[07/29/04 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: July 29
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.

AMERICAN DREAMS (NBC) - Jeff Fahey ("Wyatt Earp") and Daphne Zuniga ("Melrose Place") are the latest additions to the show's recurring cast. Fahey will play an operative whom Will Estes' character encounters in the military while Zuniga will play the mother to fellow newcomer to the show, Milo Ventimiglia. It's not clear when either character's first apperanace will be.

THE BOONDOCKS (FOX) - Cartoon Network is reportedly finalizing a deal to pick up the failed FOX pilot presentation from Sony Pictures Television, based on the comic strip by Aaron McGruder of the same name. The animated series chronicles the clash of cultures that ensues when two youths from inner-city Chicago, Riley and Huey, move to the suburbs to live with their grandfather. McGruder and Reggie Hudlin are the executive producers of the project.

THE CELL (Showtime) - Alex Nesic ("What Boys Like") has joined the cast of the pay channel's drama pilot, about an ex-con black muslim (Michael Ealy) recruited by the F.B.I. to go infiltrate a sleeper Islamic terrorist cell (headed by Oded Fehr). Nesic will play a steely-eyed Frenchman who is a skinhead-turned-Muslim extremist in the project.

CROSSING JORDAN (NBC) - Eugene Byrd ("8 Mile") has scored a recurring role on the show's upcoming fourth season. Hell play a self-confident new addition to the team of coroners on the show.

DARK SHADOWS (WB) - The failed pilot's co-star Jason Shaw ("Charmed") has inked a one-year talent holding deal with the project's Warner Bros. Television-based John Wells Productions. The pact will likely place the model-turned-actor into one of the Wells' existing or developing projects.

THE DEAD ZONE (USA) - In a move that leads one of believe a fourth season of the cable drama is around the corner, USA has opted to hold back the show's final installment of its 13-episode third season, the conclusion to the two-part episode "Tipping Point." To make room for the move, USA will air just one episode ("Instinct") not two as originally reported (read the story) on August 15 while the two episodes scheduled for August 22 will be "Shadows" and part one of "Tipping Point." No official reason for the change was given nor has USA formally decided about the fate of the series.

FAMILY TIME (FOX, New!) - The network's latest reality entry will take one family and makeover their entire lives, from house to car to individual to pet, using everything from life coaches to construction workers to plastic surgeons. FOX has given an eight-episode commitment to the project, which comes from reality house Rocket Science Productions ("Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy"). Jay McGraw, son of daytime phenomenon Phil McGraw, will host the series, which will track said events over a two week period. Here's how FOX's press materials describe the project:

This fall, FOX makes over America one family at a time with FAMILY TIME (working title), it was announced today by Mike Darnell, Executive Vice President of Specials and Alternative Programming. From fine-tuning each family member's personal appearance, to architectural face-lifts of the home, to "pimped-out" cars and even something special for the pets, nothing is left undone on this life-altering makeover series. "This is the most comprehensive makeover show ever on television," said Darnell. "Leaving no stone unturned, this crew of experts will literally change people's lives, taking on every member of the family. They'll transform sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, dogs, cars and will even strip a house down to studs if they have to." Hosted by best-selling author Jay McGraw, son of Dr. Phil McGraw, FAMILY TIME is not just a home-improvement show � it's a life improvement program that visits families who have encountered some challenge along the way. Whether it be weight issues, physical disabilities or a home that is crumbling, FAMILY TIME can overcome any obstacle, get families back on track and help them forge ahead toward their goals. A panel of makeover professionals � a stylist, an interior designer, a construction crew, and even experts to re-invent cars and pets � will help restore and redecorate the lives of families in need. McGraw spent his adolescence learning and living his father's "Life Strategies." Since he was 19, McGraw has been at the forefront of teen authorities, translating his father's philosophies into language teens can understand and enjoy. He is the author of The New York Times bestseller, "Life Strategies For Teens," and "Closing The Gap: A Strategy for Bringing Parents and Teens Together." His most recent best-selling book is "The Ultimate Weight Solution For Teens: The 7 Keys to Weight Freedom." FAMILY TIME is from Rocket Science Laboratories, the producers of "Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy," "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fianc�" and "Joe Millionaire." Jean-Michel Michenaud, Chris Cowan and Ray Giuliani serve as executive producers. Janelle Fiorito serves as co-executive producer.

GENE RODDENBERRY'S ANDROMEDA (Sci Fi) - Brandy Ledford ("The Invisible Man") has joined the cast of the sci-fi drama, which returns from its fifth and final season this fall. She'll play Doyle, a role of which additional details were not specified.

JOAN OF ARCADIA (CBS) - Christopher Cousins ("Wicker Park") is set to appear in at least two episodes of the show's upcoming second season, playing an attorney for the Girardi family. It's not clear when Cousins' episodes will run.

LIFE AS WE KNOW IT (ABC) - Newcomer Jessica Harmon and Sarah Strange ("Ladies and the Champ") are the latest to join the cast of the upcoming fall drama. Harmon will play a new love interest for Sean Faris' character while Strange will play the mother of Kelly Osbourne's character.

MCBRIDE (Hallmark, New!) - John Larroquette ("Happy Family," Hallmark's upcoming "Wedding Daze") is set to topline a series of four telefilms at the cable channel from producer Dean Hargrove ("Diagnosis Murder"), about a cop-turned-attorney named Jim McBride. Larroquette will also direct one of the four installments, the first of which airs Sunday, January 9. "McBride" is one of three Hallmark telefilm franchises set to roll out in 2005 under the banner "Mystery Movies."

MONK (USA) - Jarrad Paul ("U.C.: Undercover") is to reprise his role of the dorky neighbor of Tony Shalhoub's character in an upcoming episode of the series. In addition, actor/writer has scored a staff writer job on the WB's midseason comedy "Shacking Up" from Regency Television.

THE O.C. (FOX) - Newcomer Michael Cassidy is the latest addition to the show's recurring cast, where he'll play a potential new love interest for Rachel Bilson's character. No other details on Cassidy's character or when his first episode will air were revealed.

THE RESTAURANT (NBC) - Rocco DiSpirito has lost a civil suit brought against him by Rocco's co-owner Jeffrey Chodorow. The ruling by New York civil court Acting Justice Ira Gammerman, allows Chodorow to the sell the restaurant that was the focus of the Peacock series, or renovate it under a different name, without any input from DiSpirito. A previous temporary restraining order forbidding DiSpirito from setting foot in the restaurant was also extended into a formal injunction. Chodorow and his investment group China Grill Management filed the civil suit against DiSpirito over claims that he mismanaged the restaurant, causing the group financial losses. DiSpirito nevertheless insisted Rocco's had begun to make money in the last few months and has a shot at becoming successful.

SUMMERLAND (WB) - A press release from the Frog touted the show's most recent airing, noting the summer drama "achieved its best ratings so far in persons 12-34 (2.2/7) and women 12-34 (3.6/10) and its second-best-ever rating in adults 18-34 (1.8/6), women 18-49 (2.4/6), teens (3.2/11) and female teens (5.6/17) and its best since its premiere episode in adults 18-49 (1.7/5) and men 18-49 (1.0/3). So far in its summer run, SUMMERLAND, which will return as a midseason replacement, has ranked #2 in its time period in women 18-34 (2.5/7) and women 12-34 (3.2/9), #3 in persons 12-34 (2.0/6) and #1 in teens (2.8/10) and female teens (4.8/15). On Tuesday, SUMMERLAND also scored against its network competition, placing #2 in its time period in women 12-34 (3.6/10), #1 in teens (3.2/11) and #1 for the entire night in female teens (5.6/17)."

THIRD WATCH (NBC) - Newcomer Josh Stewart is set to join the cast of the veteran drama. He'll play a recent graduate from the police academy.

THE TWILIGHT ZONE (Syndication) - New Line Television has confirmed the short-lived UPN series' syndicated run will premiere the week of September 6, with many stations kicking off the season with a Labor Day marathon of four episodes. The series has been cleared on local stations covering more than 96% of the country, including New York's WPIX, Los Angeles' KCAL/KCBS and Chicago's WGN.

UNTITLED SAM GIANCANA PROJECT (New!) - Producer Mark Wolper ("Salem's Lot") has optioned the rights to the life story of Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana and his family with an eye towards developing it as a six-hour mini-series for Warner Bros. Television.

UNTITLED SHAR JACKSON PROJECT (New!) - Tabloid fodder Shar Jackson ("Moesha"), who recently gave birth to Britney Spears' beau Kevin Federline's second child, has teamed with producer Rick Telles ("Next Action Star") to develop a half-hour comic reality series about her life as an actress while raising two children. Lizza Morales ("Access Hollywood") and Marcela Isaza will also executive produce the project, additional details of which were not available.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [july 2004]  


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