LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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BOUND FOR GLORY (ESPN, New!) - Producers Ben Silverman and R.J. Cutler, who last teamed for FX's "30 Days," are set to pair up again (along with Full Circle Entertainment) for a new reality series which tracks the "Bad News Bears"-esque transformation of a high school football team. The series, which has an order of eight one-hour episodes, tracks former NFL linebacker Dick Butkus as he takes over coaching duties on a small Pennsylvania town's team. In addition, much like "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," the team's facilities and uniforms are expected to get a complete makeover. Shooting is expected to begin in early August with a premiere date shortly thereafter. Silverman and Culter will executive produce the series through their respective companies Reveille and Actual Reality with creators Darryl M. Silver ("The Apprentice") and Stephen David also serving as producers.
THE COMEDY CENTRAL ROAST (Comedy Central) - Pamela Anderson ("Stacked") is set to be the latest recipient of the cable channel's popular series of specials. Her episode, the show's first of a female, is set to tape on August 7 for an August 14 air date. Jimmy Kimmel will host the installment with Joel Gallen of Tenth Planet Productions executive producing. Earlier this year "The Comedy Central Roast" of Jeff Foxworthy premiered to 6.2 million viewers, making it the second most-watched broadcast in the history of the network.
CYBER SEDUCTION (Lifetime) - 3.0 million viewers tuned into Lifetime's latest original entry on Monday, June 20. The telefilm starred Jeremy Sumpter as a young teen who develops an addition to Internet porn.
EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND (CBS) - TBS has locked up the off-network rights to the veteran comedy through 2016 in a deal valued at $650,000 per episode. The network's current pact, valued at $200,000 per episode, was set to expire in 2010. The news marks the largest off-network deal for a comedy since TBS's 1998 purchase of "Seinfeld," valued at nearly $1 million per episode.
HALLMARK CHANNEL MYSTERY MOVIES (Hallmark) - The cable channel has confirmed the premiere dates for its six remaining "Hallmark Channel Mystery Movies" this season. It all begins on July 31 (all air on Sundays at 7:00/6:00c) with "Mystery Woman: Game Time" followed by "McBride: Tune In For Murder" on August 7 and "Jane Doe: The Harder They Fall" on August 14. Next up is "Mystery Woman: Redemption" on August 21 with "McBride: Anybody Here Murder Marty?" on August 28 and "Jane Doe: The Brigadoon Effect" on September 4.
HBO ORIGINAL SERIES (HBO) - The pay channel has released its preliminary August schedule, which includes the 75-minute series finale of "Six Feet Under" on Sunday, August 21 at 9:00/8:00c. Said broadcast will be preceded by the one-hour send-off special "Six Feet Under: 2001-2005" at 8:00/7:00c. Because of the finale's extended length, "Entourage" and "The Comeback" will start 15 minutes later than usual that same night. Meanwhile, the network has also confirmed its late-night series "P. Diddy Presents: The Bad Boys of Comedy" and "Russell Simmons Presents: Def Poetry" will close their seasons on August 5 and August 12 respectively while "Real Time With Bill Maher" as previously announced will resume its run on August 19.
IT'S ALL RELATIVE (ABC) - LOGO, the recently launched gay-targeted channel from MTV Networks, has purchased the off-network rights to the Alphabet's short-lived comedy. Only 22 episodes were produced of the series - about a newly engaged couple (Reid Scott, Maggie Lawson), the parents of which (his being a blue-collar clan and hers being two gay men) struggled to get along - two of which were never broadcast by ABC. No start date was been released.
MADE (MTV) - The show's sixth season opened to 2.12 million viewers on Wednesday including a 0.9 rating/3 share among adults 18-49, a 1.9 rating/7 share among persons 12-34 and a 1.5 rating/5 share among males 12-34. Said 12-34 numbers were good enough to tie a repeat of "Lost" in the 10:00/9:00c hour in the key demographic.
NIP/TUCK (FX) - Executive producers Greer Shephard and Michael M. Robin have inked a new three-year overall deal with Warner Bros. Television. The pact keeps the pair's Shephard/Robin Co. at the studio where they'll develop new projects. In addition to "Nip/Tuck," the pair are also behind TNT's breakout hit "The Closer."
POPE JOHN PAUL II (CBS) - Ian Holm ("The Lord of the Rings") is the first to be cast in the Eye's upcoming mini-series about the life of the late Pope John Paul II. He'll play the elder Karol Wojtyla (the Pope's original name) with another yet to be cast actor playing the younger version. Filming is set to begin next month in Italy and Poland for a potential November sweeps air date.
QUEER AS FOLK (Showtime) - The pay channel has confirmed "Queer as Folk" will close its five-season run on Sunday, August 7 at 10:00/9:00c. The finale will be preceded by a half-hour special "Queer as Folk: Saying Goodbye" at 9:30/8:30c that same night.
THE RON CLARK STORY (TNT, New!) - Casting is understood to be underway for a new telefilm at the cable channel about the life of New York teacher Ron Clark whose inspirational style was the focus of a 2003 episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Clark's book, "The Essential 55," was also on the New York Times Best Seller List for 13 weeks. Max Enscoe and Annie deYoung ("Prince William") are writing the script the project, which details Clark's experiences in the classroom in both North Carolina and New York City and highlights his work with the students in those areas.
SOLDIER SOLIDER (Showtime, New!) - John Sacret Young ("China Beach") is developing an updated version of the 1960s BBC military drama "Solider Solider" for the pay channel. The project, additional details of which weren't specified, is set up at Granada America.
UNTITLED TSUNAMI PROJECT (NBC, New!) - The Peacock is set to team with Granda America for a new telefilm about last year's catastrophic event in Asia. Said project, which is targeting a 2006 premiere, plans to track the disaster through the eyes of a coastal orphanage impacted by the tsunami. The company is currently searching for a writer for the telefilm, additional details about which weren't specified.
USA ORIGINAL SERIES (USA) - USA's recently released August schedule notes its three original series "Monk," "The 4,400" and "The Dead Zone" will wrap their respective summer runs during the weekend of August 26-28. "Monk," which will return for the second half of its fourth season in 2006, will close its eight-week summer season on Friday, August 26 while "The 4,400" and "The Dead Zone" will finished out their seasons on Sunday, August 28. Like "Monk," "The Dead Zone" will return for the second half of its fourth season in 2006.
WONDERFALLS (FOX) - LOGO, MTV Networks' new gay-targeted channel, has purchased the off-network rights to all 13 episodes of last season's short-lived FOX series (nine of which never aired). The series revolves around a girl (Caroline Dhavernas) who starts to hear cryptic messages from talking animal figurines. Among the show's cast was Katie Finneran, who played the recently-outed sister of Dhavernas' character. A launch date is expected to be announced shortly (click here for more information).
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters