LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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THE 17TH C.S.H./UNTITLED JOHN MASIUS PROJECT (HBO/TNT, New!) - John Masius, the Emmy-winning creator of "Providence" and "Touched by an Angel," has lined up a pair of projects on cable. The first is a half-hour comedy at HBO entitled "The 17th C.S.H." Said project takes a satirical look at medics in wartime. The other is an untitled suburban family drama at TNT and Sony Pictures Television. No other specifics about the respective projects were given.
60 MINUTE MAN (ABC) - Just one day after getting the green light to produce a pilot, writer/producers Graham Yost and Chris Brancato have found their leading man. David James Elliott ("J.A.G.") has been tapped to topline the project, about a suburban family man named John Henderson (Elliott) who, after discovering that he can't recall his actions during one hour of each day, risks his life to determine whether he's the key player in a conspiracy that could alter the course of U.S. history. Elliott's involvement is likely tied to a talent holding deal the actor signed with ABC and producer Touchstone Television nearly a year ago (read the story). Yost and Brancato wrote the pilot and will executive produce along with Brancato's producing partner Bert Salke.
THE ADVENTURES OF BIG HANDSOME GUY AND HIS LITTLE FRIEND (FOX) - The network has officially greenlighted the comedy pilot, about the real-life friendship between Hayes MacArthur and Jason Winer and how everything comes easy for the former ("the big handsome guy") but not the latter ("his little friend"). The project, which is based on the short film of the same name, is set up at 20th Century Fox Television with MacArthur and Winer writing the pilot script and co-executive producing along with executive producers Josh Sternin and Jeff Ventimilia ("Kitchen Confidential").
AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL (UPN) - The netlet has renewed the reality veteran for two additional cycles, which will keep the series on the network's schedule through the 2006-07 season. Season six of the series is set to launch with back-to-back episodes on Wednesday, March 8 at 8:00/7:00c. Said premiere will be preceded by "Where the Girls Are," a one-hour special that looks back on the show's previous contestants on Wednesday, March 1 at 8:00/7:00c.
THE ANGRIEST MAN IN SUBURBIA (CBS, New!) - Ajay Sahgal (NBC's "Nearly Nirvana") has landed a cast-contingent pilot order from CBS for a new comedy about a married stay-at-home father dealing with the pesky problems of everyday life. Sony Picture Television-based Pariah is behind the hour with Gavin Polone and Jamie Tarses executive producing along with Sahgal, who penned the pilot script.
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC) - Maria Conchita Alonso ("Kingpin") has been cast as Lucia, the mother of Eva Longoria's character Gabrielle. She'll make her first appearance in the show's February 19 installment, which sees Lucia dropping in on her daughter after leaving the latest in a string of husbands. No other details were specified.
IF YOU LIVED HERE, YOU'D BE HOME BY NOW (FOX, New!) - "Friends" alums Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen have scored a pilot order from FOX for a new single-camera comedy about a group of young friends living in a corporate housing-style apartment complex (a la Oakwood). The project is set up at CBS Paramount Network Television with Reich and Cohen writing and executive producing. The pair spent the past development season behind the failed James Van Der Beek-led comedy pilot "Three" at CBS.
IN THE SHADOW OF THE LAW (CBS, New!) - "C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation" showrunner Carol Mendelsohn has scored a pilot order from the Eye and CBS Paramount Network Television for a new drama about a group of smart legal associates trying to make partner while dealing with a host of moral, ethical and legal challenges not to mention a Gordon Gekko-esque managing partner. The project is based on Kermit Roosevelt's novel of the same name with Mendelsohn penning the pilot script. It's understood Mendelsohn will continue with her duties on "C.S.I." even if "Law" moves forward to series.
MEN IN TREES (A.K.A. UNTITLED JENNY BICKS/JAMES MANGOLD PROJECT) (ABC) - The drama project, about a thirtysomething relationship expert who gets stuck in an Alaskan town full of men soon after she discovers her own fiance has been cheating, has been given the thumbs up to produce a pilot. Jenny Bicks ("Sex and the City") is behind the Warner Bros. Television/Tree Line Film-based hour with James Mangold ("Walk the Line") now set to direct and executive produce along with his wife Cathy Konrad.
OUT OF SYNC (UPN, New!) - Lance Bass and Joey Fatone, best known as members of the boy band *NSYNC, are set to star in a potential new reality comedy hybrid at the netlet about their "Odd Couple"-esque friendship. Scott Tomlinson ("The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour") is on board to write the script to the FremantleMedia-based half-hour with UPN committing to a short presentation tape. No other details were given.
PENN & TELLER: BULLSHIT (Showtime) - The pay channel has quietly renewed the series for two additional 10-episode seasons. The announcement was made as part of the network's session at the TCA Winter Press Tour. "Bullshit" completed airing its third season this past summer. Still to be announced is the fate of "Barbershop," which concluded its freshman run in October.
THE TRAVELER (ABC, New!) - Feature writer David Digilio (the upcoming Paul Walker-led "Eight Below") is set to team with director David Nutter ("Supernatural") and Oscar-winning producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen ("American Beauty") for a new "Three Days of the Condor"-esque drama about two friends who are framed as terrorists by someone they both thought was their friend. The project, which has been given a pilot commitment by the Alphabet and Warner Bros. Television, would then cut between flashbacks to the trio's life together in college and their current fugitive status. Nutter, who's best known for his impressive streak of directing 11 consecutive pilots that went on to receive series orders - "Space: Above and Beyond" (1995), "Millennium" (1996), "Sleepwalkers" (1997), "Roswell" (1999), "Dark Angel" (2000), "Smallville" (2001), "Without a Trace" (2002), "Tarzan" (2003), "Jack & Bobby" (2004), "dr. vegas" (2004) and "Supernatural" (2005) - will helm the project from a script by Digilio with Cohen and Jinks executive producing via their Jinks/Cohen Co.
UNTITLED BARRY BONDS PROJECT (ESPN, New!) - Tollin/Robbins Productions is said to be close to be teaming with ESPN for a weekly documentary-style, all-access series that would follow San Francisco Giant slugger Barry Bonds over the course of the upcoming Major League Baseball season. Said project, which is targeting the Tuesday, 7:00/6:00c hour, would begin with Bonds in spring training with cameras following him throughout his day, both on and off the field. No other details were given about the project, which reportedly has been in the works since mid-December.
UNTITLED CLAUDIA GRAZIOSO/STEVEN BANKS PROJECT (ABC, New!) - Feature writers Claudia Grazioso and Steven Banks ("Are We There Yet?") are set to team with Sony Pictures Television-based producers Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly for a new "Desperate Housewives"-esque drama about a group of women who work together at the same law firm. Grazioso and Banks wrote the script to the project, which has been given a pilot order by the network, and will executive produce along with Timberman and Beverly through their 25C Productions banner.
UNTITLED GIRLFRIENDS SPIN-OFF PROJECT (UPN, New!) - The netlet is developing a spin-off of the veteran comedy as an upcoming episode of the series will be used as a backdoor pilot. Said installment will introduce a group of women in various stages of relationships with pro football players. Mara Brock-Akil and Kelsey Grammer are on board to executive produce the CBS Paramount Network Television/Grammnet Productions-based project should it move forward. UPN is no stranger to spinning off its comedies as "Cuts" began as an episode of "One on One" and "The Parkers" sprung from "Moesha."
WORST WEEK OF MY LIFE (FOX) - Feature director Adam Shankman ("The Pacifier") has signed on to direct the single-camera comedy pilot, about the week leading up to a couple's wedding with each episode focusing on a single day. Ed Decter and John Strauss ("There's Something About Mary") are behind the project, which comes from Regency Television and Hat Trick Productions. "Week" snagged a pilot order as well as two additional scripts last month (read the story).
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters