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[02/23/04 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: February 23
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 CONTENDER (NBC) - The Peacock has emerged as the winner of the rights to Mark Burnett's latest creation, ordering 16 one-hour episodes of the reality series. The network will reportedly pay just over $2 million per episode for the project, which tracks a nationwide search for a real-life "Rocky." The deal marks the largest license fee for a new reality series to date, not to mention one of the most expensive first-year pacts for any series in recent memory. In addition, the pact features a laundry list of additional provisions, ranging from sponsorship deals connected to the show (a la "The Restaurant"), to revenue sharing on six 30-second spots per episode, to bonuses if the show hits certain ratings targets, to first-refusal rights to any boxing matches that stem from Burnett's new boxing federation. Burnett is partnering with Jeffrey Katzenberg's DreamWorks Television and Sylvester Stallone, who will have an on-air presence, on the project and said new boxing federation. It's expected that "The Contender" will premiere in January 2005, in between cycles of fellow Burnett-produced reality series "The Apprentice."

EYES (ABC) - A.J. Langer ("Three Sisters") has been added to the cast of the drama pilot, which stars Tim Daly as the president of a high-powered risk management corporation. Langer will play a new hire at the agency in the project, which comes from John McNamara's Warner Bros. Television-based McNamara Paper Products Productions.

THE FRIENDLYS (NBC) - Dave Foley ("NewsRadio") has been added to the cast of the comedy, which comes from "Lucky" creators Robb & Mark Cullen and NBC Studios. He'll play Augustus in the project, the son of a recently deceased candy mogul who's in the midst of a fight between his father's trophy wife for control of the business.

I DO, I DID, NOW WHAT (UPN) - A source close the project has confirmed a full pilot of the comedy, about what happens to modern couples after they get hitched, will be produced, not a pilot presentation as originally reported.

NIKKI & NORA (UPN) - Liz Vassey ("The Tick") and Christina Cox ("F/X: The Series") have been tapped for the title roles in the drama pilot, which revolves around two New Orleans-based lesbian private detectives. Nancylee Myatt ("Living Single") and Leonard Dick ("Tarzan") are behind the project, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television.

NUMBERS (CBS) - David Krumholtz ("The Lyon's Den") has nabbed the lead role in the project, a drama about a mathematician from M.I.T. (Krumholtz) who is recruited by the F.B.I. to help solve crimes. Executive producers Ridley Scott and Tony Scott are behind "Numbers," which is set up at Paramount Network Television and the duo's Scott Free Productions.

THE ROBINSONS: LOST IN SPACE (WB) - Brad Johnson ("Riverworld") and Ryan Malgarini ("Freaky Friday") have joined the cast of the Frog's remake of the cult classic sci-fi series as John and Will Robinson respectively. The duo join the previously cast Jayne Brook (Maureen Robinson), Adrianne Palicki (Judy Robinson) and Mike Erwin (Don West) in the project. Guy Williams and Bill Mumy played the roles of John and Will in the original 1965-68 CBS series while William Hurt and Jack Johnson assumed the parts for the 1998 feature. Production is set to begin next month in Vancouver on the $2 million pilot, which comes from writer/producer Doug Petrie ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") and director John Woo ("Mission: Impossible 2"). 20th Century Fox Television, Fox TV Studios, Woo's Lion Rock Prodctions and Synthesis are all behind the project.

UNTITLED DAVID SHORE PROJECT (FOX) - Jennifer Morrison ("Dawson's Creek," "Surviving Christmas") has been added to the cast of the drama pilot, which revolves around a team of doctors charged with solving complicated medical mysteries that mystify other health-care professionals. She'll play a member of said team alongside the previously cast Robert Sean Leonard. David Shore ("Family Law") and "Century City" executive producers Paul Attanasio and Katie Jacobs are behind the Universal Network Television pilot, which Bryan Singer ("X-Men") is attached to direct.

UNTITLED KATHRYN BIGELOW PROJECT (FOX) - Rachel Nichols ("Sex and the City," "Dumb and Dumberer") has snagged the lead role in the drama pilot, which centers on a 23-year-old D.E.A. agent (Nichols) who poses as a 16-year-old high school student in order to investigate a drug ring at a local high school. "Robbery Homicide Division's" Todd & Glenn Kessler are behind the 20th Century Fox/Imagine Television project, which is set to be directed by Bigelow ("K-19: The Widowmaker," "Point Break").

UNTITLED LEWIS BLACK PROJECT (ABC) - The Alphabet has greenlighted production on a pilot presentation for the project, a comedy which stars Black ("The Daily Show With Jon Stewart") as "frustrated and angry" high school principal. Victor Fresco ("Andy Richter Controls the Universe") is behind the project, which is set up at Paramount Network Television.

UNTITLED MARSH MCCALL PROJECT (NBC) - Tom Conti ("Deadline") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, which centers on the relationship between an adult son and his newly divorced father (Conti), a university professor. Conti's involvement lifts the cast-contingency on the project, which comes from McCall ("My Big Fat Greek Life," "Just Shoot Me") and Warner Bros. Television.

VERONICA MARS (UPN) - Enrico Colantoni ("Just Shoot Me") has been tapped to star opposite Kristen Bell in the drama pilot, which revolves around a spoiled teen girl (Bell) who reunites with her estranged father (Colantoni) and helps in his private eye business. Rob Thomas ("Cupid") and Joel Silver ("The Matrix") are behind the project, which comes from Silver's Warner Bros. Television-based production company, Silver Pictures.

THE WEBSTER REPORT (CBS) - Bobby Cannavale ("Third Watch") has signed on to the pilot, a drama about an offbeat New York detective. He joins the previously cast Stanley Tucci and Kari Matchett in the project, as Leo Webster. CBS Productions, Warner Bros. Television and 25C Productions are all behind "Webster," which was created by Theresa Rebeck ("Law & Order: Criminal Intent").

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters





  [february 2004]  
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· ANDY RICHTER CONTROLS THE UNIVERSE (FOX)
· APPRENTICE, THE (NBC)
· BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (UPN)
· CENTURY CITY (CBS)
· CONTENDER, THE (EPIX)
· DAWSON'S CREEK (WB)
· DEADLINE (NBC)
· EDUCATING LEWIS (ABC)
· EYES (ABC)
· FAMILY LAW (CBS)
· FRIENDLYS, THE (NBC)
· HOUSE (FOX)
· I DO, I DID, NOW WHAT? (UPN)
· INSIDE, THE (FOX)
· JUST SHOOT ME (NBC)
· LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT (USA)
· LUCKY (FX)
· LYON'S DEN, THE (NBC)
· MACGREGORS, THE (NBC)
· MY BIG FAT GREEK LIFE (CBS)
· NIKKI & NORA (UPN)
· NUMB3RS (CBS)
· RESTAURANT, THE (NBC)
· RIVERWORLD (SCI FI)
· ROBBERY HOMICIDE DIVISION (CBS)
· ROBINSONS, THE: LOST IN SPACE (WB)
· SEX AND THE CITY (HBO)
· TARZAN (WB)
· THIRD WATCH (NBC)
· THREE SISTERS (NBC)
· TICK, THE (FOX)
· VERONICA MARS (HULU)
· WEBSTER REPORT, THE (CBS)





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