[03/10/05 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: March 10
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!

ADOPTED (ABC) - Andrew Walker ("Maybe It's Me") has been cast in the lead role of the comedy pilot, about a thirtysomething writer (Walker) whose life is turned upside down when his biological mom shows up on his doorstep one day, resulting in his adoptive (Bernadette Peters) and birth mothers comically competing for his attention. He'll play Lloyd Leaf in the 20th Century Fox Television-based project, which comes from executive producers Kevin Abbott, Peter Principato, Paul Young, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash and Brian Dobbins. His character is described in the casting notice as follows: "30. A successful novelist, Lloyd is a slightly neurotic , "putupon" individual, unaware, until now, that he was adopted. Somewhat unnerved by the stunning revelation, he is curious about meeting his biological mother, and is not pleased when his overbearing adoptive mother and tactless younger brother insist on tagging along. Although a non-confrontational type, Lloyd shows he has a backbone when he's forced to referee his combative mothers and fight for what he truly wants: a shot at making this "non-blended" family work."

BOBBY CANNON (ABC) - Thad Luckinbill ("Eight Simple Rules") and Joanna Canton ("The King of Queens") have both landed roles in the Kevin Sorbo-led comedy pilot, about a pro football quarterback nearing retirement (Sorbo) who has to mentor his replacement (Luckinbill) while figuring out what to do with the rest of his life. Luckinbill will play Dallas, said replacement quarterback, in the Touchstone Television/Mosaic Media-based project, while Canton will play Nikki. Barry Kemp and Eric Gold are the executive producers.

BOOK OF DANIEL (NBC) - Oscar-winner Ellen Burstyn is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about an Episcopalian minister (Aidan Quinn) with a prescription drug problem who finds himself speaking routinely with Jesus (Garret Dillahunt). She'll play Dr. Beatrice Congreve in the project, which is set up at NBC Universal Television and Sony Pictures Television. The casting notice describes her character as: "50-60's. The Bishop of the Diocese (the first female ever in the diocese), Bishop Congreve is surprisingly conservative and she and Daniel rarely see eye to eye, and she takes exception one Sunday to his preaching that sin is unavoidable. A highly educated, dignified person, Bishop Congreve is sometimes severe with Daniel, particularly about the $3 million embezzled by his brother-in-law or his sermon about the inevitability of sin. But she's also capable of seeing and enjoying "Hairspray" on a night out with the Archbishop." She joins the previously cast Dylan Baker, Susanna Thompson, Christian Campbell and Alison Pill in the pilot, which comes from creators Jack Kenny and Flody Suarez.

CRUMBS (ABC) - Eddie McClintock ("A.U.S.A.") is set to play brother to Fred Savage in the comedy pilot, about two estranged brothers - one gay and one straight - who wind up running the family business when their parents (Jane Curtin, William Devane) get divorced. He'll play Jack, one of the two estranged brothers, in the Touchstone Television-based project, which comes from executive producers Marco Pennette, Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins.

DON'T ASK (FOX) - Alan Ruck ("Spin City") has joined the cast of the single-camera comedy pilot, about a married father (Ruck) of two teenage sons who announces he's gay and in love with his wife's (Kristen Johnston) shrink. Ruck will play Howard, the aforementioned father in the 20th Century Fox Television/Phase Two-based project. In addition, Lev Spiro ("Summerland") has been tapped to direct the pilot from a script by creator Nicky Silver. Silver then will executive produce with Phase Two's Sandy Grushow and Paul Shapiro.

GETTING UNSTUCK (Showtime, New!) - Rapper Eve ("Eve") is set to star and executive produce a biopic at the cable channel about the life of HIV-positive lesbian talk-show producer Merle Soden (a.k.a. Conscious). The project, which is based on Conscious's autobiography of the same name (subtitled "Girl to Girl, You Can Be Infected Indeed"), will track her struggles with being molested as a child, homelessness, drugs and contracting HIV from another woman as well as her eventual success as a producer on Queen Latifah's short-lived talk-show and host of Oxygen's "She-Commerce." Code Entertainment's Larry Kennar and Irving Wonder Productions's Troy Carter (along with Eve) will executive produce the project while Ken Gamble and Sylvain White are attached to write the script, the latter of which will also direct.

HOT PROPERTIES (ABC) - Gail O'Grady is the latest "American Dreams" actor to score a back-up position should the family drama not return for the 2005-06 season. She's been cast as Ava Moore in the Warner Bros. Television-based pilot, about four women who run a real estate office in New York. O'Grady joins the previously cast Nicole Sullivan and Sofia Vergara, as well as the recently added Stephen Dunham ("What I Like About You") in the project, which was created by Suzanne Martin. O'Grady is the third "Dreams" regular cast in a pilot this season, the others being Rachel Boston in "Peep Show" and Will Estes in "Reunion," both at FOX.

INCONCEIVABLE (NBC) - Joelle Carter ("High Fidelity") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about the doctors, psychologists and lawyers at a fertility clinic. She'll play Patrice Lo Ciecero in the Touchstone Television-based project. Her character is described in the casting notice as: "27s. A stunning Laguna Beach-raised R.N., as adept with a syringe as a surfboard. She is highly-competitive, somewhat manipulative, and accustomed to getting whatever she wants." She joins the previously cast David Norona, Ming-Na and Jonathan Cake in the project, which comes from executive producers Marco Pennette, Oliver Goldstick, Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins and Joe Davola.

KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL (FOX) - John Francis Daley ("Freaks & Geeks," "Regular Joe") is the first to be cast in the Darren Star-produced comedy pilot, about a bad-boy, down-on-his-luck chef who takes over at a top New York restaurant and must fight off all the urges of his former lifestyle. He'll reportedly play Jim in the project, which comes from 20th Century Fox Television, New Line Television and Darren Star Productions. Jim is described in the casting notice as: "19-24. Fresh out of culinary school, this naive, sweet, gung-ho young man is the picture of boyish enthusiasm. He is a line cook, all excited about working at Bistro Pino. Quickly dubbed "Opie" by the more jaded members of the staff, he is hazed mercilessly. Nonetheless, he's a trouper, and a great chef." Star himself is directing the project from a script by David Hemingson with the pair executive producing along with David Knoller and Jim Rosenthal.

MINDY & BRENDA (The WB) - Virginia Williams ("As the World Turns") has scored one of the title roles while Simon Rex ("What I Like About You") and Josh Janowicz ("Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle") have been cast in the project, about two twentysomething women, former college roommates and best friends living together on the cheap in Brooklyn. Williams will play Brenda, who's described in the casting notice as: "23-25. All-American beauty and just as funny, she is Mindy's best friend and roommate, also a post-college, pre-marriage. Organized, efficient and and a go-getter, often having to cover for Mindy, Brenda keeps Mindy from getting into too much trouble. They have been best friends since college and together make the perfect comedy duo." As for Rex and Janowicz, it's not clear from the casting notice which characters they'll play. Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner, Steve Martin, Joan Stein, Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers are the executive producers of the project, which is set up at the Carsey-Warner studio and the Martin-Stein Co.

QUEEN B (FOX) - Actor/director Danny DeVito ("Death to Smoochy") has been tapped to helm the 20th Century Fox Television-based comedy pilot, about a woman (Alicia Silverstone) who slowly realizes she doesn't have the same effect on people as she did in high school. He'll direct from a script by Jennifer Crittenden, who's executive producing along with David Nevins and Brian Grazer of Imagine Television and Silverstone's manager/producing partner Carolyn Kessler.

YES, DEAR (CBS) - Co-creator/executive producer Alan Kirschenbaum has inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with Paramount Network Television. The pact calls for Kirschenbaum to develop new projects for the studio as well as continue with his duties on "Yes, Dear" should it return for a sixth season.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [march 2005]  


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