[03/08/05 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: March 8
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!

BORN & BREAD (A.K.A. UNTITLED SEAN JABLONSKI/JASON KATIMS PROJECT) (FOX) - Joely Fisher ("Wild Card") and Matt Letscher ("Joey") have both joined the cast of the Sean Jablonski/Jason Katims-produced drama pilot, which now features the title "Born & Bread." The project, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television and David Nevins & Brian Grazer's Imagine Television, revolves around the staff of a fertility clinic.

BOW (A.K.A. UNTITLED BOW WOW PROJECT) (The WB) - Actor/rapper Bow's (previously Bow Wow and before that Lil' Bow Wow) second comedy project for the Frog has been given the green light to produce a pilot. In addition, Touchstone Television has come aboard to produce the pilot while "One on One's" Erica Montolfo, Dan Cross and David Hoge will write and executive produce along with Bow's managers Teresa Caldwell and Michael Mauldin. The comedy will feature Bow playing a version of himself, a rap singer who's coming of age and taking control of his business. The project is the result of a talent deal Bow signed with the network back in November (read the story). Bow last starred in the failed 2003 comedy pilot "Saving Jason" for the Frog, about a gifted pianist who becomes a fish out of water when he enrolls at an elite conservatory/boarding school.

BRIAR & GRAVES (FOX) - Elizabeth Rohm ("Law & Order") and Charles Mesure ("Boogeyman") will play the title roles of Briar and Graves respectively in the drama pilot, about a hard-living priest (Mesure) who partners with a female doctor (Rohm) to investigate unexplained religious phenomena. Paul Sheuring, Marty Adelstein and Dawn Parouse are behind the project, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television and the latter duo's Adelstein/Parouse Productions. Dondre Whitfield, Graham Beckel and Angel Desai also star.

DESCENT (Sci Fi) - "Descent," one of the cable channel's latest Saturday night entries, will air on May 21 at 9:00/8:00c. Here's how Sci Fi's web site describes the project: "When rapidly worsening volcanic eruptions and earthquakes threaten to obliterate the Pacific Rim and plunge the world into ecological chaos, a team of scientists embarks on a daring mission into the Earth's molten core to avert the looming disaster. Luke Perry (Jeremiah) and Michael Dorn (Worf in the Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine TV series and feature films) star in this fast-paced underground adventure."

THE E-RING (NBC) - Dennis Hopper ("The Last Ride") has joined the cast of the pilot, a behind-the-scenes ensemble drama set at the Pentagon. He'll play Col. McNulty, a former special ops officer in the project, which also stars Benjamin Bratt, Sarah Clarke, Aunjanue Ellis and Leonor Varela. Hopper had been previously set to topline a new comedy project for the Peacock (read the story), which has since been rolled to next season. Taylor Hackford is directing the Warner Bros. Television-based pilot from a script by creators Ken Robinson and David McKenna with the latter executive producing along with Jonathan Littman and Jerry Bruckheimer.

THE FALLEN ONES (Sci Fi) - The telefilm, another in Sci Fi's long line of Saturday originals, is set to air on May 7 at 9:00/8:00c. The network's web site describes the project as follows: "An archaeologist unearths the mummified remains of a giant humanoid. Soon, more evidence is uncovered that reveals the creature to be the offspring of a human woman and a fallen angel � the beginning of a lineage whose terror is about to be reborn into the modern world. Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers) and Robert Wagner (Number Two in the Austin Powers movies) star in this supernatural mystery-thriller."

GROWN MEN (The WB) - Dan Cortese ("Veronica's Closet"), John DiMaggio ("Futurama"), Mitch Rouse ("Lost at Home") and John Ducey ("Oh Grow Up") have all been cast in the Dean Cain-led comedy pilot, about five former fraternity brothers who reunite 13 years after graduating from college. Said castings appear to have lifted the cast-contingency on the pilot's production. Mike Sikowitz created the project, which is now set up at Sony Pictures Television.

HALLEY'S COMET (The WB) - Newcomer Lucas Grabeel has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a 23-year-old first-year med student (Audrey Marie Anderson) who, after battling a life-threatening illness for years, finds herself moving from patient to doctor while also finally maturing as an adult woman. He'll play Heath Newell in the 20th Century Fox Television-based project, described in the casting notice as: "To play 16 years old. He is Halley's brother. Heath is too-cool-forschool with messy hair, baggy pants (boxers showing) with a chain and a concerttee. Pretty-boy good looks. He's a nice kid and he and his sister share an easy rapport." Adam Campbell, Adam LaVorgna, Marika Dominczyk and Sean Maher also star in the pilot, which comes from executive producers Andrew Kreisberg, David E. Kelley and Jonathan Pontell.

MURDER BOOK (FOX) - Recent "24" guest star Nestor Serrano has joined the cast of the drama pilot, an L.A.-based police procedural which also stars Josh Brolin and Paula Patton. Antoine Fuqua ("Training Day," "King Arthur") is directing the 20th Century Fox Television-based project from a script by creators Chris Brancato and Bert Salke.

PEPPER DENNIS (The WB) - Brooke Burns ("North Shore") and Rider Strong ("Boy Meets World") have both scored roles in the drama pilot, about a Chicago-based TV reporter (Rebecca Romijn) who juggles her career, love and family lives. No details were given about their respective characters. Josh Hopkins and Lindsay Price are star in the project, which comes from 20th Century Fox Television and executive producers Gretchen Berg, Aaron Harberts and Shawn Levy.

PLAY MATES (ABC) - Michael Boatman ("Spin City") is the first to be cast in the comedy pilot, about the lives of three quirky couples whose lives intersected after they met in a baby preparation class. Mark Torgrove & Paul Kaplan ("The George Lopez Show") are behind the project, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television.

PROS & CONS (ABC) - Paul Blackthorne ("24") has been cast in the lead role of the drama pilot, about five ex-cons who end up working with the government's antifraud forces. No details however were given about Blackthorne's character. Natasha Henstridge and Billy Baldwin also star in the Touchstone Television/Bad Robot-based project, which comes from executive producers J.J. Abrams, Raven Metzner, Stu Zicherman, Thom Sherman and Michael Engler.

QUANTICO (CBS) - Thomas Gibson ("Dharma & Greg") is the latest addition to the pilot, a suspense thriller set inside the F.B.I.'s Behavioral Analysis Unit. He'll reportedly play Spec. Agent Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner in the project. Said character is described in the casting notice as: "Mid 30s. All American. He is an FBI special agent, a loyal, God-fearing compassionate, family man who is respectful of authority. He's a nice guy, reluctant to pass judgement, but more than capable of doing what's required of him." Mandy Patinkin (Spec. Agent Jason Donovan), Shemar Moore (Spec. Agent Derek Morgan), Lola Glaudini (Spec. Agent Elle Greenaway) and Matthew Gubler also star in the project, which comes from Touchstone Television, Paramount Network Television and executive producers Jeff Davis and Mark Gordon. In addition, it's believed Gubler's role has been confirmed as Spec. Agent Dr. Daniel Reed: "27. A classically misunderstood genius with a seriously low social I.Q., he is an FBI special agent whose expertise covers just about everything. Reed takes his job seriously, and often needs to be reminded by his cohorts to lighten up."

SEX AND THE CITY (HBO) - Former star and executive producer Sarah Jessica Parker has signed a development deal with the pay channel. The pact sets up her newly formed Pretty Matches Productions at the network, where she'll develop original series and telefilms for the cable channel. No specific projects however have been set up as part of the deal.

SOCCER MOMS (ABC) - Rob Estes ("Melrose Place") has found at home at ABC, as the actor has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about two suburban housewives (Kristin Davis, Gina Torres) who team up as private investigators. No details were released about Estes' character. Touchstone Television and Marla Ginsburg's Vertikal Entertainment are behind the project, which is executive produced by Ginsburg, Don Todd and Jeff Kline.

THRESHOLD (CBS) - "Star Trek: The Next Generation" alum Brent Spiner has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a government contingency analyst (Carla Gugino) who leads a team of scientists and military personnel to respond to the threat of a mysterious alien lifeform. Charles S. Dutton also stars in the Paramount Network Television/Heyday Films-based project, which is executive produced by David Goyer, David Heyman, Bragi Schut, Mark Rosen and Brannon Braga.

THE UNIT (CBS) - Regina King ("Ray") has scored a role in the David Mamet/Shawn Ryan-produced drama pilot, about the elite antiterrorism force known as Delta Force. She joins the previously cast Dennis Haysbert and Michael Irby in the project, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television.

UNTITLED LIZ TUCCILLO PROJECT (The WB) - Jennifer Esposito ("Spin City") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about four adult sisters in Manhattan who together struggle through career and romance. Laura San Giacomo also stars in the Warner Bros. Television/Class IV Productions-based project, which comes from executive producers Liz Tuccillo, Steve Pearlman, Andrew Plotkin and Marta Kauffman.

WHO WANTS TO LIVE FOREVER? (FOX, New!) - The network is set to produce at least four one-hour episodes of a new reality series which utilizes a team of doctors and the latest scientific evidence to help transform participants by changing those aspects of their lifestyle that may be subtracting years from their lives. Said project, which is set up at Fox Television Studios and the U.K.-based Zig Zag Productions, opens with that week's subject getting a harsh scientific estimate of the exact day he or she will die, unless immediate changes are made. The rest of the hour then will focus on the team's attempts to help the person increase his or her potential lifespan. Production on the series is set to be completed in time for a summer premiere, although no solid launch date has been set.

WORLD OF TROUBLE (NBC) - Idris Elba ("The Wire") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a squad of U.S.-based F.B.I. agents that solve crimes committed against Americans (and U.S. interests) overseas. Vinessa Shaw ("Eyes Wide Shut") also stars in the project, which comes from NBC Universal Television with Stephen Hopkins directing from a script by creator Peter Noah.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [march 2005]  

· 24 (FOX)
· BOW (WB)

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