[08/30/05 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: August 29-30
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!

CRASH (FX) - Laurence Andries ("Medical Investigation") has been tapped as the showrunner of FX's small screen version of the recent Paul Haggis-directed feature about race relations in Los Angeles. In addition, FX has paid $5 million to Lions Gate Films for the broadcast rights to the film however no specific premiere date was given.

DEADWOOD (HBO) - Brian Cox ("X2: X-Men United," "Troy") has signed to appear in at least seven episodes of the show's upcoming third season. He'll play Jack Langrishe, an eccentric producer and theater owner who strives to introduce a modicum of culture to the mean streets of title town. It's not clear in what episode however Cox will make his first appearance.

PSYCHE (USA) - James Roday ("Miss Match") and Dule Hill ("The West Wing") have been cast in the lead roles of the drama pilot, about an amateur detective (Roday) who cons the police into believing he has psychic powers that help him solve crimes. Hill will play the best friend of Roday's character who works as a pharmaceutical rep. Steve Banks ("Big Daddy") is behind the project, which is also executive produced by Kelly Kulchak, Chris Henze, J.B. Roberts and Ron West of Tagline Pictures. Production is set to begin shortly for a potential series launch next year.

STORIES FROM A MORON (New!) - Barry Marder and Kenneth Braun ("Seinfeld") have pacted with 20th Century Fox Television to bring Jerry Seinfeld pal Ed Broth's book "Stories From a Moron: Real Stories Rejected by Real Magazines" to the small screen. The animated project, which is not set up at a network, would track Broth's character, a traveling salesman from the fictional town of Cumberland City, and how he comes up with the ideas for his letters and stories. Industry insiders have speculated for some time that Broth (not to mention "Letters From a Nut's" Ted L. Nancy) is/are actually Seinfeld and/or Marder writing under a pseudonym. In any case, no other details were specified.

THE STREET LAWYER (TNT) - TNT is taking a stab at developing the John Grisham novel for the small screen, following a failed effort by ABC in 2003. "Lawyer" tracks a rising young corporate attorney who quits his job at a big firm to work for a legal aid clinic that takes cases other lawyers reject and handles clients who can barely afford to pay. Eddie Cibrian ("Invasion") played the title role in the ABC pilot, which also starred KaDee Strickland, Mario Van Peebles and Hal Holbrook. Ilana Bar-din Giannini ("Picture Perfect") is on board to write the pilot script to the TNT version which Grisham himself will executive produce along Gary Randall and David Gernert. It's understood TNT is developing the project as a backdoor pilot mini-series (a la the "Battlestar Galactica" revival).

TALK TO ME (TNT) - The Dean Devlin-produced drama project has found a new home at TNT. Previously set up at USA, "Talk to Me" has scored a pilot order from TNT with Paul Guyot ("Judging Amy") replacing Jan Skrentny and Neal Tabachnick ("Driven") on scripting duties. The project, which is set up at Devlin's Electric Entertainment and Lions Gate Television, tracks a hostage negotiators unit with each episode opening in the middle of an intense crisis. Casting is currently underway. "Talk" is the third drama project ordered to pilot by TNT as of late, with the others being David Manson's "Saved" and Nancy Miller's "Grace."

THIS IS YOUR LIFE (ABC, New!) - Fox Television Studios reportedly is developing another revival of the 1952-61 NBC series for ABC. The project is expected to follow the original's format in which individuals are surprised with a presentation of his or her life story, including appearances from guests who had been part of that person's life. Gary Edwards, the son of the original host/creator Ralph Edwards, is on board to executive produce the new version along with Mindy Moore ("The Family"), Fred Siegel, Jon Vein and Barbara Dunn-Leonard. The news marks the fourth go around for "Life," which was resurrected by Edwards for syndication twice in the early 1970s and 1980s.

TRIBE (The WB, New!) - Scott Gemmill ("Jonny Zero") is set to team with McG's Warner Bros. Television-based Wonderland Sound & Vision ("Supernatural") for a new drama project at the netlet. The Los Angeles-based show tracks five twentysomething cops - all branded rejects by their respective precincts - who come together as part of a new undercover unit of the L.A.P.D. The WB has already given a pilot order to the project, which Gemmill, McG and Wonderland's Peter Johnson will executive produce.

UNTITLED BECKY MODE/LYDIA DEAN PILCHER PROJECT (HBO, New!) - Lydia Dean Pilcher ("Iron Jawed Angels") and Becky Mode ("Jojo's Circus") have scored a pilot order from the pay channel for a new single-camera comedy about a group of thirtysomething upper-class Manhattan women as they try to juggle motherhood with their careers, spouses and other responsibilities. Casting is currently underway on the project, which will shoot this fall in New York City. No other details were specified.

UNTITLED DARREN STAR PROJECT (The WB, New!) - Darren Star ("Sex And The City," "Kitchen Confidenial") is reportedly close to setting up a new drama project at the WB. No details were specified other than it's expected to be a primetime soap set in New York's ritzy beach playground. No writer is currently attached the project, which would be set up at Star's self-titled Sony Pictures Television-based banner.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [august 2005]  


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