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!
ANDY BARKER, P.I. (NBC) - Clea Lewis (Audrey Penney on "Ellen") has joined the cast of the midseason comedy. She'll take over for Amy Farrington as Jen Barker, the wife of Andy Richter's character. No reason for the change was given. Harve Presnell, Ion Overman, Marshall Manesh and Tony Hale also star in the half-hour, which comes from creators Conan O'Brien and Jonathan Groff.
CHERRIES IN THE SNOW (The CW, New!) - Emma Forrest's book of the same name, subtitled "A Novel of Lust, Love, Loss, and Lipstick," is being developed as a drama at the netlet by CBS Paramount Network Television. Forrest herself is attached to pen the pilot script, which has "Joan of Arcadia" creator Barbara Hall on board to executive produce. Here's how Three Rivers Press describes the book: "Every Girl Needs Her Signature Color... Jailbait. Mystic Jukebox. Ass-Slapping Pink. Say Hello (and Wave Good-bye). Born to Run. These are some of the lipsticks offered by Grrrl cosmetics, colors that every hip young woman in the city just has to have. Sadie, a twenty-something Brit living in New York City, has the enviable job of creating these catchy names�and she�s good at it. What Sadie really wants, however, is to find the perfect moniker for Grrrl�s signature color, a color that will be loved by generations of women. A color name like Revlon�s famous Cherries in the Snow. Sadie�s own lip color changes with her mood: pink when she�s feeling girlish, orangey brown when she�s feeling sentimental, none at all when she�s in love, and traffic-stopping red, painted in a perfect bow, when she�s ready to end a relationship. In addition to her love of lipsticks, Sadie also has a penchant for much older men�none of whom ever measure up to her father and none she ever wants to stick around that long. Enter Marley, a mysterious organic-food-eating, yoga-practicing graffiti artist close to her own age, who shows up in the Grrrl office one snowy day... Sadie falls hard, and so does he. But Marley isn�t just devoted to Sadie; he also has a daughter, Montana, a precocious, possessive little girl who competes with Sadie for her daddy�s affections. This bizarre triangle is at the heart of Cherries in the Snow�a witty and sometimes dark saga of sex, the city, and the search for love... and the perfect red lipstick�from one of today�s most daring writers of fiction."
GHOSTS (The CW, New!) - Feature writer Adam Mazer ("Breach") has landed a put pilot commitment from the netlet for a new drama about an F.B.I. surveillance unit that lives and works together in a bid to fight crime in Washington, D.C. The project is set up at Marc Abrams and Mike Benson's ("Entourage") Reveille-based Catapult banner with the pair executive producing alongside Mazer and Reveille's Ben Silverman and Teri Weinberg.
GOOD SHIP (The CW, New!) - Feature producer Mace Neufeld ("Sahara") has scored a script order from the netlet for a new ensemble drama about doctors working on a Navy ship. Trey Callaway ("Supernatural") is behind the hour, which is based at CBS Paramount Network Television and Mace Neufeld Productions. Callaway will pen the pilot script and executive produce alongside Neufeld.
LIFE OR DEATH (NBC, New!) - "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" writer/producers Neal Baer and Dawn DeNoon are teaming for a potential new "Upstairs, Downstairs"-esque drama at the Peacock about two adjacent Los Angeles hospitals - one a private facility for the wealthy, the other a county facility for the uninsured. The pair will write and executive produce the hour, which is based at NBC Universal Television via Baer's overall deal. As for specifics, it's understood the lead character will be a doctor who spends most of his time working at the county hospital but performs plastic surgery at the upscale hospital to make ends meet.
HIT MEN (ESPN, New!) - "Playmakers" creator John Eisendrath is looking to return to the cable channel as the network reportedly is close to greenlighting production on a new drama about a group of struggling athletes who all work out at "Hit Men Boxing Club," an inner-city gym run by Frank Cerrones, a former boxer. Eisendrath is writing and executive producing the hour alongside rapper Jay-Z and Def Jam Recordings. Filming then is expected to take place in Louisiana starting in the first week of December.
LUCKY LOUIE (HBO) - "Lucky Louie" alum Mike Royce is sticking with the pay channel, inking a new mid-seven figure overall deal with the network. The pact calls for Royce to develop new series projects for the cable channel, including a potential small screen return for comedian Ray Romano, whom he worked with on "Everybody Loves Raymond." Romano was previously attached to another comedy project at HBO from Dennis Klein and "24" creators Joel Surnow and Bob Cochran that did not move forward.
NOBODY (ABC Family, New!) - The cable channel has greenlit production on a new drama pilot based on the graphic novel of the same name about a woman who exchanges her life as she knows it to save her 15-year-old daughter's, only to discover the price of cheating fate is being erased from the memories of her family and the world at large. "Desperate Housewives" writer/producer Kevin Murphy is behind the hour, which is set up at Blueprint Entertainment. He'll write and executive produce the pilot along with Noreen Halpern, John Morayniss, Jason Netter and Ken Levin. Here's how publisher AiT/Planet Lar describes the comic: "No past. No identity. No idea what she's in for. Jessica Drake (if in fact that is her real name) is the paranormal investigator who puts a good face on things.Literally. Blessed (or cursed) with the ability to change her features, Drake is the latest in a line of Nobodies: individuals who give up a life of their own to safeguard society. With her trusted confidante Marcus, this time out Jessica confronts a band of fringe cultists and uncovers a serial killer with ties to the ultimate evil... Nobody is written by Alex Amado and Sharon Cho and features art by Astronauts in Trouble artist Charlie Adlard." Casting is currently underway with production set to start next month.
NSA INNOCENT (FOX, New!) - "24" co-creator/executive producer Bob Cochran has snagged a seven-figure put pilot commitment for a new drama about an everyman who finds himself caught up against his will in the world of espionage. Cochran is co-writing the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour with fellow "24" writer David Ehrman. The pair will also serve as executive producers via Cochran, Joel Surnow and Howard Gordon's Real Time Productions banner.
PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (The CW) - Writer/producer Mimi Schmir ("Grey's Anatomy") has come aboard to write a revamped script for the drama project, about four 16-year-old girls - whose fifth best friend went missing two years ago - that suddenly become haunted by messages that appear from her. Warner Bros. Television, Alloy Entertainment's Bob Levy and Leslie Morgenstein and The Tannenbaum Company's Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum are behind the hour, which is based on Sara Shepard's young adult book series of the same name. Lizzy Weiss penned the original pilot script when the project was set up at the WB before being rolled over to the CW.
THE STARTER WIFE (USA) - Joe Mantegna (Will Girardi on "Joan of Arcadia"), Miranda Otto ("War of the Worlds") and Aden Young ("The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course") have all joined the cast of the six-hour mini-series, about the quest of a divorced woman (Debra Messing) to redefine herself after years of marriage to a Hollywood studio head. Mantegna will play Lou, a studio executive and the boss to Messing's character's ex-husband, with Otto as Cricket, one of Messing's closest friends, and Young as Cricket's husband. Jon Avnet is directing the project from a script by Josann McGibbon and Sara Parriott. Stephanie Davis, Howard Klein and author Gigi Levangie Grazer also serve as executive producers.
STEPS (The CW, New!) - "Friends" co-creator Marta Kauffman is developing a new ensemble drama with comedic elements that's set at a family-run dance studio. The Warner Bros. Television-based project has a put pilot commitment from the network with Kauffman writing the pilot and executive producing.
SUSPICION (FOX, New!) - FOX has given a put pilot commitment to writer/producer Emily Whitesell ("Brothers & Sisters") for a new drama about a woman who becomes a reluctant heroine when she discovers her live-in boyfriend is a terrorist. Jon Harmon Feldman ("Reunion") and Thomas Schlamme ("Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip") are also on board to executive produce the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, while Whitesell will pen the pilot script and executive produce.
SWINGTOWN (CBS, New!) - Writer/producer Mike Kelley ("Jericho") is developing a new period drama at the Eye about the impact of sexual liberation in 1970s households - such as open marriages and "key parties." Alan Poul ("Big Love") has signed on to direct the CBS Paramount Network Television-based hour should it move forward. Kelley will write the pilot and executive produce.
THRESHOLD (Sci Fi) - The cable channel has quietly moved the show's off-network premiere to Monday, November 6 at 8:00/7:00c. Three back-to-back episodes will run every Monday night beginning at said time for four weeks with an additional installment running on November 27 to complete its 13-episode run. Only nine of its 13 completed episodes were aired by CBS meaning the four installments set for November 27 will be their U.S. premieres.
UNDERFUNDED (USA) - USA has announced it plans to air the 90-minute drama pilot as a backdoor pilot movie on Wednesday, November 8 at 10:00/9:00c. The NBC Universal Television-based project, from creators David Breckman and Ross Abrash, is detailed as follows: "Darryl Freehorn is the star agent for the little-known Canadian Secret Service. His brilliance in the field compensates for the woefully underfunded agency�s lack of resources, both high- and low-tech. As Freehorn goes about his duties, the constant indignities he faces as a result of his agency�s inadequate budget causes him much frustration with comedic results." Mather Zickel, Joanna Canton, Ryan McPartlin, Monika Schnarre and Holt McCallany star.
VIVA BLACKPOOL (A.K.A. UNTITLED HUGH JACKMAN PROJECT) (CBS, New!) - The Eye has given a hefty seven-figure put pilot commitment to a series version of the BBC's successful mini-series of the same name. The project, which is set up at Sony Pictures Television and BBC Worldwide Productions, revolves around Ripley Holden, a sleazy but charismatic low-end casino owner whose dream is to cash in and open a five-star mega-resort on the Las Vegas Strip, who becomes embroiled in a murder mystery. Unique to the show however is that the cast regularly bursts into song-and-dance numbers. "Huff" creator Bob Lowry is on board to pen the pilot script as well as executive produce alongside BBC Worldwide's Paul Telegdy, original creator Peter Bowker and Seed Productions' John Palermo and Hugh Jackman (who will also make a cameo in the pilot). The deal is actually a result of three deals between the various parties - Sony's first-look deal with BBC Worldwide, Sony's two-script deal with Lowry and CBS/CBS Paramount Network Television's development deal with Seed Productions.
UNTITLED AMY BRENNEMAN PROJECT (ABC, New!) - "Judging Amy" star Amy Brenneman has inked a talent holding with the network and Touchstone Television to topline a potential series project for the pair. The pact, like most of its type, calls for ABC and the studio to develop a new series project for the actress or cast her in an existing property.
UNTITLED ANT HINES PROJECT (CBS, New!) - "Da Ali G Show" writer/producer Ant Hines has scored a blind script commitment from CBS and Sony Pictures Television. As expected, no details were given about the potential project, which Hines will write and executive produce.
UNTITLED BOB BRUSH PROJECT (The CW, New!) - Writer/producer Bob Brush ("Karen Sisco") has landed a script commitment from the network for a new family drama told through the eyes of their 18-year-old daughter via her blog. Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum are on board to executive produce the hour with Brush, who will pen the pilot script, via the pair's Warner Bros. Television-based The Tannenbaum Company.
UNTITLED BRUCE ERIC KAPLAN PROJECT (CBS, New!) - "Six Feet Under" alum Bruce Eric Kaplan is developing a new drama that's described as a mix of Mary McCarthy's book "The Group," the film "Diary of a Mad Housewife" and the TV series "Sex and the City." No other specifics were given about the hour, which is based at CBS Paramount Network Television where Kaplan has a two-script deal.
UNTITLED DAVID SHORE/PETER BLAKE PROJECT (NBC, New!) - "House" creator David Shore and fellow "House" writer Peter Blake are set to team for a potential new "House"-esque drama about a female cop. The untitled hour is set up at NBC Universal Television with Blake and Shore writing and executive producing. No other details were released.
UNTITLED DIANE RUGGIERO PROJECT (The CW, New!) - "Veronica Mars" writer/producer Diane Ruggiero has scored a put pilot order from the netlet for a new drama about two very different young women and best friends who unite to fight crime after a mysterious event gives them superpowers they can use only when they are together. The project is set up at Warner Bros. Television where Ruggiero will pen the pilot script and executive produce.
UNTITLED JOHN EISENDRATH PROJECTS (ABC, New!) - John Eisendrath ("Playmakers") is shepherding a new drama at the Alphabet about the New Orleans police force and their role in the city post-Hurricane Katrina. It's understood the untitled Touchstone Television-based hour will deal with how society returns to New Orleans and how the cops cope with it. Gary Fleder, who helmed the recently picked up pilot "October Road" for the network, is on board to direct the hour and executive produce alongside Eisendrath. Separately, Eisendrath has set up a second script at the network, about the prosecutors, defendants and jurors who populate a courthouse building. He'll co-write the script with author Stan Chervin ("Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game") as well as executive produce with Mark Gordon ("Grey's Anatomy").
UNTITLED LAURA HARRIS PROJECT (ABC, New!) - Laura Harris ("The Dead Zone") has inked a talent holding deal with ABC and Touchstone Television. The pact calls for Harris to be cast in a drama at the network and studio in the works for next season or join an existing ABC/Touchstone series. Harris spent the past development season toplining the failed drama pilot "Hollis & Rae," also at ABC and Touchstone.
UNTITLED MATT HOLLOWAY/ART MARCUM PROJECT (CBS, New!) - Feature writers Matt Holloway and Art Marcum (the upcoming "Iron Man") are teaming with Jerry Bruckheimer and director Danny Cannon for a potential new drama at the Eye about a wealthy benefactor who funds a team of archaeologists to find artifacts. Holloway and Marcum will pen the pilot script with Cannon attached to direct. The trio then will executive produce the hour, which has a put pilot commitment, alongside Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman via their Warner Bros. Television-based banner.
UNTITLED NATHAN FILLION PROJECT (FOX, New!) - "Firefly" alum Nathan Fillion has signed a talent holding deal with the network and sibling 20th Century Fox Television. The pact calls for the duo to develop a series project around the actor or potentially cast him in an existing project.
UNTITLED RENE BALCER PROJECTS (FOX/NBC, New!) - "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" co-creator Rene Balcer has set up a pair of projects at FOX and NBC via his Mattawin Co.'s overall deal with NBC Universal Television. The FOX hour revolves around a program developed by the N.Y.P.D. after 9/11, in which more than 70 detectives are sent to different cities around the globe to act as an early warning system against any kind of threats directed at the city. He'll co-write the untitled project with Cyrus Nowrasteh ("The Path to 9/11") as well as executive produce alongside Jonathan Mostow ("Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines"), who will also direct should it move forward. FOX has given a script commitment to the project with a penalty attached if it doesn't go to pilot. As for the NBC hour, said project revolves around a bipolar forensic psychiatrist who's described as "part medical examiner, part private detective, part scholar of the bizarre." The untitled project, which has a put pilot commitment from the network, is loosely based on "Law & Order" consultant Dr. Park Dietz, who's best known for his work in notorious cases such as the Jeffrey Dahmer investigation.
UNTITLED VICTORIA PILE PROJECT (CBS, New!) - British writer/director Victoria Pile ("Green Wing," "Smack the Pony") has snagged a blind script commitment from the network and CBS Paramount Network Television for a new comedy series. Details on the concept of course have yet to be determined which Pile will write and executive produce.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters