[02/25/05 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: February 25
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!

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF (ABC) - Caitlin Wachs ("Cracking Up") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about the first female president. She'll play Helen Allen, described as: "15. She is a rebellious youngster who has a fractious relationship with her mother, and is always looking for ways to express her discontent. Twin sister to Horace, a golden boy who understands his role in unfolding history, Helen can't see beyond her own narrow and selfish interests - at least not yet. Instead of accompanying and supporting her mother, who is making her first speech as President, Helen insists that she's staying at home - much to the disgust of her brother, who urges her to get some perspective on the situation." Wachs joins the previously cast Ever Carradine in the Touchstone Television/Battle Plan Productions project, the production of which still remains contingent on casting the lead role.

COOL MONEY (USA) - The cable channel has rescheduled the telefilm, the second in its four-movie "true crime" series. The project, which stars "Buffy" alum James Marsters, will now air Saturday, March 19 at 9:00/8:00c. "Ladies' Night," the previous entry in the series, was also rescheduled in a similar fashion - moving from Friday, February 18 to Saturday, February 19.

E-RING (NBC) - Aunjanue Ellis has joined the cast of drama pilot, where she'll join Benjamin Bratt and Sarah Clarke. The project, from the Warner Bros. Television-based Jerry Bruckheimer Television, revolves around the inner workings of the Pentagon. Ellis will play Sgt. Jocelyn Pierce, described in the casting notice as: "Late 20s-Early 30s, African American. Hardened, defensive, a good soldier and wife and mother who lets her boundaries be known, she's a Marine sergeant who works with J.T. in Special Ops. Pierce has served at the Pentagon for 8 years and met her husband there. Her job is to anticipate problems, and when they happen, clean up the mess, and make sure her superiors aren't blamed. anal to the T, she is unnerved by the unorthodox antics of both McNulty and J.T."

HOT PROPERTIES (ABC) - Sofia Vergara ("Soul Plane") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about four women who run a real estate office in New York. She joins the previously cast Nicole Sullivan in the Warner Bros. Television-based project, which was created by Suzanne Martin.

INCONCEIVABLE (NBC) - Ming-Na ("ER") and Jonathan Cake ("Empire") have each joined the cast of the drama pilot, a potential new soap set at a high-end fertility clinic, where a team of doctors and other specialists assist clients who cannot conceive children through traditional methods. Ming-Na is set as Rachel Seeger, who's described as "Late 30s. Co-founder of the fertility clinic, a very attractive attorney who left law when her humanity became a liability. A divorced, single mother, Rachel's passionate, fiercely intelligent, an adult - but not above singing too loud to bad '80's music in her car." Cake then will play Malcolm Bowers, MD: "37s. Charming, handsome, incredibly smart, and ruthlessly ambitious, this renowned specialist has a well-earned God complex. Ethically ambiguous, but a lovable rogue. Has personalized license plates: "BABYMAKER." Likes to Google himself." Touchstone Television and Tollin/Robbins Productions are behind the project, with Marco Pennette, Oliver Goldstick, Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins and Joe Davola executive producing.

MURDER BOOK (FOX) - Paula Patton ("Hitch") is set as Angela Kellog in the drama pilot, about a team of L.A.-based cops and the beat-by-beat way they go about their business, including compiling reams of info about a case in one giant book. No other details were given about Patton's character. She joins the previously cast Josh Brolin in the project, which comes from creators Chris Brancato & Bert Salke and 20th Century Fox Television.

SIX FEET UNDER (HBO) - The pay channel has confirmed the fifth and final season of the veteran drama will air on Monday nights come June, a significant change from HBO's typically Sunday-based original series programming. Said move is understood to try and expand HBO's original platform, which has been driven by Sunday nights since 1998. "The Comeback" and season two of "Entourage," both of which are set to debut in June, will air on Sunday nights at 9:00/8:00c and 9:30/8:30c respectively with an encore of "Six Feet Under" at 10:00/9:00c.

STROLLER WARS (CBS) - Tiffany Amber Thiessen ("Fastlane") is the first to be cast in the comedy pilot, about a couple who are forced to grow up when they have kids of their own. In addition, Paramount Network Television has reportedly come aboard to co-produce the project in addition to Sony Pictures Television. Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa ("The King of Queens") created the pilot and will executive produce.

THE SUZE ORMAN SHOW (Syndication) - Twentieth Television has opted to postpone the syndicated entry's launch until the fall of 2006 at the earliest. The development comes in spite of recent clearances in the three largest markets - WCBS New York, KNBC Los Angeles and WMAQ Chicago. Twentieth nevertheless couldn't pull the show's national clearance to a profitable level. "While momentum for the strip has been building, fewer available attractive time periods in fall 2005 and the current economics of launching a daytime strip constrain the manner in which we wish to bring this very important program to viewers," the distributor said in a statement to the press. "In our view, there is much greater potential for 'Suze Orman' in fall 2006 or possibly earlier." Fellow Twentieth newcomers "Judge Alex" and "A Current Affair" remain on track for their respective fall and spring launches later this year.

UNTITLED DEBORAH KAPLAN/HARRY ELFONT PROJECT (ABC) - Julie Bowen ("Ed"), Michael Landes ("Special Unit 2") and Alan Tudyk ("Firefly") have all joined the cast of the single-camera comedy pilot, about the dating lives of a group of thirtysomething singles in Philadelphia. Bowen will play Jane, who's described in the casting notice as: "Late 20's-early 30's, any ethnicity, pretty, smart, demonstrative, upbeat, romantic, and definitely a "blurter." Although she could be considered a bit flaky when it comes to relationships, Jane owns a bakery, so she's got it together in that area of life. She was dating a handsome doctor [yet to be cast] before she hit it off big time with Sam [yet to be cast]. That was six weeks ago. Jane still hasn't gotten around to dumping Dr. Steven - but that's because she's not quote sure where she stands with Sam. In an effort to save face, she lets her best friend, Paige [yet to be cast], talk her into joining her at a blind date restaurant."

Landes then is set as Todd - "Late 20's-early 30's, any ethnicity. Attractive, charismatic, womanizing, gregarious, compulsive, easily bored, and a whiz at rationalizing, Todd is one of Sam's closest friends. Todd is one those guys who can get away with anything. He is forever searching for the perfect girl, car, life, and doesn't plan on settling for less any time soon. Todd works with Sam at a telecommunications company" - while Tudyk will play Oakes - "Late 20's-early 30's, any ethnicity. Brainy, edgy, prone to melancholy, awkward with the ladies, he's an odd bird who left Harvard following his quasimeltdown in the library. Oakes now lives alone at his parent's mansion. (They moved to Europe after his college fiasco). Oakes has a unique view on most topics, but sometimes can be too smart for his own good. He has been Sam's pal since childhood." Touchstone Television and The Untitled Burke/Tarses Project are behind the project, which was created by Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont.

UNTITLED FREDDIE PRINZE JR. PROJECT (ABC) - The Freddie Prinze Jr.-led comedy pilot is set to tape on Tuesday, April 12 at Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles. Prinze plays a guy who after finally breaking free of his overbearing family must return home to a household of women who drive him crazy after his brother dies.

UNTITLED PETER DINKLAGE PROJECT (ABC) - The Alphabet has greenlit production on the Peter Dinklage-led comedy pilot, however Dinklage reportedly may have moved on to a different project: CBS' drama pilot "Threshold." The ABC/Touchstone Television project, originally announced in December (read the story), revolves around an unconventional teacher (to be played by Dinklage). Said effort was the result of a talent deal the actor signed with Touchstone back in August (read the story). It's understood then that Dinklage's deal may have expired, leading to his attachment to "Threshold," or his involvement with the CBS pilot was done in second position to the ABC project. Dinklage and his reps have yet to clarify the situation however ABC and Touchstone insist he is indeed attached to their project.

THE WAR AT HOME (FOX) - The comedy pilot, which stars Michael Rapaport and Anita Barone as hypocritical parents who have lost control at home and try to regain the high ground, is currently scheduled to tape on Wednesday, March 23 at Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles.

WESTSIDE (ABC) - Charlotte Ross ("N.Y.P.D. Blue") has signed on to the Warner Bros. Television/Class IV Productions pilot, about an upscale L.A. real estate agency specializing in high-end homes. She'll play Vanessa (one of said real estate agents) in the project, which also stars Ashley Scott. Silvio Horta, Andrew Plotkin and Steve Pearlman are the executive producers of "Westside," which was created by Horta.

WHAT ABOUT BRIAN? (ABC) - Polly Shannon, recently seen in the CBS original movie "Stone Cold," has scored the final principal role in the drama pilot, about a single man in his 30s (Barry Watson) still trying to figure out his life after all his friends have gotten hitched. She'll play Marjorie, described in the casting notice as: "28-38. A willowy, pale brunette with dark, intelligent eyes, Marjorie is a pediatric surgeon and the newly minted fiance of Brian's best friend Adam [Matthew Davis]. Bright, sensitive, fun, passionate about her work, Marjorie is also a woman of integrity, dignity and strength. She and Brian share a special bond which comes dangerously close to crossing the line into something romantic." Rosanna Arquette, Amanda Detmer, Rick Gomez and Raoul Bova also star in the Touchstone Television/Bad Robot Productions-based project, which comes from executive producers J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Dana Stevens and Thom Sherman.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters and Audiences Unlimited

  [february 2005]  

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