[03/06/06 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: March 6
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!

52 FIGHTS (ABC) - Matt Letscher (Eric Garrett on "Joey") is set to star opposite Christine Taylor in the comedy pilot, about a couple's transition from dating to marriage. The addition of Letscher has lifted the cast-contingency off the pilot's production. Alex Taub and Brillstein-Grey Television's Peter Traugott are behind the Touchstone Television-based half-hour, which is based on Jennifer Jeanne Patterson's book of the same name.

AMERICAN CRIME (FOX) - Kerr Smith (Bobby Wilkerson on "E-Ring") has joined Victor Garber and Rebecca Mader in the drama pilot, about a group of powerful Los Angeles defense attorneys who specialize in high-profile case. No details were given about Smith's character. As expected, his involvement is in second position to the NBC drama should it return for a second season. Tyler Bensinger, Jerry Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman are behind the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, which David McNally is directing.

THE ANGRIEST MAN IN SUBURBIA (CBS) - Mitch Rouse (Ryan on "According to Jim") has been tapped for the lead role in the comedy pilot, about a husband and father who struggles with the annoyances of daily life in suburbia. He'll play Bill in the half-hour project, which comes from creator Ajay Sahgal and executive producers Gavin Polone and Jamie Tarses. His character is described in the casting notice as: "35-50. He's the tired, harried father of three, who has recently moved to a California suburb from New York. A former tax attorney who hated his job, Bill is now a house husband. Naturally irascible, he hates California, and has a tendency to argue with everyone who even vaguely annoys him. Not only does everything in California look the same to Bill, he has to drive a mini-van - his idea of suburban hell. Although he's a good guy around his family, Bill is still a hothead who can't go with the California flow - at least not yet." Rouse's involvement is understood to have lifted the cast-contingency off the pilot, which has also added Barnet Kellman ("Living with Fran") as director.

BROTHERS & SISTERS (ABC) - Jonathan LaPaglia (Kevin Debreno on "The District"), Patricia Wettig (Vice President Caroline Reynolds on "Prison Break"), Sarah Jane Morris (Zoe Webb on "Felicity"), Gage Golightly (Sci Fi's "Five Days to Midnight") and Jimmy Pinchak (Eddy on "Over There") have all joined the cast of the pilot, a family soap revolving around five adult siblings. Morris will play Jennifer March, the wife of Balthazar Getty's character while Golightly and Pinchak will play the children of Rachel Griffiths's character, one of whom (Pinchak) has Asperger Syndrome. LaPaglia and Wettig's characters weren't specified. They join the previously cast Calista Flockhart, Dave Annable and Ron Rifkin in the Touchstone Television-based hour, which comes from executive producers Jon Robin Baitz and Ken Olin.

COMPANY TOWN (CBS) - Blair Underwood (Roger De Souza on "LAX") is the first to be cast in the drama pilot, about government agents who live in the same Washington neighborhood. He'll play Tom Wilson in the CBS Paramount Network Television-based hour, who's described in the casting notice as: "Mid-Late 30's. An FBI agent who is consumed with his job. Wilson is a careful, thoughtful, insightful man who takes his work very seriously. Currently investigating the murder of a Senator's wife, the case (like many others before it) has limited his time with his wife and two small children and put somewhat of a strain on his personal life. He has recently become suspicious of his wife, convinced she is having an affair. Hurt and angry when his suspicions prove true he wonders who it is his wife has been unfaithful to him with." Elwood Reid and Larry Sanitsky are behind the project, which Thomas Carter is directing from the script by the former.

A HOUSE DIVIDED (ABC) - Bill Smitrovich (HBO's "Mrs. Harris") and Nestor Serrano (Navi Araz on "24") have been cast in the drama pilot, about a conflict between a Midwest farming community and the U.S. government that seeds the next American civil war. Smitrovich will play an old-school F.B.I. veteran while Serrano's character wasn't specified. Tyress Allen, Sarah Clarke, Alison Elliott, Shannon Lucio and Jason Wiles also star in the project, which comes from Touchstone Television, creator Andrew David Chapman, executive producer Mark Gordon and director Michael Rymer.

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY (ABC) - Lori Loughlin (Ava Gregory on "Summerland") has joined the cast of the comedy project, about four friends from high school (David Arquette, Greg Germann, Kelly Hu and Jonathan Silverman) who unexpectedly reunite. No details about her character however were given. Jon Favreau is directing the Touchstone Television-based half-hour from a script by creator Howard J. Morris. Emile Levisetti of Bushwacker Productions also serves as an executive producer.

MEN IN TREES (ABC) - James Tupper (Hallmark's "Love's Long Journey") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about a thirtysomething relationship expert (Anne Heche) who gets stuck in an Alaskan town full of men soon after she discovers her own fiance has been cheating. Details on Tupper's character weren't given. Emily Bergl and Derek Richardson also star in the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, which comes from executive producers Jenny Bicks, Cathy Konrad and James Mangold. Mangold is directing from a script by Bicks.

ORPHEUS (CBS) - Mena Suvari (Edie on "Six Feet Under") has booked the female lead in the drama pilot, about a young man (Nick D'Agosto) whose girlfriend is involved in a sophisticated, modern-day cult. She'll play said girlfriend in the CBS Paramount Network Television-based hour, which comes from executive producers Nicholas Meyer, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott and David W. Zucker. Bruce Beresford is directing from a script by creator Meyer.

OUR THIRTIES (ABC) - Shane McRae (Bobby on "Four Kings") has joined the ensemble cast of the comedy pilot, about a group of thirtysomethings in San Francisco. McRae, whose involvement is likely in second position to his duties on the NBC sitcom, will play Lloyd in the Touchstone Television-based half-hour. Rachel Blanchard, Rashida Jones, Sarah LaFleur, Peter Serafinowicz, Dondre Whitfield and Heather Stephens also star in the project, which Dennie Gordon is directing from a script by creator Dave Walpert. Warren Littlefield also serves as an executive producer.

SOUTHERN COMFORT (FOX) - Reiley McClendon (Tom Ross on "Just Legal") and Jessica Stroup (CBS's "Vampire Bats") have both landed roles in the drama pilot, about the wife (Madeleine Stowe) of a Southern mobster who takes over the business when her husband goes to prison. McClendon will play the oldest son of Stowe's character while Stroup is set as Lindy. Greg Yaitanes is directing the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour from a script by creators Joe Gayton and Tony Gayton.

THAT GUY (FOX) - Josh Meyers (Randy Pearson on "That '70s Show") has been cast in the lead role of the comedy pilot, about a thirtysomething guy (Meyers) who realizes that he is getting too old for his partying ways but is not ready to settle down like his friends. Meyers, whose involvement is tied to a talent holding deal the actor signed with the network earlier this year, will play Rob Fowler. Josh Lobis and Darin Moiselle are behind the Regency Television-based half-hour, which also comes from Ivan Reitman and Jackie Marcus's Montecito Picture Co. and recently added showrunner Matthew Carlson ("Malcolm in the Middle"). Betty Thomas directs.

UGLY BETTY (ABC) - Tony Plana (Omar on "24") is set to play father to America Ferrera's character in the drama pilot, about an unattractive young woman (Ferrera) who works at a fashion magazine. Ashley Jensen, Eric Mabius, Becki Newton, Ana Ortiz and Charlotte Ross also star in the Touchstone Television-based hour, which comes from executive producers Salma Hayek, Silvio Horta, Ben Silverman, Jose Tamez and Teri Weinberg. Richard Shepard is directing from a script by Horta.

UNTITLED JACE RICHDALE PROJECT (NBC) - Nick Zano (Vince on "What I Like About You"), David Ratray and Sarah Rafferty (Dr. Casey Matthews on "Tremors") have all joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a New York guy (Kevin Brennan) whose younger brother (Zano) moves in with him while attending N.Y.U. Additional details on their respective characters were not given. Zano's involvement, while not specified, is likely in second position to his duties on the WB comedy should it survive the CW merger. Brennan and Jace Richdale are behind the HBO Independent Productions-based half-hour, which Gary Halvorson is directing.

UNTITLED PETER OCKO PROJECT (CBS) - Armando Riesco ("National Treasure") and Indira Varma (Niobe on "Rome") have both joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a rising-star brain surgeon (Mark Feuerstein) who is doing a fellowship under the guidance of a brilliant but unpredictable surgeon. Riesco will reprise his role of Dr. Tom Flores from the original "3 Lbs." pilot while Varma's character wasn't specified. Davis Guggenheim is directing the CBS Paramount Network Television-based hour from a script by creator Peter Ocko. Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson also serve as executive producers while Tamara Taylor also stars.

VANISHED (FOX) - Rebecca Gayheart (CBS's "The Christmas Blessing") has joined the cast of the pilot, a serialized drama about the search for a missing senator's wife. No details were given about her character. Chris Egan, Gale Harold, Joanne Kelly, Margarita Levieva and John Allen Nelson also star in the project, which comes from 20th Century Fox Television, creator Josh Berman and director Mimi Leder.

THE WAY (CBS) - Will Patton (Jackson Haisley on "The Agency") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about a powerful New England family that uses witchcraft to further its business enterprises. He joins the previously cast Julia Ormond and Riley Smith in the Sony Pictures Television-based hour, which comes from creator Adam Kulakow and executive producer Michael De Luca. Rod Holcomb directs.

WHAT HAPPENS ON A BUS (ABC) - Kiele Sanchez (Anne Sorelli on "Related") has scored the lead role in the comedy pilot, about a young news correspondent on a fictional presidential campaign trail. She'll play said correspondent on the Touchstone Television-based half-hour, which comes from creator Don Todd and executive producer Peter Traugott of Brillstein-Grey Television. Sanchez's involvement is most likely in second position to the WB drama should it return next season on the CW. In addition, British director Julie Anne Robinson ("Blackpool") has signed on to helm the project from a script by Todd.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [march 2006]  

· 24 (FOX)
· 3 LBS. (CBS)

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