[03/30/05 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: March 30
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!

BEST LAID PLANS (The WB) - The Jane Leeves-led comedy pilot, about a woman with a daughter whose life gets more complicated when her anonymous sperm donor ceases to be quite so anonymous, is set to tape on Wednesday, April 20 at Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles. Jeff Kleeman, Michael Saltzman, Brian Grazer and David Nevins are behind the project, which comes from 20th Century Fox Television and the latter two's Imagine Television.

BLUE SKIES (NBC) - The Anna Faris-led comedy pilot, about a former golden child who finds herself constantly becoming the reluctant enabler to her crazy family, has been slated to tape on Wednesday, April 20 at the CBS Studio Center. Missi Pyle, Jay Paulson and Michael McKean also star in the NBC Universal Television-based project, which comes from creator Jhoni Marchinko.

EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS (UPN) - Howard Gewirtz ("Oliver Beene") has joined the Chris Rock-produced comedy pilot as an executive producer. He'll serve alongside fellow executive producers Ali Leroi, Michael Rotenberg and David Becky, as well as serve as the project's showrunner should it be picked up to series. "Chris," a single-camera comedy, revolves around the eldest of three children in a strict family who attends a predominantly white school in 1982. Reggie Hudlin is directing.

EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT MEN (CBS) - Dabney Coleman ("The Guardian") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a young ad agency executive (Jenna Elfman) as she navigates the worlds of her dad, boss (Hugh Bonneville) and on-again/off-again boyfriend (Brady Smith). Coleman will play Jack Atwell in the project, who's described as: "Mid 50s. He is Bex's charming, womanizing dad. Catnip to anything over 50 in skirts, Jack founded the third largest Ford dealership in Trenton, and has used the income to finance one happy-go-lucky romantic adventure after another. A man who has had three marriages and six extra-marital affairs, Jack was the first very bad male role model in Bex's life, but he'll never be the last." In addition, like most of the Eye's pilots, Paramount Network Television has come aboard to co-produce the project alongside Touchstone Television. Lauren Tom and Rea Seehorn also star in "Men," with Fred Barron executive producing.

THE EVOLUTION OF MAN (The WB) - Wendie Malick ("Jake in Progess") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about three single guys (Eric Lively, Max Greenfield & Josh Braaten), all friends since childhood, who hire a life coach to help them with women. Malick, whose involvement is in second position to her duties on "Jake," will play said life coach in the project, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television and Bruckheimer Television. Ross McCall, Aaron Peters, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman and Marsh McCall are the executive producers.

GOOD EGGS (A.K.A. TWINS) (The WB) - Christopher Fitzgerald ("Boiler Room") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, which is reportedly now running under the title "Good Eggs." He'll play Neil, a flamboyantly gay technician, in the Warner Bros. Television-based project, about fraternal twin sisters (Sara Gilbert, Molly Stanton) who have nothing in common. Max Mutchnick and David Kohan are the creators/executive producers of "Eggs," which has been scheduled to tape on Wednesday, April 27 at the CBS Studio Center in Los Angeles.

LOST (ABC) - The Alphabet has confirmed the smash freshman hit will close its season with an expanded two-hour installment on Wednesday, May 25 at 8:00/7:00c. The news means that 25 hours of "Lost" are set to be shot this season, as well as a special one-hour "introductory guide" next month. The season closer had previously been indicated to be 90 minutes however when the script came in long it was expanded to two hours. It's not clear how the move will affect lead-out "Alias," which had also been previously slated to wrap with a 90-minute installment on May 25.

LOVE LIFE (A.K.A. UNTITLED DEBORAH KAPLAN/HARRY ELFONT PROJECT) (ABC) - Former "Stacked" star Tom Everett Scott has quickly found a new home, as the actor has been cast as the male lead in Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont's single-camera comedy pilot for the Alphabet, which now features the all-lowercase title "love life." He'll take over for Mark Umbers as Sam in the Touchstone Television/Burke-Tarses-based project. His character is described in the casting notice as: "Late 20's-early 30's, Caucasian, attractive, appealing, labeled a "girlfriend kind of guy" by his buddies, Sam is the quintessential nice guy. He's responsible, sentimental, reliable, and just a little uncertain that these qualities could be considered virtues. He's been dating Jane [Julie Bowen] for six weeks, and not quite ready to admit they are exclusive - at least not to her - or to his pals. Sam goes out of his way to prove he is perfectly capable of dating around. Of course, he fails miserably." Sophina Brown, Michael Landes, Alan Tudyk and Lucy Davis also star in the pilot, which is executive produced by Kaplan, Elfont, Jamie Tarses and Karey Burke.

THE MUPPETS' WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ (ABC) - The Muppets' latest small-screen effort is set to air on Friday, May 20 at 8:00/7:00c. Here's how ABC's press materials describe the project: "This May, international R&B super star Ashanti makes her leading lady debut as "Dorothy" in the original telefilm, "The Muppets' Wonderful Wizard of Oz," for the ABC Television Network. Joining her in this madcap adventure movie are actress/rapper/producer superstar Queen Latifah ("Chicago," "Barbershop 2") as her beloved guardian "Auntie Em" and action film master, director Quentin Tarrantino ("Kill Bill," vols. 1 and 2) in a cameo as himself. David Alan Grier ("Life with Bonnie") portrays Uncle Henry and Jeffrey Tambor ("Arrested Development") is the Wizard of Oz."

PLAY DATES (ABC) - The comedy pilot, about the lives of three quirky couples whose lives intersected after they met in a baby preparation class, has been scheduled to tape on Thursday, April 14 at the Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles. Susan Ward, Michael Boatman, Erinn Hayes and David Deluise all star in the Warner Bros. Television-based project, which comes from creators/executive producers Mark Torgrove and Paul Kaplan.

THE PRINCE (THE WB) - Newcomer Dan Hunter has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a rich New York family and the relationship between the father and the younger son (Chris Egan) following the older son's death. It's understood that Hunter will take over for Noel Fisher in the role of Triscuit in the project, which also stars Mariel Hemingway, Amber Heard and Tim Matheson. Matt LeBlanc, Jesse Wigutow, John Goldstone, Greg Berlanti and Mickey Liddell are the executive producers of the pilot, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television and the producers' respective companies.

STOLLER WARS (A.K.A. UNTITLED JOSH GOLDSMITH/CATHY YUSPA PROJECT) (CBS) - Emmy-winner Rhea Perlman ("Cheers") and Rebecca Creskoff ("Quintuplets") are the latest additions to the comedy pilot, which now appears to have gone back to its original title of "Stroller Wars." Perlman play Penny in the Sony Pictures Television/Paramount Network Television-based pilot, which also stars Tiffani Thiessen, Darren Ritchie and Benjamin King. No details were given about Creskoff's character. The pilot, which is executive produced by Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa, revolves around a New York couple (Thiessen, Ritchie) who are forced to grow up when they have kids of their own.

UNTITLED CHRIS KATTAN PROJECT (ABC) - Chris Williams ("Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story") and Kate Hodge ("Level Nine") have both been cast in the comedy pilot, about an egocentric consumer reporter (Chris Kattan) at a fledgling cable news channel. It's believed that Hodge will play Paula Connie in the 20th Century Fox Television/3 Arts Entertainment-based project. Her character is described as: "40 and holding (think Nancy Grace). She's the station's legal correspondent, a brassy former beauty queen who also specializes in sex and sensationalism. However, when Paula realizes that her new boss, Lily [Tinsley Grimes], wants "hard news," she's willing to give it a try - but happily reverts back to the old formula as soon as she can." Williams then is set as Dr. Vince Kapoor: "28-35. The station's medical correspondent, East Indian physician, born and raised in the US who longs to be as popular as Dr. Phil and have his own show. When Lily warns him not to do any sensationalistic breast implant stories on her watch, he's ready to try his hand at "hard news" and equally as ready to switch back to fluff if the powers-that-be demand it." James Patrick Stewart also stars while Tom Maxwell, Michael McCullers, David Miner, Michael Rotenberg, Steve Tann and Don Woodard are the executive producers.

UNTITLED FREDDIE PRINZE JR. PROJECT (ABC) - Jacqueline Obradors ("N.Y.P.D. Blue") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a young man (Freddie Prinze Jr.) 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. Obradors will play Sofia in the Warner Bros. Television/Mohawk Productions-based project. Her character is described in the casting notice as: "Early 30's. Freddie's older sister, she's a beautiful 1/2 Puerto Rican and 1/2 Italian woman who is recently divorced and now attending medical school. A smart but slightly geeky teenager, she has grown up to be a pretty, smart and slightly geeky adult. Behind the curve for her age, she had a baby at 17 with her college professor, but they out grew their student-mentor relationship and ended the marriage. Not comfortable with her good looks, she prizes brains over beauty for herself and her young daughter, Zoey. Her relationship with Freddie is complicated. An opinionated sort, she tries to mother Freddie, but now that he's a success, at least in business, he doesn't appreciate her efforts to boss him."

In addition, some further details have emerged about Brian Austin Green's character, Chris: "28. He's Freddie's best friend, a trust fund baby who met Freddie on the swim team in high school, when they became really close. If Freddie is evolved because he grew up with strong women, Chris is the opposite, having been raised by nannies and his family's other employees. He doesn't work, o he spends a lot of time playing video games and gambling online. He's extremely laid back, and has a child's sense of wonder about everything around him. It's all good all the time." Bruce Helford, Deborah Oppenheimer, Bruce Rasmussen and Freddie Prinze Jr. are the executive producers.

UNTITLED HOLLY HESTER PROJECT (ABC) - The Brenda Blethyn-led comedy pilot is set to tape on Wednesday, April 27 at the CBS Studio Center in Los Angeles. She plays a middle-aged woman who suddenly decides to make a change in her picture-perfect family life, gets divorced and gets a job. Holly Hester, Conan O'Brien, A.J. Morewitz and Jeff Ross are the executive producers of the project, which is set up at NBC Universal Television and O'Brien's Conaco banner.

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

  [march 2005]  


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