LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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ALMOST FAMILY (Lifetime) - The cable channel has given the reality pilot a series order of six-one hour episodes. Gay Rosenthal ("Behind the Music") is behind the "Wife Swap"-esque project, in which couples of diverse backgrounds are sent to live with each other's parents for a week, despite never having met them before. It's understood the pilot featured a Harvard-educated attorney who went to live her fianc�e's chain-smoking, former showgirl mom while he, a Caucasian standup comedian, stayed with her traditional Korean parents. Each hour then wraps with the couples and families recapping their experience. "Family" is set to bow in the first quarter of 2006 with Paul Barrosse and Jeff Apploff executive producing along with Rosenthal.
CELEBRITY POKER SHOWDOWN (Bravo) - A seventh tournament appears to be on tap according to the network's latest schedule update for October. The installment, dubbed "Million Dollar Jackpot," kicks off Thursday, October 13 at 9:00/8:00c.
GASTINEAU GIRLS (E!) - The reality series, about the lives of the mother-daughter team of Lisa and Brittny Gastineau, has been picked up for a second season of 10 episodes. 440,000 viewers on average tuned into the show's inaugural 10-episode run earlier this year, up 8.18% from the network's current primetime average (404,000). Said new installments are set to bow in December with True Entertainmen's Steven Weinstock and Sara Nichols continuing on as executive producers.
HBO ORIGINAL SERIES (HBO) - The season finales of "Entourage" and "The Comeback" drew 2.1 million viewers and 920,000 viewers respectively this past Sunday. Meanwhile, lead-in "Rome" saw 3.03 million viewers tune into its second week, a dip of 20.26% from its launch on August 28 (3.8 million).
I DID NOT KNOW THAT (TV Land, New!) - Paul Reiser and Craig Knizek are developing a new documentary series for the cable channel that aims to poke fun of "Biography"-style profiles. The pilot, which is set to shoot next week in Los Angeles, features a series of segments such as "Infomercial Film School," in which offbeat directors like Tim Burton and the Coen brothers are alleged to have started out as infomercial producers; and "History's First Drive-By," about the Tupac Shakur/Notorious B.I.G.-esque feud between Franz Schubert and Ludwig van Beethoven. Harry Shearer ("The Simpsons") has been tapped to host the project with Stephen Brophy ("Average Joe") writing the script. Should it go forward to series, TV Land executives are targeting an early 2006 start. Overall, TV Land has averaged 992,000 viewers in primetime this summer, up 29% from a year ago.
THE RON CLARK STORY (TNT) - Randa Haines ("Children of a Lesser God") has been tapped to direct the Matthew Perry-led telefilm, about the true story of a small-town schoolteacher who moves to New York to teach in one of the city's toughest schools. Production began this week on the project, which comes from Granada America and Magna Global Entertainment, for an expected first-quarter 2006 bow. Max Enscoe and Annie DeYoung ("Wuthering Heights") wrote the teleplay.
THE TONY DANZA SHOW (Syndication) - David Perler and Jill Blackstone have been named co-executive producers of the Buena Vista Television-produced talk show, which returns for its second season next week. Perler, who was a consulting producer last season, will overseeing all celebrity and comedy segments with Blackstone, late of "Pat Croce Moving In," spearheading the human-interest features and topical segments. The pair will take over for John Redmann, who has since moved on to the soon-to-launch "The Tyra Banks Show" from Warner Bros. Domestic Television.
UNTITLED DARREN STAR PROJECTS (UPN, New!) - UPN has pacted with "Sex and the City" creator Darren Star to develop two new projects for the network, one of which will ultimately go to pilot. It's understood one of the projects is a New York-based soap about a pair of orphaned teens who end up living with their wealthy New York aunt and uncle while the other wasn't specified. Feature writers Dan and Ashley McDermott (the upcoming "The Omen 666") are behind the former, while Star will executive produce both through his self-titled Sony Pictures Television-based banner. The two-for-one commitment from UPN comes on the heels of Star's pact with the WB for a Hamptons-based soap last month.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters