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[03/22/04 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: March 22
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.

AMERICAN DREAMS (NBC) - The Peacock has confirmed the sophomore drama will wrap its season on April 4. Here's how NBC describes the episode, entitled "No Way Out," via press release: "As the anti-war movement gains momentum, Meg (Brittany Snow) and Sam (Arlen Escarpeta) get caught in the crossfire at an anti-war rally and finds themselves taking a stand that may have severe consequences in their future. Jack (Tom Verica) also takes a stand on Beth (Rachel Boston) and her marital status as he begins his campaign for city councilman. Helen (Gail O'Grady) makes a shocking discovery at work and Patty (Sarah Ramos), disappointed with her first date, turns to Roxanne (Vanessa Lengies) for advice. Meanwhile, JJ (Will Estes) and his squad are surrounded by the Viet Cong and under heavy gunfire when they are told they will not be receiving backup and will be on their own. Wyclef Jean (formerly with The Fugees, "Killing Me Softly") guest-stars as Curtis Mayfield singing "Woman's Got Soul," Alex Band and Aaron Kamin of The Calling ( "Wherever You May Go" ) guest-stars as college protest singers, and Jack Ford ("Living It Up with Ali & Jack") guest-stars as Professor Powers. Jonathan Adams and Ethan Dampf also star."

THE CONTENDER (NBC) - Former heavyweight champion George Foreman is the latest in the field of boxing to join the upcoming NBC series. He's set to help with the selection of the show's 16 finalists as well as advise them during the training episodes and appear in the show's finale. Interestingly enough, Foreman was previously attached to a rival boxing reality series from HBO Sports' Jim Lampley. That project, from Lampley's Crystal Spring Productions and New Wave Entertainment, which revolved around heavyweight boxers who live together, train together and are instructed by Foreman, was announced last month. Foreman reportedly made the switch based on his personal relationship with "Contender" producer Jeff Wald, indicating no deal was signed for the Lampley series. Mark Burnett, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Sylvester Stallone are behind "The Contender," which comes from DreamWorks Television and Mark Burnett Productions.

D.O.T.S. (NBC) - Chester Gregory II and Davenia McFadden ("American Embassy") are the latest to join the cast of the pilot, a comedy set in the world of meter maids. NBC Studios and Pariah Television are behind the project, which also stars Stephen Dunham.

DARK SHADOWS (WB) - Ivana Milicevic ("Mind of the Married Man") is set as Angelique is the Frog's remake of the cult classic series. Lara Parker played the character in the original 1966-71 series while Lysette Anthony assumed the role for the more recent 1991 NBC version. John Wells, Mark Verheiden and Dan Curtis are behind the project, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television and John Wells Productions.

DINNER FOR FIVE (IFC) - The network has announced the show's third season will kick off on April 9 in a new time slot: Fridays at 10:00/9:00c. "Dinner" will act as the anchor for a new block of original programming on Friday nights, which also includes "Rocked With Gina Gershon" and "Pulp Indies."

DR. VEGAS (CBS) - Joe Pantoliano ("The Handler") is in final talks to join the cast of the drama pilot, which stars Rob Lowe as a young, unconventional doctor who lives and works in an old-school, Palms-like hotel-casino in Las Vegas. Warner Bros. Television, CBS Productions and Bender-Brown Productions are all behind the project, which also stars Amy Adams.

FILM SCHOOL (IFC) - IFC has revealed the 10-part reality series will kick off in July as part of the network's new original programming block on Friday nights. Nanette Burstein ("The Kid Stays in the Picture") is behind the project, which follows three NYU students as they make their way through a year in film school.

GRAMERCY PARK (ABC) - Max Martini ("Level Nine") is the latest to join the already large ensemble cast of the drama pilot, about three nannies (Samaire Armstrong, Izabella Miko and Camille Guaty) and the families they work for in a luxury high rise. Paul Blackthorne, Elizabeth Mitchell, Milo Ventimiglia, Travis Schuldt and Megan Dodds also star in the project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television and the Tannenbaum Co.

HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS (Syndication) - Anchor Bay Entertainment and Davis-Anderson Merchandising Corporation have provided us with several clips from the show's third season DVD release, due in stores tomorrow (click on a link to watch the clip): Sam and Kevin Sorbo talk about traveling to New Zealand, Eric Gruendemann and Kevin Sorbo talk about Bruce Campbell as a director and Eric Gruendemann on Alex Tydings and Michael Hurst�s relationship on and off screen. Additional information can be found at the show's official web site.

THE MEN'S ROOM (NBC) - Suzanne Cryer ("Two Guys and a Girl") and Maitland Ward ("Boy Meets World") are the latest to join the cast of the pilot, a comedy that explores the lives of men in their 20s (Eric Lively), 30s (John Cho) and 40s (Scott Cohen). NBC Studios is behind the project, which was created by Danny Zucker.

THE MOUNTAIN (WB) - Shaun Cassidy has come aboard the drama pilot as an executive producer/showrunner. He'll join current executive producers, McG, Stephanie Savage ("The O.C.") and David Barrett ("Jake 2.0") on the project, a drama about a 25-year-old (Oliver Hudson) who inherits his family's mountain resort when his grandfather dies. Barbara Hershey and Anson Mount also star in the project, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television and Wonderland Sound & Vision.

NIKKI & NORA (UPN) - The singularly named Boogie is set as Darius La Fontaine, a street informant, in the drama pilot, which stars Liz Vassey and Christina Cox as New Orleans-based lesbian private detectives. Nancylee Myatt, Lynn Litt and Leonard Dick are behind the project, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television.

NIP/TUCK (FX) - Famke Janssen ("X-Men") has signed on to appear in 12 installments of the series' 16-episode second season, which debuts on June 22. She'll play a "life coach," or counselor of sorts, for Joely Richardson's character. Viewers can expect for Janssen to make her first appearance in the new season's third episode.

PRODIGY (WB) - David Newsom ("Talk to Me") has joined the cast of the the drama pilot, about a teenage girl (Kate Mara) who hides her music talents from her family, which is busy focusing their attention on her younger brother (Cody Arens), a well-known prodigy. Josh Friedman and Ron Silver are behind the project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television and Silver Pictures.

ROCKED WITH GINA GERSHON (IFC) - The reality series is set to debut on Friday, April 9 at 10:30/9:30c following the third season premiere of "Dinner for Five." The six-episode project tracks Gershon as she embarks on her first rock 'n' roll tour.

ULTIMATE FILM FANATIC (IFC) - The game show, which looks to crown the country's top film buff, is set to debut in the fall as part of IFC's new Friday night block of original programming.

UNTITLED HILARY DUFF PROJECT (CBS) - The actress/musician has bowed out of her talent holding deal with CBS after a comedy pilot couldn't emerge from the pact. Writer/producers Nina Wass and Gene Stein ("Less Than Perfect") were reportedly working on the script to said project, which Duff apparently didn't approve. "We were excited to develop with her," a CBS spokesman told Daily Variety. "This project didn't work out, but we certainly hope to be in business with her in the future."

UNTITLED ONE ON ONE PROJECT (UPN) - Rashaan Nall will move from a recurring character on "One on One" to full-time cast member of the show's planned spin-off, should it go forward. He'd continue in his role as Walt in the project, which revolves around a barbershop run by the brother of Flex Alexander's character. Paramount Network Television and the Greenblatt-Janollari Studio are behind the project, which comes from Eunetta Boone, Bennie Richburg, Bob Greenblatt and David Janollari.

WEEKENDS (NBC) - Rachael Harris ("Curb Your Enthusiasm") is set as Theresa in the comedy pilot, about a young couple with a child in Orange County. NBC Studios and Spyglass Entertainment are behind the project, which comes from Craig Doyle, Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters





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· AMERICAN DREAMS (NBC)
· AMERICAN EMBASSY, THE (FOX)
· BOY MEETS WORLD (ABC)
· CONTENDER, THE (VERSUS)
· CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (HBO)
· CUTS (UPN)
· DARK SHADOWS (WB)
· DOTS (NBC)
· DR. VEGAS (CBS)
· GRAMERCY PARK (2003 VERSION) (ABC)
· GRAMERCY PARK (2004 VERSION) (ABC)
· HANDLER, THE (CBS)
· JAKE 2.0 (UPN)
· LESS THAN PERFECT (ABC)
· LEVEL NINE (UPN)
· LIVING IT UP! WITH ALI & JACK (SYNDICATION)
· MEN'S ROOM, THE (NBC)
· MIND OF THE MARRIED MAN, THE (HBO)
· MOUNTAIN, THE (WB)
· NIKKI & NORA (UPN)
· NIP/TUCK (FX)
· OC, THE (FOX)
· ONE ON ONE (UPN)
· PRODIGY (WB)
· TALK TO ME (ABC)
· TWO GUYS AND A GIRL (ABC)
· UNTITLED HILARY DUFF PROJECT (CBS)
· WEEKENDS (NBC)





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