[06/22/05 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: June 21-22
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!

ABC FAMILY ORIGINAL SERIES (ABC Family) - The cable channel has quietly rescheduled its upcoming original series "Venus & Serena: For Real" and "Beautiful People." The former will now launch on Wednesday, July 20 at 10:00/9:00c while the latter will still debut on Monday, August 8 but now air at 9:00/8:00c.

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (FOX) - Brothers Joe and Anthony Russo, who helmed the initial installments of the series, have signed a two-year, seven-figure deal with Touchstone Television to direct and produce series for the studio. The pair, who recently completed a one-year deal with 20th Century Fox Television, directed the pilot to Touchstone's "What About Brian" this past development season and were also responsible for the pilots for NBC's "LAX" and FX's "Lucky." The new deal with Touchstone (which won't affect their development of "City Hall" and "Motel Novella" at HBO) calls for the brothers to direct at least one pilot project per season in addition to their own projects.

BEAUTY AND THE GEEK (The WB) - In addition to Tuesday's second season renewal (read the story), the Frog has also committed to a reunion special for the hit reality series. The special, which is expected to feature all the season one cast members, will air on Wednesday, July 13 in the show's regular 8:00/7:00c time period. "Geek" itself will wrap its six-week run on July 6.

COMMITTED (NBC) - RonReaco Lee, who played Nate's (Josh Cooke) wheelchair-bound nemesis Todd on the short-lived comedy, has inked a talent holding deal with NBC Universal Television. Under the terms of the pact, which runs through June of next year, NBC will cast Lee in one of its current projects or develop a new one around the actor.

FX ORIGINAL SERIES (FX) - FX's new summer comedies "Starved" and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" have been slated to premiere on Thursday, August 4 at 10:00/9:00c and 10:30/9:30c respectively. According to the network's press materials, "Starved" follows "the misadventures of four 30-something friends - a bulimic cop, an obese writer, a commodities broker and an anorexic bisexual songwriter - as seen through the country's obsession with food and the loneliness of single life" while "Philadelphia" tracks "a diverse group of friends who own a bar in Philadelphia," one of whom reveals he has cancer in the first episode.

THE HOWARD STERN SHOW/PARTY AT THE PALMS (E!) - Howard Stern has confirmed "The Howard Sterm Show's" 11-year run on the cable channel will wrap on Friday, July 8 (featuring highlights of his July 1 radio broadcast). E!'s decision to bow out of the bidding to renew "Stern" likely means fellow suitor Spike TV has snagged the series however no official announcement has been made. The series, which has averaged 793,000 total viewers (494,000 in adults 18-49) to date this year, won't disappear from E!'s lineup however as repeats will continue to run in its regular weekday 11:00/10:00c slot. Meanwhile in other E! news, a solid 2.2 million viewers tuned into the premiere of "Party at the Palms," a new "Wild On!"-esque series hosted by Jenny McCarthy, last Wednesday.

INTO THE WEST (TNT) - After opening to 6.47 million viewers on June 10, week two of the six-week limited series fell by nearly 26% to 4.8 million viewers. The installment nevertheless bested most of its broadcast and cable competition, including movies on FOX (4.1 million) and UPN (1.23 million) and comedies on both ABC (3.5 million on average) and the WB (1.59 million on average).

LAS VEGAS (NBC) - TNT is expected to announce this week it has landed the off-network rights to NBC's hit Monday drama "Las Vegas," in a deal valued at $450,000 per episode. The pact includes the rights to the 88 episodes or so likely to be produced through the show's fourth season as well as the right to repurpose NBC's run eight days after its original airing. The repurposing will kick off this fall with its weekday run beginning in the fall of 2007. In addition, TNT has asked for the video-on-demand rights as part of the license fee, a first for the industry. The expected $40 million pact is more than double what TNT paid for "Alias" ($200,000 per episode), but pales in comparison to TNT's off-network purchases of "Cold Case" ($1.4 million per episode) and "Without a Trace" ($1.35 million per episode). TNT will begin running "Alias" weekdays this fall while "Trace" will expand from its current once-a-week run in the fall of 2006. "Cold Case" then will join TNT's lineup once a week starting this fall with its five-a-week expansion due in the fall of 2007.

RAY ROMANO & KEVIN JAMES: MAKING THE CUT (HBO) - The one-hour special, which featured the comedians as they competed in the PGA's famed Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, drew just 761,000 viewers for its initial broadcast this past Saturday.

THE SHOWBIZ SHOW WITH DAVID SPADE (A.K.A. GONE HOLLYWOOD) (Comedy Central) - The cable channel has given a 13-episode order to a new weekly half-hour "The Daily Show"-esque series hosted by comedian David Spade. The project is a reworked version of the previously completed pilot "Gone Hollywood," a potential weekday strip hosted by Greg Giraldo and executive produced by Spade. Like the previous incarnation, "Showbiz" is seen as an expanded version of Spade's "Hollywood Minute" vignettes from "Saturday Night Live" in which he skewed celebrities and the media. Comedy Central is said to have approached Spade to host the series after "8 Simple Rules" got the axe last month with the promise of a 13-episode order. Spade will continue to executive produce "Showbiz" (which will launch in September) along with creator Hugh Fink, Pariah's Gavin Polone and the Brillstein-Grey Co.

WITHOUT A TRACE (CBS) - Writer/producer Ed Redlich has exited the hit CBS/Warner Bros. Television drama after signing a new two-year, seven-figure overall deal with Paramount Network Television. The pact calls for Redlich, who served as "Trace's" showrunner for its first two seasons (and opted for reduced role last season), to develop and produce series projects for the studio. Redlich spent the past development season behind the failed CBS/Warner Bros. Television pilot "Conviction," which starred Sally Field.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [june 2005]  


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