LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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BARBERSHOP (Showtime) - A modest 515,000 viewers tuned into Sunday's launch of Showtime's latest comedy series. Said number was off slightly from the last week's debut of "Weeds" (540,000) not to mention the series finale of "Queer as Folk" (547,000) that same night. Nevertheless like "Weeds," "Barbershop" topped the November premiere of the Emmy-nominated "Huff" (456,000) and fell short of "Fat Actress's" free preview-driven debut earlier this year (924,000).
C.S.I.: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (CBS) - Executive producer Naren Shankar has been upped to co-showrunner of the flagship member of the "C.S.I." franchise as part of a new three-year, mid-seven-figure overall deal with Paramount Network Television. The pact replaces Shankar's previous deal with the studio, which now includes a development component. As for his work on "C.S.I.," he'll share showrunning duties with Carol Mendelsohn.
THE CLOSER (TNT) - The cable drama remained cable's top draw for the week of August 8-14, where it drew 5.4 million viewers for its August 8 broadcast.
COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF (ABC) - Natasha Henstridge, who's recurring on the newcomer as Nathan Templeton's (Donald Sutherland) Chief of Staff, has signed a one-year talent holding deal with Touchstone Television. The pact calls for the studio to cast the actress in one of its upcoming pilots or develop a project around her. Henstridge spent the past development season as the female lead on the failed ABC/Touchstone drama pilot "Pros & Cons."
ENTOURAGE/SIX FEET UNDER (HBO) - Both "Entourage" and "Six Feet Under" hit season hights for their respective broadcasts on Sunday. The former actually hit a series high of 2.6 million viewers while "Six Feet Under's" penultimate episode drew a final season best 3.2 million viewers.
ER (NBC) - Scott Grimes ("Party of Five") has been upped to series regular on the veteran drama, which returns for its 12th season this fall. He'll continue in his role of Dr. Archie Morris on the series.
HEAD CASES (FOX) - Caroline Aaron ("Just Like Heaven") has scored a recurring role on the freshman drama, which bows on Wednesday, September 14 at 9:00/8:00c. She'll continue in her role from the pilot as the sympathetic mother of Adam Goldberg's character.
THE HUNT FOR THE BTK STRANGLER (CBS) - Robert Forster ("Karen Sisco"), Michael Michele ("Kevin Hill") and Gregg Henry ("Eyes") have all been cast in the Eye's upcoming docudrama about the search for convicted serial killer Dennis Rader. Henry will portray Rader, who was arrested this year after a 31-year killing spree in Wichita, Kansas, with Forster and Michele as local detectives who work to solve the case. Frank Von Zerneck and Robert Sertner are behind the project, which is set to air on Sunday, October 9 at 9:00/8:00c.
FOR THE LOVE A CHILD (Lifetime, New!) - Teri Polo ("I'm With Her") and Peri Gilpin ("Frasier") have been tapped to star in one of Lifetime's upcoming originals, about the true story of Nobel Peace Prize nominees Yvonne Fedderson and Sara O'Meara who together founded the nonprofit organization Childhelp U.S.A., a refuge for abandoned and abused kids. The project, which is based on their book "Silence Broken," tracks their experiences as young actresses entertaining American troops in 1959 Japan where they befriended 11 homeless orphans and found their calling. Doug Barr ("Confessions of an American Bride") is on board to direct the telefilm from an adaptation by Duane Poole ("Angel in the Family"). O'Meara and Fedderson are also executive producing through their Dog Run Productions along with Craig Anderson and Jill Canaparo of First Light Productions. Lifetime is targeting a January bow for the project.
HUFF (Showtime) - Christopher Marquette ("Joan of Arcadia") is set to appear in two upcoming episodes of the Showtime series. He'll play a mysterious teenage friend of Anton Yelchin's character.
A MAN WHO BECAME POPE (Hallmark) - 1.4 million viewers on averaged tuned into the U.S. premiere of the four-hour mini-series on Monday, a weeknight record for the cable channel.
MY SUPER SWEET 16 (MTV) - Season two of the popular MTV series opened to 3.59 million viewers on Monday, including a 4.0 rating among viewers 12-34 and a whopping 30 share among female teens. Said demo numbers were the best among all networks - broadcast and cable - in the Monday, 10:30/9:30c half hour.
OVER THERE (FX) - 2.50 million viewers tuned into the show's August 10 broadcast, on par with its numbers from the previous week (2.56 million). Nevertheless, said viewership remains 38.42% down from its July 27 premiere (4.06 million).
PROJECT RUNWAY (Bravo) - The show's second season reportedly is set to launch on Wednesday, December 7 (exact time TBA).
THE REAL WORLD (MTV) - The cable channel's signature reality series continued to impress last week, scoring 3.98 million viewers for its August 9 episode including a 1.9 rating/5 share among adults 18-49. Overall, "The Real World" finished the week of August 8-14 as the 10th most-watched program on cable.
SOUTH BEACH (UPN) - Michael Pare ("Starhunter") has joined the cast of the midseason drama. It's understood that he'll play the father of one of the male leads (Marcus Coloma, Chris Johnson).
USA ORIGINAL SERIES (USA) - "Monk's" August 12 and "The 4,400's" August 14 broadcasts finished among the top 15 of all cable series for the week of August 8-14. The former drew 4.4 million viewers (fourth overall) while the latter saw 3.4 million (14th overall) tuning in.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters