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[03/22/06 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: March 21-22, Part 1: Comedies
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!

ALPHA MOM (NBC) - Michael Mosley (a guest star on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit") and Johnny Sneed (a guest star on "Boston Legal") have both scored roles in the comedy pilot, about a corporate mom (Alexondra Lee) who tries to balance kids, a stay-at-home husband and a job. They'll play Bob and Dan respectively in the NBC Universal Television-based project, which Bill Lawrence is directing from a script by Kerry Ehrin. Justina Machado, Kevin Rahm and Scott Holroyd also star.

ANDY BARKER, P.I. (NBC) - Marshall Manesh (Ranjit on "How I Met Your Mother") and Harve Presnell (Mr. Parker on "The Pretender") have both joined the cast of the Andy Richter-led comedy pilot, about an accountant-turned-private detective. Details on their characters, Wally and Lew respectively, weren't released. The duo join the previously cast Amy Farrington and Tony Hale in the NBC Universal Television-based half-hour, which comes from executive producers A.J. Morewitz, Conan O'Brien, David Kissinger, Jonathan Groff and Jeff Ross. Jason Ensler is directing from a script by O'Brien and Groff.

GIRLS ON THE BUS (A.K.A. WHAT HAPPENS ON THE BUS) (ABC) - Sara Gilbert (Mitchee Arnold on "Twins"), Maulik Pancholy (Sanjay on "Weeds"), Edward Kerr (Rick on "What I Like About You") and Dan Lauria (Allen Blaisdell on "J.A.G.") have all joined the cast of the comedy pilot, which is now running under the title "Girls on the Bus." Gilbert will play Helen, a reporter colleague of Ronnie (the previously cast Like Sanchez) on the project, which comes from Touchstone Television, creator Donald Todd, director Julie Anne Robinson and executive producer Peter Traugott. The latter trio will play Skip, Seth and Tom respectively however no details about their characters were released.

THE GAME (The CW) - Jennifer Baxter (Mary on "Dark Water") has been confirmed as a cast member on the "Girlfriends" spin-off, about a group of women in various stages of relationships with pro football players. She'll play Kelly in the CBS Paramount Network Television-based half-hour, which comes from executive producers Dan Dugan, Kelsey Grammer, Mara Brock Akil and Steve Stark. Aldis Hodge, Coby Bell, Hosea Chanchez, Tia Mowry and Wendy Raquel Robinson also star in the project, which Salim Akil is directing from a script by Mara Brock Akil.

HIM & US (ABC) - Hugh Sachs (Ratcliffe on "The Libertine") is the latest to be cast in the comedy pilot, about an over-the-hill gay British rock star (Anthony Head) and his relationship with his long-time manager (Kim Cattrall) and the rest of his colorful entourage. He'll play Sydney in the project, which comes from Touchstone Television and executive producers Bob Halley, Bruce Roberts, Cindy Chupack, Elton John and Michael Edelstein. Ashley Williams and Michael Trucco also star in the pilot with Charles Shyer directing from a script by Chupack.

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY (ABC) - Nicholas Roget-King (Aldo North on "Yours, Mine and Ours") is set to play son to Jonathan Silverman in the comedy pilot, about four thirty-something friends in Los Angeles who are reunited after one of them goes through a crisis and realize that their lives have not gone according to plan. His character, Dylan Kennison, is detailed in the casting notice as: "6. Harry's adorable son, he's a bright, outgoing kid who is curious and friendly when he wakes up and finds Dara in his bedroom. Unaware of Dara's discomfort, Dylan engages her in literary conversation ("Do you like Captain Underpants?") and asks her to tuck him in. Later, when Dara winds up babysitting for him while Harry goes out, Dylan gleefully tells Dara a joke." David Arquette, Greg Germann, Kelly Hu and Lori Loughlin also star in the Touchstone Television-based project, which Jon Favreau is directing from a script by creator Howard J. Morris. Emile Levisetti also serves as an executive producer.

INSEPARABLE (CBS) - Chip Zien (Mark Rothenberg on A&E's "Flight 93") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a young couple who must deal with the wife's large extended family. No details on his character were released. He joins the previously cast Christine Baranski, Coby Ryan McLaughin, Ed O'Neill, Krysten Ritter and Rachel Boston in the NBC Universal Television-based half-hour, which Pamela Fryman is directing from a script by creators Joe Port and Joe Wiseman. David Guarascio and Moses Port also serve as executive producers.

MORE, PATIENCE (FOX) - Arlene Sanford, who's already helming ABC's "Women of a Certain Age," has signed on to direct the Sony Pictures Television-based comedy pilot, about a New York psychiatrist (Alicia Witt) who neurotically mishandles her own life. She'll work from a script by creator Jed Seidel with Gavin Polone and Jamie Tarses also serving as executive producers.

MTV2 ORIGINAL SERIES (MTV2) - The MTV sibling will launch three new animated series on June 9 as part of its "Sick-Em' Friday" lineup. The 90-minute block includes newcomer "Chico & Guapo" (co-created by and featuring the voice of Orlando Jones), the revival of "Celebrity Deathmatch" and the newly announced "Where My Dogs At?" The latter features the voices of comedians Tracy Morgan and Jeffrey Ross as two stray dogs trying to survive on the mean streets of Hollywood.

OUR THIRTIES (ABC) - Tom Hughes (a guest star on "Summerland") has signed onto the comedy pilot, about a group of San Francisco-based thirtysomethings dealing with adulthood. Details on his character weren't released. The Touchstone Television-based half-hour also stars Dondre Whitfield, Heather Stephens, Peter Serafinowicz, Rachel Blanchard, Rashida Jones, Sarah Lafleur and Shane McRae with Dennie Gordon directing from a script by creator David Walpert. Warren Littlefield also serves as an executive producer.

PINK COLLAR (ABC) - Ryan Michelle Bathe (Sara Holt on "Boston Legal") and Matt Malloy (Dr. Farris on "The Unit") are the latest additions to the comedy pilot, about the nature of female relationships within the workplace. Bathe will play Alix in the HBO Independent Productions-based half-hour, who's detailed in the casting notice as: "Mid 20s, African-American. Alix is a new hire at AAI, and she comes with both an MBA from Harvard and a closet full of sharp clothes (a bit sexy for the office). On the management fast track and hungry to find a mentor at AAI, and willing to play the race card as long as it's dealt in her favor, Alix is rebuffed by Claire, who has no time for a protege, and winds up trying to suck up to Hayden -- in spite of the fact that Hayden may be a great worker, she doesn't have a career that Alix envies." Malloy then is believed to be playing Marcel: "Mid 40s. Marcel has been with AAI for 15 years, and he's survived and prospered through every management change through sheer mediocrity. A man with a larger cubicle than Hayden's, with nicer furniture and muical theatre prints on his walls, Marcel is Hayden's direct supervisor these days, and his job (since Hayden's downfall) is to be a pissy, carping critic of her work. Marcel is Eve's secretary, and an expert at turning Hayden's every remark into an example of her all-too-regrettable and wholly excessive emotions." Alicia Silverstone and Charlotte Ross also star in the project, which comes from creator Patricia Breen, executive producer David Knoller and director Alan Poul. (The original report incorrectly identified Malloy's character as Mike P.)

THAT GUY (FOX) - Robyn Cohen (Shanti on "Starved") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a 35-year-old man (Josh Meyers) who decides to embrace a "second puberty" and start living his life like a 21-year-old. She'll play Marnie in the Regency Television-based project, which also stars Eric Matheny and Lauren Stamile. Betty Thomas is directing the half-hour from a script by co-creators Darin Moiselle and Josh Lobis. Ivan Reitman, Jackie Marcus and Matthew Carlson also serve as executive producers through the former two's Montecito Picture Co.

'TIL DEATH (FOX) - Joely Fisher (Nina Fletcher on "Desperate Housewives") is set to play Brad Garrett's wife in the comedy pilot, about a just-married young couple (Eddie Kaye Thomas, Kat Foster) who move in next door to a long-married couple (Garrett, Fisher). In addition, Ted Wass ("Crumbs") has signed on to direct the Sony Pictures Television-based half-hour, where he'll take over from the departing James Burrows. Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith are the creators/executive producers.

UNION JACKASS (FOX) - John Ducey (Jamie on "Will & Grace") and Colby Paul (a guest star on "N.C.I.S.") have both joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about an opinionated, outspoken British Archie Bunker-type (Al Murray) who is forced to live in Santa Monica to be near his young son. Ducey will play Jack, who's described in the casting notice as: "38-45. Elizabeth's American fianc�. Good looking, handsome. Jack is very sweet and loves Liz and her son David a great deal. By all accounts he is a "catch." Jack has a very modern, new age outlook on life, drives a hybrid SUV, enjoys wine and is the epitome of everything Al hates in our country." Paul then is set as David Murray: "12. Al and Elizabeth's son. David is an adorable, wise, but insecure 12 year old. David loves living in Los Angeles much more than he did living in London. Here he is considered exotic and everyone wants to be his friend. Back in London he was routinely beat up by school bullies every day. He never told his dad this, because he thought Al would be disappointed in him. David loves his dad very much and is thrilled to learn that Al is going to stay in town. Though he has been in the US only four months, David has already lost his British accent. Does Not Have An Accent." The pair join the previously cast Jenica Bergere in the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, which comes from executive producers Murray, Dan O'Keefe, David Martin, Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner.

UNTITLED CHRIS SHERIDAN PROJECT (NBC) - Gail Mancuso ("Rodney") has been tapped to direct the comedy pilot, about two brothers - one's a life-long criminal while the other is an FBI agent (Eddie McClintock) - and their families who live next door to each other. She'll work from a script by creator Chris Sheridan. The untitled half-hour, which comes from 20th Century Fox Television, also stars Jana Marie Hupp and Virginia Williams.

UNTITLED DONAL LOGUE PROJECT (ABC) - Koji Kataoka (a guest star on "Committed") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a group of blue-collar guys in New York City who decide to rob a celebrity. He'll play Teng in the Touchstone Television-based half-hour, which also stars Donal Logue, Josh Grisetti, Kevin Michael Richardson, Lenny Venito, Maz Jobrani and Sof�a Vergara. Jon Beckerman and Rob Burnett are behind the project, which the latter is directing. David Letterman also serves as an executive producer with Logue himself also having a producer credit.

UNTITLED JACE RICHDALE PROJECT (NBC) - Gary Halvorson ("Everybody Loves Raymond") has signed on to direct the comedy pilot, about a New York guy (Kevin Brennan) whose much younger brother (Nick Zano) moves in with him while attending NYU. He'll work from a script by Brennan and Jace Richdale. Also signing on is Bobby Lee (a recent guest star on "Curb Your Enthusiasm") as Larry Chang. He joins the previously cast Devin Ratray, Geoffrey Pierson and Sarah Rafferty.

UNTITLED PATRICIA HEATON PROJECT (ABC) - Lance Barber (Paulie G on "The Comeback") and Rebecca Wisocky (a guest star on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent") have both scored roles on the comedy pilot, about a widowed mother (Patricia Heaton) who joins the PTA, where she befriends two women she initially dislikes. They'll play Peter and Heike respectively in the Touchstone Television-based half-hour, full character details of which weren't released. Justine Bateman and Rebecca Wisocky also star in the project, which comes from creator Christine Zander and fellow executive producers Heaton, Gene Stein and Nina Wass. Ted Wass directs.

UNTITLED TINA FEY PROJECT (NBC) - Judah Friedlander (Nicky on "Date Movie") is the latest addition to the Tina Fey-led comedy pilot, about the head writer of a variety show (Tina Fey) who has to manage her relationships with the show's volatile star and executive producer. He'll play Frank in the project, who's described in the casting notice as: "Late 20s, Caucasian. A heavy-set staff writer, who sports long "ZZ Top"-style hair and glasses. He is the yin to TOOFER's yang, and they are continuously bantering and bickering, all in good fun. He obviously comes from a working-class background." Friedlander joins the previously cast Alec Baldwin, Jack McBrayer and Rachel Dratch in the NBC Universal Television-based half-hour, which Adam Bernstein is directing from a script by Fey. Fey, David Miner, JoAnn Alfano, Lorne Michaels and Marci Klein also serve as executive producers.

THE WINNER (A.K.A. BECOMING GLEN) (FOX) - The comedy pilot, about a successful fortysomething man who looks back at 1994, when he was a 32-year-old slacker (Rob Corddry) living with his parents and spending all his time lying on the couch watching TV, has been retitled "The Winner." Erinn Hayes, Julie Hagerty, Keir Gilchrist and Lenny Clarke also star in the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, which comes from executive producers Ricky Blitt and Seth MacFarlane. Terry Hughes is directing.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters





  [march 2006]  
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· 30 ROCK (NBC)
· ADVENTURES OF CHICO & GUAPO, THE (MTV2)
· ALPHA MOM (NBC)
· ANDY BARKER, PI (NBC)
· BOSTON LEGAL (ABC)
· CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH (MTV2)
· COMEBACK, THE (HBO)
· COMMITTED (NBC)
· CRUMBS (ABC)
· CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (HBO)
· DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC)
· EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND (CBS)
· FLIGHT 93 (A AND E)
· GAME, THE (BET)
· GIRLFRIENDS (CW)
· GIRLS ON THE BUS (ABC)
· GREAT MALONES, THE (NBC)
· HIM & US (ABC)
· HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (CBS)
· IN CASE OF EMERGENCY (ABC)
· INSEPARABLE (CBS)
· JAG (CBS)
· KNIGHTS OF PROSPERITY, THE (ABC)
· LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT (USA)
· LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT (NBC)
· MORE, PATIENCE (FOX)
· NCIS (CBS)
· OUR THIRTIES (ABC)
· PINK COLLAR (ABC)
· PRETENDER, THE (NBC)
· RODNEY (ABC)
· STARVED (FX)
· SUMMERLAND (WB)
· THAT GUY (FOX)
· 'TIL DEATH (FOX)
· TWINS (WB)
· UNION JACKASS (FOX)
· UNIT, THE (CBS)
· UNTITLED JACE RICHDALE PROJECT (NBC)
· UNTITLED PATRICIA HEATON PROJECT (ABC)
· WEEDS (SHOWTIME)
· WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU (WB)
· WHERE MY DOGS AT? (MTV2)
· WILL & GRACE (NBC)
· WINNER, THE (FOX)
· WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE (ABC)





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