[03/16/06 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: March 16
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!

THE 12TH MAN (FOX) - Barry Bostwick (Mayor Randall M. Winston, Jr. on "Spin City") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a benchwarmer (Brian Thomas Smith) on an NBA team. Bostwick will play the team's general manager in the 20th Century Fox Television-based project, which also stars Andrew Katz, Julius Carry, Jodi Lyn O'Keefe and Natalie Garza. Dan Fogelman is behind the half-hour, which Chris Koch is directing. Tim Story also serves as an executive producer.

60 MINUTE MAN (ABC) - Newcomers Kenny Baumann and Candice Bailey have joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a suburban man (David James Elliott) who doesn't remember what he did for one hour each day, driving him to figure out whether he's part of a major national conspiracy. They'll play the children of Elliott's character in the Touchstone Television-based hour, which comes from executive producers Graham Yost, Bert Salke and Chris Brancato. Alex Fernandez, Colm Meaney, Erika Alexander, Gabriel Casseus, Orla Brady and Sarah Jones also star while Jon Avnet is directing.

GAME SHOW MARATHON (CBS) - Ricki Lake ("The Ricki Lake Show") and Stuart Krasnow ("The Weakest Link") have signed on as host and showrunner respectively of the upcoming game show, in which celebrities compete as contestants in recreations of classic formats of the past and present. The initial seven-episode run will be devoted to "The Price Is Right," "Let's Make a Deal," "Match Game" (featuring panelists Betty White and George Foreman), "Card Sharks," "Press Your Luck," "Beat the Clock" and "Family Feud" with Leslie Nielsen, Tim Meadows, Lance Bass, Kathy Najimy, Paige Davis and Adrienne Curry on board as participants. Additional guests are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. In addition, Lake has signed a development deal with "Marathon" producers FremantleMedia North America and Granada America to develop unscripted projects. Krasnow will also serve as an executive producer alongside Fremantle's Cecile Frot-Coutaz and Granada's Curt Northrup and Paul Jackson.

HELP ME HELP YOU (ABC) - Jere Burns (Brian Goodman on "All of Us") is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, about a disparate group of people connected through therapy. He'll play Michael, who's detailed in the casting notice as: "50s, Caucasian or African-American, An attorney. He's a commanding presence with a hair-trigger temper who can explode into rage in an instant. Michael is in Bill's group because the court ordered him into an anger-management program after he threw a phone at his assistant. He has no emotional connection to the group and doesn't want to be there-his snarky comments make this evident. The only upside to the group is the on-going secret affair he's having with fellow group member, Darlene." Charlie Finn, Darlene Hunt, Jim Rash, Lolita Davidovich, Suzy Nakamura and Ted Danson also star in the Regency Television-based half-hour, which comes from creators Alexandra Rushfield and Jennifer Konner. Brian Dannelly directs.

THE JEFF GARLIN PROGRAM (TBS) - Dan Castellaneta (Homer Simpson on "The Simpsons"), Bob Einstein (Larry on "Arrested Development"), Jackie Hoffman (Group Leader on "Starved") and Marla Garlin (Sharon on "The Comeback") have all joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a fictional variety show hosted by Jeff Garlin and the events of the past week that inspired that particular installment. Castellaneta will play a snippy bank teller with Hoffman as an annoying neighbor and Einstein as the uncle of Garlin's wife (Marla Garlin, playing a version of herself). Garlin himself is behind the half-hour, which he co-wrote with Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick. David Miner and Philip Rosenthal (who has a recurring role) also serve as executive producers.

MR. NICE GUY (ABC) - Diedrich Bader (Tommy Barnett on "Center of the Universe") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a hapless fellow who always ends up looking bad while trying to do the right thing. He'll play Guy, the lead role in the project, who's described in the casting notice as: "Early-mid 30's. The people who know Guy well love him: he's smart, he's funny, and deep down he's really nice. Unfortunately, he is predisposed to say and do inappropriate things that invariably make him look like an ass. In fact, the harder he tries, the more he winds up sticking his foot in his mouth. Despite this, Guy is determined to get through a single day without saying or doing something that pisses someone off. Having to cope with his new out-of-his-league wife, his needy best friend and his crazy sister make this almost impossible." Kevin Weisman and Cara DeLizia also star in the Touchstone Television-based half-hour, which comes from creator Jeff Astrof, director Andy Cadiff and executive producer Peter Traugott. (Note: The original report incorrectly identified Weisman's character as Guy, the title role.)

PRODIGY/BULLY (NBC) - Josh Flitter ("Big Mamma's House 2") is the first to be cast in the comedy pilot, about a family whose genius son uses his smarts to get what he wants. He'll play Henry Tammer in the project, which comes from creators Hank Perlman and Steve Elliott. John Wells, Jon Harmon Feldman and Paris Barclay also serve as executive producers on the half-hour, which is based at Warner Bros. Television.

RUNAWAY (The CW) - Leslie Hope (Melanie Blackston on "Commander in Chief") is the first to sign onto the drama pilot, about a family that, after the husband/father's murder conviction, decide to become fugitives in the hopes that they can buy him enough time to prove his innocence. Hope will play the mother of said family in the Sony Picutres Television-based project, which comes from executive producers Chad Hodge, Darren Star and Ed Zuckerman.

SPLIT DECISION (The CW) - Jessy Schram (Hannah on "Veronica Mars") and Vanessa Lengies (Roxanne Bojarski on "American Dreams") have both joined the cast of the drama pilot, a coming-of-age story about a teenage girl navigating the high school social scene with a "Sliding Doors" twist. Schram will play the lead role in the Spelling Television-based project, with Lengies as an unspecified character. Liz Tigelaar is behind the hour, which also comes from executive producers Aaron Spelling, E. Duke Vincent and Todd Garner. Simon West is expected to direct.

THE UNSUCCESSFUL THUG (HBO) - Mike Epps's ("The Honeymooners") comedy project for the pay channel has been given a green light to produce a pilot. The project centers on the actor/comedian's early days as a small-time criminal with Brad Kaaya, Russell Simmons and Stan Lathan serving as executive producers. Kaaya penned the pilot script, additional details of which weren't released.

UNTITLED CHRIS SHERIDAN PROJECT (NBC) - Jana Marie Hupp (Nancy Burton on "Ed") and Virginia Williams (Claudia on "How I Met Your Mother") have both joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about two brothers (Eddie McClintock, Bruno Campos) on opposite sides of the law who live next door to each other. They'll play the wives of said brothers in the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, which comes from creator Chris Sheridan.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [march 2006]  

· ED (NBC)

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