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[03/22/06 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: March 21-22, Part 2: Dramas
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) - Rochelle Aytes (Lisa on "Madea's Family Reunion") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, where she'll play the girlfriend of Norman Reedus's character. Anthony 'Treach' Criss, Eric Stonestreet, Katheryn Winnick, Luke Goss, Matthew Lillard and Robert Forster also star in the 20th Century Fox Television-based project, which Dominic Sena is directing from a script by creator J.H. Wyman.

AMERICAN CRIME (FOX) - Eamonn Walker (Kareem Said on "Oz") has joined the cast of the legal drama pilot, about a team of high-powered celebrity lawyers. He'll play Luther in the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, which comes from executive producers David McNally, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, Jonathan Shapiro and Tyler Bensinger. McNally is directing from a script by Bensinger. Kerr Smith, Rebecca Mader and Victor Garber also star.

BEYOND (FOX) - Merrin Dungey (Kelly on "The King of Queens") has landed a role in the drama pilot, about the scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She'll play Debbie in the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, whose cast also includes Adrian Lester, Jonah Lotan, Rachael Stirling, Rachel Perry and Seth Gabel. David Self is behind the project, which Breck Eisner is directing. Brian Grazer and David Nevins of Imagine Television also serve as executive producers.

BROTHERS & SISTERS (ABC) - Betty Buckley (Suzanne Fitzgerald on "Oz") and John Pyper-Ferguson (Capt. Cole 'Stinger' Taylor on "Battlestar Galactica") have both scored roles in the drama pilot, about the lives of a group of siblings. Pyper-Ferguson will play Michael Trayler, the husband of Rachel Griffiths's character while Buckley is set as Iva. The pair join the previously cast Balthazar Getty, Calista Flockhart, Dave Annable, Gage Golightly, Jimmy 'Jax' Pinchak, Jonathan LaPaglia, Patricia Wettig, Ron Rifkin and Sarah Morris in the Touchstone Television-based hour, which Ken Olin is directing from a script by creator Jon Robin Baitz.

COMPANY TOWN (CBS) - Esai Morales (Lt. Tony Rodriguez on "N.Y.P.D. Blue") has snagged a role on the drama pilot, about government officials who live in the same Washington, D.C. suburban neighborhood. He'll play Ray Dupre, who's detailed in the casting notice as: "40's. Ray is a completely undercover CIA agent who keeps a low profile and is usually seen in the company of the much younger Jessa, who is presumed to be his wife or girlfriend by curious neighbors. As one who oversees covert missions, he is actually readying Jessa for her next assignment. Although their relationship is strictly professional, there are moments where he detaches himself from his mentor fa�ade and feels genuine concern for his new trainee." Morales joins the previously cast Blair Underwood, Catherine Bell, Gary Cole, Michael Michele and Sherry Stringfield in the CBS Paramount Network Television-based hour, which comes from creator Elwood Reid, executive producer Larry Sanitsky and director Thomas Carter.

DAMAGES (FOX) - Adam Rothenberg (Eddie Cabrio on "Misconceptions") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about the personal and professional lives of a group of Chicago-based lawyers. Rothenberg, whose involvement is likely in second position to the yet-to-debut WB comedy, will play Evan Wexler in the project, which also stars Cole Hauser and Kristin Lehman. "Damages" is set up at 20th Century Fox Television with Jon Amiel directing from a script by creator Jonathan Lisco.

DRIVE (FOX) - Greg Yaitanes ("Bones"), who's already behind fellow FOX drama "Southern Comfort," has been tapped to direct the 20th Century Fox Television-based pilot, an ensemble drama about an illegal cross-country road race. He'll work from a script by creators Ben Queen and Tim Minear. No casting has been announced for the project.

EDISON (CBS) - Joe Manganiello (Scott on "So Notorious") and Arija Bareikis (Det. Annie Capra on "Crossing Jordan") have both joined the cast of the drama pilot, about an L.A. detective (John Leguizamo) who relies on impersonations and disguises to solve crimes. Manganiello will play a former hockey player-turned-AA group leader in the CBS Paramount Network Television/Touchstone Television-based hour, while Bareikis's character wasn't specified. The duo join the previously cast Currie Graham and Deidrie Henry in the project, which Kevin Rodney Sullivan is directing from a script by Ron Milbauer and Terri Hughes. Leguizamo and David Hoberman also serve as executive producers.

ENEMIES (ABC) - Daniel Samonas (a guest star on "Everybody Hates Chris") and Jason Dolley (T.J. Savage on "Complete Savages") are set to play the younger versions of Peter Facinelli and Jeffrey Donovan in the drama pilot, about two Chicago-based best friends who grow up to become mortal enemies. Also signing on are Colton Parsons (a guest star on "Night Stalker") and Dylan Minnette (Young Micheal on "Prison Break"). The former is believed to be playing the younger version of Bubba (Tony Curran's character) while the latter is set as Jack, an unspecified character. Amanda Righetti, Bess Wohl, Bruce McGill and William Allen Young also star in the Touchstone Television-based hour, which comes from director F. Gary Gray, creator Sean Bailey and executive producer Ken Olin.

FACELESS (FOX) - Kevin Alejandro (a guest star on "Without a Trace") has landed a role on the drama pilot, about a federal prosecutor (Sean Bean) who goes undercover as a criminal in order to take down a sprawling underworld organization. No details about his character of Lucas were released. Clifton Powell, Reed Diamond and Stana Katic also star in the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, which comes from director Joe Carnahan and creator Dario Scardapane. Daniel Rappaport, Evelyn O'Neill and Tony Krantz of Flame Television also serve as executive producers.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (NBC) - Jesse Plemons (a guest star on "Grey's Anatomy") has been confirmed as a cast member on the drama pilot, which wrapped production earlier this month. He plays Landry Clarke in the NBC Universal Television-based hour, whose ensemble cast includes Adrianne Palicki, Aimee Teegarden, Connie Britton, Gaius Charles, Kyle Chandler, Minka Kelly, Scott Porter, Taylor Kitsch and Zach Gilford. Peter Berg directed from his own script and served as an executive producer alongside Brian Grazer, David Nevins, John Cameron and Sarah Aubrey.

HOLLIS & RAE (ABC) - Harold Sylvester (Wendell on "City of Angels") is set to play boss to Laura Harris's character in the drama pilot, about two 30-year-old best friends (Harris, Jaime Ray Newman), a detective and a prosecuting attorney, who tackle criminal cases in a small southern town. His character, Lt. Dupree, is described in the casting notice as: "40-60. Rae's superior, the head guy in the squad room, Lt. Dupree is a tough, no-nonsense, often angry fellow who is displeased to learn that his detectives have not come up with one lead on a vital case. His ire only increases when levity on the part of one of the cops sneaks into the discussion. Speaks With A Southern Accent." Frank Grillo and Issac Webster also star in the project, which comes from Touchstone Television, writer/director Callie Khouri and executive producer Steven Bochco.

A HOUSE DIVDED (ABC) - John Benjamin Hickey (Aaron Solomon on "Law & Order"), Kathleen York (Andrea Wyatt on "The West Wing") and newcomer Antonio Elias have all joined the cast of the drama pilot, about the escalating conflict between a Midwest farming community and the U.S. government that sows the seeds of what will be the next civil war in present-day America. Hickey will play President Russell with York as Susan Russell and Elias as Sanchez in the Touchstone Television-based hour, which comes from creator Andrew David Chapman and director Michael Rymer. Alison Elliott, Bill Smitrovich, Dylan McDermott, Jason Wiles, Nestor Serrano, Sarah Clarke, Shannon Lucio and Tyress Allen also star in the project, which is executive produced by Chapman, Deborah Spera and Mark Gordon.

IN THE SHADOW OF THE LAW (CBS) - Harry J. Lennix (Jim Gardner on "Commander in Chief") and Monet Mazur (Fiona on "Monster-in-Law") have both joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a group of smart legal associates trying to make partner at a powerful Washington, D.C.-based law firm while dealing with a host of moral, ethical and legal challenges. Lennix, whose involvement is in second position to his duties on "Chief," will play Finn with Mazur set as Katja. Carol Mendelsohn is behind the CBS Paramount Network Television-based hour, which Danny Cannon is directing. Alan Tudyk, Jacob Pitts, Joshua Jackson and Kevin Pollak also star.

LIPSTICK JUNGLE (NBC) - Melissa George (Lauren Reed on "Alias") is set to star opposite Gina Gershon in the drama pilot, about a three powerful New York women who will do anything to get ahead and stay on top. She'll play Nico O'Neilly in the NBC Universal Television-based hour, who's described in the casting notice as: "38-42, female. Editor of a Vanity Fair type magazine, Nico is beautiful, poised, a real fashion icon herself, effortlessly graceful, a highly charged intelligence and wit, a master of office politics, she plays her cards very close to the vest. She makes the hardest work look stylish." Matthew Morrison and Scott Cohen also star in the project, which Nigel Cole is directing from a script by Candace Bushnell.

MEN IN TREES (ABC) - Sarah Strange (Mia Tynan on "Life As We Know It") has booked a role on 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. She'll play Theresa in the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, which also stars Abraham Benrubi, Derek Richardson, Emily Bergl, James Tupper, John Amos, Seana Kofoed and Sue Mathew. James Mangold is directing the pilot from a script by creator Jenny Bicks. Cathy Konrad also serves as an executive producer.

OCTOBER ROAD (ABC) - Slade Pearce (Mick North on "Yours, Mine and Ours") has snagged a role on the drama pilot, about a Manhattan-based screenwriter (Bryan Greenberg) who moves back home to his small New England hometown, where he becomes a teacher and must readjust to life with his family and old friends. He'll play Sam in the Touchstone Television-based project, whose cast also includes Brad William Henke, Evan Jones, Geoff Stults, Jay Paulson, Laura Prepon, Odette Yustman, Tom Berenger and Warren Christie. Andr� Nemec, Josh Appelbaum and Scott Rosenberg are behind the hour, which Gary Fleder is directing.

RAINES (NBC) - Linda Park (Ensign Hoshi Sato on "Star Trek: Enterprise") and Matt Craven (Capra on "Assault on Precinct 13") have both 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. They'll play Sally Lance and Captain Daniel Lewis in the NBC Universal Television-based hour, which also stars Dov Davidoff, Luis Guzm�n and Nicole Sullivan. Graham Yost is behind the project, which Frank Darabont is directing.

RUNAWAY (The CW) - Karen LeBlanc (Rayven Pierre on "Kevin Hill") and Susan Floyd (Jessica Sheets on "Law & Order") have both booked roles on the drama pilot, about a family who, after the husband/father's (Donnie Wahlberg) murder conviction, decide to become fugitives in the hopes that they can buy him enough time to prove his innocence. LeBlanc will play Angela, a U.S. Marshal on their tail, while Floyd's character wasn't specified. Dustin Milligan, Leslie Hope and Nathan Gamble also star in the Sony Pictures Television-based hour, which comes from executive producers Chad Hodge, Darren Star and Ed Zuckerman. Mikael Salomon is directing from a script by Hodge.

SECRETS OF A SMALL TOWN (ABC) - Matt Long (Jack McCallister on "Jack & Bobby"), Lucy Hale ("American Juniors"), Samantha Mathis (Maria Castle on "The Punisher"), Leighton Meester (Savannah Barnett on "Surface"), Jacob Smith (Tommy Ferguson on "Miracles") and Brian Van Holt (Sean Cavennaugh on "Threshold") have all reportedly joined the cast of the drama pilot, about the murder of a teenage girl and the disappearance of her sister in a small town - events which kick off a chain reaction that leads to both emotional and humorous discoveries that have been long buried. No details about their characters - Chad, Tisha, Sam, Kayla, Peter and Tom - were released. The group joins the previously cast Angie Harmon, Denise Richards, John L. Adams, John Terry, Sean Patrick Flanery and Tyler Christopher in the Touchstone Television-based hour, which comes from creator Charles Pratt, Jr. and director Adam Davidson. Bert Salke and Chris Brancato also serve as executive producers.

SIX DEGREES (ABC) - Bridget Moynahan (Ava Fontaine Orlov on "Lord of War") is in talks to join the cast of the drama pilot, about a group of six post-college young adults whose lives intertwine in various ways. She'd play Whitney in the Touchstone Television-based hour, which also stars Campbell Scott, Dorian Missick, Erika Christensen, Hope Davis and Jay Hernandez. Raven Metzner and Stu Zicherman are behind the hour, which is also executive produced by Bryan Burk, J.J. Abrams and Thom Sherman. Rodrigo Garc�a is directing.

SKY (NBC) - Dylan Baker (Roger Northrup on "The Book of Daniel"), George Grizzard (Arthur Gold on "Law & Order"), Richard Jenik (Leif O'Brian on "7th Heaven"), Spencer List (a guest star on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"), Elizabeth Mitchell (a guest star on "House") and Arlene Tur (a guest star on "Grey's Anatomy") have all joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a politician (Cary Elwes) who is murdered but given a chance to come back to the physical world (albeit, this time as a drug addict who lives in a halfway house) in order to save his soul. No specifics about their characters - Maurice, Peyton, Trip, Owen, Ann and Lucia respectively - were released. Willie Reale is behind the NBC Universal Television-based hour, which Tim Blake Nelson is directing. A.J. Morewitz, Conan O'Brien, David Kissinger and Jeff Ross of Conaco Productions also serve as executive producers.

SOUTHERN COMFORT (FOX) - Sandy Martin (Grandma on "Napoleon Dynamite") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about the wife (Madeleine Stowe) of a mob boss (Eric Roberts) who's thrust into running their Biloxi, Mississippi-based organized crime operation. She'll play Delight in the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, which also stars Jessica Stroup, Lee Tergesen, Reiley McClendon and Travis Fimmel. Greg Yaitanes is directing the pilot from a script by co-creators Joe Gayton and Tony Gayton.

SPLIT DECISION (The CW) - Steven Eckholdt (Congressman Doug Westin on "The West Wing"), Susan Walters (Meg Kramer on "Point Pleasant"), Jessica Lucas (Sue Miller on "Life As We Know It") and Alona Tal (Meg Manning on "Veronica Mars") have all joined the cast of the drama pilot, a coming-of-age story about a teenage girl (Jessy Schram) whose life is told in dual tracks based on her decision to sit with the geeks vs. the popular kids on the first day of school. Eckholdt and Walters will play Ted and Dede respectively with Lucas as Heather, a cheerleader who's part of the popular crowd, and Tal as Bex, who's part of the not-so-popular group. Vanessa Lengies also stars in the CBS Paramount Network Television-based hour, which comes from creator Liz Tigelaar with Aaron Spelling, E. Duke Vincent and Todd Garner serving as executive producers. Simon West is directing.

UGLY BETTY (ABC) - Newcomer Mark Indelicato is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about an unattractive girl (America Ferrera) who's hired by a fashion magazine to stop her new boss's (Eric Mabius) habit of sleeping with attractive assistants. He'll play Justin in the Touchstone Television-based hour, whose cast also includes Alan Dale, Ana Ortiz, Ashley Jensen, Becki Newton, Mark Indelicato, Tony Plana and Vanessa L. Williams. Richard Shepard is directing the hour from a script by Silvio Horta with Horta, Ben Silverman, Pepe Tamez, Salma Hayek and Teri Weinberg serving as executive producers.

UNTITLED AQUAMAN PROJECT (The CW) - Lou Diamond Phillips (Meeno Paloma on "The Triangle") is set to play the adoptive father of the DC Comics hero (Justin Hartley) in the drama pilot, which has also added Graham Bentz (a guest star on "Judging Amy"), Adrianne Palicki (Brianna on "South Beach") and Daniella Deutscher (a guest star on "24") to its roster. Phillips's character, Tom Curry, is detailed in the casting notice as: "Late 30s to early 40s, A.C.'s stepfather. He was born and raised in Chicago but fell in love with Keys while he was a student at the University of Miami. He was an outstanding athlete and was a member of the gold medal winning US Water Polo team at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. He joined the Coast Guard in 1986 and has made a good career out of it, rising to the rank of Captain. While he was still a rookie Coast Guard his life took a dramatic turn. While out on a routine night patrol he came across three people bobbing in shark-infested waters -- a woman, a baby and an old man. There was no sign of a boat or plane and the water was mirror still. When he got them back to land he discovered they had no ID and nowhere to go. Taking pity on them, Tom took them home. Tom quickly became enchanted with the beautiful woman, ATLANNA, and her baby son ORIN. Within a year Tom and Atlanna were married and Tom adopted her baby son as his own. They renamed the boy ARTHUR. The old man, McCAFFERY, took a job as the Atlas Point Lighthouse keeper, a position he still holds to this day. As Arthur grew up, Atlanna made Tom promise not to tell him about her connection to McCaffery. He reluctantly agreed." Deutscher then is set as Atlanna, the mother of Hartley's character with Bentz playing Arthur Curry as a young boy while Palicki will play Siren. Denise Qui�ones, Rick Peters and Ving Rhames also star in the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, which comes from executive producers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. Greg Beeman is directing.

WATERFRONT (CBS) - Natalia Cigliuti (Anita Santos Warner on "All My Children") and Lyndsy Fonseca (Daughter on "How I Met Your Mother") have both signed onto the drama pilot, about the quirky mayor (Joe Pantoliano) of Providence, Rhode Island. They'll play Collette and Annabelle respectively in the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, which also stars Larenz Tate, Mary Stuart Masterson and William Baldwin. Jack Orman is behind the project, which Richard J. Lewis is directing.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters





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· 13 GRAVES (FOX)
· 24 (FOX)
· AKA (CBS)
· ALIAS (ABC)
· AMERICAN JUNIORS (FOX)
· AQUAMAN (CW)
· BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (SYFY)
· BEYOND (FOX)
· BONES (FOX)
· BOOK OF DANIEL, THE (NBC)
· BROTHERS & SISTERS (ABC)
· CAPITAL LAW (CBS)
· CITY OF ANGELS (CBS)
· COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF (ABC)
· COMPANY TOWN (CBS)
· COMPLETE SAVAGES (ABC)
· CROSSING JORDAN (NBC)
· DAMAGES (FOX)
· DRIVE (FOX)
· ENEMIES (ABC)
· EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS (CW)
· FACELESS (FOX)
· FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (DIRECTV)
· GREY'S ANATOMY (ABC)
· HASKETT'S CHANCE (NBC)
· HOLLIS & RAE (ABC)
· HOUSE (FOX)
· HOUSE DIVIDED, A (ABC)
· HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (CBS)
· JACK & BOBBY (WB)
· JUDGING AMY (CBS)
· JUSTICE (FOX)
· KEVIN HILL (UPN)
· KING OF QUEENS, THE (CBS)
· LAW & ORDER (NBC)
· LAW & ORDER (NBC)
· LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT (NBC)
· LIFE AS WE KNOW IT (ABC)
· LIPSTICK JUNGLE (NBC)
· MEN IN TREES (ABC)
· MIRACLES (ABC)
· MISCONCEPTIONS (WB)
· NIGHT STALKER (ABC)
· NYPD BLUE (ABC)
· OCTOBER ROAD (ABC)
· OZ (HBO)
· POINT PLEASANT (FOX)
· PRISON BREAK (FOX)
· RAINES (NBC)
· RUNAWAY (CW)
· SECRETS OF A SMALL TOWN (ABC)
· SEVENTH HEAVEN (CW)
· SIX DEGREES (ABC)
· SO NOTORIOUS (VH1)
· SOUTH BEACH (UPN)
· SOUTHERN COMFORT (FOX)
· SPLIT DECISION (CW)
· STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE (UPN)
· SURFACE (NBC)
· THRESHOLD (CBS)
· TRIANGLE, THE (SYFY)
· UGLY BETTY (ABC)
· VERONICA MARS (CW)
· WATERFRONT (CBS)
· WEST WING, THE (NBC)
· WEST WING, THE (NBC)
· WITHOUT A TRACE (CBS)









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