LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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30 DAYS (FX) - 1.7 million viewers on average tuned into the launch of Morgan Spurlock's documentary series on Wednesday, nearly three-quarters of which were among the adults 18-49 demographic. Said viewership marked significant gains from the numbers for FX's last major unscripted efforts: "Todd TV," which opened to 803,000 viewers in January of last year, and the two-hour "Friday Night Fix" block, which saw just 404,000 viewers tune in back in the summer of 2003.
DA VINCI'S INQUEST (Syndication) - Program Partners has upped the Canadian drama's U.S. clearance to more the 90% of the country. WGN Chicago, KXAS Dallas-Ft. Worth, WJLA Washington, KHOU Houston, KMOV St. Louis, WPXI Pittsburgh, WBAL Baltimore, KSWB San Diego, WFSB Hartford, WMC Memphis, KSL Salt Lake City and KOTV Tulsa are among the stations recently signing on the carry the series. "Inquest," which is produced by Haddock Entertainment and Barna-Alper Productions, is currently in its seventh season in Canada.
ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT (Syndication) - Ryan Devlin ("Grounded for Life") has been tapped to host "ET on MTV" and "ET on VH1," the MTV and VH1 versions of Paramount Domestic Television's syndicated newsmagazine "Entertainment Tonight." He'll take over for Maria Menounos, who previously hosted both series.
FIREFLY (FOX) - Sci Fi Channel's off-network acquisition of the series, which was first reported back in May (read the story), reportedly is valued at $450,000 per episode. The news means that Sci Fi will pay about $6.75 million for the 15 produced hours of the series, three of which never aired on FOX. "Firefly's" run begins on the network on Friday, July 22 at 7:00/6:00c.
KILL REALITY/THE GIRLS NEXT DOOR (E!) - The cable channel has confirmed launch dates for two of its latest unscripted entries. "Kill Reality" will bow on Monday, July 25 at 10:00/9:00c while "The Girl Next Door" is set to launch on Sunday, August 7 at 10:00/9:00c. "Reality" tracks the production of the E! original horror movie "The Scorned," the cast of which includes several former reality TV stars: Ethan Zohn, Jenna Lewis, Jon Dalton and Jenna Morasca from "Survivor," Trishelle Cannatella, Tonya Cooley and Steven Hill from "The Real World," Bob Guiney and Trish Schneider from "The Bachelor," Reichen Lehmkuhl from "The Amazing Race" and Stacie J. Upchurch from "The Apprentice." "Survivor" alumnus Rob Cesternino also penned the script to the project (along with screenwriters Scott Zakarin and Eric Mittleman) which will debut on the network in September with a more explicit DVD release due the following month. Meanwhile, "Girls" is an eight-part series about the lives of three of Hugh Hefner's girlfriends, all of whom live at the Playboy Mansion.
MARTHA (Syndication) - Los Angeles NBC affiliate KNBC-TV has announced the upcoming Martha Stewart series will be broadcast weekdays at 3:00 p.m. beginning Monday, September 12, where it will face off against rival KABC-TV's "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in the market. To make room for the series, current occupant "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" will move to 4:00 p.m. starting September 5 as a lead-in to KNBC's local 5:00 p.m. newscast.
PSYCHE (USA, New!) - Feature writer Steve Franks ("Big Daddy") has scored a cast-contingent pilot order from the cable channel for a new dramedy about a psychic detective who's only pretending to be psychic. Tagline Pictures is behind the project, which will be executive produced by the company's Kelly Kulchak, Chris Henze, J.B. Roberts and Ron West. "Psyche" tracks a slacker with a penchant for sleuthing who opts to claim he's psychic after one of his tips to local police (via the nightly news) gets him in trouble after proving to be a little too accurate. The man, who comes from a family of cops (but lost out on a chance to be one after a felony charge as a teen), eventually is recruited as the police department's resident psychic, helping out on cases the cops think they can't solve through ordinary means.
THE SHIELD (FX) - The cable drama wrapped its fourth season to the tune of 3.2 million viewers, 2.0 million of which fell into the key adults 18-49 demographic. Both scores helped "The Shield" finish as the top draw among men 18-49 (1.2 million on average) amongst all cable series this year to date. Overall, "The Shield" finished its season up 26% in total viewers and 16% in adults 18-49 from last season, not to mention just 100,000 viewers shy of its most-watched season (its second).
STRONG MEDICINE (Lifetime) - The sixth season premiere of "Strong Medicine," in which Rick Schroder joined the cast, was seen by 2.9 million viewers. Said numbers marked a 20.69% increase from its opener last season (2.3 million on 6/13/04). Ratings for lead-out "MISSING" however were not specified.
THE TRIANGLE (Sci Fi) - Lou Diamond Phillips, who guest starred on episodes of the WB's "Jack & Bobby" and CBS's "Numb3rs" this past season, has joined the ensemble cast of the six-hour mini-series, about a disparate group of professionals who are brought together to investigate the dangerous truths behind the Bermuda Triangle. He'll join the previously cast Eric Stoltz, Catherine Bell, Michael Rodgers, Bruce Davison and Sam Neill in the project, which is currently in production in Cape Town, South Africa for a December premiere.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters