[03/01/04 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: March 1
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.

CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE (CBS) - Melinda McGraw ("Living in Captivity") is the latest actor to join the cast of the comedy pilot, which centers on a family man (John Goodman) who tries to keep the peace with his extended Chicago family. McGraw joins the previously cast Goodman, Jean Smart and Diedrich Bader in the project, where she'll play the sister of Goodman's character.

CITY OF DREAMS (NBC) - The Peacock has pushed the Jimmy Smits-led drama pilot to midseason 2005 consideration as the network reportedly wants to give writer/producer David Mills ("Kingpin") more time to develop the project. "Dreams," which comes from Jerry Bruckheimer Television ("C.S.I.," "Without a Trace") and Warner Bros. Television, features Smits as a Los Angeles private investigator who fixes problems for the rich and famous.

COUNTDOWN (ABC) - Chi McBride isn't waiting for the axe to fall on "Boston Public" as the actor has joined the cast of the drama pilot, which chronicles the final 43 minutes of a crisis through the eyes of a S.W.A.T. team. McBride will play Capt. John Richardson in the Touchstone Television./FremantleMedia project, the commander of the aforementioned S.W.A.T. team. He joins the previously cast Jason O'Mara, Louis Mandylor, Salli Richardson and Adam Beach in the pilot, which comes from "Boomtown" creator Graham Yost.

THE DANA & JULIA SHOW (A.K.A. UNTITLED GOODMAN & WOLVO PROJECT) (WB) - The Frog's "Laverne & Shirley"-esque comedy pilot is scheduled to tape Friday, March 19 at 6:30 P.S.T. at Sony Pictures Studios.

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC) - Marcia Cross ("Everwood") is set as the fourth "housewife" in the drama pilot, a darkly humorous look at the secretive lives of four women living in an Anytown, U.S.A., cul-de-sac. She joins the previously set leads Eva Longoria, Teri Hatcher and Felicity Huffman in the Touchstone Television project, where she'll play Bree, a Martha Stewart-esque housewife.

EVERYDAY LIFE (NBC) - Rob Reiner has opted to move in front of the camera for his comedy pilot at the Peacock, as the actor/director, along with Mercedes Ruehl, have joined the cast of the project. They'll play the parents of Josh Radnor's character, a psychiatrist who along with his fellow shrink wife end up moving back in with his parents, who are also psychiatrists. Reiner signed on to appear in the Universal Network Television pilot after Alan Alda, originally approached for the role, ultimately passed. "Life" is scheduled to tape at Universal Studios on Tuesday, March 23.

FOSTER HALL (NBC) - Busy Phillips ("Freaks & Geeks," "Dawson's Creek") and Greg Germann ("Ally McBeal") have joined the cast of the comedy pilot, which comes from NBC Studios and Conan O'Brien's production company, Conaco Productions. Phillips will play the sister of Macaulay Culkin's character, Clark Hall, while Germann will play her husband. "Hall" centers on siblings (Culkin, Phillips) who reunite after years of being bumped from foster home to foster home.

THE FRIENDLYS (NBC) - Ana Gasteyer ("Saturday Night Live") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, an offbeat comedy that revolves around a family's fight over a dead candy mogul's business. She'll play Bebe, the boozy widow of said candy mogul in the NBC Studios project, which also stars Dave Foley and Billy Gardell.

LUCKY US (FOX) - Jill Ritchie ("The Pool at Maddy Breaker's") is the latest to join the cast of the comedy pilot, which centers on a couple (Chyler Leigh, T.B.D.) who go out on a blind date and wind up with a kid. Ritchie will play the best friend of Leigh's character in the project, which comes from 20th Century Fox Television and Original Television. The pilot is currently scheduled to tape on Tuesday, March 23 at Fox Studios.

MAD MAD HOUSE (Sci Fi) - The cable channel will wrap the show's first season with a two-hour finale on Thursday, April 29 at 9:00/8:00c. Casting has already begun on a potential second season of the project (read the story), which debuts this Thursday at 9:00/8:00c.

ROBBING THE CRADLE (WB) - Ben Feldman ("Kissing Jessica Stein") has snagged the lead role in the Jamie Kennedy-produced comedy pilot, which revolves around a 24-year-old (Feldman) who moves back home with his mom and her 24-year-old boyfriend. Regency Television and Kennedy's Wannabe Producers are behind the project.

SUPER MILLIONAIRE (ABC) - ABC has picked up its "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" revival for a second cycle, set to unspool during May sweeps. According to ABC's press release about the news: "'Super Millionaire's' return to ABC's primetime schedule on Sunday, February 22, drew an average audience of 17.5 million viewers to rank as the most-watched television program that night. Also on its return, the show delivered the largest audience and highest young adult ratings for the 'Millionaire' franchise since May 2001. On each of its four telecasts so far, 'Super Millionaire' has been ABC's No. 1 show of the night among viewers and young adults. Versus ABC's delivery this season with entertainment programming in the time periods, 'Super Millionaire' is up by 5.2 million Total Viewers (14.3 million vs. 9.1 million), by 34% among Adults 18-49 (4.7/11 vs. 3.5/9) and by 54% among Adults 18-34 (4.0/11 vs. 2.6/7). On average, "Super Millionaire" builds on its lead-in by over 4 million viewers and gains audience during the course of its telecast."

UNTITLED ISAAC MIZRAHI PROJECT (Syndication, New!) - NBC's syndication arm, NBC Enterprises, has signed designer Isaac Mizrahi to an overall development deal. The pact calls for the company to develop a project to be hosted by Mizrahi, who recently appeared on the Peacock's "The Apprentice." Mizrahi is no stranger to hosting as the prolific designer headlined Oxygen's "The Isaac Mizrahi Show" for three years.

WANTED (CBS) - Yancey Arias ("Kingpin") is set to star alongside Scott Glenn in the drama pilot, which revolves around the fugitive-apprehension team of the L.A.P.D. He'll play a member of the team, a zealous cop, in the CBS Productions/Warner Bros. Television/25C Productions project.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [march 2004]  


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