LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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THE BLACK DONNELLYS (NBC) - Jonathan Tucker ("Hostage"), Olivia Wilde ("The O.C."), Kirk Acevedo ("Law & Order: Trial by Jury"), Tom Guiry ("Mystic River"), Billy Lush ("A Million Miles to Sunshine"), Christopher Shand ("Law & Order") and Keith Nobbs ("Phone Booth") have all been named the principal cast members of the drama pilot, about "the exploits of four young Irish brothers and their involvement in organized crime in New York's notorious Hell's Kitchen neighborhood." Paul Haggis ("Crash") is behind the NBC Universal Television/Blackfriars Bridge Productions-based project, which he'll direct from a script he co-wrote his "Crash" partner Bobby Moresco. Tucker will play the lead role of Tommy Donnelly, an Irish youth with peacemaking instincts who goes over the edge when his older, more volatile brother is targeted for death by the Italian mob. Wilde then is set as Jenny, the chief love interest of Tucker's character. Details on the other actors' characters weren't specified. Production on the pilot is set to begin next month in New York.
BOSTON LEGAL (ABC) - Uber-producer David E. Kelley has inked a new three-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television, where his David E. Kelley Productions has been based for nearly 20 years. The pact calls for Kelley to continue with his duties on "Legal" as well as develop new projects for the studio. Among them: an untitled dramedy about a network TV morning show that's in talks to land at NBC.
GRAND UNION (NBC) - Jackie Debatin ("Deal") and Kirk Fox ("The Patriot") have both been cast in the Greg Grunberg-led comedy pilot, about a blue-collar family man (Grunberg) who manages a local Long Island neighborhood grocery store. Debatin will play Missy, who's described in the casting notice as: "She is married to Tom's brother, Joey McBride. She is a self-absorbed, dramatic woman who has more time and emotion invested in her appearance than her marriage. She is currently attending marriage counseling with Joey while boning the manager of Home Depot on the side." No details however were given about Fox's character. Beth Lacke ("ER") also stars as Pat, the wife of Grunberg's character. David Israel and Jim O'Doherty are behind the project, which comes from executive producer Tom Werner and NBC Universal Television.
LUCKY LOUIE (A.K.A. AMERICAN DREAM) (HBO) - Pamela Segall ("Unscripted"), Micheal Hagarty ("Inspector Gadget"), Laura Kightlinger ("Saturday Night Live"), Jim Norton ("The Colin Quinn Show"), Jerry Minor ("Crossballs"), Rick Shapiro ("Pootie Tang"), Kim Hawthorn ("Jeremiah") and Kelly Lynch ("Charlie's Angels") have all been confirmed as co-stars of Louis C.K.'s upcoming comedy series for HBO. The project, HBO's first multi-camera sitcom, tracks a middle-class couple raising their daughter. Louis C.K., Mike Royce and 3 Arts Entertainment's Dave Becky are the executive producers.
THE UNSUCCESSFUL THUG (HBO, New!) - Mike Epps ("The Honeymooners") is reportedly developing a new semi-autobiographical comedy project at the pay channel about his struggles as a small-time criminal in Indianapolis in spite of his comedic personality. Brad Kaaya ("O") is said to be on board to write the pilot script and serve as a co-executive producer. Epps himself will also produce along with his manager Niles Kirschner. No other details were given.
UNTITLED BRETT BAER/DAVID FINKEL PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Emmy-nominated writer/producers Brett Baer and David Finkel ("Joey") have booked a pilot order from FOX and Warner Bros. Television for a new comedy about twentysomethings who take menial jobs in order to survive while they pursue their bigger dreams. The pair snagged an Emmy nomination for their work on the animated series "Pinky and the Brain."
UNTITLED GABRIELLE ALLAN PROJECT (CBS, New!) - The lives of three best friends with young kids - all with very different attitudes toward marriage, motherhood and their careers - is set to be the focus of a new comedy project at CBS from Gabrielle Allan ("Scrubs") and Warner Bros. Television. The Eye has given a put pilot commitment to the project, which reportedly drew interest from several of the broadcast networks.
UNTITLED GLEN MAZZARA PROJECT (FOX, New!) - "The Shield" co-executive producer Glen Mazzara has scored a script order from FOX for a new serialized crime drama/political thriller about a female F.B.I. agent who unravels a conspiracy to assassinate the president that's led by a Jim Baker-like character. FOX's script commitment includes a significant penalty attached should it not move forward to pilot. Mazzara recently signed a two-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television.
UNTITLED NELLY PROJECT (New!) - Actor/rapper Nelly ("The Longest Yard") is the latest celebrity to begin shopping around their own reality series. He's pacted with Arthur Smith and Kent Weed's A. Smith & Co. ("Hell's Kitchen") to develop the project, which will most likely focus on his daily life. It's understood Nelly, Smith and Weed will begin pitching the series to the various networks in the coming weeks.
WEDDING IN A WEEK (Syndication, New!) - Buena Vista Television and Howard Schultz ("Extreme Makeover") are said to be developing a new syndicated offering which would revolve around - you guessed it - the trials and tribulations that go with preparing for a trip down the aisle. Schultz's Lighthearted Entertainment is on board to produce the project, full details of which weren't specified.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters