LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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THE BOX (ABC, New!) - Michael MacLennan ("Queer as Folk") and author Paul Davidson ("The Lost Blogs") are developing a new serialized drama at the Alphabet about the 12 jury members on a high-profile murder trial as they uncover truths about the case, their fellow jurors and themselves. Fred Gerber ("House") is on board to direct the pilot should it move forward as well as executive produce alongside MacLennan, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron of Storyline Entertainment. Davidson then will serve as a co-executive producer.
BRETHREN (FOX, New!) - Alfonso Moreno ("The Practice") has scored a script commitment from the network for a new drama based on the true story of an ex-gangbanger who gets his act together and becomes a defense attorney. Jennifer Lopez and Simon Fields, via their Nuyorican Productions, are behind the hour along with Fox TV Studios-based producer Ross Fineman. The trio will then serve as executive producers alongside Moreno, Charles Glen and Barbara Cox. As for specifics, it's understood that because of the lead's past, the DA's office and police believe he's corrupt, while his clients think he can be corrupted. He'll also live under the spectre of a potential sentence of life in prison if he's ever convicted of another felony as well as his duties as a single father. Isaac Guillen, upon whom the series is based, will also serve as a consultant with Nuyorican's Matt Robertson also receiving a producing credit.
THE CALL (ABC, New!) - The Alphabet has given a blind six-episode commitment to a new real-time comedy from "24" creators Joel Surnow and Bob Cochran and writer Dave Hemingson ("Kitchen Confidential"). The "M*A*S*H"-esque project revolves around two best friends - the smooth Nick Adams and the knowledgable Ian Wode - talented but unorthodox L.A. paramedics, who save people's lives while screwing up each other's. And much like "24," each episode will unfold in real time for 22 minutes as the pair deal with their latest case. The series however won't be serialized from week to week in the same fashion. Hemingson penned the pilot script based on a idea by Surnow and Cochran. The trio then will executive produce alongside Howard Gordon via their 20th Century Fox Television-based Real Time Productions.
FAMILY FEUD (Syndication) - Debmar-Mercury has acquired the domestic distribution rights to the veteran syndicated game show from producer FremantleMedia North America. The company will take over said distribution duties beginning next season, which the company is currently working to clear on local stations across the country. Tribune Entertainment previously served as the show's domestic distributor. Currently stations covering 95% of the U.S. carry the John O'Hurley-hosted series.
THE FAMILY GAME (NBC, New!) - British writer Alex Spiro is developing a new single-camera comedy at the Peacock about a fortysomething man who, after being fired from his respectable job, discovers that by taking his life in a new direction, he has a newfound freedom that begins to cause huge problems with his well-bred wife and conservative family. Spiro is penning the pilot script and will serve as a co-executive producer while Storyline Entertainment's Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are the executive producers.
GREY'S ANATOMY (ABC) - Buena Vista Television has cleared the popular medical drama in 14 of the top 15 markets, including the ABC owned-and-operated stations WABC New York, KABC Los Angeles, WLS Chicago, WPVI Philadelphia, KGO San Francisco and KTRK Houston; Fox O&Os WFXT Boston and WTTG Washington; Cox's ABC affiliate WSB Atlanta; and Scripps' ABC affiliate WXYZ Detroit. The stations will begin airing weekend repeats of the series starting in the fall of 2009. The various three-year pacts are on a straight barter split with the stations offering up seven minutes per hour for national ad sales to Buena Vista. Lifetime paid $1.2 million per episode for the exclusive weekday rights to the series earlier this year.
INSATIABLE (Showtime) - Andie MacDowell, Lara Flynn Boyle and Andrea Martin are all talks to join the cast of the comedy pilot, about the intertwined stories of four families in a small town where everyone has some sort of addiction. MacDowell will play the self-appointed first lady of the town, a glamorous, sophisticated woman who is married to a millionaire and is an eBay shopping addict while Boyle is set as her sister, a local news personality married to a doctor who gets a sexual rush from stealing things. Martin then will play a loving and good-natured single mom and a hardworking accountant who is a gambling addict. The trio would join the previously cast Peter Facinelli and Beth Riesgraf in the half-hour, which comes from creators Linda Wallem and Liz Brixius.
JOHN FROM CINCINNATI (HBO) - Luke Perry ("Windfall") is the latest addition to the upcoming drama series from co-creator David Milch. Details on his character however weren't released. Production on "John" is currently underway for a summer premiere date.
SPLIT THE DIFFERENCE (NBC, New!) - Mary Egan Callahan's self-produced comedy pilot is being developed by the Peacock and NBC Universal Television. The half-hour comedy, about the inner workings of a fictional lower Manhattan-based advertising firm, emerged as a fan favorite at the New York TV Festival. The network has given a script commitment to the project, which was written by Joe Narciso and directed by Bruce Hurwit. The pair, along with Callahan will also serve as supervising producers.
THE THICK OF IT (ABC, New!) - "Arrested Development" alums Richard Day and Mitchell Hurwitz have scored a pilot order from the Alphabet for a U.S. version of the famed BBC 4 comedy of the same name about a put-upon member of Parliament who is harassed by inept bureaucrats. The domestic version, which is based at Sony Pictures Television and BBC Worldwide Productions, will focus on the nonpartisan high jinks that ensue in the office of a member of Congress. Day is penning the pilot script and will executive produce alongside Hurwitz, Paul Telegdy of BBC Worldwide and Armando Iannucci, creator of the original series.
THREE STRIKES (Comedy Central) - Hamilton Von Watts, Frank John Hughes, Adrian Martinez, Reno Wilson, Phil Hendrie, Toby Huss, Nathanial Moon and Ken Jeong have all joined the cast of the ensemble comedy pilot, about the world of minor league baseball. Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck are behind the half-hour, which is also executive produced by Jon Stewart and Ben Karlin of Busboy Productions.
UNTITLED CARY SOLOMON/CHUCK KONZELMAN PROJECT (ABC, New!) - "Day Break" executive producer Rob Bowman, who also directed the pilot (and another five episodes) of the series, has inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with Touchstone Television. The pact calls the prolific TV and film director ("Elektra," "Reign of Fire") to develop new series projects exclusively for the studio as well as potentially direct a pilot for Touchstone this spring. Already in the works: an untitled hour from Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman about a man who leaps into the bodies of potential murder victims hours before they're fated to die and must figure out a way to prevent their deaths. The pair penned the pilot script and will serve as co-executive producers. Fellow "Day Break" alum Matt Gross is also on board said project as an executive producer, which Bowman will direct if it moves forward to pilot.
UNTITLED DIANE WARREN PROJECT (ABC) - The drama project, about a fictional female songwriter who is in the midst of trying to start her burgeoning career and has to deal with her large, overbearing and dysfunctional family, is being redeveloped at Lifetime. Toni Kalem is behind the hour, which is still being shepherded by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron's Storyline Entertainment. Warren herself will serve as an executive consultant on the project, which will feature music from her catalog as well as new tunes.
UNTITLED CRAIG ZADAN/NEIL MERON PROJECT (ABC Family, New!) - Prolific TV and movie producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are developing a new variety show for the cable channel that is described as "a unique and new approach for a variety series for a new generation." As for specifics, it's understood the project will be structured as a youthful "house party" with young and fresh talent, featuring anchor hosts and showcasing performances from the newest musical, comedy and dance acts. Zadan and Meron then will executive produce via their Storyline Entertainment banner.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters