[08/09/04 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: August 9
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.

BOSTON LEGAL (ABC) - Freddie Prinze Jr. ("Scooby Doo") has signed on to appear in two episodes of the upcoming "The Practice" spin-off, which launches September 26 on the Alphabet. He'll play Donny Crane, the son of William Shatner's character, an underachiever who nonetheless opens a storefront law office. In addition, Elizabeth Mitchell ("ER") will also make a guest appearance as Christine Pauley, an ex-lover of star James Spader's character, whom he fights to have released from an institution. No specific air dates for Prinze or Mitchell's guest spots were given.

THE CELL (Showtime) - Melissa Sagemiller ("Standing Still") and Blake Shields ("Crime and Punishment in Suburbia") are the latest additions to 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). No specifics were given about Sagemiller or Shields' characters in the project, which also stars Alex Nesic.

THE CON (Comedy Central, New!) - Skyler Stone ("Stuck on You") is set to topline a new pilot presentation at the cable channel in which he attempts to pull off mock "Mission: Impossible"-style pranks, such as scoring free products from stores. Stone also created and will executive produce the project alongside Rick de Oliveira ("I Hate My Job") and Benderspink Production's Chris Bender and JC Spink ("Den of Thieves"). Production on the pilot presentation is set to begin next month.

DEADWOOD (HBO) - Titus Welliver has been upgraded to series regular on the drama series when it returns for its second season in March. He'll reprise his role of Silas Adams, a debt collector whom Ian McShane's character recruited during its freshman run. Meanwhile, Garret Dillahunt will also make a return appearance to the series, this time playing a different character. Dillahunt originally appeared on the series as Jack McCall, the man who shot Wild Bill Hickock. This time around he'll play an emissary for real-life newsman William Randolph Hearst.

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC) - Sam Lloyd ("Scrubs") has been tapped for a recurring role on the freshman drama. He'll play an accomplished marriage counselor who works with Marcia Cross and Steven Culp's characters.

EXTREME REUNION (NBC) - The Peacock has released an official description of the project, touting that casting has begun on the backdoor pilot: "NBC is launching a nation-wide casting call for Americans who want to be reunited with long-lost loved ones for "Extreme Reunion," a new, unscripted reality special that will bring family, friends and lost loves back together again -- in spectacular and exciting ways that will change lives forever. The special will be produced by LMNO Productions, Inc. "Extreme Reunion" will utilize the vast tools found on MyFamily.com to research and connect people with friends and family worldwide. Bringing together out-of-touch family and friends has been a compelling source of television entertainment for decades-- most recently spurred by the power, speed and ease of the Internet. "We are very excited to put the great resources of MyFamily.com to work in a new generation of reality programming beginning with 'Extreme Reunion,'" stated Eric Schotz, president and CEO of LMNO Productions. "What makes these reunions extreme is the scope of the story, the element of surprise and the race against time to get people reunited." Interested candidates should log on to www.nbc.com or www.extremereunion.com to submit your application. MyFamily.com, Inc. is among the largest online subscription businesses, with more than 1.5 million paid subscriptions and more than 10 million people using its Web resources every month. An interactive media company, MyFamily.com connects families with their histories and one another. The company's tools, content and community empower individuals to find the people most important to them and share their unique family stories. MyFamily makes available a network of Internet properties, including MyFamily.com, Ancestry.com, Genealogy.com, and RootsWeb.com. The company also publishes Family Tree Maker´┐Ż, the #1 selling family tree software, Ancestry Magazine, Genealogical Computing Magazine, over 50 book titles, and numerous databases on CD-ROM. Established in 1989, LMNO Productions has produced over 600 programs and 50 series for network, cable and syndicated television. A provider of reality, documentary, informational and entertainment programming worldwide, LMNO's credits include, "Behind Closed Doors with Joan Lunden," "Final Justice with Erin Brockovich," "Guinness World Records: Primetime," "Boot Camp," "Race to the Altar" and "Kids Say the Darndest Things," hosted by Bill Cosby."

JOAN OF ARCADIA (CBS) - Sprague Grayden ("John Doe," "Six Feet Under") is set to appear in at least five episodes of the show's sophomore season. She'll play an outgoing 16-year-old who befriends Amber Tamblyn's character at summer camp.

NORTH SHORE (FOX) - Shannen Doherty ("Charmed") is set to return to the realm of the primetime soap as the actress has signed on for a three-episode arc on the struggling drama. She'll play Alexandra Hudson, the long-lost sister of series star Brooke Burns. Doherty's deal, which will see her first appearance on the September 20 episode, includes an option to become a regular should the series continue beyond its current 13-episode production run. FOX has ordered three additional scripts of the series but has yet to commit to any future installments. A decision about the show's fate is expected early next month.

ONE TREE HILL (WB) - Michael Copon ("The Dishdogz") is set to join the cast of the series when it returns for its second season this fall. He'll play an adrenaline junky who likes to stir things up on the sophomore drama.

THIEF (FX) - Linda Hamilton ("Terminator 2: Judgment Day") and Michael Rooker are set to round out the cast of the drama pilot, which stars Andre Braugher ("Homicide: Life on the Street") as the ringleader of a group of robbers preparing for their next hit. Hamilton will play a fence for Braugher's crew while Rooker is set as a detective under investigation by internal affairs. Malik Yoba, Mae Whitman and Will Yun Lee also star in the project, which comes from Fox TV Studios, Regency Television and Pariah.

THIRD WATCH (NBC) - Aidan Quinn ("Plainsong") is on tap for a multi-episode arc on the veteran drama, which returns for its sixth season this fall. He'll play Lt. Miller on the series, a role of which additional details weren't given.

U R HERE (MTV) - Newcomer Brando Eaton is the latest addition to the cable channel's drama pilot, about the romance between a public school girl and a private school guy. No details were given about Eaton's role.

UNTITLED KRISTIN DAVIS PROJECT (HBO, New!) - The former "Sex and the City" star has inked a seven-figure series development deal with HBO. The pact calls for the pay channel to develop a series project for the actress, most likely a comedy.

UNTITLED MARISA COUGHLAN PROJECT (New!) - Warner Bros. Television has signed a talent holding deal with actress, who toplined the failed drama pilot "Kat Plus One" earlier this year at ABC. The deal calls for the studio to place her in an existing project or develop a new project for the actress.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [august 2004]  

· ER (NBC)

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