LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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THE DENNIS (NBC) - Fred Willard ("Best in Show") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a young savant (Jeremy Howard) who is forced by his parents (Willard, Christine Dunford) to leave their business and live in the garage with a life coach (Donal Logue) in order to become a man. In addition, Donal Logue's character has been clarified to be that of Cooter Kincaid. His character is listed in the casting notice as: "30, a beer-bellied guy. This former high school lacrosse star is famous for having lost his testicle in a big play-off competition. And indeed, as spokesman for the Iron Giant athletic cup company, Cooter was living large for a while. However, life after high school has not been kind to Cooter, whose girlfriend Jessica married and then divorced his dad, getting the family home in the settlement. Now living in Jessica's garage, Cooter has set himself up as a "Professional Life Coach," but the naive Dennis is his first and only client. Although most people dismiss Cooter as a downtrodden loser, Cooter embraces playing mentor and worldly-wise guru to his naive new friend. Sincerely intent upon changing Dennis's life, Cooter gives Dennis a place to stay and gets to work on a game plan for Dennis's future."
Willard then is confirmed as Don Park: "40s. Dennis's father. This hot dog stand owner dotes on his only son, as does his wife, Pam. However, when Don reads a copy of Parenting Magazine, he fears that Dennis, his "little bird," is too sheltered for his own good. Determined to do what's best for Dennis, Don fires him, boots him out of the house, and tells him to get busy living his life to the fullest. Weeping profusely over the separation, he finds solace in his new employee Song, who soon takes Dennis's place in the Park household." Marty Adelstein, Dawn Parouse, Emily Kapnek are behind the project, which is set up at 20th Century Television and Adelstein-Parouse Productions.
FOUR KINGS (NBC) - Actor Josh Cooke, like his fellow "Committed" lead Jennifer Finnigan, has booked a pilot gig in second position to his duties on the "bubble" sitcom. He'll take over for Jonah Lotan in the role of Ben in the project, about four friends since childhood living in New York. His character is described in the casting notice as: "Mid 20's. Cute, intelligent dry-witted freelance journalist and fulltime good guy. He is the unspoken leader of this group. His friends rely on him the most, and though he doesn't cop to it, his biggest fear is letting them down. Think John Cusack in 'High Fidelity.'" No reason was given for the recasting. As for Finnigan, she's currently attached as the lead on the CBS drama pilot "American Crime." Seth Green, Kiele Sanchez and Todd Grinnell also star in the project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television and creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick.
GOOD EGGS (The WB) - Melanie Griffith ("Heartless") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about two fraternal twin sisters (Sara Gilbert, Molly Stanton) who have nothing in common. She'll play the young women's mother whose marriage is on the rocks. Christopher Fitzgerald also stars in the Warner Bros. Television-based project, which comes from executive producers David Kohan and Max Mutchnick.
UNTITLED BILL OAKLEY/JOSH WEINSTEIN PROJECT (FOX) - Paul Ben-Victor ("The Wire") has reportedly joined the cast of the comedy pilot, a workplace comedy set at a police precinct in New York's Times Square. Diedrich Bader and John Marshall Jones also star in the NBC Universal Television/Broadway Video-based project, which comes from executive producers Bill Oakley, Josh Weinstein, Lorne Michaels and Joann Alfano.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters