[02/18/04 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: February 18
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

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

Looking to keep track of all the various pilots and other projects in development? Be sure to check out our detailed production chart listings by clicking here.

THE AMAZING WESTERBERGS (CBS) - Jay Harrington ("Coupling") is set to star alongside Chris O'Donnell in the comedy pilot, which revolves around two brothers who grew up thinking they were special but must now face the reality that they're just ordinary. Jay Sherick and David Ronn ("Spin City") are behind the project, a co-production of Sony Pictures Television and CBS Productions.

THE CLUBHOUSE (CBS) - Christopher Lloyd ("Back to the Future") has joined the ensemble cast of the pilot, a coming-of-age drama about a New York Yankees batboy (Marc Donato). He'll play a retired baseball coach in the project, which also stars Dean Cain, Mare Winningham, Kirsten Storms, Dan Byrd and JD Pardo. Daniel Cerone ("Charmed") and Gavin O'Connor ("Miracle") are writing and directing the pilot respectively, which is set up at Mel Gibson's Icon Productions and Spelling Television.

THE CONTENDER (New!) - Mark Burnett ("Survivor"), Jeffrey Katzenberg and Sylvester Stallone are developing a new reality series which focuses on a nationwide search for a new boxing superstar. The project, which is set up at Katzenberg's DreamWorks Television, is also seen as a possible launching pad for a new boxing federation independent of current organizations and headed up by the trio. The group sees said new federation as a chance to breathe new life into the often troubled sport. Burnett, Katzenberg and Stallone are reportedly pitching the series, which is being targeted for a January 2005 start, to several broadcast networks in the coming week, starting with CBS and FOX. In addition, despite the obvious parallels considering the talent involved, "The Contender" will not be linked in any way with MGM/UA's "Rocky."

DANCE 360 (Syndication, New!) - The Viacom Station Groups have picked up a new competitive hip-hop dance show targeted for a fall 2004 launch. The half-hour project, hosted by Kel Mitchell ("Keenan and Kel") and Fredo Starr ("Moesha"), features dancers battling each other to win the approval of an audience seated in the round. Hat to the Back Productions is behind the series, which was originally developed for Viacom's UPN stations and L.A. independent station KCAL, which also will carry the show. Claude Brooks and Ralph Farquhar are the executive producers of "Dance," which will be distributed by Paramount Domestic Television.

DEAL OR NO DEAL (ABC) - The Alphabet has scheduled the U.S. version of the popular international game show format for Wednesday, March 10 at 9:00/8:00c. The series will run for four weeks, bridging the gap between the end of the second season of "The Bachelorette" and the launch of the fifth season of "The Bachelor," which bows in April. "Deal or No Deal" is a combination of "Let's Make a Deal" and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" in which 100 contestants (who also double as the show's studio audience) battle down to one studio audience member who ultimately gets a shot at taking home $2 million. Endemol USA ("Extreme Makeover: Home Edition") is behind the project, which will be executive produced by John DeMol.

DEMARCO AFFAIRS (A.K.A. UNTITLED JASON KATIMS/DAVID E. KELLEY PROJECT) (ABC) - Selma Blair ("Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane," "Cruel Intentions") is the first to join the cast of David E. Kelley and Jason Katim's drama pilot at the Alphabet, which now features the title "DeMarco Affairs." Blair will play the middle child of three sisters who inherit their family's full-service wedding planning business, who is a pillar of strength on the outside but vulnerable on the inside. 20th Century Fox TV and David E. Kelley Productions are behind the pilot, which is being directed by Michael Dinner.

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC) - Teri Hatcher ("Lois & Clark") is the latest "housewife" to sign on to the drama pilot, a darkly humorous look at the secretive lives of four women living in an Anytown, USA, cul-de-sac. She'll play Susan, a lonely woman woman who has been divorced for two years and lives with her daughter. Hatcher joins the previously cast Felicity Huffman and Eva Longoria in the project, which is set up at Touchstone Television and executive produced by Marc Cherry, Michael Edelstein and Charles Platt.

DIRECTOR'S CUT (AMC, New!) - Producers Matt Morchower and Dave Kaufman have landed a one-hour pilot commitment from the cable channel for a new reality series that gives feature directors $10,000 and 24 hours to set the scene for an individual's life-changing event. The project is set up at the duo's New Line Television-based Varsity Entertainment. A sample plot given for the show would involve a director guiding a guy who wants to propose to his girlfriend as if he were leading an actor through a scene. In addition, said director might also call upon his showbiz friends to provide the score, script and wardrobe for the event.

LINE OF FIRE (ABC) - Writer/producer Jeff Melvoin has signed a two-year, seven-figure overall development deal with Touchstone Television. The pact calls for Melvoin to continue working on "Line" should it return for a second season as well as create and develop new programming for the studio.

MY 11:30 (NBC) - Jeff Goldblum ("Independence Day") has been tapped for the lead role in Paul Reiser-produced comedy pilot at the Peacock. Goldblum will play Jeff Sharpe, a shallow playboy New York financial consultant, in the project, who, after his high-pressure job and hectic lifestyle send him into a meltdown, begins to see a no-nonsense therapist. The actor's involvement lifts the cast-contingency on the pilot's production. Reiser is the executive producer of the project, which comes from NBC Studios and Nuance, along with Steven Sater and Keith Addis.

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY (A.K.A. LITTLE BLACK BOOK) (NBC) - The USA Today is reporting NBC has picked up the reality series pilot for a two-week series set to air in April. The project is "a new, reality romance series [pilot] which reunites bachelor Skipper Kress with eight of his former girlfriends - and offers them the opportunity to rekindle their romance while sharing a house in North Carolina," according to NBC's original press release. Joe Livecchi and Bob Kusbit are the executive producers of "The One That Got Away," which is set up at One Louder Productions and NBC Studios.

THE PERFECT HUSBAND: THE LACI PETERSON STORY (USA) - 5.1 million viewers tuned into the USA original movie on Friday, good enough to beat broadcast competitors FOX (3.8 million), UPN (3.0 million) and the WB (3.2 million) in total viewers for the night. "Husband" easily beat recent USA efforts "D.C. Sniper: 23 Days of Fear" (3.7 million) and "Traffic" (3.0 million over three nights) and earned the cable channel's largest audience for an original movie since 2000's "Cabin by the Lake." Among adults 18-49 and adults 25-54, the movie also fared well, earning a 1.7 national rating/5 share and a 2.0/5 respectively. An 11:00/10:00c encore also performed well, earning 2.6 million viewers. Lead-out "Monk" took full advantage of its powerful lead-in, earning 5.6 million viewers and strong demographic scores (1.9/6 in 18-49, 2.5/7 in 25-54) in the 10:00/9:00c hour.

THAT'S MY RODNEY (A.K.A. UNTITLED RODNEY CARRINGTON PROJECT (ABC) - Jennifer Aspen ("Party of Five") has joined the cast of Rodney Carrington's comedy pilot at the Alphabet. She'll play his wife in the project, which is described as a politically incorrect family comedy. It's not clear how Aspen's involvement affects her commitment to NBC's midseason comedy "Come to Papa," where she also plays wife to the show's star (Tom Papa). David Himelfarb and Ric Swartlander are behind the project, which comes from Touchstone Television.

THE SECRET SERVICE (ABC) - Recent Oscar-nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo ("House of Sand and Fog") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, which comes from "Alias" executive producers Alex Kurtzman-Counter and Roberto Orci and Touchstone Television. She'll play the boss of Sarah Wayne Callies' character, a Secret Service agent who struggles to balance her work and home life.

UNTITLED DAVID SHORE PROJECT (FOX) - Robert Sean Leonard ("Chelsea Walls") has joined the cast of David Shore's untitled drama pilot at the network. He'll play an oncologist in the drama, which revolves around a group of doctors who diagnose the toughest medical cases that have baffled the rest of the medical community. Shore is the executive producer of the project, which is set up at Universal Network Television, along with Paul Attanasio and Katie Jacobs ("Century City").

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [february 2004]  

· MY 11:30 (NBC)
· ZOE… (WB)

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