LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC) - Lifetime reportedly has snagged the off-network rights to the popular ABC series from Buena Vista Television, beating out fellow bidder TBS. The pact, said to be valued in the $500,000 per episode range, gives the cable channel the exclusive weekday rights to the series beginning in the fall of 2008. In addition, Lifetime will also begin repurposing the show's weekly broadcasts once the deal is finalized. No time periods however were specified.
DRIVE (FOX) - Alan Ruck (Stuart Bondek on "Spin City") and Melanie Lynskey (Rose on "Two and a Half Men") are the latest additions to the drama pilot, about an illegal cross-country road race. Ruck will play John Ashton, who's described in the casting notice as: "40s. A bespectacled, buttoned down sort. He's an MIT grad and rocket scientist whose wife recently left him for a far wealthier man. John has recently grabbed his daughter, Violet, out of school, ostensibly for an impulsive "road trip." In actuality, John is also participating in the mysterious race. When he inadvertently insults his sensitive daughter, she runs away, leaving John frantic to learn her whereabouts."
Lynskey then is set as Wendy Patrakas, who's detailed as: "Late 20s-early 30s. An appealing young suburban housewife. She would be cheerful and outgoing under normal circumstances, but presently, she's under some enormous strain. On the lam from her husband, Wendy has also joined the mysterious race, apparently with her infant in the back seat of her car. However, when she's pulled over by the highway patrol, it's discovered that her baby is actually a plastic doll. Whether Wendy is actually the mother of an infant, or whether she is merely pretending to have a baby for the purposes of this bizarre, deadly contest, remains to be seen." Emily Stone also stars in the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, which comes from creators Ben Queen and Tim Minear. Greg Yaitanes is directing.
GENERATIONS/NEVER IN MY WILDEST (CBS) - The comedy projects, both co-productions of DreamWorks Television and NBC Universal Television, have been rolled to midseason 2007 consideration by the network. Each received a cast-contingent pilot order earlier this season. The former, from Cheryl Holliday, revolves around a grandfather and grandson who are unlikely roommates at a retirement community while the latter, from Carol Leifer, tracks two people who have an undeniable spark but impossible standards. DreamWorks's Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey also serve as executive producers on both half-hours.
THE GREG BEHRENDT SHOW (Syndication) - Dan Jbara ("Ripley's Believe It or Not!") and Janelle Fiorito ("Renovate My Family") have both signed onto Sony Pictures Television's upcoming syndicated talk show, which features the comedian/author dispensing relationship advice. Jbara will serve as the executive producer/showrunner while Fioriot is set as a co-executive producer.
MORE, PATIENCE (FOX) - Scoot McNairy (a recent guest on "Close to Home") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a neurotic New York psychiatrist (Jennifer Esposito). He'll play Jake in the Sony Pictures Television-based half-hour, which also stars Bianca Kajlich. Jed Seidel is behind the project, which Arlene Sanford is directing and Gavin Polone and Jamie Tarses also serve as executive producers.
MY EX-LIFE (CBS) - Jonathan Sadowski (Paul on "She's the Man") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about two best friends (Tom Cavanagh and Gillian Vigman) who happen to be a divorced couple sharing custody. His character, Gus, is described in the casting notice as follows: "20-25, confident. He has his finger in lots of different pies. Gus is Nick's former college student and part time babysitter for Nick and Kate's two children. He is now able to teach his old teacher a few things about the dating world of 2005. Energetic and confident, he gives Kate some sage advice regarding an outfit she's considering wearing on a date." Roger Bart also stars in the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, which comes from creator Richard Appel and director Kelsey Grammer.
SHE SAID, HE SAID (The CW) - Chris J. Johnson (Vincent on "South Beach") has scored a role in the romantic comedy pilot, which also stars Nick Lachey and Lindsay Sloane. He'll play Finn in the CBS Paramount Network Television/Warner Bros. Television-based project, which comes from creators Daniel Berendsen and Heidi Clements. Garry Hart also serves as an executive producer. Johnson's involvement is in second position to the still-technically-alive UPN drama.
UNTITLED TOM HERTZ PROJECT (CBS) - Kathleen Rose Perkins (a recent guest on NBC's "Four Kings") is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, about an engaged couple, a married couple and a happily single guy. She'll play Jennifer, one half of the newly engaged couple, in the Sony Pictures Television-based half-hour, which Andy Ackerman is directing from a script by creator Tom Hertz. Happy Madison's Adam Sandler, Doug Robinson and Jack Giarraputo also serve as executive producers along with the duo. Separately, Perkins has also booked a guest starring role on the ABC comedy pilot "Help Me Help You" in an unspecified role.
WITHOUT A TRACE (CBS) - Scott Williams, a co-executive producer on the series, has inked two-year, seven-figure overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television. The pact, which has an option for a third year, calls for the writer/producer to come aboard one of the studio's existing series next season (likely "Bones") as well as develop new projects.
YOU'VE REACHED THE ELLIOTTS (CBS) - Cynthia Stevenson (Roberta Collie on "The L Word") and Christopher McDonald (Walter Booth on "North Shore") have both joined the cast of the comedy pilot, a semi-autobiographical take on the life of Chris Elliott. They'll play Tracy and Phil respectively in the Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour, which comes from creator Rob Des Hotel. Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum also serve as executive producers.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters