[09/27/05 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: September 26-27
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!

ASPEN/THE FABULOUS BAKKER BOY/SECRET LIVES (A&E, New!) - The life of unconventional minister Jamie Bakker, the lives of those who work and play at a small resort town and the lives of those who live double-lives and want to come clean are set to be the focus of three new reality pilots recently ordered by the cable channel. The former, entitled "The Fabulous Bakker Boy," will track the son of Tammy Faye and his efforts with Revolution Ministries, a church dedicated to reaching out to those who were turned off or away by more traditional congregations. World of Wonder is behind the project, with its principals Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato executive producing. Next up is "Aspen," from Stone & Co. Entertainment, which focuses on the tourists and year-round residents who work and play in the small resort town. And the latter is "Secret Lives," a one-hour project which tracks men and women who want to come clean to their friends and loved ones about the double lives they've been leading. Among the subjects: a bigamist raising families in neighboring towns and a woman who's lived her whole life as a man. Meg TV (A&E's "Sports Wives") is behind "Lives," which is being targeted as a companion to the second season of "Intervention."

CLASS ACTION (NBC, New!) - Erin Brockovich is spearheading a new legal drama at the Peacock from feature writers Mark Gibson and Phil Halprin ("Coach Snoop"). The project, which comes from Gina Matthews and Grant Scharbo's 20th Century Fox Television-based Roundtable Ink, tracks a team of high-powered lawyers - not all of whom have the most altruistic intentions - in the morally vague world of class-action lawsuits. NBC has made a script commitment to the project with a six-figure penalty if it doesn't go to pilot. Brockovich, Gibson, Halprin, Matthews and Scharbo then will all serve as executive producers.

CRIMINAL MINDS (CBS) - Feature director Richard Shepard ("The Matador"), who helmed the pilot to the Mandy Patinkin-led drama, has signed a talent holding deal with Touchstone Television. The pact calls for Shepard to direct at least one pilot for the studio, mostly likely targeted for the 2006-07 season.

MADE IN THE U.S.A. (USA) - The cable channel's latest reality offering has been bumped out of primetime following its disastrous 793,000-viewer showing last week. "Made" opened to 1.1 million viewers on Wednesday, September 14 with last week's performance marking a 27.91% drop from its lackluster premiere numbers. Even more troubling was its 63% drop in audience from its "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" lead-in that same night. The remaining episodes will now run on Thursdays at 6:00/5:00c beginning September 29 with the finale set for October 13 - one week earlier than previously indicated.

THE MAN SHOW (Comedy Central) - Videogame channel G4 has purchased the repeat rights to all 104 episodes of the one-time Comedy Central staple. The non-exclusive pact with distributors Debmar Studios and Mercury Entertainment, valued at $7.8 million, marks the largest in the network's history. Back-to-back episodes are scheduled to run weeknights at 10:00/9:00c beginning October 10 as a lead-in to "X-Play." G4 executives hope the addition of "The Man Show," as well as recently acquisition "Fastlane," will help propel the niche network beyond its sub-50,000 household viewership in primetime.

MTV ORIGINAL SERIES (MTV) - The cable channel has revised a few of its upcoming premiere and finale dates. Among them: "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County" will now run through Monday, November 7, two weeks later than previously indicated. Said move will bump the launch of "The Real World/Road Rules Challenge's" latest season to November 14. Also in November look for "The Real World's" latest edition to wrap on November 22 (with a reunion special on November 29) while lead-out "The Reality Show" is set to close on November 15.

OVER THERE (FX) - Uber-producer Steven Bochco has signed a three-year overall deal with Touchstone Television. The deal marks an end to his stay at Paramount Network Television, where his Steven Bochco Productions had been based for the past five years. Bochco will take all three of his current projects - a legal drama (with Chris Gerolmo) and a baseball comedy (with Mitchel Katlin and Nat Bernstein) at FOX as well as a cop drama at the WB - with him to Touchstone as part of the pact. It's also understood Bochco has a fourth project in the works for ABC however no details were specified.

PASADENA (FOX) - SoapNet's off-network run of the short-lived FOX series is set to begin this Saturday (October 1) at 6:00/5:00c. Episodes will encore at 9:00/8:00c that same night.

THE SHIELD (FX) - Forest Whitaker ("The Twilight Zone") is set to join the cast of the veteran cable drama when it returns for its fifth season in January. He'll play Detective Jon Kavanaugh, an ambitious newcomer to the Los Angeles Police Department's Internal Affairs division who is tasked with investigating Michael Chiklis's character and his team. No other details, such as the number of episodes he'll appear in, were given.

SONS & DAUGHTERS (ABC) - Co-creators Nick Holly and Fred Goss have signed a two-year overall deal with Touchstone Television. The pact calls for the duo to develop new projects for the studio along the lines of their midseason comedy for ABC. Said project comes from NBC Universal Television and Broadway Video Television.

UNTITLED AL ROKER PROJECT (NBC, New!) - "Today's" Al Roker and his self-titled production banner have inked a deal with the Peacock to produce a family-oriented sitcom for the network. Roker reportedly will write and executive produce - but not star in - the project, full details of which weren't given. In addition to his "Today" gig, Roker currently produces and hosts Food Network's "Roker on the Road" and Court TV's "Al Roker Investigates" among other projects. Lisa Sharkey ("Good Morning America"), Roker's company head, will likely also serve as an executive producer of the NBC project.

UNTITLED ROSIE PEREZ PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Rosie Perez ("Lackawanna Blues") has inked a one-year talent holding deal with the network. The pact calls for FOX to cast the actress, who is said to have been pursued by several networks during the past few months, in one of its upcoming projects or develop one around her, most likely a comedy.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [september 2005]  


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