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[04/04/06 - 12:00 AM]
Development Update: April 4
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!

ALIENS IN AMERICA (The CW) - Moses Port and David Guarascio (CBS's "Inseparable") have scored a pilot order from the soon-to-launch network, about a Muslim foreign exchange student who moves in with a Wisconsin family. The single-camera comedy, which was originally developed by NBC, will shoot in June for a potential midseason order on the CW. Port and Guarascio penned the pilot script and will executive produce via NBC Universal Television.

DRIVE/SOUTHERN COMFORT (FOX) - Greg Yaitanes ("Bones"), who's helming both FOX pilots, has inked a one-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television. The pact covers his duties on both pilots, which he'll also executive produce via his company, Five Past One. In addition, he'll have the option to develop his own projects during the next development season.

ER (NBC) - John Stamos is set to join the cast of the medical drama when it returns for its 13th season this fall. He'll reprise his role of Tony Gates, a flirtatious paramedic who also is a medical student and a Gulf War veteran. The character originally appeared during a two-episode stint last November. Stamos's involvement is in second position to his duties on the still technically alive "Jake in Progress."

HELLO SISTER, GOODBYE LIFE (ABC Family) - The original movie, which stars Wendie Malick and Lacey Chabert, opened to a solid 2.6 million viewers on Sunday.

HELP ME HELP YOU (ABC) - Jane Kaczmarek (Lois on "Malcolm in the Middle") has reportedly joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a group of crazy, self-obsessed strangers who attend the same therapy group. It's understood that she'll take over for Lolita Davidovich in the role of Anne, the wife of Ted Danson's character. No reason for the change was given. Charlie Finn, Darlene Hunt, Jere Burns, Jim Rash and Suzy Nakamura also star in the Regency Television-based half-hour, which comes from creators Alexandra Rushfield and Jennifer Konner. Brian Dannelly is directing.

HUFF (Showtime) - Season two of the pay channel's drama opened to just 372,000 viewers on Sunday, an 18.42% drop from its original November 2004 launch (456,000) - all despite airing during one of Showtime's free preview weekends. Said number was also off a whopping 35.86% from its lead-in, the network premiere of the Oscar-winning feature "Crash" (580,000).

THE OTHER MALL (ABC Family) - The cable channel is looking to revive the failed FOX project, about the staffers of an aging mall as they try to invigorate the center, now in competition with the newly opened shopping mecca across town. Regency Television was behind the original version, which came from Danny Salles ("I Want to Be a Hilton"), David Hornsby ("Six Feet Under"), Lance Krall ("The Lance Krall Show") and Susan Dickes ("Living with Fran"). ABC Family has committed to a new pilot for the single-camera project, which Salles will once again direct from a script by the group. It's not clear if Hornsby, Krall and fellow co-star Ralph Garman will resume their roles from the FOX presentation. In addition, the network has confirmed it has passed on "Mud Show," "Breadwinners" and "Just a Phase" - leaving "Mall" as the only project still under consideration for a series order.

SEX, POWER, LOVE & POLITICS (CBS) - Geoffrey Pierson (Dale Hamilton on "Rodney") and Jennifer Milmore (Carrie on "Jesse") have both booked guest starring roles on the comedy pilot, about four underachieving staffers in their mid-30s who work on Capitol Hill and live next to each other. Milmore plays Ashley, the sister of Jane Krakowski's character and a waitress Connelly's, the group's regular hangout; while Pierson is set as Senator Killian, a newly elected Arizona senator. James Van Der Beek and Amy Sloan also star in the Sony Pictures Television-based half-hour, which comes from creator Greg Malins and director Pamela Fryman.

SO NOTORIOUS (VH1) - A lackluster 1.1 million viewers tuned into the show's launch on Sunday, nearly half the audience of lead-ins "The Surreal Life" and "Hogan Knows Best" (2.1 million viewers each). A second episode at 10:30/9:30c drew 823,000 viewers. Among adults 18-49, said installments posted a 0.4 rating/1 share - up 50% over the network's primetime average in the key demograhic.

UNTITLED ACTUAL REALITY/TRIBECA FILMS PROJECT (NBC, New!) - Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal's Tribeca Films and R.J. Cutler's Actual Reality ("Black. White.") are set to team for a potential new unscripted series for the Peacock. The network has given a put pilot commitment to the project, details of which - other than it's not a competition series (a la "Survivor") - are being kept under wraps.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters





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· ALIENS IN AMERICA (CW)
· BLACK WHITE (FX)
· BONES (FOX)
· BREADWINNERS (ABC FAMILY)
· DRIVE (FOX)
· ER (NBC)
· HELLO SISTER, GOODBYE LIFE! (ABC FAMILY)
· HELP ME HELP YOU (ABC)
· HOGAN KNOWS BEST (VH1)
· HUFF (SHOWTIME)
· I WANT TO BE A HILTON (NBC)
· INSEPARABLE (CBS)
· JAKE IN PROGRESS (ABC)
· JESSE (NBC)
· JUST A PHASE (ABC FAMILY)
· LANCE KRALL SHOW, THE (SPIKE TV)
· LIVING WITH FRAN (WB)
· MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE (FOX)
· MUD SHOW (ABC FAMILY)
· OTHER MALL, THE (FOX)
· RODNEY (ABC)
· SEX, POWER, LOVE & POLITICS (CBS)
· SIX FEET UNDER (HBO)
· SO NOTORIOUS (VH1)
· SOUTHERN COMFORT (FOX)
· SURREAL LIFE, THE (VH1)
· SURVIVOR (CBS)
· UNTITLED ACTUAL REALITY & TRIBECA FILMS PROJECT (NBC)









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