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) - Gloria Votsis ("Sex and the City") has been confirmed as a cast member on 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. She'll play Natalie, the office manager, in the Touchstone Television/Tiger Aspect-based project, which also stars Liz Vassey, Heather Stephens, Bumper Robinson and Ezra Godden. Alan Cohen and Alan Freedland are the executive producers.
THE BEDFORD DIARIES (The WB) - Newcomer Victoria Cartagena has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about the lives of several New York City college students enrolled in a course about human sexuality and behavior. She'll play a driven and sexually alluring post-feminist scholarship student in the project, which also features Ernest Waddell, Penn Badgley, Milo Ventimiglia, Matthew Modine and Audra McDonald. Julie Martin, Tom Fontana, Barry Levinson and Jim Finnerty are the executive producers of the pilot, which comes from HBO Independent Productions and Warner Bros. Television.
C.S.I.: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (CBS) - Co-executive producer Josh Berman has signed a hefty four-year, seven-figure overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television. The pact, which begins in June, won't affect his duties on the veteran CBS drama (where he's locked in through the 2006-07 season) as he'll simply develop new projects for 20th. Following the 2006-07 season however, Berman will render his producing services solely to the studio. Currently, Berman has the drama pilot "Deviant Behavior" set up at Regency Television and is under consideration for FOX's 2005-06 season schedule. It's not clear how heavy his involvement will be on "Behavior" should it go to series.
DEAL (NBC) - Currie Graham ("N.Y.P.D. Blue") has scored a post-"Blue" gig on the comedy pilot, about a world poker champion and single mom (Janeane Garofalo) who's a whiz around the poker table, but who could use some of those same smarts in raising her kids. Geoff Pierson, Jackie Debatin, Colby Paul and Courtney Burness also star in the Warner Bros. Television/Is or Isn't Entertaiment-based project, which is executive produced by Jack Burditt, Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky.
DIRTBAGS (FOX) - Brooke D'Orsay ("Beautiful Girl") has been confirmed as a cast member on 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. No details were specified about her role. Melissa Joan Hart and Stephanie Lemelin also star in the 20th Century Fox Television-based project, which comes from executive producers Matt Boren, Doug Segal and Will Gluck.
GILMORE GIRLS (The WB) - Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and husband/executive producer Daniel Palladino have signed a deal with the Frog and Warner Bros. Television to continue in their showrunning duties on the veteran drama next season. While "Gilmore Girls" has yet to be formally picked up for a sixth season, the series is widely considered a shoo-in for renewal. In addition, the pair have scored a blind six-episode order for a new series project at the network. "We want to do more of what we've been doing (on 'Gilmore Girls'), definitely want to do more hourlong (projects) in the style we have enjoyed doing, and we also have other ideas that might drag us back to the half-hour arena," Sherman-Palladino told The Hollywood Reporter. It's understood the Palladinos will meet with the Frog to discuss show ideas next week.
GOOD EGGS (The WB) - Steve Braun ("Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about two fraternal twin sisters (Sara Gilbert, Molly Stanton) who are about to inherit the family lingerie business. He'll play a new hire in the marketing department who becomes involved with the sisters in the project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television and executive producers Max Mutchnick and David Kohan. Christopher Fitzgerald and Melanie Griffith also star.
GROWN MEN (The WB) - Ion Overman has been cast as Dean Cain's wife in the comedy pilot, about five former fraternity brothers who reunite 13 years after graduating from college. Overman's involvement is in addition to her duties on the UPN comedy pilot "Wingwoman." Mike Sikowitz is behind "Grown Men," which is set up at Sony Pictures Television. Dan Cortese, John DiMaggio, Mitch Rouse and John Ducey also star.
JOINT CUSTODY (ABC) - Bret Loehr ("Cracking Up") has been revealed to be playing the younger brother of Nick D'Agosto's character in the comedy pilot, about a recent college grad (D'Agosto) who comes home and discovers that his parents (Marilu Henner, Kurt Fuller) have divorced and realizes that he must now take care of his eccentric family. Joel Stein, Regina Stewart and Shawn Levy are behind the project, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television and also stars Will McCormack.
LOVE MONKEY (CBS) - Christopher Wiehl ("Playmakers") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about four male friends at different stages of life and love as told from the point of view of a single, thirtysomething record executive (Tom Cavanagh). He'll play a gay former Major League Baseball player in the project, which also stars Judy Greer, Larenz Tate and Jason Priestley. Michael Rauch, Mark Johnson and John Wirth are behind the pilot, which is set up at Paramount Network Television, Sony Pictures Television and Gran Via Productions.
NEIGHBORS (ABC) - Newcomer Kenneth Schmidt has been confirmed as one of the comedy pilot's cast members. He plays the son of one of the two leads, the co-captain of the high school football team. Lenny Clarke and Brian Benben star in the Touchstone Television-based project, about two feuding neighbors who must try to get along after their wives and children become unlikely friends. Ann Cusack, Sarah Steele and Melinda McGraw also star in the pilot, which comes from executive producers Michael Caleo and Matt Gross.
POOL GUYS (FOX) - Krysten Ritter ("One Life to Live"), Sophie Monk ("The Mystery of Natalie Wood"), Anne Ramsey ("Mad About You"), Dave Herman ("Office Space"), Stephen Park ("Fargo") and Reed Alexander have been confirmed as the remaining principal cast members of the comedy pilot, about two twentysomething friends (Jake Sandvig, Jonathan Sadowski) who run a pool cleaning service and share the fantasy of one day cleaning the pool at the Playboy Mansion. Ritter is set as Amy (not Rachelle Lefevre as previously reported), who's described in the casting notice as: "Cute, tough, Amy lives in the apartment next door to Jason [Sandvig] and Sam [Sadowski]. She works in Starbucks ("the cut-throat, back-stabbing corporate nightmare I work in") and is good-naturedly sick and tired of Sam breaking into her apartment and raiding her fridge. Somewhat depressed about her dateless status, Amy seems to have no clue that Jason "likes" her and is thrilled to take his advice on how to talk to guys - which nets her a date with two guys on the same night. A good friend to Jason, whom she admires for his decisiveness - Amy thinks she can't make a decision to save her life - Amy's two-dates-on-one-night winds up a disaster, but she's happy to go out with Jason when he finally gets the courage to ask her."
Lefevre then has been confirmed as Alana: 20s. "A Harvard grad, this smart and very attractive girl is always seen in a bikini. She's running her own pool cleaning business with her friend, Janet. Very competitive, Alana is clearly the brains of the operation, and she uses her sex appeal to her advantage, successfully taking jobs away from her competitors, Jason and Sam. Alana's determined to get the recipe for Jason and Sam's secret pool cleaning solution, but though she and Janet do a number on the boys, they don't give up the recipe. Later, however, they give Alana a sample to use on her new big account, shortly after which Alana realizes she's been the victim of corporate sabotage."
Monk is set as Janet - "20s. Very hot, she's partnered with Alana in their own pool cleaning business and is also always seen in a bikini. Alana is the brains of the operation, Janet "is not the brains of anything." Janet pretty much does whatever Alana tells her, whether it's not using any insults until she's tried them out first or going along with a little seductive behavior in order to get Jason and Sam's secret pool cleaning solution." - with Ramsey as Jane: "40s. Pretty, perky, she was an athlete but hasn't necessarily retained her physique. She still has anger from her Olympics days - she never made it to the Olympics, still resentful that Mary Lou Retton stole her spot on the Wheaties box, with an edge left over from her days in competitive gymnastics, she's the mother of Jason and 12 year old Jonathan. She's married to their stepdad, a Japanese-American man named Tanaka, and she's thrilled with Tanaka's stern authoritarianism - having no clue that it's just an act he puts on for her."
Meanwhile, Alexander plays Jonathan ("12. Jason's brother, he takes himself very seriously despite the long-sleeved red gymnastics leotard he routinely wears around the house. Something of a math wiz, he's the accountant for Jason and Sam's business, and advises them on incorporating so they can get the tax break. Like his mom, Jonathan considers himself a gymnast, though with his coordination he's probably no future champion."), Herman is set as Carl ("40s. Carl owns the pool cleaning supply store of kings, or the guys who clean kings' pools. The story of Carl's life is written like a map all over his face, which doesn't keep him from boring the crap out of everyone while telling it. Carl passes on a hot tip to Jason and Sam about the wealthy Mr. Hubbard, whose pool guy just died on him. He promises to put in a good word to Hubbard about Jason and Sam.") and Park rounds out the cast as Tanaka ("40s. A stern Japanese-American man, he's married to Jane and the stepfather to Jason and Jonathan. Though he appears strict and authoritarian, he's actually a sweet guy who only puts on the tough act because Jane gets such a kick out of it.").
Jennifer Konner, Alexandra Rushfield and Al Higgins are the executive producers of the project, which is set up at Regency Television.
UNTITLED BILL OAKLEY/JOSH WEINSTEIN PROJECT (FOX) - David DeLuise, who's currently attached to the ABC comedy pilot "Play Dates," has also booked a role on the untitled pilot, a workplace comedy set at a police precinct in New York's Times Square. Diedrich Bader, John Marshall Jones and Paul Ben-Victor also star in the NBC Universal Television/Broadway Video-based project, which is executive produced by Bill Oakley, Joshn Weinstein, Lorne Michaels and JoAnn Alfano.
UNTITLED POPE JOHN PAUL II PROJECT (CBS, New!) - The Eye reportedly is close to teaming with Granada Television and international production houses Lux Vide S.p.A., RAI Fiction (Italy), Tele Munchen (Germany), Quinta Communication (France), Baltmedia/Projektor for TVP (Poland) and Gupe Intereconomia (Spain) for a big-budget mini-series about the life of the late Pope John Paul II. Matilda and Luca Bernabei, Max Gusberti, Stephen Davis, Tarak Ben Amar, Juergen Biefang, Chris Grabowski and Slawomir Jozwik are currently attached as the producers of the project, which would film in Italy.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters