LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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THE 12TH MAN (FOX) - Jodi Lyn O'Keefe ("She's All That") and newcomer Andrew Katz are the first to be cast in the comedy pilot, about a not-so-good professional basketball player who spends most of the time on the team's bench. O'Keefe will play Lindsay, the assistant general manager of said basketball team, while Katz is set as Oggie. 20th Century Fox Television is behind the half-hour, which is based on the life of Phoenix Suns reserve forward Paul Shirley. Tim Story is directing from a script by Dan Fogelman with both serving as executive producers.
24 (FOX) - Howard Gordon, the veteran drama's showrunner, has inked a mid-seven-figure multi-year overall deal with the show's producer, 20th Century Fox Television. The pact, which begins in June, covers his duties on the show's expected sixth season. In addition, he'll also develop new projects for the studio.
THE ADVENTURES OF BIG HANDSOME GUY AND HIS LITTLE FRIEND (FOX) - Mircea Monroe ("The Code") and Margo Harshman ("Run of the House") are the latest additions to the comedy pilot, about the unlikely friendship between two men - one for which everything comes easy (Hayes MacArthur), the other not so much (Jason Winer). No details on their respective character were given. Dennie Gordon is directing the single-camera pilot from a script by MacArthur and Winer. Joshua Sternin and Jeffrey Ventimilia also serve as executive producers.
ALPHA MOMS (NBC) - "Scrubs" creator/executive producer Bill Lawrence has signed on to direct the single-camera comedy pilot, about a corporate mom who tries to balance kids, a stay-at-home husband and a job. He'll direct the NBC Universal Television-based half-hour from a script by creator Kerry Ehrin.
AVENGER (TNT) - The Sam Elliott-led/Wolfgang Petersen-produced original movie has been slated to premiere on Sunday, April 9 at 8:00/7:00c. Here's how the network's press materials describe the project: "AVENGER tells the story of Cal Dexter (Elliot), whose duty during the Vietnam War was to locate and destroy the jungle hideouts of the enemy. But today he's nothing more than a simple attorney in small town New Jersey. Or so it seems to most. Covertly, he has been hired by a tycoon to track down and deliver justice to the man who killed his grandson, an American aid worker in Bosnia. As the quest takes Dexter around the globe, CIA agent Frank McBride must stop him before his mission of vengeance throws the world into chaos."
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC) - "Crumbs" star Eddie McClintock has scored a recurring role on the smash hit series. He'll play Frank, a low-life who becomes involved with the Solises. It's not clear when his first episode will air.
E-RING (NBC) - Jaime Ray Newman, who was recently cast in the ABC drama pilot "Hollis & Rae," has signed on to appear in a four-episode arc on the freshman drama later this season. She'll play the daughter of Army General Hughes (Bob Gunton) however it's not clear when her first episode will air. (Note: The original version of this story included an out-of-date mention of Newman's two-episode appearance on "Related.")
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (NBC) - Newcomers Gaius Charles and Scott Porter have both been cast in the Kyle Chandler-led drama pilot, a small screen take on the 2004 high school football-themed feature of the same name. Charles will play Brian "Bomber" Williams, an extremely confident and larger than life running back, while Porter is set as Jason Street, the talented quarterback and pride of the football-obsessed Texas town. Peter Berg wrote the script to the NBC Universal Television/Imagine Television/Film 44-based hour which he's also executive producing along with David Nevins, Brian Grazer, Sarah Aubrey and John Cameron. Production is set to begin this week in Austin, Texas.
IN JUSTICE (ABC) - Tim Guinee ("Tarzan") is set to appear in the show's final four episodes this season. No specifics about his character however were given.
MEN IN TREES (ABC) - Anne Heche ("Everwood") has booked the lead role in the drama pilot, about a female shrink (Heche) who moves to Alaska after she learns that her husband had been cheating on her, only to discover herself surrounded by available men. Derek Richardson ("Hostel") and Emily Bergl ("Gilmore Girls") have also joined the cast of the Warner Bros. Television/Tree Line Film-based hour, which James Mangold is directing from a script by Jenny Bicks. The pair also serve as executive producers along with Cathy Konrad.
THE O.C. (FOX) - Autumn Reeser, who plays Taylor Townsend on the series, is on track to be upped to series regular should the FOX soap return for a fourth season. Also set for a return appearance is Nikki Griffin, who played Trey Atwood's (Logan Marshall-Green) troublemaking love interest for six episodes last season. It's not clear however how many episodes her second arc will encompass. (Note: The original version of this story incorrectly identified Griffin's character.)
ORPHEUS (CBS) - Bruce Beresford ("And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself") has signed on to direct the drama pilot, about the journey of a young man (Nick D'Agosto) into first love and the seductive world of a sophisticated, modern-day cult. Nicholas Meyer is behind the CBS Paramount Network Television/Scott Free Productions-based hour, which he's also executive producing along with Scott Free principals Ridley Scott and Tony Scott.
SEEING RED (NBC) - Emmy-nominated actor Jeff Goldblum ("Will & Grace") is in final talks to play the lead role in the drama pilot, about an eccentric, brilliant cop (Goldblum) with the ability to talk to dead victims, who help him solve his cases. Goldblum's involvement would presumably lift the cast-contingency on the pilot's production. Frank Darabont is directing the NBC Universal Television-based hour from a script by creator Graham Yost.
THAT GUY (FOX) - Betty Thomas, who directed the pilot to the upcoming FOX comedy "The Loop," has come aboard to direct the comedy pilot, about a thirtysomething guy who realizes everyone around him has grown up. She'll direct from a script by creators/co-executive producers Josh Lobis and Darin Moiselle. Regency Television and the Montecito Picture Co. are behind the half-hour, which is executive produced by Jackie Marcus and Ivan Reitman.
UNTITLED DANNY COMDEN PROJECT (ABC) - Bonnie Somerville ("Kitchen Confidential") is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, about an egotistical real estate agent (Danny Comden) who decides to change his life after realizing that he hates who he has become. She'll play Sam in the Warner Bros. Television/Wonderland Sound & Vision-based project, which also stars Scott Caan. Robert Duncan McNeill is directing the single-camera half-hour from a script by Comden, who's also executive producing along with McG and Peter Johnson.
UNTITLED PALLADINOS PROJECT (The CW) - "Gilmore Girls" creator Amy Sherman-Palladino confirmed to The Associated Press over the weekend that her and husband Daniel Palladino's drama project has been scrapped in the wake of the UPN/WB merger. The untitled hour, which was described as a New York-based family mystery series (a la "Nick & Nora"), was originally given a blind six-episode commitment last year by the WB. No other details about the news were given.
VANISHED (FOX) - Gale Harold, who will play Wyatt Earp in the upcoming season of "Deadwood," has been cast as the lead role in the drama pilot, about the search for a missing senator's wife. No specifics about his character in the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour however were given. Mimi Leder is directing the pilot from a script by Josh Berman.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters