[05/15/04 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: May 11-14
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (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. For more information on a specific project listed here, click on its respective title.

ACTIONHEROES, INC. (ABC, New!) - William Shatner, Robert Wagner and Lee Majors are reportedly developing a new potential movie-of-the-week franchise in which the trio play ex-TV heroes who open a private detective agency and solve cases by playing the roles which made them famous. Not surprisingly the roles will be somewhat reminiscent of the roles that made them famous in real life: "Captain Kirk," "Jonathan Hart" and "The Six Million-Dollar Man." Fox TV Studios and Windmill Entertainment are behind the project, which is being written and produced by Craig Nevius.

ALIAS (ABC) - Buena Vista Television has cleared the off-network run of the series on all 35 Fox owned and operated stations for a fall 2005 launch. The two-year pact, an all-barter deal, calls for Buenva Vista to hold back seven minutes of each hour for national ad sales.

ELVIS (CBS, New!) - The respective duos of Howard Braunstein and Michael Jaffe ("10.5") and Robert Greenblatt and David Janollari ("Six Feet Under") are set to team on a new four-hour mini-series about the legendary rock 'n' roll singer. Screenwriter Patrick Sheane Duncan ("Courage Under Fire," "Mr. Holland's Opus") is attached to write the project, which is understood to be the first Elvis biopic to use master recordings of some of Presley's biggest hits as well as have the blessing of the Elvis Presley estate. The producers promise however the mini-series won't be a whitewashing of the Elvis story as Braunstein told Daily Variety: "We told the estate from the beginning that we want to do warts and all. The estate understands that you need to tell the true version of his story. And hopefully, with access to the archives, we can learn all sorts of new and provocative things." Braunstein will executive produce the project with Jaffe through their banner Jaffe/Braunstein Films along with the Greenblatt-Janollari Studio.

FAKING THE VIDEO (MTV) - The cable channel is set to launch the next generation of "Punk'd," with the debut of "Faking the Video" on Monday, May 24 at 10:30/9:30c. The series puts six real-life production assistants to work on a faux music video shoot featuring such recording artists as Bubba Sparxxx, JC Chasez, Michelle Branch, Monica, Nick Lachey, Omarion and Sleepy Brown. Unbeknownst to the PAs however, the entire production is in on the joke as they try to drive the unwitting contestants crazy. Each week the crew will fire one PA with the last person standing earning a cash prize and a gig with music video director Wayne Friedman. Danny Salles created the series and will executive produce alongside MTV executives Lois Curren and Rod Aissa.

FAMILY GUY (FOX) - Chris Sheridan ("Yes, Dear") has signed a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television. Under the terms of the pact, Sheridan will come aboard the animated comedy's revival as an executive producer. In addition, he'll also create, develop and executive produce his own projects at the studio. Sheridan was a writer and producer on "Family Guy" during its first two seasons.

FRASIER (NBC) - Paramount Network Television announced this week it has donated copies of all 264 episodes of the series to the Museum of Television & Radio in New York City. "The Honeymooners," "I Love Lucy," "M*A*S*H," "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman," "Cheers," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "The Bob Newhart Show" and "Sex and the City" are among the other series which the museum currently owns complete runs. "Frasier" completed its 11-year run on Tuesday, during which it won 31 Emmys, more than any other show in television history.

HOPE & FAITH (ABC) - Executive producer/director Gil Junger has inked an 18-month, seven-figure overall deal with Touchstone Television. The pact calls for Junger, who helmed the pilots for Jessica Simpson, Earthquake and Caroline Rhea's projects this development season, to begin exclusively developing comedy projects for the studio. He'll also continue with his duties on "Hope & Faith" as well as maintain his first-look pilot directing arrangement with the studio.

L.A. DRAGNET (USA) - The cable channel apparently is holding back on the short-lived ABC series' final two broadcasts, originally slated to air on Wednesday, May 12 ("Riddance") and Wednesday, May 19 ("Killing Field"). No reason was given nor were rescheduled air dates.

MOVING UP (TLC, New!) - TLC has greenlighted a pilot for a potential new series which will capture families moving into new residences, where they will have several weeks to decorate. The twist however is that unbeknownst to them, the old tenants will be back to react to the redesigns. Doug Wilson ("Trading Spaces") will host the project, additional details of which were not available.

NIP/TUCK (FX) - The second season of the popular cable drama will open with a 55-minute commercial free premiere on Tuesday, June 22. XM Satellite Radio will sponsor the event with ads running before and after the premiere much like Ford did with "24's" second season premiere in October 2002. The news apparently marks the first time a basic-cable original series has run without breaks for 30-second spots.

REBA (WB) - Lifetime has acquired the cable run of the 20th Century Fox Television series, beating out fellow channels TBS, ABC Family, WE: Women's Entertainment, Hallmark Channel and Oxygen. The five-year pact, valued around $300,000 per episode, kicks in come August of 2006 and marks the largest off-network deal for a WB comedy to date. "Reba" joins "Frasier" (in 2006) and "Will & Grace" (in 2005) as the cable channel's latest repeat pick-ups. Lifetime's window for the series won't be exclusive as 20th plans to sell the comedy to local stations across the country beginning in fall 2006. Said sales won't be for cash license fees, but rather five 30-second spots for national ad sales by 20th.

ROME (HBO) - Tony To ("Band of Brothers," "From the Earth to the Moon") has been named an executive producer on the series, which is currently in production at Rome's Cinecitta Studios. To has been brought on to keep the $75 million project under budget, a problem currently facing fellow Rome-based drama "Empire" at ABC.

SERIOUSLY, DUDE, I'M GAY (FOX, New!) - FOX has slated a new two-hour special in which two straight men attempt to convince everyone they know that they are actually gay. The project, which airs on Monday, June 7 at 8:00/7:00c, is described as follows in the network's press materials: "It's a heterosexual male's worst nightmare: turning gay overnight. Can two very straight men convince everyone they know that they are actually gay? Well, two guy's guys are going to try to do just that � all for the chance of winning fifty thousand dollars. The current pop culture craze for all things gay is taken to an outrageously satirical extreme in this hilarious reality special from the creators of "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fianc�." SERIOUSLY, DUDE, I'M GAY, hosted by Amanda Byram (THE SWAN), airs Monday, June 7 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.For one week a pair of straight guys will immerse themselves in "the gay lifestyle." Each will move into separate West Hollywood lofts, complete with three gay roommates, to experience what it's like to live life as a gay man.Each day the guys will complete a challenge that tests their ability to pass for gay. They'll come out of the closet to their best friends; they'll mix, mingle and dance in gay nightclubs; and they'll even go on a romantic blind date with another man.If they master each of their challenges, they'll stand before a panel of judges made up of gay men from all walks of life. This jury of their queers will declare which of the two guys they believe is actually gay � and that guy will win fifty thousand dollars!It's one thing to have yourself and your home made over by a group of gay guys, but this wildly twisted contest pushes things one step further. Watch as these fish-out-of-water competitors put their sexual identities on the line in a television experiment that's relevant, shockingly funny and socially provocative. SERIOUSLY, DUDE, I'M GAY is a Rocket Science Laboratories production. The special is executive produced by Chris Cowan & Jean-Michel Michenaud with executive producer Ray Giuliani."

SUPER MILLIONAIRE (ABC) - The Alphabet has opted to add two additional installments of the revival's May sweeps run: Tuesday, May 25 and Wednesday, May 26, both at 10:00/9:00c. The new editions will replace the previously announced two-night special "The Great Domestic Showdown," which will be shelved until a later date.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [may 2004]  

· 10.5 (NBC)
· 24 (FOX)

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