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[04/05/04 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: April 5
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.

DARK SHADOWS (WB) - Alexis Thorpe ("Days of Our Lives"), Jenna Dewan ("The Hot Chick") and Jason Shaw ("Charmed") are set to round out the cast of the Frog's "Dark Shadows" revival. Shaw and Dwann will play Joe Haskell and Sophia respectively while Thorpe is set as Kelly Greer, a new character created specificially for the updated version. Production began this weekend on the Warner Bros. Television/John Wells Productions drama pilot, which also stars Blair Brown, Marley Shelton, Ivana Milicevic, Alec Newman, Jessica Chastain, Martin Donovan, Matt Czuchry and Alexander Gould.

EARTHQUAKE (ABC) - Tami Anderson ("MacArthur Park") will play Debbie and Steven Walsh is set as Junior in the single-named comedian's comedy pilot at the Alphabet. Earthquake stars as an unlucky father of four who, with his wife (Holly Robinson-Peete), struggles to make ends meet. Charles Duckworth, Christopher Pinnick and Rhyon Nicole Brown also star in the project, which comes from Touchstone Television/Tollin-Robbins Productions.

FRIENDS (NBC) - Warner Bros. Domestic Television is asking for a minimum bid of $1 million per episode, plus 90 seconds of advertising time per half-hour, from local stations across the country for the continued syndicated rights to the series when its current contract expires in 2011. The studio is giving an April 19 deadline for stations to submit bids for the show's second cycle, which would run for four years beginning in September 2011. Industry insiders suggest the rather high premium is designed to take advantage of the show's current spotlight as it closes its 10-season, 236-episode run on May 6.

I MARRIED SOFIA (ABC) - Joseph Lawrence ("Run of the House") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a single mother from Colombia (Sofia Vergara) who pays an American stockbroker to marry her for a green card. Lawrence will play Tony, the male lead in the Touchstone Television/DDJ Productions project, said American stockbroker. In addition, Jon Lovitz has signed on to guest star in the pilot episode as an I.N.S. agent.

I'M A RICH KID, GET ME OUT OF HERE! (ABC, New!) - The Alphabet has given a cast-contingent series order of 10 episodes for an updated version of last year's much-ballyhooed reality series "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!" The project, which is targeted to air over two weeks in early September, will feature a group of "celebutantes" and ordinary offspring of rich folks as they struggle to survive for 10 days in the Australian outback. "I'm a Celebrity's" Granada Television will once again be behind the series while former ABC executive John Saade is expected to return as an executive producer.

IT'S ALL RELATIVE (ABC) - The Alphabet has confirmed the freshman comedy will wrap its season on Tuesday, April 20 at 9:30/8:30c. Here's how ABC describes the finale, "Fight for Your Invite to Party," via press release: "The O'Neils and the Stoddard-Banks families feud over the wording of the kids' wedding invitations. Mace still wants to downplay the fact that Liz's parents are gay, which causes Philip and Simon to verbally strike back via drafts of the invitation. Meanwhile, Liz tries desperately to convince Bobby's priest (Tom Bosley) that they are ready for marriage, but the stress of juggling wedding plans and school assignments takes its toll on her in some very embarrassing ways, on the season finale of "It's All Relative," TUESDAY, APRIL 20 (9:30-10:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network."

MARRIED TO THE KELLYS (ABC) - "Kansas v. Tom's Parents," the show's season finale, has been scheduled to air Friday, April 23 at 9:30/8:30c. Here's how ABC's press materials describe the episode: "Tom's pretentious parents from New York attend Bill and Sandy Kelly's anniversary party in Kansas, and Chris refuses to sell the house he just refurbished, on ABC's "Married to the Kellys," FRIDAY, APRIL 23 (9:30-10:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network."

ME, ME, ME (UPN) - Singer-actor Innis Casey ("24") is the latest to join the cast of the comedy pilot, about two best friends whose shallow New York ways are compromised when one of the pair's younger sister comes to town. Julie Gonzalo and Ayda Field also star in the project, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television.

REVELATIONS (NBC) - John Rhys-Davis ("The Lord of the Rings") has nabbed a recurring role in the upcoming limited series, which centers on a group's efforts to forestall the apocalypse. He'll play Lampley, a wheelchair-bound Harvard professor emeritus, a genius astrophysicist and mentor to star Bill Pullman's character. Pariah Television is behind the project, which also stars Natascha McElhone.

THANK GOD IT'S MONDAY (ABC) - Matthew Morrison ("Hairspray") is the latest to join the cast of the pilot, an ensemble workplace comedy about guys who talk about their home life at work. Ever Carradine, Tamara Taylor, Ed Kerr and Louis Lombardi also star in the project, which comes from Touchstone Television.

THAT '70S SHOW (FOX) - Carsey-Werner-Mandabach has announced the studio has just completed sales of a second daily run of the veteran comedy to TV stations in 70% of the U.S. for the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons. Said pacts bring "That '70s Show's" current syndicated value to $1.8 million per episode in straight sales, not including the 90-seconds of bartered ad time C-W-M gets from the stations. Combined with its cable run on FX (set to begin in September 2005), which is valued at $475,000 per half-hour in cash plus another $125,000 for 60-seconds of bartered ad time within each run, "That '70s Show's" total value is expected to hit $700 million by the end of its run. Currently "That '70s Show" ranks as the fourth most-watched comedy in syndication, behind "Seinfeld," "Friends" and "Everybody Loves Raymond."

UNTITLED LEWIS BLACK PROJECT (ABC) - Michael Boatman ("Spin City") will play vice principal to Lewis Black's principal in the comedy pilot, which comes from Paramount Network Television. Anne Dudek, Brad Raider and Stephanie Childers also star.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters





  [april 2004]  
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· 24 (FOX)
· CHARMED (WB)
· DARK SHADOWS (WB)
· EARTHQUAKE (ABC)
· EDUCATING LEWIS (ABC)
· EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND (CBS)
· FRIENDS (NBC)
· I MARRIED SOFIA (ABC)
· I'M A CELEBRITY, GET ME OUT OF HERE! (NBC)
· I'M A RICH KID, GET ME OUT OF HERE! (ABC)
· IT'S ALL RELATIVE (ABC)
· MARRIED TO THE KELLYS (ABC)
· ME, ME, ME (UPN)
· REVELATIONS (NBC)
· RUN OF THE HOUSE (WB)
· SPIN CITY (ABC)
· THANK GOD IT'S MONDAY (ABC)
· THAT '70S SHOW (FOX)









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