LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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20 THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU'RE 30 (UPN) - Liz Vassey ("The Tick"), Heather Stephens ("Men, Women & Dogs"), Bumper Robinson ("Living Single") and Ezra Godden ("Band of Brothers") have been named the principal cast members of the comedy pilot, about four twentysomething friends who create a list of 20 things they want to do before they are 30 and set out to accomplish them. Alan Cohen and Alan Freedland are behind the Touchstone Television/Tiger Aspect-based project, full character details of which weren't specified.
ABC MAY 2005 SWEEPS (ABC) - The Alphabet has released some preliminary details about its May sweeps plans. As usual movies will be heavily featured with "Sweet Home Alabama" (Thursday, April 28), "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (Saturday, April 30), "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" (Thursday, May 5), "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (Saturday, May 7), "Catch Me If You Can" (Thursday, May 12), "Pearl Harbor" (Thursday, May 19) and "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" (Friday, May 20) already scheduled for the 28-day period. Only a handful of finale dates have been confirmed - "Hope & Faith" (Friday, May 6), "America's Funniest Home Videos" (two hours; Friday, May 13 at 8:00/7:00c), "Lost" (two hours; Wednesday, May 25) and "Alias" (Wednesday, May 25 at 10:00/9:00c) - with others expected to be announced shortly. As for guest stars, Amy Irving and Joel Grey appear on the May 11 episode of "Alias" (which was also directed by Jennifer Garner); Ricardo Antonio Chavira, Danny Trejo and Efren Ramirez all guest on the May 3 installment of "The George Lopez Show"; Heather Locklear and
Rupert Everett appear on the May 1 episode of "Boston Legal"; and Dean Cain and Mark Consuelos both stop by "Hope & Faith's" final two episodes this season (April 29 and May 6).
BOW (The WB) - Alan Dale ("The O.C.") has joined the cast of the Frog's comedy pilot, a fictionalized look at the life of actor/rapper Bow. No details were given about his character in the Touchstone Television-based project, which also stars Joseph Lawrence, Kim Fields and Charles Duckworth. Erica Montolfo, Dan Cross, David Hoge, Teresa Caldwell and Michael Mauldin are the executive producers.
DIRTBAGS (FOX) - Stephanie Lemelin ("Anonymous Rex") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a group of twentysomething friends in a blue-collar suburb of Boston, some of whom have never left and others who have ventured out and returned. Melissa Joan Hart also stars in the 20th Century Fox Television-based project, which comes from executive producers Matt Boren, Doug Segal and Will Gluck.
EUREKA (Sci Fi) - Greg Germann ("Ally McBeal") is the latest addition to the cable channel's drama pilot, about a newly hired sheriff (Colin Ferguson) who discovers that the world's geniuses have been secretly relocated to a small town. He'll play Warren King in the project, which comes from creators Andrew Cosby and Jaime Paglia. His character is described in the casting notice as: "42. Handsome, charming and brilliant, King is the Mayor of Eureka, as well as its chief researcher. A three time winner of the Nobel Prize, he is working feverishly to uncover the origins of the universe. He obviously does not want any security breaches to take place, and insists that things be handled quietly when the laws of physics start breaking down."
HOT PROPERTIES (ABC) - Amy Hill ("50 First Dates") has scored a guest role on the comedy pilot, which follows four women who run a real estate office in New York. No character details however were released. She joins current cast members Nicole Sullivan, Sofia Vergara, Gail O'Grady and Stephen Dunham in the project, which comes from creator Suzanne Martin and Warner Bros. Television.
HOUSE OF CARDS (A.K.A. ALL IN) (NBC) - Newcomer Colby Paul and Courtney Burness ("Blue's Clues") have both been cast in the comedy pilot, about a single mother (Janeane Garofalo) of three in Las Vegas who earns a living as a professional poker player. While not specified, it's believed the pair play two of Garofalo's children. Geoff Pierson and Jackie Debatin also star in the Warner Bros. Television/Is or Isn't Entertainment-based project, which comes from executive producers Jack Burditt, Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky.
LOST (ABC) - The Alphabet has confirmed the show's "introductory guide" has been titled "Lost: The Journey." Said installment will air on Wednesday, April 27 at 8:00/7:00c.
REVELATIONS (NBC) - As was the case for "The Office," the Peacock also plans to use its sibling cable networks to offer viewers second chances to catch the April 13 premiere of "Relevations." CNBC will encore said installment on Thursday, April 14 at both 8:00/7:00c and 11:00/10:00c with USA airing it on Friday, April 15 at midnight/11:00c; Sci Fi on Friday, April 15 at 8:00/7:00c and Sunday, April 17 at 11:00/10:00c; and Bravo on Tuesday, April 19 at 11:00/10:00c. NBC itself is also rebroadcasting the pilot on Sunday, April 17 at 10:00/9:00c and Wednesday, April 20 at 8:00/7:00c, right before the debut of its second installment.
SOUTH BEACH (UPN) - Vanessa L. Williams ("Boomtown") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about the sexy and dangerous world of Miami's South Beach. No character details however were given. Paramount Network Television, Tony Krantz's Flame Television and Jennifer Lopez & Simon Fields's Nuyorican Productions are behind the project, which also stars Marcus Coloma. Krantz, Lopez, Fields and Philip Levens are the executive producers.
TALK SHOW DIARIES (UPN) - Kathleen Rose Perkins ("Without a Trace"), Tami Roman ("The Real World: Los Angeles"), Richard T. Jones ("Judging Amy") and Brad Rowe ("Leap of Faith") have all been cast in the comedy pilot, about the brutally honest, fiercely loyal and incredibly complex on- and off-camera exploits of the three female hosts of a morning talk show. Rowe will play Blake Brown, who's described in the casting notice as: "30s. A handsome man. He's the executive producer of "Friends in the Morning." However, he's under no illusion that he's the "boss" of his dynamic all-female stars. Blake has a huge crush on the formidably cool and reserved Zoe, but he can't figure out what her story - make that her sexual orientation - really is. Meanwhile, he keeps snooping around trying to get a handle on the situation, but so far he's still very much in the dark."
Jones then is set as Jerry: "Late 20s to early 30s. A handsome, cool, African-American ladies' man. He's the show's head hairstylist. In other words, he is god - the supreme power on the set. Always in the know about everything, he keeps his confidences and gets along famously with the show's stars - who are well aware that, if they cross Jerry, they will eventually end up looking like Donald Trump." Roman is believed to be playing Zoe: "Late 20s to early 30s. The third co-host of "Friends in the Morning". She's an attractive, brilliant, cool and enigmatic woman who keeps her private life just that - private. A graduate of Harvard, Zoe specializes in decor and fashion, although she has her sights set on climbing the ladder into hard news. Unflappable, with a dry wit, she lets very little faze her - but even she is shocked to learn that Windsor's apparently perfect marriage is history."
And finally, Perkins will play Marion: "Early 20s. She's a quintessential California girl who was a lowly weathergirl in a local market until she got a break that landed her on "Friends in the Morning," a popular national show. A bit of a third wheel, Marion is trying hard to fit in. A resounding success with viewers, she's finding it harder to win over her more experienced co-hosts, Windsor [Nancy Travis] and Zoe. Deceptively ditzy, Marion is actually more intelligent than she first appears. She is continually trying to woo Blake, but to no avail. Sweet, sincere and well-meaning, Marion is deeply concerned when she discovers that Windsor's marriage is in trouble, and she's not the kind of woman who can easily disguise her feelings - even on the air." Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Allison Gibson are the executive producers of the project, which comes from Touchstone Television and Coquette Productions.
UNTITLED CAMRYN MANHEIM PROJECT (The WB) - Evan Ellingson ("Complete Savages") and Spencer Locke ("Spanglish") have both joined the cast of the Camryn Manheim-led comedy pilot, about an eccentric hippie-type single mother (Manheim) with three kids who moves into a new neighborhood filled with trendy soccer moms. No details were released about their respective characters. Heather Paige Kent also stars in the Warner Bros. Television/Tannenbaum Co.-based project, which comes from executive producers Anne Flett Giordano, Chuck Ranberg, Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum.
UNTITLED HOLLY HESTER PROJECT (ABC) - Erin Hershey Presley ("Will & Grace") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a woman (Brenda Bleythn) who gets divorced and changes her life. Presley will play Jane, a recent college grad and neighbor to Bleythn's character. Eugene Byrd also stars in the project, which comes from NBC Universal Television, Touchstone Television and Conaco Productions. Holly Hester, Conan O'Brien, A.J. Morewitz and Jeff Ross are the executive producers.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters