LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (FOX) - Coming on the heels of FOX's announcement today regarding its Sunday lineup (read the story), industry insiders have confirmed the network has cut the show's second season order to 18 episodes. The news means "Arrested" will wrap its sophomore season in April, just in time for "American Dad" to take over the show's current 8:30/7:30c slot on May 1. Through 10 airings this season, "Arrested" has averaged 6.06 million viewers. Said number is surprisingly down 7.20% from its average after 10 episodes last season (6.53 million) despite the move to the post-"Simpsons" slot.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (Sci Fi) - Sci Fi Wire, the news service of the cable channel, has confirmed the network has committed to a second season of the successful Friday drama (read the story). Full details however have yet to be hammered out, such as how many episodes will be produced, which cast members will return and when the second season will commence. Look for an official press release from the network shortly.
MONK (USA) - Friday's latest installment drew 5.0 million viewers, up 21.95% from last week (4.1 million) and just shy of its 2005 premiere (5.51 million on 1/21/05). Said installment also drew a 1.5 rating/5 share in adults 18-49, tying "Battlestar Galactica" for the top spot among cable networks in the key demographic.
POOCH CAFE (New!) - Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner's NBC Universal Television-based Hazy Mills Productions ("Situation: Comedy") has optioned the TV rights to Paul Gilligan's comic strip of the same name, about a local watering hole where a group of dogs gather to discuss such issues as tail-chasing and cat surveillance. The pair are developing the project as a half-hour primetime animated series and plan to pitch the various broadcast networks shortly.
UNTITLED DEXTER MORGAN PROJECT (Showtime, New!) - The pay channel is developing a new offbeat series based on Jeff Lindsay's series of "Dexter" novels, about a highly respected lab technician for the Miami Dade Police Department who also happens to be a sociopathic serial killer. With the help of his foster father though, a pragmatic police officer, Dexter learns to channel his drive, killing only people who deserve to die. The pilot will be based on "Darkly Dreaming Dexter," the first Dexter Morgan novel, in which he faces off against a fellow serial killer who terrorizes the area with a string of gruesome killings of prostitutes. Emmy-winning writer James Manos, Jr. ("The Sopranos") is on board to pen the pilot script with John Goldwyn and Sara Colleton executive producing.
UNTITLED DONALD TRUMP PROJECT (ABC, New!) - The Alphabet is developing a two-hour biopic about the life of "The Apprentice" host. Said project would explore the last 25 years of Trump's tumultuous life - from the Atlantic City casino wars to his tabloid relationships with stunning supermodels - using Gwenda Blair's 2001 book "The Trumps: Three Generations That Built an Empire" as a basis. Casting has already begun on the project with John David Coles ("Desperate Housewives") set to direct from a script by Keith Curran. Robert Greenwald and Barbara Lieberman, both telefilm veterans, are attached to executive produce. As no doubt expected given the content, Trump himself will not be involved in the untitled project.
UNTITLED HENRY CHO PROJECT (ABC) - Barry Kemp, the writer/producer behind Kevin Sorbo's comedy pilot "Bobby Cannon," has been brought in to executive produce comedian Henry Cho's project for the Alphabet. Kemp replaces David Janollari on the comedy, which revolves around Cho's experiences as a Korean-American born and raised in Tennessee. Cho and writer Matt Goldman created the project, which is set up at Touchstone Television. Cho himself signed a two-year talent holding deal with ABC back in January 2004 (read the story).
UNTITLED MENUDO PROJECT (New!) - Ben Silverman ("Nashville Star") is looking to revive the 1980s bilingual boy band through an "American Idol"-style competition. To that end, Silverman's Reveille banner has pacted with Menudo Entertainment principals Jeffrey Weiner and Barry Solomon to develop the project, which would also track the creation of its first album, a la "Making the Band." Menudo, which has gone through over 30 incarnations over the years, is best known for launching the careers of both Ricky Martin and Marc Anthony. Silverman is expected to begin shopping the project to the various networks starting this week.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters