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.
CHAPPELLE'S SHOW (Comedy Central) - The cable channel has confirmed season three of the popular comedy series will debut on Wednesday, February 16 at 10:30/9:30c. A DVD release of the show's second season will hit stores the previous Tuesday (February 8) to help promote its return.
COBBLE HILL (CBS, New!) - Jeff Roda has scored a script commitment for a new dramedy at the network about a group of Gen X pals in Brooklyn which is being likened to "'Friends' as a one-hour show." Gavin and Greg O'Connor's Paramount Network Television-based Solaris banner is behind the project which will be executive produced by the O'Conners and Roda.
COMMANDY NANNY (The WB) - After several setbacks, the WB and Warner Bros. Television have put the kibosh altogether on the freshman comedy. The show's troubles began in August when star Philip Winchester had to be recast after breaking his foot, followed by news last month production would be delayed after Gerald McRaney underwent successful emergency surgery to remove a small cancerous growth from his lung and most recently the exit of showrunner Rachel Sweet upon completion of the show's first episode. In a joint statement to the press, the network and studio told reporters, "In spite of an extraordinary effort by the producers, cast and crew, we will not be proceeding with production on 'Commando Nanny.' The project suffered a number of unfortunate and untimely setbacks, which factored into this very difficult decision."
COMMITTED (A.K.A. CRAZY FOR YOU) (NBC) - The Peacock has quietly retitled the midseason comedy, about the highly unusual courtship of two New Yorkers (Josh Cooke, Jennifer Finnigan). No reason was given for the change.
THE DAVEY GEE SHOW (FOX) - The network has greenlit production on a pilot presentation for the David Alan Grier-led sketch comedy series, originally announced back in June (read the story). Grier and Tim Hightower ("Mad TV") will team up to write the pilot script for the project, which is set up at Touchstone Television. No details however were given about the pilot beyond it being a sketch comedy.
GRANDMASTER FREAK & THE FURIOUS 15 (FOX, New!) - Ice Cube and "Futurama" co-creator David X. Cohen are set to team for a new animated project at the network, about an early 1980s hip-hop crew. FOX has given a pilot presentation order to the project, which Cohen will write and executive produce alongside Ice Cube and his producing partner Matt Alvarez's Cube Vision Productions. "Freak" concerns the Englewood, N.J.-based adventures of an old-school rap crew with a comically large number of members, lead by "Grandmaster Freak" himself, a 17-year-old high school student. Ice Cube is expected to lend his voice to one of the characters however it will not be the lead role. The producers hope to feature several old school rap songs from groups such as the Sugar Hill Gang as well as original compositions.
HARD TIME (ABC, New!) - Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie ("The Usual Suspects") is back at the Alphabet where he's developing a drama about a convict who opts to become a private investigator after getting out of jail. The project, which has a script commitment with a significant penalty attached, is set up at Gavin and Greg O'Connor's Paramount Network Television-based Solaris banner where the pair recently signed an overall deal. McQuarrie is no stranger to the network, as he spent the past development season on the script "The Middleman," which was described as a 21st century take on "The Equalizer" in which the lead is viewed as a crook by the cops and a cop by the crooks.
LAW & ORDER (NBC) - Former series star Chris Noth is reportedly in final talks to topline up to three new "Law & Order"-branded telefilms, where he'll reprise his role as Detective Mike Logan. Noth last appeared as the character in the 1998 "Law & Order" telefilm "Exiled," which drew 28 million viewers for its original airing. The telefilms are set up at the NBC Universal Television-based Wolf Films however it's not necessarily a given that they'll air on NBC should they move forward. No other details were given.
NEARLY NIRVANA (NBC) - The Peacock is expected to pass on the comedy pilot however the show's producers aren't letting go that easy. Shooting was set to begin this week on a newly revamped version of the project - about an Indian man (Arj Barker) whose white girlfriend (Judy Greer) ends up pregnant, forcing his overbearing parents move in to help raise the baby - however NBC executives informed the producers it was unlikely to get a series order. While under normal circumstances said move would have scrapped production, executive producers Jamie Tarses, Karey Burke and David Schwimmer have instead opted to throw in several hundred thousand dollars on their own money to proceed with shooting on the pilot so it could be shopped to other networks should NBC ultimately pass on the project. In addition, writer/creator Ajay Sahgal will step in for Barker as the lead role in the project, which is set up at the NBC Universal Television-based the Untitled Burke/Tarses Project and Schwimmer's Dark Harbor banner.
PRYOR OFFENSES (Showtime) - Gina Ravera ("Gas") is set to star opposite Eddie Griffin in the half-hour comedy pilot, an updated take on Richard Pryor's real-life experience as a thirtysomething comedian (Griffin) on the verge of a career breakthrough who is dealing with a ton of personal issues. Ravera will also guest star in the TNT drama pilot "The Closer" in an unspecified role.
THE SHIELD (FX) - Emmy-winner Glenn Close ("Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story") has signed on to appear in all 13 episodes of the show's fourth season. She'll play Monica Rawling, the new captain of the Farmington precinct, who empowers Michael Chiklis' character to enforce her controversial community policies. Production on the new season is expected to begin in January for a March premiere.
ST. ANDREWS (UPN, New!) - Jim Solomon ("The Practice") and Nick Davis have landed a script order at the netlet for a new drama about an inner-city kid who discovers, after his mother dies, that his long-lost father is a wealthy New York businessman. Said revelation leads him to move in with his dad and go to school at one of New York's upper crust private schools. The pair will executive produce alongside Gavin and Greg O'Connor's through their Paramount Network Television-based Solaris banner.
TILT (ESPN) - Eddie Cibrian ("Third Watch") and Chris Bauer ("The Wire") are the first to be cast in ESPN's second original drama series, about the fictitious World Poker Championships in Las Vegas. Cibrian will play a gritty, hot-shot poker player out for revenge, while Bauer will portray a Midwestern sheriff trying to bring his brother's killer to justice in the project, which comes from the "Rounders" team of Brian koppelman and David Levien. "Tilt" launches in January on the network.
TOM UTOPIA (CBS, New!) - Adam Barr ("Will & Grace") has received a script commitment for a new drama about a man who discovers he owns land on a sovereign island in Vancouver Bay where he founds his own nation and builds a government from the ground up. The project is set up at Gavin and Greg O'Connor's Paramount Network Television-based Solaris banner where the pair will executive produce alongside Barr.
UNTITLED JEFFREY ROSS PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Roastmaster Jeffrey Ross has inked a talent holding/development deal with the network to topline a new project. Ross is said to be open to both scripted and unscripted series, as the actor/writer has been featured in everything from dramatic guest roles ("C.S.I."), game shows (The WB's failed 2003 revival of "The Gong Show") and comic features ("Along Came Polly") not to mention worked as a script doctor ("A Shark Tale") and directed an independent film ("Patriot Act"). No other details were given.
UNTITLED L.A.P.D. PILOT (TNT) - Rashida Jones ("Boston Public") has been cast as the female lead in the drama pilot, about an elite crime-fighting team that handles Southern California's most dangerous fugitives. Gary Cole also stars in the project, which comes from executive producers Aaron Spelling, E. Duke Vincent and Jorge Zamacona ("10-8").
UNTITLED MOLLY SHANNON PROJECT (FOX) - Writer Holly Hester ("The Drew Carey Show") has come aboard the former "SNL" star's comedy project for FOX which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television and Brad Grey Television. No details have yet to emerge about the comedy.
UNTITLED ROSS MCCALL/AARON PETERS PROJECT (A.K.A. UNTITLED JERRY BRUCKHEIMER COMEDY PROJECT) (The WB) - Ross McCall and Aaron Peters have been tapped to write the script for the project, a comedy about three single guys, all friends since childhood, who hire a life coach to help them with women. The untitled project has a put pilot commitment from the network and is set up at Bruckheimer's self-titled Warner Bros.-based banner. Bruckheimer is no stranger to the McCall family as he's also got a put pilot commitment at CBS for a new comedy from Ross' brother Marsh.
UNTITLED SALLY FIELD PROJECT (ABC, New!) - Sally Field is once again eyeing the small screen, as the actress is said to be close to pacting with Conan O'Brien's Conaco banner to topline a new comedy at the network. The project, which is awaiting script approval by Field, centers on a middle-aged woman who suddenly decides to make a change in her picture-perfect family life, gets divorced and gets a job. Holly Hester ("The Drew Carey Show") penned the pilot script.
UNTITLED STEVE R. SCHIRRIPA PROJECT (New!) - Steve R. Schirripa ("The Sopranos") is looking to transition into comedy as the actor has inked a talent holding deal with Touchstone Television to topline a new comedy for the studio. The project is understood to be an adaptation of his book "A Goomba's Guide to Life," which features a humorous look at the cliches about Italian Americans.
UNTITLED STEVEN COJOCARU PROJECT (Syndication) - Production has completed on a pilot for a potential series featuring the "Entertainment Tonight" correspondent from Paramount Domestic Television. The one-hour talk show is said to be a showcase of his trademark over-the-top dissection of fashion and pop culture trends blended with celebrity interviews. Halle Berry is understood to be one of "Cojo's" guests in the pilot, which is the result of Cojocaru's overall deal with the company. It's not clear however if fall 2005 is the target launch date for the project.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters