LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
THE GIRL IN THE CAFE (HBO, New!) - Bill Nighy, Kelly Macdonald, Ken Scott, Anton Lesser and Corin Redgrave are set to star in a new HBO original movie about a hard-working but timid civil servant (Nighy) and his life-changing relationship with a mysterious girl (Macdonald) he meets in a caf�. David Yates ("Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix") is set to direct the project, which is expected to bow this summer on the cable channel, from a script by Richard Curtis ("Love Actually") with Curtis, Paul Abbott ("State of Play") and BBC's Julie Gardner executive producing. Production began this week in London on "Girl" with Tightrope Pictures producing in assocation with HBO Films and BBC1.
HOUSE (FOX) - Chi McBride ("Boston Public") is set to appear in five upcoming episodes of the freshman drama, where he'll play Edward Vogler, a wealthy businessman who donates $100 million to the hospital where Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) works. Said event leads him to be named chairman of the board, where he decides that House and his entire team are a waste of the hospital's time and resources. It's not clear when McBride's first episode will air.
JUDGE ALEX (Syndication) - Twentieth Television has cleared the upcoming court series on stations covering 50% of the country. Among those signing on (in addition to the FOX owned-and-operated stations) are Cox Television's KTVU/San Francisco, Viacom Television Stations' WFOR/Miami and WNDY/Indianapolis, Block Communications' WDRB/Louisville, Raycom Media's WXIX/Cincinnati, Media General Broadcast Group's WSPA/Greenville-Spartanburg and Sinclair Broadcast's WZTV/Nashville. The project stars Judge Alex E. Ferrer, who was elected to the criminal and family divisions of Florida's Miami-Dade County judicial circuit back in 1995.
MY SUPER SWEET 16 (MTV) - A whopping 5.9 million viewers tuned into the show's debut on Tuesday where it set a new record for the network among viewers 12-34. Not surprisingly, said numbers lead all basic cable networks in the 10:30/9:30c slot.
OVER THERE (FX) - Jimmy "Jax" Pinchak ("Family Affair") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a group of soldiers stationed in Iraq and the families they left behind. No details on Pinchak's role were given.
QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GIRL (Bravo) - Week two of the "Queer Eye" spin-off fell to 497,000 viewers, off a surprising 48% from its debut last week (957,000 on 1/12/05).
THE TRIANGLE (Sci Fi) - The cable channel has greenlighted production on the three-part, six-hour mini-series for a December 2005 premiere date. The project, which comes from executive producers Dean Devlin, Bryan Singer and Rockne O'Bannon, revolves around scientists and investigators from different fields who come together to figure out the truth behind the Bermuda Triangle. No director or cast has been named however for the mini-series, which is set up at Devlin's Electric Entertainment.
THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER (Spike TV) - 1.7 million viewers (1.4 household rating) tuned into the show's debut on Monday, including 768,000 men 18-49 (1.5 rating) and 385,000 men 18-35 (1.5 rating). Both numbers were up 36% and 12% respectively from the Monday, 11:00/10:00c time period average from 2004.
UNTITLED DARREN STAR/DANA KLEIN PROJECT (CBS, New!) - "Sex and the City" creator Darren Star reportedly is close to signing a three-year production deal with Sony Pictures Television to set up his self-titled production house at the studio. The pact would likely call for Star to develop and executive produce comedy and drama projects for Sony. No financial details were available although it's understood it could be the studio's largest in over three years. As for specific projects, an untitled drama with Dana Klein for CBS is said to be already in the works.
UNTITLED JEFFREY LIEBER PROJECT (FOX, New!) - "Lost" co-creator Jeffrey Lieber has booked a new drama pilot at Spelling Television for FOX. The project, which has been given the go-ahead to begin production, revolves around a brother and sister who manage a Las Vegas wedding emporium and tracks their different approaches to their professional and personal lives, as well as the unusual stories of their clients and employees. Lieber will write the pilot script and executive produce alongside Aaron Spelling and E. Duke Vincent.
UNTITLED PAIGE DAVIS/NATE BERKUS PROJECT (Syndication, New!) - "Trading Spaces" host Paige Davis and interior designer Nate Berkus reportedly will be the focus of the latest "Oprah Winfrey Show" spin-off (a la "Dr. Phil"). The project, which is being targeted for a fall 2006 premiere, would feature the pair - who are frequent guests on "Oprah" - in an unspecified format. King World/Paramount Domestic Television's Terry Wood is understood to be spearheading the project, full details of which are still in the early stages of development.
WHO'S YOUR DADDY? (FOX) - As expected, the network confirmed this week it plans to shelve the five other completed installments (not seven as previously indicated) of the much-ballyhooed reality series, in which an adopted child is given $100,000 if he/she selects his/her birth father out of a group of eight strangers. A disappointing 6.3 million viewers tuned into the 90-minute preview earlier this month.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters