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[10/08/04 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: October 6-8
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.

BATTLE FOR OZZFEST (MTV, New!) - The cable channel has confirmed it has committed to a new 12-episode reality competition in which eight rock bands - each selected by more than 65,000 online voters - will vie for the chance to perform on Ozzfest's 10th anniversary tour. It's not exactly clear how the elimination format will work, nor were any details about immunities or the challenges themselves revealed. The winner of the contest also receives a grand-prize package that includes touring money, new band equipment and a possible record deal. "Batle for Ozzfest" premieres Monday, October 25 at 10:30/9:30c.

COLD CASE (CBS) Nicki Aycox ("Ed") has booked a six-episode arc on the sophomore drama, where she'll play the estranged sister of Kathryn Morris' character. It's not clear however when her first appearance will be.

DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER (A&E) - The cable channel's latest reality entry continues to fare well, earning 2.7 million viewers for back-to-back episodes on Tuesday. Overall, "Dog" is down just 15.63% from its August 31 premiere numbers (3.2 million viewers).

JEOPARDY/WHEEL OF FORTUNE (Syndication) - King World has quietly renewed its veteran game shows "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy" for two more seasons, adding clearances in 50% of the country for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. Among those stations reupping were the five largest ABC owned-and-operated stations - WABC (New York), KABC (Los Angeles), WLS (Chicago), WPVI (Philadelphia) and KGO (San Francisco) - as well as WSBK (Boston), KTVT (Dallas) and WDIV (Detroit). Each series reportedly earns $70 million a year in profits between distributor King World and producer Sony Pictures Television through license fees paid by the stations themselves and three 30-second spots held back per episode by King World for national ad sales.

KARROLL'S CHRISTMAS (A&E) - Alanna Ubach ("Meet the Fockers") and Larry Miller ("Eight Simple Rules") have been added to the cast of the telefilm, a twist on the Charles Dickens' classic in which the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future accidentally visit the wrong guy (Tom Everett Scott). Production is set to complete this week for a December air date.

MISDEMEANOR MAN (FOX, New!) - Dan Pyne ("The Manchurian Candidate") has scored a script commitment with a substantial six-figure penalty attached for a new quirky drama based on Dylan Schaeffer's book of the same name. The project, which is set up at Paramount Network Television, Kerry McCluggage's Craftsman Films and Pyne's own Western Sandblast banner, tracks the life of Gordon Seegerman, a public defender who focuses mostly on misdemeanor cases, allowing him to take care of his father, who's got Alzheimers, and moonlight as the lead singer in a Barry Manilow tribute band called Barry X and the Mandys. Pyne will write and direct the pilot should it go forward from a story by him and John Mankiewicz ("House") as well as executive produce alongside McCluggage. A sequel to "Man" by Schaeffer, entitled "I Write the Wrongs," is due to be released shortly however it's not clear if that book's storylines will be incorporated into the TV series. ABC is also said to have been in the running to land "Man," however lost out to FOX.

NIP/TUCK (FX) - 5.2 million viewers tuned into Tuesday's commerical-free second season finale of the cable drama, marking not only its best numbers to date but also the best for an FX original series (beating out the 4.8 million viewers that saw the launch of "The Shield" in 2002). "Nip/Tuck" also fared well in adults 18-49, earning a 2.7 national rating/7 share, the best of any basic cable series so far in 2004. Both scores were also up significantly from its previous episode, which earned 3.85 million viewers and a 2.0/5 in adults 18-49. Overall, "Nip/Tuck" ranks as basic cable's top show in the key deompgrahic this year.

N.Y.P.D. BLUE (ABC) - Salli Richardson-Whitfield ("Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid") is set to appear in two episodes of the veteran drama, where she'll play a social worker and potential love interest for Henry Simmons' character. It's not clear when her first appearance will be. Richardson-Whitfield spent the past development season as part of the ABC drama pilot "Countdown."

PARADISE (Showtime) - Following in the footsteps of "The Ranch," the pay channel will broadcast the failed drama pilot on Sunday, November 21 at 8:30/7:30c. The project stars David Strathairn ("Limbo," "Passion Fish") as a world-renowned televangelist, an astronaut-turned-preacher on the brink of crisis. Barbara Hershey ("The Mountain"), Anita Barone ("Daddio") and Shea Whigham ("Tigerland") also star in the drama, which comes from Oscar-winning writer-turned-director Frank Pierson ("Conspiracy") and executive producers Norman Steinberg ("Doctor Doctor") and Richard Christian Matheson ("Amazing Stories").

THE PRINCE (The WB, New!) - Matt LeBlanc's Warner Bros. Television-based company Fort Hill Productions is reportedly close to selling its first project, a drama about a rich New York family and the relationship between the father and the younger son following the older son's death, to the WB. Jesse Wigutow ("It Runs in the Family") created the series, which he'll executive produce alongside LeBlanc and John Goldstone.

REBA (The WB) - Patrick Duffy ("Step by Step") has signed on to appear in two upcoming episodes of the comedy, where he'll play a potential love interest for series star Reba McEntire. No start date for Duffy's arc was given.

SPELLBOUND (FOX) - Valerie Azlynn ("Related by Family") is the latest to join the cast of the comedy pilot, about a male witch (Dave Annable) who is forced to decide whether to give up his powers after falling in love with a mortal woman (Maggie Lawson). Azlynn will play the sister to Annable's character in the project, which also stars Christine Baranski and Barry Bostwick.

SURVIVING THE MINTZ SISTERS (ABC, New!) - Writer Dave Caplan ("The George Lopez Show") and executive producer Brad Grey ("The Sopranos") have scored a script commitment (with a low six-figure penalty attached) from the Alphabet for a new comedy that focuses on three very different men who end up banding together when they marry three close-knit and ultra-competitive sisters. The project, which is set up at Grey's self-titled banner, is said to be based on Caplan's own experiences as the husband to the eldest of three sisters.

U.N. (FOX, New!) - Michael Gruber and Matt Walden's SideStreet banner has landed a script commitment from FOX and 20th Century Fox Television for a new drama about a group of young adults who work together at the United Nations. Sri Rao created the series and will likely executive produce alongside the pair.

UNTITLED CHAD HODGE PROJECT (The WB, New!) - The Frog is developing a new drama from writer Chad Hodge ("Blue Lagoon") about the lives of a group of students at a Big 10 school. No other details were given about the project, which is set up at Regency Television.

UNTITLED JENNIFER SALT PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Jennifer Salt ("Nip/Tuck") has set up a new drama project at FOX and Regency Television about a female private eye who's also a manic depressive. No other details were available about the project.

UNTITLED JOSH BERMAN PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Veteran "C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation" writer Josh Berman has booked a new procedural drama at FOX and Regency Television that revolves around serial criminals. No other details were given about the potential series.

UNTITLED LAURIE MCCARTHY/GWEN PARKER PROJECT (FOX, New!) - FOX is developing a new ensemble legal drama from the writing duo of Laurie McCarthy and Gwen Parker ("The Handler," "C.S.I.: Miami"). The project is set up at Regency Television, additional details of which were not available.

UNTITLED NICK LACHEY PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Actor/singer Nick Lachey ("Charmed") has inked a talent holding deal with 20th Century Fox Television and Brad Grey Television to topline a new series project for the network and studio. The project, which could be a half-hour comedy or a one-hour drama, comes in second position to his current involvement with the ABC comedy pilot "Hot Mom." Lachey remains attached to "Mom" until the show's option expires at the end of 2004.

UNTITLED TARA REID PROJECT (FOX) - Jonathan Prince ("American Dreams") has signed on to executive produce Tara Reid's untitled comedy pilot, about a bad girl who tries to rehabilitate her image for the sake of her family and friends. Prince will write and executive produce the project via his Warner Bros. Television-based Once A Frog Productions.

WASHINGTON STREET (CBS) - Cynthia Watros ("The Drew Carey Show," "Titus") is set as the lead in the midseason comedy pilot, about the tenants in a modest apartment building who form a family, led by a nurturing single mom (Watros). Watros' involvement lifts the cast-contigency component on the project, a co-production of CBS Productions and Warner Bros. Television, which comes from writer Julie Larson ("The Drewy Carey Show"). Andrew Weyman ("Joey") will direct the pilot from a script by Larson.

THE WEST WING (NBC) - Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth has booked a recurring role on the White House drama where she'll play a media consultant. Chenoweth's involvement includes an option to stick with the series should it return for the 2005-06 season. Chenoweth starred in the short-lived comedy "Kristin" for the Peacock in 2001.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters





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· AMERICAN DREAMS (NBC)
· BATTLE FOR OZZFEST (MTV)
· BLUE LAGOON: THE AWAKENING (LIFETIME)
· CHARMED (WB)
· COLD CASE (CBS)
· COUNTDOWN (ABC)
· CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (CBS)
· CSI: MIAMI (CBS)
· DADDIO (NBC)
· DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER (A AND E)
· DREW CAREY SHOW, THE (ABC)
· ED (NBC)
· EIGHT SIMPLE RULES (ABC)
· GEORGE LOPEZ SHOW, THE (ABC)
· HANDLER, THE (CBS)
· HOT MOMMA (ABC)
· HOUSE (FOX)
· JEOPARDY (SYNDICATION)
· JOEY (NBC)
· KARROLL'S CHRISTMAS (A AND E)
· KILLER INSTINCT (FOX)
· KRISTIN (NBC)
· LIFE ON A STICK (FOX)
· MISDEMEANOR MAN (FOX)
· MOUNTAIN, THE (WB)
· NIP/TUCK (FX)
· NYPD BLUE (ABC)
· PARADISE (SHOWTIME)
· PRINCE, THE (WB)
· RANCH, THE (SHOWTIME)
· REBA (CW)
· SHIELD, THE (FX)
· SOPRANOS, THE (HBO)
· SPELLBOUND (FOX)
· SURVIVING THE MINTZ SISTERS (ABC)
· TITUS (FOX)
· UN (FOX)
· UNTITLED CHAD HODGE PROJECT (WB)
· UNTITLED JENNIFER SALT PROJECT (FOX)
· UNTITLED MCCARTHY & PARKER PROJECT (FOX)
· UNTITLED NICK LACHEY PROJECT (CW)
· UNTITLED TARA REID PROJECT (FOX)
· WASHINGTON STREET (CBS)
· WEST WING, THE (NBC)
· WHEEL OF FORTUNE (SYNDICATION)





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