[02/28/06 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: February 28
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:

Looking to keep track of all the various projects in development? Click here to visit our newly branded "Devwatch" section. There visitors can view our listings by network, genre, studio and even development stage (ordered to pilot, cast-contingent, script, etc.). It's updated every day!

13 GRAVES (FOX) - Katheryn Winnick (the upcoming Matthew McConaughey/Sarah Jessica Parker-led feature "Failure to Launch") has been tapped as the female lead in the drama pilot, about an ex-treasure hunter (Matthew Lillard) whose search for his missing brother puts him in the hunt for Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizzaro's fabled Incan gold. She'll play Briony Becker in the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, who's described in the casting notice as: "Late 20s, Caucasian. Pretty and smart, she knows what she wants. Treasure enthusiast who is currently working as a check-out girl, she is salt of the earth kind of girl - no pretense. After she meets Mathew who is looking for his brother, she decides to leave her fianc´┐Ż behind and heads to Florida in search of the treasure." Norman Reedus and Eric Stonestreet also star in the project, which Dominic Sena is directing from a script by creator Joel Wyman.

AMERICAN CRIME (FOX) - Rebecca Mader (Grace on "Love Monkey") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about the world of high-powered Los Angeles lawyers and how they go about freeing their clients, most of whom are either very rich or involved in high-profile cases. She'll play one of the unspecified leads in the project, which David McNally is directing from a script by creator Tyler Bensinger. Jerry Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman also serve as executive producers on the project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television.

EDISON (CBS) - Relative newcomer Deidrie Henry ("ER") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a Los Angeles detective (John Leguizamo) who relies on impersonations and disguises to solve crimes. She'll play Det. Snow in the project, which comes from CBS Paramount Network Television, Touchstone Television and Mandeville Films. Terri Hughes and Ron Milbauer are behind the hour, which is also executive produced by Mandeville's David Hoberman.

EMILY'S EYES (A.K.A. UNTITLED DAN MCDERMOTT PROJECT) (Lifetime) - Abigail Spencer (Rebecca Tyree on "All My Children") has been tapped for the lead role in the drama project, which the cable channel has given a 13-episode order. The NBC Universal Television/Bull's Eye Entertainment-based hour centers on a tough-as-nails F.B.I. agent (Spencer) in her mid-20s with the ability to sniff out liars - whose parents were C.I.A. operatives now serving time for treason - as she rights her parents' wrongs. Dan McDermott and Scott Shepherd are behind the project, which is targeting a summer premiere. Bull's Eye's Tom Nunan also serves as an executive producer.

JERICHO (CBS) - Sprague Grayden (Terry Ryder on "Over There") and Kenneth Mitchell (Marc Taggart on "Odyssey 5") 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. They'll play Heather and Peter respectively in the CBS Paramount Network Television/Junction Entertainment-based hour, which also stars Michael Gaston, Lennie James, Eric Knudsen and Skeet Ulrich. Jon Turteltaub is directing the pilot from a script by creator Stephen Chbosky.

RAINES (A.K.A. SEEING RED) (NBC) - Luis Guzman ("Luis"), Nicole Sullivan (Chloe Reid on "Hot Properties") and Dov Davidoff (the upcoming Mark Wahlberg-led feature "Invincible") have all joined the cast of the drama pilot, about an eccentric, brilliant cop (Jeff Goldblum) who talks to dead victims that help him solve his cases. No details were given about their respective characters. Graham Yost is behind the NBC Universal Television-based hour, which Frank Darabont is directing.

SHARK (CBS, New!) - Actor James Woods, who recently guested on "ER," and director Spike Lee ("Sucker Free City") are set to team for a new drama at the Eye about an L.A.-based celebrity attorney who decides to changes sides and become a prosecutor. Ian Biederman ("Cold Case") is behind the hour, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television and David Nevins & Brian Grazer's Imagine Television. The network has given the project a green light to produce a pilot, lifting its cast-contingency. Lee will direct from a script by Biederman with Biederman, Nevis and Grazer serving as executive producers.

THE SINGLES TABLE (NBC) - Jarrad Paul (Kevin Dorfman on "Monk"), Rhea Seehorn (Nicole Walker on "Head Cases") and Conor Dubin (Danny Robel on "Close to Home") have all joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about five single people who meet at a wedding and develop bonds. No details about their characters were specified. Bill Martin and Mike Schiff are behind the project, which also comes from 20th Century Fox Television and director Adam Bernstein.

SPLIT DECISION (The CW) - Liz Tigelaar's previously UPN-based drama project has been given a pilot commitment from the CW. The Spelling Television/Broken Road Productions-based hour (which like all CW newcomers has added CBS Paramount Network Television and Warner Bros. Television as producers) revolves around a teen girl who gets a chance to reinvent herself upon moving to a new high school, with dual plotlines following her decision to sit with either the popular kids or the arty outsiders on the first day of school. Tigelaar penned the pilot script and will executive produce along with Todd Garner, Aaron Spelling and E. Duke Vincent. Robert Luketic, who was originally attached to direct and executive produce, is no longer involved with the project. Simon West reportedly is in talks to fill in.

STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP (NBC) - Bradley Whitford (Josh Lyman on "The West Wing") and Sarah Paulson (Alice Isringhausen on "Deadwood") have both joined the cast of the drama project, which comes from creators Aaron Sorkin and Tommy Schlamme. Whitford will play producer/director Danny Tripp, a recovering cocaine addict who returns to run the show, while Paulson is set as Harriet Hayes, a Christian fundamentalist and one of the sketch show's three stars (not to mention the ex-girlfriend of Perry's character). The pair join the previously cast ensemble of Timothy Busfield, Nate Corddry, Evan Handler, D.L. Hughley, Carlos Jacott, Amanda Peet, Matthew Perry, Michael Stuhlbarg and Steven Weber. Schlamme is directing from a script by Sorkin with both serving as executive producers via Warner Bros. Television and Shoe Money Productions.

UNTITLED PAUL REISER PROJECT (A.K.A. INVINCIBLE) (CBS) - Bobby Cannavale (Vince D'Angelo on "Will & Grace") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about an ambitious young man who takes over the family car dealership in Queens, New York. He'll play the lead role of Danny in the CBS Paramount Network Television/Nuance Productions-based half-hour, which comes from creator Paul Reiser and producer Craig Knizek. No other details were given.

WATERFRONT (CBS) - William Baldwin ("The Squid and the Whale") is set to star opposite Joe Pantoliano in the drama pilot, about the quirky mayor (Pantoliano) of Providence, Rhode Island. He'll play Brennan, an uptight district attorney who frequently buts heads with Pantoliano's character. Jack Orman is behind the hour, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television.

THE WAY (CBS) - Julia Ormond (Lifetime's "Beach Girls") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a New England family that copes with the death of the powerful clan's matriarch by using witchcraft to hurt their rivals and build a successful business empire. She'll join the previously cast Riley Smith in the Sony Pictures Television-based hour, which has also added Rod Holcomb (ESPN's "Code Breakers") as director. Adam Kulakow is behind the project, which he'll also executive producing along with Michael De Luca.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [february 2006]  

· ER (NBC)

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