LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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20 THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU'RE 30 (UPN, New!) - "King of the Hill" veterans Alan Cohen and Alan Freedland are looking to import the British comedy of the same name - about four twentysomething friends who create a list of 20 things they want to do before they are 30 and set out to accomplish them - for UPN. The netlet has given a pilot order to the project, which is set up at Touchstone Television. The news marks the second time the comedy has been developed for U.S. audiences, the first being by Conan O'Brien and Lester Lewis ("Happy Family") for NBC in 2003 (read the story). Cohen and Freedland will write the pilot script and executive produce.
3 LBS. (CBS) - Oscar-winner Barry Levinson has been tapped to direct the pilot for the project, a medical drama revolving around brain surgeons. Already cast in the Paramount Network Television-based pilot is Reiko Aylesworth while Peter Ocko and Paul Stupin are the executive producers.
CRAZY LAWYERS (FOX) - Aimee Garcia ("All About the Andersons") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a successful golden boy lawyer (Chris O'Donnell) who has a nervous breakdown and teams up with another mentally disturbed lawyer with an anger problem to help people with issues, legal and otherwise. She'll play the lawyer in distress' loyal assistant in the project, which comes from executive producers Bill Chais, Jeff Rake and Barry Josephson as well as 20th Century Fox Television.
EIGHT SIMPLE RULES (ABC) - The Alphabet threw some extra support behind another one of its veteran comedies over the weekend, ordering two extra installments of "Rules." Said order brings its season total to 24 episodes. To date this season "Rules" is averaging 7.03 million viewers, ahead of fellow Friday comedies "Less Than Perfect" (6.48 million) and "Complete Savages" (6.09 million) and just short of "Hope & Faith" (7.35 million).
THE EVIDENCE (ABC) - Oscar winner Martin Landau ("Ed Wood") and Orlando Jones ("Evolution") have been cast the drama pilot, a San Francisco-based procedural which presents all the evidence and then tries to deconstruct the crime. Jones will play Det. Clint Bishop in the project while Landau is believed to be set as Dr. Saul Gold. Here's how Bishop is described in the show's casting notices: "Early-mid 30s, African-American, charismatic, sensitive, compassionate, well-educated (MA's in criminal psychology), Bishop is a San Francisco detective. He is trying to resuscitate his partner, Sean Riley, and gets a lot of flak for his propensity to play "therapist" to everyone. Bishop has a brother in prison, and will struggle with his eventual release, as well as with his own capacity for forgiveness." Gold then is described as: "65-72, seasoned, respected, wry, he's a CSU supervisor with nothing left to prove." The project is set up at John Wells Productions and Warner Bros. Television.
FRIENDS IN THE A.M. (UPN, New!) - Courteney Cox and David Arquette's Coquette Productions has scored a pilot order from the netlet for a new comedy about the brutally honest, fiercely loyal and incredibly complex on- and off-camera exploits of the three female hosts of a morning talk show. Allison Gibson ("Reba") is on board to write and executive produce the project, which is set up at Touchstone Television. Cox and Arquette will also serve as executive producers.
NUMB3RS (CBS) - The Eye has ordered four additional episodes of the successful Friday-night drama, bringing its season total to 12 installments. 11.55 million viewers tuned into its February 4 broadcast, making it the most-watched program on the night.
REUNION (FOX) - Chyler Leigh ("The Practice") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about the lives of six close friends from their high school graduation in 1986 to their 20th reunion in 2006. Leigh joins the previously cast Alexa Davalos, Sean Faris, Amanda Righetti and Dave Annable in the project, which comes from "Tru Calling" creator Jon Harmon Feldman, Warner Bros. Television and Class IV Productions. Leigh will play Carla, a good girl whose life is transformed over the show's 20 years.
THRESHOLD (CBS) - Charles S. Dutton ("Roc") is the first to be cast in the drama pilot, about a female government contingency analyst who leads a team of scientists and military personnel to respond to the threat of a mysterious alien lifeform. No details were given about his character in the project, which comes from Paramount Network Television and executive producers David Goyer, David Heyman, Bragi Schut, Mark Rosen and Brannon Braga.
UNTITLED DAN MAZER PROJECT (NBC, New!) - "Da Ali G Show" executive producer Dan Mazer has booked a pilot presentation order from the Peacock for a new sketch comedy series along the lines of the HBO comedy. Already cast in the pilot are Matt Walsh ("Old School"), Andrea Savage ("The 40-Year-Old Virgin"), A.D. Miles ("Wet Hot American Summer") and Zach Galifianakis ("Late World With Zach"). No other details were released about the project, other than it will will mix actors (as newscasters) and real-life people, in the vein of "Ali G."
UNTITLED TOM FONTANA/BARRY LEVINSON PROJECT (The WB) - Ernest Waddell ("The Wire") and Penn Badgley ("The Mountain") have signed onto the drama pilot, an ensemble drama about the lives of students and teachers at a small Manhattan college. HBO Independent Productions and Warner Bros. Television are behind the project, which comes from Fontana, Levinson, Jim Finnerty and Julie Martin.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters