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[03/21/05 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: March 21
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!

ALL IN (NBC) - Janeane Garofalo ("The Larry Sanders Show") has been cast in the lead role of the comedy pilot, about a single mother of three (Garofalo) who's a whiz around the poker table, but who could use some of those same smarts in raising her kids. Garofalo's involvement lifts the cast-contingency off the pilot, which is based on the life of real-life poker champ Annie Duke. In addition, Garofalo and her managers David Rath and Kara Welker will receive a producing credit on the project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television, Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky's Is or Isn't Entertainment and Jack Burditt ("I'm With Her").

AMERICAN CRIME (CBS) - Jennifer Finnigan ("Committed") has been cast in the lead role of the drama pilot, about a female prosecutor who juggles the world of suburban crime with the challenges of being a new mom. She'll play Annabeth, said prosecutor, in the project, which also stars John Carroll Lynch. Finnigan's involvement is apparently in second position to "Committed" should that series return for a second season. Simon West is directing the Warner Bros. Television/Bruckheimer Television-based project, from a script by creator Jim Leonard. Leonard then also serves as an executive producer along with Jerry Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman.

THE DIVE FROM CLAUSEN'S PIER (Lifetime) - Michelle Trachtenberg ("Ice Princess") is set to topline the original movie for the cable channel, about a small-town woman's journey of self-discovery after her fiance suffers a serious accident. The project, which is based on Ann Packer's best-selling novel of the same name, will be directed by Harry Winer from an adaptation by John Wierick ("The Matthew Shepard Story"). Mel Gibon's Con Artists Productions and Fox TV Studios are producing "Dive" with Brenda Friend ("Joan of Arc"), Con Artists's Bruce Davey and Nancy Cotton and Fox TV Studios' David Madden and Lisa Demberg executive producing.

FATHOM (NBC) - Carter Jenkins ("Unfabulous") has been cast as Miles in the drama pilot, about a group of naval officers, oceanographers and fishermen from around the world who encounter a group of mysterious sea creatures. His character is described in the casting notice as: "13. Out wakeboarding with his friends, this kid has a terrifying experience after he dumps in the ocean and spots a bizarre sea creature nearby. The son of affluent parents who are usually too busy to pay attention to him, Miles enlists his friend Phil's help in investigating the situation. Already in trouble for his wakeboarding stunt, Miles defies his parents, "borrows" their boat, and ends up harvesting an egg from the monster in question. He takes the strange egg home and is delighted when his new and apparently voracious "pet" hatches out, unbeknownst to the rest of his family." Lake Bell (as Daughtery Carstarphen), Rade Serbedzija (as Dr. Clay Ling) and Leighton Meester (as Savannah, the sister of Miles), Jay Ferguson (as Richard Owen) also star in the NBC Universal Television-based project, which comes from creators Josh Pate and Jonas Pate.

MEET THE BARKERS (MTV) - The cable channel has confirmed the new reality series "Meet the Barkers" - about the life of the mohawked drummer of blink-182 and his wife, a former Miss USA turned TV actress - will premiere Wednesday, April 6 at 10:00/9:00c. "The Nick Lachey Project" is expected to follow that same night at 10:30/9:30c, however MTV has yet to confirm the show's launch date and time.

THE OFFICE (NBC) - Viewers looking to check out the Peacock's take on "The Office" will have more than one opportunity this month as cable siblings Bravo, CNBC and USA will all rebroadcast the show's first two installments shortly after their premiere on NBC. USA will encore said episodes on Thursday, March 31 at 6:00/5:00c and 6:30/5:30c; Bravo that same night at 11:00/10:00c and 11:30/10:30c; and CNBC on Friday, April 1 at 10:00/9:00c and 10:30/9:30c with additional encores later that night at 1:00 and 1:30 a.m. eastern.

OLD CHRISTINE (CBS) - Clark Gregg ("In Good Company"), Hamash Linklatter ("Gideon's Crossing") and Trevor Gagnon ("Big Fish") have all joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a divorced mom (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) who tries to keep pace with everyone around her. The trio will play the woman's ex-husband, brother and son respectively. Warner Bros. Television is behind the project, which comes from creator/executive producer Kari Lizer ("Will & Grace").

UNTITLED DEBORAH KAPLAN/HARRY ELFONT PROJECT (ABC) - Sophina Brown ("Chappelle's Show") has been cast as the final principal cast member of the single-camera comedy pilot, about the dating lives of a group of thirtysomething singles in Philadelphia. She'll play Wendy in the Touchstone Television-based project. Her character is described as: "30's, any ethnicity. Feminine lesbian, a bit dissatisfied with her life, speaks her mind, she works for Jane [Julie Bowen] at the bakery. Although she dates women, Wendy has the same type relationship dilemmas as the rest of the gang. Claims her life would be much simpler if she was interested in men - but she's not." Michael Landes (as Todd), Alan Tudyk (as Oakes), Lucy Davis (as Paige) and Mark Umbers (as Sam) also star in the project, which will be both written and directed by Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont. The pair also serve as executive producers along with Jamie Tarses and Karey Burke.

UNTILTED MICHAEL CALEO PROJECT (ABC) - Ann Cusack ("The Brotherhood of Poland, N.H.") and Sarah Steele ("Spanglish") have both joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about dueling neighbors (Lenny Clarke, Brian Benben) who have to contend with one another when their wives and kids become friends. Cusack will play the wife of Clarke's character while Steele is set as their daughter. Touchstone Television is behind the project, which comes from executive producers Michael Caleo and Matt Gross.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters





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· BROTHERHOOD OF POLAND, NH, THE (CBS)
· CHAPPELLE'S SHOW (COMEDY CENTRAL)
· CLOSE TO HOME (CBS)
· COMMITTED (NBC)
· DEAL (NBC)
· DIVE FROM CLAUSEN'S PIER, THE (LIFETIME)
· GIDEON'S CROSSING (ABC)
· I'M WITH HER (ABC)
· LOVE LIFE (ABC)
· MATTHEW SHEPARD STORY, THE (NBC)
· MEET THE BARKERS (MTV)
· NEIGHBORS (ABC)
· NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE, THE (CBS)
· NICK LACHEY PROJECT, THE (MTV)
· OFFICE, THE (NBC)
· SURFACE (NBC)
· WILL & GRACE (NBC)











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