[03/08/06 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: March 8
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!

20 GOOD YEARS (NBC, New!) - Emmy winner John Lithgow (Dr. Dick Solomon on "3rd Rock From the Sun") is set to topline a new comedy pilot at the Peacock about two fiftysomething men who have epiphanies and decide to make the most of the next 20 years of their lives. He'll play one of said men in the half-hour, which comes from "The Cosby Show" co-creator Michael Leeson. The Warner Bros. Television-based trio of Eric Gold, Jimmy Miller and Tom Werner also serve as executive producers of project, which Terry Hughes ("That '70s Show") is attached to direct.

ALPHA MOM (NBC) - Kevin Rahm (Kyle McCarty on "Judging Amy") have joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a corporate mom who tries to balance kids, a stay-at-home husband and a job. No details about his character were given. Scott Holroyd and Justina Machado also star in the NBC Universal Television-based half-hour, which Bill Lawrence is directing from a script by creator Kerry Ehrin.

COMMUNITY SERVICE (NBC) - Jay Mohr ("Last Comic Standing") and Christopher Wiehl (Jake Dunne on "Love Monkey") are the first to be cast in the comedy pilot, about a big city stockbroker who steps out of rehab and decides to travel to his small Ohio hometown to win back his ex-girlfriend. Mohr will play the lead role in the NBC Universal Television-based half-hour, with Wiehl as a town cop (and local football hero) who arrests him, forcing him to stay in town to perform community service. Wiehl's involvement however is in second position to his duties on the currently hiatused CBS drama. David M. Israel and Jim O'Doherty are behind the pilot, which Victor Nelli is directing.

HOUSE (FOX) - Daniel Sackheim, a co-executive producer and a frequent director on the series, has inked a one-year, seven-figure overall deal with NBC Universal Television. The pact calls for Sackheim to be upped to executive producer on "House" next season as well as develop new projects for the studio.

I LOVE THE THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU (ABC) - The Alphabet has opted not to move forward with the comedy pilot, about a happily married couple who realize that everything they love about each other also drives them crazy. Casting difficulties were cited as the reason for the decision. Patti Carr and Lara Runnels were behind the project, which was set up at 20th Century Fox Television.

MEN IN TREES (ABC) - Abraham Benrubi (Jerry Markovic on "ER") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about a shrink (Anne Heche) who moves to Elmo, Alaska after her husband cheats on her only to find herself surrounded by available men. He'll play the owner of the town bar in the Warner Bros. Television-based project, which comes from creator Jenny Bicks, director James Mangold and fellow executive producer Cathy Konrad. Emily Bergl, Derek Richardson and James Tupper also star.

MORE, PATIENCE (FOX) - Alicia Witt ("Last Holiday") has booked the lead role in the comedy pilot, about a New York psychiatrist (Witt) who neurotically mishandles her own life. Jed Seidel is behind the Sony Pictures Television-based half-hour, which has also added Arlene Sanford ("Desperate Housewives") as director. Pariah's Gavin Polone and Jamie Tarses also serve as executive producers.

NINE LIVES (ABC) - Tim Daly (Harlan Judd on "Eyes") and Dana Davis (Cora Briggs on "Veronica Mars") have both joined the ensemble cast of the drama pilot, about the lives of nine strangers after they are caught in a botched bank robbery. They'll play Nick and Felicia respectively in the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, which also stars Lourdes Benedicto, John Billingsley, Jessica Collins, Chi McBride, Kim Raver, Scott Wolf and Owain Yeoman. Alex Graves is directing the pilot from a script by creators Hank Steinberg and K.J. Steinberg.

NOTES FROM THE UNDERBELLY (ABC) - Barry Sonnenfeld ("The Tick") has signed on to direct the comedy pilot, an adaptation of Risa Green's novel of the same name about a group of friends seen through the eyes of an expectant father. Rachael Harris, Melanie Paxon, Michael Weaver and Jennifer Westfeldt all star in the Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour, which comes from executive producers Stacy Traub, Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum.

ORPHEUS (CBS) - Eion Bailey (Jake Scanlon on "ER") has signed on to the drama pilot, about a man (Nick D'Agosto) whose girlfriend (Mena Suvari) is involved in a cult. He'll play Brother in the CBS Paramount Network Television-based hour, which comes from creator Nicholas Meyer. Ridley Scott, Tony Scott and David W. Zucker of Scott Free Productions also serve as executive producers of the pilot, which Bruce Beresford is directing.

PALM SPRINGS (The CW) - Taylor Handley (Oliver Trask on "The O.C.") and Sharon Lawrence (Maisy Gibbons on "Desperate Housewives") have both joined the cast of the pilot, a coming-of-age drama about a troubled teen who moves to a gated community in Palm Springs where he uncovers some dark secrets. Handley will play the lead role of Johnny in the Lionsgate Television-based hour, with Lawrence as Tess. Amber Heard, Gail O'Grady and Ellary Hume Porterfield also star in the project, which comes from creator Kevin Williamson. Scott Winant directs.

SOUTHERN COMFORT (ABC) - Johnny Lewis (Dennis 'Chili' Childress on "The O.C.") has been tapped for the lead role in the comedy pilot, about a social misfit turned billionaire who moves back to his hometown in order to reconnect with his family yet still ends up battling his older jock brother. He'll play the former role of Colin in the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, which comes from creator Brad Copeland. Also signing on is Roger Kumble ("Just Friends"), who will direct the pilot from a script by Copeland.

UNTITLED PATRICIA HEATON PROJECT (ABC) - Justine Bateman (Nellie Bluth on "Arrested Development") is set to play sister to Patricia Heaton in the comedy pilot, about a recent widow who finds a new life when she joins the PTA. No other details about Bateman's character were given. Mo Collins also stars in the Touchstone Television-based project, which comes from creator Christine Zander and fellow executive producers Heaton, Gene Stein and Nina Wass.

UNTITLED SHANA GOLDBERG-MEEHAN PROJECT (ABC) - Marisa Coughlan (Melissa Hughes on "Boston Legal") has booked one of the lead roles in the comedy pilot, about two sisters with very different childhoods - one was born while their parents were poor, the other after they struck it rich - who come to live together. It's believed Coughlan, whose involvement lifts the cast-contingency off the pilot's production, will play the former sister, a hardworking news producer. Shana Goldberg-Meehan is behind the Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour which has also added Andy Ackerman as director.

VANISHED (FOX) - John Patrick Amedori ("Mrs. Harris") has joined the cast of the pilot, a serialized drama about the search for a missing senator's wife. He'll play Max Collins, the son of John Allen Nelson's Senator Collins character. Chris Egan, Rebecca Gayheart, Gale Harold, Joanne Kelly and Margarita Levieva also star in the project, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television. Mimi Leder is directing the hour from a script by creator Josh Berman.

WATERFRONT (CBS) - Larenz Tate (Shooter Cooper on "Love Monkey") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about the charismatic but ethically challenged mayor of Providence, R.I. (Joe Pantoliano). No details were given about his character in the project, which also stars William Baldwin and Mary Stuart Masterson. Tate's involvement, like Wiehl's on NBC's "Community Service," is contingent on the future of "Monkey." Jack Orman is behind the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, which Richard J. Lewis is directing.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [march 2006]  

· ER (NBC)

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