LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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THE ADVENTURES OF BIG HANDSOME GUY AND HIS LITTLE FRIEND (FOX) - Dennie Gordon ("Kitchen Confidential") has been tapped to direct the pilot to the comedy project, about the unlikely friendship between two men - one for which everything comes easy (Hayes MacArthur), the other not so much (Jason Winer). She'll direct the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour from a script by MacArthur and Winer with Joshua Sternin and Jeffrey Ventimilia serving as executive producers.
BROTHERS & SISTERS (ABC) - Dave Annable ("Reunion") has joined the cast of the drama project, a family soap revolving around adult siblings. Based on Annable's age, he's believed to be playing Justin March in the Touchstone Television-based hour, which also stars Ron Rifkin. His character is described as: "Mid-late 20's, the youngest March child, Justin is thin, wiry, intense, mercurial, sharp, boyish, dangerous, innocent and very guilty; part bad boy out of Salinger, and part Ordinary People. A veteran of Afghanistan, which has left him troubled and dependent on pain killer/mood elevators, Justin is, for all this, lovable and beloved by his family, though he feels awful about his parents' understandable concern for his current unemployed, apparently aimless situation. Like the others, Justin is devastated by his father's death, and decides to get to the bottom of what is obviously a personal secret in his father's life." Ken Olin is directing the pilot from a script by creator Jon Robin Baitz with the pair also serving as executive producers.
COMPANY TOWN (CBS) - Thomas Carter ("Coach Carter") has signed on to direct and executive produce the drama pilot, about the home lives of those who work in classified and covert operations and how no one is quite sure what their neighbor really does for a living. He'll direct the CBS Paramount Network Television/Sanitsky Co.-based hour from a script by Elwood Reid. Carter and Reid then will serve as executive producers along with Larry Sanitsky.
DAMAGES (FOX) - Jon Amiel ("Reunion") is set to direct the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, about the pathology and personal hazards lawyers face in juggling their career and personal lives. Cole Hauser stars in the drama pilot, which Amiel will direct from a script by creator Jonathan Lisco.
DRIVE (FOX, New!) - Writer/producers Tim Minear ("The Inside") and Ben Queen ("Century City") are set to team for a new ensemble drama project for FOX about an illegal cross-country road race. 20th Century Fox Television is behind the hour, which FOX has given a pilot order. No other specifics were given.
HELP ME HELP YOU (ABC) - Brian Dannelly ("Weeds") has come aboard to direct the single-camera comedy pilot, about an unusual group of people who meet through group therapy. Jenni Konner and Ali Rushfield are behind the half-hour project, which comes from Regency Television.
JERICHO (CBS) - Skeet Ulrich ("Miracles") and Eric Knudsen ("Saw II") have both joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a small town in Kansas that's dealing with life after a series of nuclear attacks destroys most of America's big cities. Ulrich will play Jake Green, the mayor's youngest son, who becomes an unlikely leader in the volatile situation while Knudsen is set as Dale Turner, a strong, smart man raised in a trailer park who is left orphaned as the result of said events. Jon Turteltaub is directing the CBS Paramount Network Television/Junction Entertainment-based hour from a script by Stephen Chbosky with the pair also executive producing.
ORPHEUS (CBS) - Nick D'Agosto ("Election") has been cast in the lead role of the drama pilot, about a young man (D'Agosto) whose girlfriend is involved in a sophisticated, modern-day cult and draws him to it. He'll play Guy in the CBS Paramount Network Television/Scott Free Productions-based hour, which comes from creator Nicholas Meyer and fellow executive producers Ridley Scott and Tony Scott.
PALM SPRINGS (The CW) - Gail O'Grady ("Hot Properties") is the first to be cast in the drama pilot, about a troubled teen who moves to a gated community in Palm Springs where he uncovers some dark secrets. O'Grady will play the yet-to-be-cast boy's mom in the project, which comes from creator Kevin Williamson. In addition, Scott Winant ("Huff") has come aboard to direct the Lionsgate Television/Outerbanks Entertainment-based hour from a script by Williamson.
PINK COLLAR (ABC, New!) - Patricia Beene ("Frasier") has landed a pilot order from ABC and HBO Independent Productions for a new single-camera comedy which explores the nature of female relationships within the workplace. Breene wrote the pilot script and is executive producing the half-hour, additional details of which weren't given.
POWER (NBC, New!) - "Law & Order" creator Dick Wolf is developing a new drama at the Peacock about a task force of young federal agents and U.S. attorneys investigating Hollywood power brokers involved in everything from wiretapping to extortion. The project, which will have both procedural and serialized elements, has a script order from the network. No writer however has been named for the project, which will be set up at the NBC Universal Television-based Wolf Films with Wolf and Peter Jankowski executive producing.
SKY (A.K.A. HACKETT CHRONICLES) (NBC) - Willie Reale's drama pilot for the Peacock is now understood to be running under the title "Sky." The project, about a politician who is murdered but given a chance to come back to the physical world (albeit, this time as a drug addict who lives in a halfway house) in order to save his soul, comes from creator Reale and fellow executive producers David Kissinger, A.J. Morewitz, Conan O'Brien and Jeff Ross. Tim Blake Nelson is directing the NBC Universal Television/Conaco Productions-based hour from a script by Reale.
SQUARE ONE (FOX, New!) - FOX has given a script commitment to writer/producer David Bickel ("The King of Queens") for a new comedy about an old fashioned guy surrounded by family and friends with modern American values. The project is set up at Sony Pictures Television with Bickel writing and executive producing.
UGLY BETTY (ABC) - Becki Newton ("American Dreams") has joined the cast of the America Ferrera-led drama pilot, about an unattractive girl (Ferrera) who's hired by a fashion magazine to stop her new boss's habit of sleeping with attractive assistants. No details were given about her character in the project, which comes from executive producers Salma Hayek, Silvio Horta, Ben Silverman and Jose Tamez. Richard Shepard is directing the Touchstone Television-based hour from a script by Horta.
UNTITLED DANNY COMDEN PROJECT (ABC) - Actor-turned-director Robert Duncan McNeill ("Las Vegas") has signed on to direct Danny Comden's single-camera comedy pilot for ABC, about a man (Comden) who disavows his fast-paced real estate agent lifestyle to become a better person. Comden himself penned the pilot script to the Warner Bros. Television/Wonderland Sound & Vision-based half-hour, which he's executive producing along with McG and Peter Johnson.
UNTITLED DONAL LOGUE PROJECT (ABC) - Sofia Vergara ("Hot Properties"), Kevin Michael Richardson ("Like Family"), Lenny Venito ("War of the Worlds") and newcomer Josh Grisetti have all joined the cast of the Donal Logue-led comedy pilot, about a group of blue-collar guys in New York who decide to rob a celebrity. No details were available about their respective characters. Jon Beckerman and Rob Burnett are behind the Touchstone Television/Worldwide Pants-based half-hour, which Burnett is directing from a script by the duo. David Letterman is also serving as an executive producer along with Beckerman and Burnett.
UNTITLED PETER OCKO PROJECT (CBS) - Mark Feuerstein ("The West Wing") is the first to be cast in the revamped drama pilot, about a rising-star brain surgeon (Feuerstein) who is doing a fellowship under the guidance of a brilliant but unpredictable surgeon. Feuerstein, who had a role in the original version of the pilot last season, will play Jonathan Singer in the CBS Paramount Network Television-based hour. The original casting notice described his character as follows: "30-34. Upper West Side New York over-achiever with a rare gift for neurosurgery. Jonathan has come through the long and intensely competitive training with his conscious and heart amazingly still intact. His greatest challenge is yet to come as he has landed the most sought after apprenticeship in the country and relocated with his wife and children to Brentwood to work alongside his mentor, Dr. Douglas Hanson. A man who's quite unused to the freeways and the beaches and the size of the homes on the Los Angeles west Side (dwarfing the living spaces of the New York West Side), Dr. Fowler is a fish out of water, unsure that this move will make him happy, a little homesick for New York, quietly fearful that his job will force him to chose between his family and success." Peter Ocko created the pilot and will executive produce along with Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana.
UNTITLED TOM HERTZ PROJECT (CBS) - Andy Ackerman ("Listen Up") has signed on to direct the comedy pilot, about a married couple, an engaged duo and a single guy. He'll also serve as an executive producer on the Sony Pictures Television/Happy Madison-based half-hour, which comes from creator Tom Hertz and fellow executive producers Jack Giarraputo, Doug Robinson and Adam Sandler.
WHAT HAPPENS ON A BUS (ABC, New!) - Writer/producer Don Todd ("life as we know it") has booked a pilot order from ABC and Touchstone Television for a new single-camera comedy loosely based on the life of documentary filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi ("Journeys with George"). The project revolves around the exploits of a young news reporter on the presidential campaign trail. Todd wrote the pilot script and is executive producing along with Brad Grey Television's Peter Traugott.
WITHOUT A TRACE (CBS) - Writer/producer Jan Nash has inked a two-year overall deal CBS Paramount Network Television. The pact calls for Nash to develop new projects for the studio as well as cover her producing/co-showrunning (along with Greg Walker) duties on the series next season.
WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE (ABC, New!) - Allison Adler ("Emily's Reasons Why Not") has scored a pilot commitment from the Alphabet for a new sitcom about a recently a widowed woman who embarks on a new life with her two best friends. Touchstone Television is behind the half-hour with Gabe Sachs, Jeff Judah and Stu Bloomberg executive producing along with Adler. No other details were given.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters