LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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AMERICAN CRIME (FOX) - The Jerry Bruckheimer-produced drama project has been given the green light to produce a pilot. Tyler Bensigner ("Cold Case") is behind the hour, which revolves around a team of media-savvy defense attorneys who handle high-profile cases. Feature director David McNally ("Coyote Ugly") is directing the Warner Bros. Television-based project and will executive produce along with Bruckheimer, Bensinger and Jerry Bruckheimer Television's Jonathan Littman.
FLIGHT 93 (A&E) - A whopping 5.9 million viewers tuned into the original movie's premiere on Monday, making it the highest-rated program in the 22-year history of the network. Said broadcast also hit network highs among adults 25-54 (2.9 million), 18-49 (2.7 million) and 18-34 (1.0 million).
HIM & US (ABC) - Anthony Stewart Head ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") has been tapped for the lead role in the comedy pilot, about an over-the-hill gay British rock star (Head) and his relationship with his long-time manager and the rest of his colorful entourage. Head joins the previously cast Ashley Williams in the Touchstone Television/Edelstein Co.-based half-hour, which comes from executive producers Cindy Chupack, Michael Edelstein, Bob Halley, Elton John and Bruce Roberts. Charles Shyer will direct the single-camera project from a script by Chupack.
IN THE SHADOW OF THE LAW (CBS) - Joshua Jackson ("Dawson's Creek") is the first to be cast in the drama pilot, about a group of smart legal associates trying to make partner at a powerful Washington, D.C.-based law firm while dealing with a host of moral, ethical and legal challenges. Jackson will play Mark Clayton, a first-year associate at the firm whose career takes an unexpected turn when he is assigned the case of a death row inmate. In addition, Danny Cannon ("C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation") is on board to direct the hour, which comes from "C.S.I." showrunner Carol Mendelsohn and CBS Paramount Network Television.
NINE LIVES (ABC) - Jessica Collins ("Tru Calling") is understood to have joined the cast of the drama pilot, about the lives of nine strangers who share a bond after experiencing a 52-hour hostage crisis. She joins the previously cast Chi McBride in the Warner Bros. Television-based hour. No specifics about her character were given. In addition, Emmy-winner Alex Graves ("The West Wing") has signed on to direct the project (not Rodrigo Garcia as previously reported), which comes from creators Hank Steinberg and K.J. Steinberg.
SOUTHERN COMFORT (FOX) - Greg Yaitanes, who's helmed the pilot to FOX's "Bones" last season, has signed on to direct the drama pilot, an ensemble crime drama about the wife of a mob boss who's thrust into running their Biloxi, Mississippi-based organized crime operation. He'll also serve as an executive producer on the 20th Century Fox Television-based project along with Joe Gayton, Tony Gayton and Ken Topolsky. Yaitanes signed a one-year holding deal to direct pilots for the network back in July (read the story).
STUDIO 7 ON THE SUNSET STRIP (NBC) - Timothy Busfield ("The West Wing") and stage actor Michael Stuhlberg ("The Pillowman") are the latest additions to the drama project, about the lives of those that work on a long-running "SNL"-esque sketch-comedy show based in Los Angeles. Details on their respective characters weren't released. The duo join the previously cast D.L. Hughley, Steven Weber and Matthew Perry in the Warner Bros. Television/Shoe Money Productions-based project, which comes from Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme.
UGLY BETTY (ABC) - Richard Shepard ("The Matador") is set to direct the drama pilot, about an unattractive but efficient secretary (America Ferrera) at a fashion magazine. Shepard, who helmed the pilot for "Criminal Minds" during the past development season, will work from a script by Silvio Horta. Touchstone Television is behind the hour, which is executive produced by Horta, Reveille's Ben Silverman and Ventanarosa's Salma Hayek and Jose Tamez.
UNTITLED DONAL LOGUE PROJECT (ABC) - The Donal Logue-led comedy pilot, about a pair of working class guys who resolve to rob a celebrity, has been given the go-ahead to produce a pilot. "Ed" creator Rob Burnett and Jon Beckerman are behind the Touchstone Television-based half-hour, which Burnett will direct from a script by the duo. Logue himself will also serve as a producer on the project, which is set to begin production next month in New York.
UNTITLED SHANA GOLDBERG-MEEHAN PROJECT (ABC) - Shana Goldberg-Meehan's ("Friends") comedy project, about two sisters with very different childhoods - one was born while their parents were poor, the other after they struck it rich - who come to live together, has been given a cast-contingent pilot order. Goldberg-Meehan wrote the pilot script and will executive produce for Warner Bros. Television.
UNTITLED TINA FEY PROJECT (NBC) - Jack McBrayer ("Arrested Development") and Rachel Dratch ("Saturday Night Live") have both reportedly joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about the head writer of a variety show (Tina Fey) who has to manage her relationships with the show's volatile star and executive producer. McBrayer will play Kenneth, who's described in the casting notice as: "20s. A bright and chirpy Clay Aiken-type who works as an NBC page, (giving tours to visitors) and takes his job very seriously." Dratch's role however wasn't specified. The pair join the previously cast Tracy Morgan. Fey, JoAnn Alfano, Lorne Michaels and David Miner are the executive producers of the pilot, which comes from Michaels' NBC Universal Television-based Broadway Video.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters