[02/07/05 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: February 7
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 projects in development? Click here to visit our newly revamped "Series in Development" charts. Visitors can now filter our listings by network, genre and even development stage (ordered to pilot, cast-contingent, script, etc.). It's updated every day!

24 (FOX) - James Morrison ("Point Pleasant") has joined the cast of the FOX drama in a recurring role. He'll play Bill Buchanan, a high-ranking officer who joins the show's C.T.U. in their terrorist hunt.

ALL IN (A.K.A. UNTITLED ANNIE DUKE PROJECT) (NBC) - The Peacock has added another comedy pilot to its 2005-06 season roster, as the network has given a cast-contingent commitment to its Annie Duke-inspired project. The comedy, which is based on the life of Duke - a world poker champion, tracks a single mom who's a whiz around the poker table, but who could use some of those same smarts in raising her kids. The project is set up at Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky's Warner Bros. Television-based Is or Isn't Entertainment. Jack Burditt ("I'm With Her") will write the pilot script and executive produce along with Kudrow and Bucatinsky.

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (FOX) - Ben Stiller ("Meet the Fockers") is set to guest star on an upcoming installment of the sophomore comedy. He'll play Tony Wonder, a rival magician to Will Arnett's character. It's not clear when Stiller's installment, which was shot on Friday, will air.

BLIND JUSTICE (ABC) - Brennan Elliott ("Strong Medicine") has scored a recurring role on the upcoming midseason drama. He'll play a nightclub owner with a criminal past who begins dating Marisol Nichols' character. No air date was given for Elliott's first episode.

BOOK OF DANIEL (NBC) - Aidan Quinn ("Third Watch") has been cast as Daniel Webster in the drama pilot, a dysfunctional family drama about a Vicodin-popping Episcopalian priest (Quinn) who finds himself speaking routinely with a hip, modern Jesus, who appears as a vision and offers valuable guidance. Quinn's involvement lifts the cast-contingency on the pilot's production. In addition, Sony Pictures Television has come aboard as a co-production partner on the NBC Universal Television project while James Frawley has been tapped to direct. Frawley helmed the pilots for such series as "Ed," "Thieves," "Jack & Jill" and "Kate Brasher." Jack Kenny and Flody Suarez are the executive producers.

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC) - Nick Chinlund ("The Chronicles of Riddick") has landed a recurring role on the hit freshman drama. He'll play Detective Sullivan, a police detective who is investigating the death of Christine Estabrook's character. Chinlund's first episode is set to air on February 20.

EMPIRE (ABC) - Executive producer Tony Jonas has inked a two-year overall deal with Touchstone Television, ending his 15-year stay at Warner Bros. Television. The pact calls for Jonas to move his self-titled production banner to Touchstone, where he'll develop new comedy and drama projects for the studio.

FOR ONE NIGHT (Lifetime, New!) - Raven Symone ("That's So Raven") is set to topline a new original movie for the cable channel. She'll play a black teenager who, with the help of a newspaper reporter, braves decades of segregation to stage the first interracial high school prom in the history of their small town. No other details were given about the project, which is expected to air later this year on the network.

HOMETEAM (Syndication, New!) - Former "The Apprentice" contestant Troy McClain is set to host a new weekend syndicated offering which helps people buy and decorate their own homes, including providing money for a down payment as well as a year's worth of mortgage payments. Litton Entertainment is behind the project, which has been cleared for a fall 2005 launch in such markets as Philadelphia (WCAU), Boston (WCVB), Norfolk, Va. (WTVZ) and Richmond, Va. (WRLH).

KEVIN HILL (UPN) - Samantha Corbin-Miller ("ER," "The Practice" and "Crossing Jordan") has been named the new showrunner of the freshman drama beginning with its 19th installment this season. She'll join Alex Taub, Bruce Davey and Nancy Cotton as an executive producer on the series, which comes from Icon Productions and Touchstone Television. Meanwhile, Leila Arcieri ("XXX") is set to reprise her role of Monroe McManus - the highly motivated, cutthroat legal adversary of Taye Diggs' character - for three upcoming episodes of the series.

LAWS OF CHANCE (ABC) - KaDee Strickland ("The Stepford Wives") has scored the lead role in the drama pilot, about the life of unconventional Houston assistant district attorney Kelly Siegler, whose 95% success rate in court was partly due to her theatrical presentation in arguing cases. Gary Glasberg, Gina Matthews and Grant Scharbo are the executive producers of "Chance," which comes from 20th Century Fox Television and Roundtable Ink.

THE MONTEL WILLIAMS SHOW (Syndication) - Talk show host Montel Williams, who just launched a new talent agency called Letnom Management, has confirmed he's under contract with the series through September 2006 and is in talks for an extension.

NEW CAR SMELL (FOX, New!) - "Lucky" creators Robb and Mark Cullen have received a pilot order from FOX for a new comedy about a used-car dealership. No other details were given about the project, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television.

REUNION (FOX) - Amanda Righetti ("North Shore") and Dave Annable ("Spellbound") are the first to be cast in the drama pilot, about the lives of six close friends from their high school graduation in 1986 to their 20th reunion in 2006. Righetti's attachment likely means 20th Century Fox Television has released the "North Shore" actors from their contracts, meaning it's highly unlikely the series will return for a second season. Jon Harmon Feldman is behind the project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television and Steve Pearlman and Andrew Plotkin's Class IV banner.

UNTITLED BRAD KERN PROJECT (The WB, New!) - "Charmed" executive producer Brad Kern has booked a new drama pilot at the Frog, about a mermaid who attempts to live on dry land in Miami. The project is set up at Spelling Television with Kern executive producing along with Aaron Spelling and E. Duke Vincent.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [february 2005]  

· 24 (FOX)
· ED (NBC)
· ER (NBC)

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