LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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C.S.I.: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (Spike TV) - The cable channel's Labor Day marathon of the hit CBS series (9 a.m. eastern Monday to 3 a.m. on Tuesday) averaged a solid 1.9 household rating (2.29 million total viewers), making it the most-watched day of programming in the network's history. Said "C.S.I." marathon broke the previous all-day record set by a day of "Star Trek" movies in 2001 by 44%. Among the marathon's various benchmarks were 409,000 households at 9:00 a.m., 1.3 million at noon, 1.9 million at 4:00 p.m. and a peak of 2.4 million homes at 8:00 p.m. Overall, Spike was the most-watched ad-supported cable network in adults 18-49 and adults 18-34 for the day.
CABLE MOVIE PREMIERES (Various) - Several cable movie premieres have been announced in the past week: A&E's "The Brooke Ellison Story," from director Christopher Reeve (Monday, October 25 at 8:00/7:00c), Lifetime's "Plain Truth," starring Mariska Hargitay and Alison Pill (Monday, October 4 at 9:00/8:00c), TNT's "The Librarian," featuring Noah Wyle (Sunday, December 5 at TBA) and two ABC Family originals, "Searching for David's Heart," starring Danielle Panabaker and Ricky Ullman (Sunday, November 21st at 8:00/7:00c) and "Snow," starring Tom Cavanagh and Ashley Williams (Sunday, December 12 at 8:00/7:00c).
CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR (NBC, New!) - The Peacock has given a hefty $2 million put pilot commitment to a new drama project from writer Shane Salerno ("U.C.: Undercover") and actor Ray Liotta ("Goodfellas"). "Behavior" revolves around the Major Crimes Unit of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, whose focus is apprehending the city's most dangerous fugitives before they commit more crimes. Liotta, whose involvement reportedly will earn him a seven-figure paycheck, is set as Frank Nolan, a detective-sergeant who leads the team. He'll also serve as a producer on the project, which is set up at NBC Universal Television. "Of all the stuff I've written, I came across one statistic that blew my mind: 10% of the most active criminals are responsible for 50% of a city's crime," Salerno told Daily Variety. "Eliminate 10% of the criminals and you eliminate 50% of the crime -- that was an incredibly cool concept for me." As for additional details, Liotta's character will begin dating a woman with a 3-year-old daughter later in the series which will show the dichotomy between his home and work life. Jordan Davis, the wife of feature producer John Davis ("Heartbreakers"), is credited as the originator of the concept. It's not clear however whether either Davis will be regularly involved with the series. "Behavior" was also said to be the focus of a four-network bidding war, no doubt leading to NBC's substantial commitment to the project.
GIRLFRIENDS (BET) - The cable channel has confirmed its off-network run of the series will kick off Tuesday, October 5 at 8:30/7:30c. Episodes will run in that slot every Tuesday through Thursday.
HOW CLEAN IS YOUR HOUSE? (Lifetime) - Lifetime's latest reality entry averaged 1.39 million households for its premiere on Monday, making it the most-watched reality series' debut in the network's history. "House" also came in second in the time period among women 18-49 and 25-54 as well as placed 33% above the network's household average of the previous four weeks.
J.A.G. (Hallmark) - Hallmark's off-network acquisition of the long-running CBS drama is set to premiere Sunday, October 3 at 11:00/10:00c on the cable channel. Episodes will run weekdays at 8:00/7:00c in addition to its Sunday, 11:00/10:00c airings.
JANE DOE (Hallmark, New!) - Lea Thompson ("For the People") and Joe Penny ("Jake and the Fatman") are set to topline one of Hallmark's three movie franchises set to begin in January (the others being the John Larroquette-led "McBride" and the Kellie Martin-led "Mystery Woman"). Thompson will play Cathy Davis in the project, a soccer mom with an extraordinary ability to solve puzzles who has a secret life as an independent contractor working for the government. Penny will play Cathy's former partner in a top-secret government operation while Bill Moses has also been cast as Cathy's husband. It's understood each of the Hallmark franchises will consist of four two-hour movies, each rotating as part of the network's Sunday lineup.
THE O.C. (FOX) - Peter Johnson, a former senior VP of drama development at FOX, has been named the president of McG and Stephanie Savage's production company Wonderland Sound and Vision. He'll oversee the company's two current series - "The O.C." and the WB's "Mountain" - as well as new and upcoming projects such as "Athens," also at FOX.
THE RIVERMAN (A&E) - 3.4 million viewers tuned into the network's original movie premiere on Monday, including an A&E movie record among adults 25-54 (1.9 million viewers). Said broadcast also fared well among adults 18-49, pulling in 1.5 million viewers.
SMOKE (FOX, New!) - Writer Robert Peacock ("Blue Collar TV") is developing a new one-hour drama at the network about a North Carolina family in the tobacco business, with an emphasis on the young rich kids who plan to spearhead the next generation of the cigarette-making dynasty. The project is set up at the 20th Century Fox Television-based Original Television, with the company's Marty Adelstein and Dawn Parouse executive producing alongside Peacock.
STONE COLD (CBS, New!) - Tom Selleck's ("The Culpepper Cattle Company") latest effort for the Eye will be a TV adaptation of Robert Parker's novel of the same name, about a world-weary, alcohol-loving police chief who has to put his personal house in order before tackling a series of murders. Selleck will topline and executive produce the project along with Michael Brandman for Sony Pictures Television.
THE SURREAL LIFE (VH1) - 1.7 million viewers tuned into the show's third season premiere on Sunday, making it the most-watched broadcast on the channel this year. "Life" also fared particularly well among adults 18-49 (1.3 million). Not so lucky was lead-in "In Search of the Partridge Family," which averaged 546,000 total viewers, including 431,000 among adults 18-49, for its premiere. Said performance for "Life" has led VH1 to give Mark Cronin's Mindless Entertainment the green light to begin casting a fourth installment of the series. In addition, Mindless has upped James Rowley and Stephanie Fisch to head development at the company, which recently received second season orders for IFC's "Ultimate Film Fanatic" and GSN's "Extreme Dodgeball." Mindless is also hard at work co-producing the Merv Griffin Enterprises' reality contest "Comedy College" and is behind the Seth Green ping-pong series "King Pong" as well as the Comedy Central pilot presentation "Have You Got Balls?" The latter features host (and co-creator) Tim Stack ("Son of the Beach") as he pulls random male contestants from a sports bar to compete in various challenges.
SURRENDER, DOROTHY (CBS, New!) - Diane Keaton is set to star and executive produce a small screen adaptation of Meg Wolitzer's novel of the same name, about an ultratight mother-daughter relationship that ends abruptly after the daughter dies in an accident. Wendy Finerman ("Forrest Gump") and Bill Robinson ("Elephant") are also on board to executive produce the Sony Pictures Television project, which will begin production next month for an expected 2005 air date.
UNTITLED ALICE GRECZYN PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Newcomer Alice Greczyn ("Sleepover") has signed a talent holding deal with the network. The actress was recently featured on an episode of FOX's "Quintuplets." The pact will no doubt place Greczyn in one of FOX's current or in development projects.
UNTITED DAVE ATTELL PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Dave Attell ("Insomniac With Dave Attell") has inked a talent holding deal with the network and 20th Century Fox Television to topline a new comedy project for the pair. It's not clear if Attell himself will write the project, additional details of which were not available.
UNTITLED ED REDLICH/SARAH TIMBERMAN PROJECT (CBS, New!) - The husband and wife team of Ed Redlich and Sarah Timberman have scored a put pilot commitment at the Eye for a new legal procedural forensic series set in a prosecutor's office. The project will be set up at Timberman's Warner Bros. Television-based 25C Productions. Said untitled project was reportedly the focus of a bidding war between three different networks. Redlich will write the script to the pilot and executive produce alongside Timberman and 25C head of creative affairs Carl Beverly.
UNTITLED ROBERT PEACOCK PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Writer Robert Peacock ("Blue Collar TV") has also set up a half-hour comedy at the network, from the 20th Century Fox Television-based Imagine Television. Said project, described as "Bull Durham" meets "Petticoat Junction," focuses on a Southern dad who, following the finish of his baseball career, ends up with custody of his three city-raised teenage daughters. Imagine's Katie O'Connell, David Nevins and Brian Grazer will executive produce the untitled project alongside Peacock. Peacock's last original project was the failed NBC pilot "Alligator Point" during the 2003 development season.
WILL & GRACE (NBC) - NBC Universal Television has signed three of the show's writers to seven-figure overall deals at the studio. Co-executive producer Gary Janetti has inked a three-year pact while the team of Tracy Poust and John Kinnally, who also serve as co-executive producers on the series, have signed on for two more years. Each pact keeps the writers at "Will & Grace" for the foreseeable future as well as features a development component.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters