNTITLED BLUE COLLAR COMEDY TOUR PROJECT (WB, New!) - The Frog has committed to six half-hour episodes of a new sketch comedy series featuring three comedians from the successful "Blue Collar Comedy Tour": Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy. Fax Bahr and Adam Small ("Mad TV," "The Jamie Kennedy Experiment") are set to executive produce the project, which will be shot in Atlanta, along with Foxworthy and "Blue Collar Tour" producer J.P. Williams. "What Keenan (Ivory Wayans) did for the urban set, we want Jeff, Bill and Larry to do for their enormous, loyal audience," Bahr and Small, who worked on Wayans' "In Living Color," told Daily Variety. No production schedule or target air date was given.
UNTITLED METHOD MAN/RED MAN PROJECT (FOX) - Beth Littleford ("The Daily Show"), Peter Jacobson ("A.U.S.A."), David Henry and Lahmard Tate ("Moesha") have all sign on to the comedy pilot featuring the rap duo. Regency Television is behind the project, which has Method Man and Red Man playing successful rap stars who move into a big house in a predominantly white New Jersey suburb and befriend a neighboring boy (played by Henry). Character details for Littleford, Tate and Jacobson were not given.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters