LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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IN CASE OF EMERGENCY (ABC) - Kelly Hu ("C.S.I.: New York") and Greg Germann ("Ally McBeal") are the first to be cast in the comedy, about four childhood friends who realize they're not where they thought they would be in life. Hu will play Dara Lee in the Touchstone Television-based half-hour, who's described in the casting notice as: "Mid-late 30s, a sexy Asian woman. Dara was the valedictorian of her high school, got into Wesleyan early admission and had plans of being an international lawyer like her parents - which is why it's so embarrassing to her to be discovered by former classmate Harry Kennison in her current profession, that of Korean hooker in a massage parlor. Uncomfortable, unreliable, accustomed to being a screw-up, Dara won't go into the details of how her life derailed but she's a very uncomfortable "fish out of water" when she finds herself in Harry's nice middle-class home having to read a bedtime story to his six year old son, Dylan. Herself a person who has no one to call "in case of emergency," Dara comes to realize that she and Harry (and the other misfits from their old class) may come to rely on each other."
Germann then is set as Sherman Yablonsky: "Mid-late 30s, a confident and sincere man with a salesman-like smile, Sherman, once a very "large" man, now in healthier shape and best selling author of "Eating for Mommy - Confessions of a 'Mother's Best Eater.'" His thesis being that we eat junk food to make up for the sweetness we never got from Mommy, Sherman finds himself tapping into his inner junk food child in a big way when his wife leaves him and he breaks into a parked Entenmann's pastry truck and, eating like a maniac, drives off, eventually pursued by cops and arrested. Like his former classmates Harry and Jason (Sherman doesn't know yet that Jason's lost all of Sherman's investments), Sherman is alone in the world with no one's name to write in the "in case of emergency" space--but he finds he can count on his buddies." Jon Favreau is directing the single-camera project from a script by Howard J. Morris. Morris and Emile Levisetti are the executive producers with Mychelle Deschamps producing.
IN THE SHADOW OF THE LAW (CBS) - Jacob Pitts ("Eurotrip") has joined the cast of 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 not to mention a Gordon Gekko-esque managing partner. He'll play Ryan in the CBS Paramount Network Television-based project, which comes from creator Carol Mendelsohn. Joshua Jackson also stars while Danny Cannon is directing.
JERICHO (CBS) - Michael Gaston ("Blind Justice") has 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. Gaston, who plays Gray Anderson, joins the previously cast Eric Knudsen, Lennie James and Skeet Ulrich in the project. Jon Turteltaub and Stephen Chbosky are behind the CBS Paramount Network Television-based hour, which the former is directing from a script by the latter.
JUMP (A.K.A. UNTITLED DANNY COMDEN PROJECT) (ABC) - Kal Penn ("Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, which now appears to be running under the title "Jump." He'll play Max in the Warner Bros. Television-based project, about a man (Danny Comden) who disavows his fast-paced real estate agent lifestyle to become a better person. Bonnie Somerville and Scott Caan also star in the half-hour, which Comden himself wrote and is executive producing along with McG and Peter Johnson of Wonderland Sound & Vision. Robert Duncan McNeill directs.
LIPSTICK JUNGLE (NBC) - Matthew Morrison ("Once Upon a Mattress") has joined the cast of the project, about three New York women who will do anything to get ahead and stay on top. No details about his character were given. NBC Universal Television is behind the hour, which also stars Gina Gershon. In addition, Nigel Cole ("A Lot Like Love") has been tapped to direct the pilot, which comes from executive producers Candace Bushnell and Robin Schiff.
IN PLAIN SIGHT (USA) - Todd Williams ("Tilt") and Fred Weller ("The Jury") have both joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a no-nonsense female federal marshal (Mary McCormack) who works in the witness protection branch of the government even though her friends and family are led to believe she is a glorified meter maid. Williams will portray a police detective while details on Weller's character weren't specified. David Maples is behind the NBC Universal Television-based hour, which Mark Piznarksi is directing. Paul Stupin also serves as an executive producer.
OUR THIRTIES (ABC) - Dondre Whitfield ("Jake in Progress") and Sarah Lafleur ("Playmakers") have both joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about the lives of a group of friends in San Francisco. They'll join the previously cast Heather Stephens and Rachel Blanchard in the Touchstone Television-based project, which comes from creator Dave Walpert and executive producer Warren Littlefield.
SKY (NBC) - Cary Elwes ("Pope John Paul II") has been cast in the lead role of the drama pilot, about a politician who is murdered but given a chance to come back to the physical world in order to save his soul. He'll play said politician, Mark Haskett, who returns to earth as Chris Dalness, a drug addict who lives in a halfway house. Also cast in the NBC Universal Television-based hour are Missi Pyle ("Charlie and the Chocolate Factory") and Cress Williams ("Grey's Anatomy").
Williams is believed to be playing Hudson Chanticleer - "45-55, any ethnicities except Caucasian, a big man. He's gruff when he first meets Chris, his new roommate at the Cameron House facility. However, he soon bonds with Chris, especially after Chris pulls strings and gets the money to keep the Cameron House open. Once a truck driver and a regular guy, Hudson slugged a white guy in a fight. When the guy died, Hudson was sentenced to an unfairly long prison term by a racist judge, and is only now trying to restructure his shattered life. A good friend in need, he puts some thugs off Chris's scent - at least for now." - while Pyle will play Heather Haskett. Tim Blake Nelson is directing the hour from a script by Willie Reale. A.J. Morowitz, David Kissinger, Jeff Ross and Conan O'Brien also serve as executive producers through their Conaco banner.
UNDER PRESSURE (CBS) - The Eye has opted to postpone production on the drama pilot, about deep sea divers who investigate mysteries from the past and the present. No reason for the decision was given. J.P. Donahue and Kevin Polay are behind the CBS Paramount Network Television-based hour which had been set to be directed by Simon West.
UNTITLED CHRIS SHERIDAN PROJECT (NBC) - Bruno Campos ("Nip/Tuck") has landed a lead role in the comedy pilot, about two brothers who live next door to each other: one's a lifelong criminal while the other's an F.B.I. agent. Campos will play the former character, a museum thief and family man, in the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, which comes from creator Chris Sheridan. Despite the casting of Camos, the project's production still remains contingent on the casting of the other lead.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters