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[02/21/07 - 12:52 AM]
Development Update: Wednesday, February 21
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 signature "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!


2007-08 SEASON COMEDY PILOTS (Various) - Directors have been set on a dozen of the broadcast networks' current slate of comedy pilots: Michael Spiller ("Big Day") on ABC's "The Call"; Andy Ackerman ("Rules of Engagement") on Shana Goldberg-Meehman's project for ABC (now dubbed "The Hill"); Chris Koch ("My Name Is Earl") on ABC's "The Middle"; Gail Mancuso ("30 Rock") on ABC's "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office"; Gary Halvorson ("Two and a Half Men") on Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah's half-hour for ABC; Robert Duncan McNeil ("The Knights of Prosperity") on ABC's "Sam I Am"; James Burrows ("The Class") on ABC's "Traveling in Packs"; Tucker Gates ("The Office") on NBC's "Wildlife"; Dan Attias ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia") on NBC's "Zip"; Marc Buckland ("My Name Is Earl") on FOX's "Deeply Irresponsible"; Jason Winer ("The Adventures of Big Handsome Guy and His Little Friend") on Elizabeth Meriwether's project for FOX; and Pamela Fryman ("How I Met Your Mother") on FOX's "The Minister of Divine."


ALL FALL DOWN (ABC) - Mary Steenburgen ("Joan of Arcadia") is the first to be cast in the drama pilot, about a successful Atlanta lawyer who returns to her messy family in Savannah with her newborn son. She'll play the woman's mother, a strong and loving woman who can't bring herself to divorce her husband after five years of separation.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Mary Steenburgen
Writer: Rina Mimoun
Director: Lawrence Trilling
Executive Producers: Rina Mimoun
Studio: Warner Bros. Television


THE APOSTLES (FOX) - "Dreamgirls" co-star Keith Robinson has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a close-knit group of L.A.P.D. cops living in Simi Valley. He'll play one of the leads, a decorated officer who is deeply religious.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Keith Robinson, Shawn Hatosy
Writer: Charles Pratt, Jr.
Director: TBA
Executive Producers: Charles Pratt, Jr.
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television


ATLANTA (CBS, New!) - "Mad About You" alum Paul Reiser has booked a cast-contingent pilot order from the Eye and CBS Paramount Network Television for a new comedy about a man and a woman who meet at a funeral and can't seem to stay away from each other. Reiser penned the pilot script to the single-camera half-hour, which he'll executive produce alongside his Nuance Productions partner Craig Knizek.

Commitment: Cast-contingent
Cast: TBA
Writer: Paul Reiser
Director: TBA
Executive Producers: Craig Knizek (Nuance Productions), Paul Reiser (Nuance Productions)
Studio: CBS Paramount Network Television


BREAKING BAD (AMC) - Aaron Paul ("Mission: Impossible III") and newcomer Betsy Brant have both landed roles in the cable channel's drama pilot, about a high-school chemistry teacher (Bryan Cranston) who, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, uses his skills to launch a meth lab in order to make money quickly and provide for his wife and handicapped son. They'll play the unspecified roles of Dupree and Marie, respectively.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Aaron Paul (Dupree), Betsy Brant (Marie), Bryan Cranston
Writer: Vince Gilligan
Director: Vince Gilligan
Executive Producers: Mark Johnson, Vince Gilligan
Studio: Sony Pictures Television


CANTERBURY'S LAW (FOX) - Linus Roache ("Kidnapped") is set to play husband to Julianna Margulies in the drama pilot, about a rebellious female defense attorney (Margulies). His character, Matt Canterbury, is a law professor.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Ben Shenkman (Russell Cross), Julianna Margulies (Elizabeth Canterbury), Linus Roache (Matt Canterbury), Trieste Dunn
Writer: Dave Erickson
Director: Mike Figgis
Executive Producers: Denis Leary (Apostle Productions), Jim Serpico (Apostle Productions)
Co-Executive Producer: Dave Erickson
Producer: Julianna Margulies
Studio: Sony Pictures Television


DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC) - Creator Marc Cherry has inked a massive four-year, eight-figure overall with producer ABC Television Studio. The pact, valued at $15 million, covers his showrunning duties on the soap through the end its seventh season (May 2011). In addition, the studio reportedly has negotiated deals with all key members of the cast that will keep them on board as long as Cherry. "I think that, at the end of my deal, and after seven seasons, it will be a good time to call it quits," Cherry told Daily Variety. "I don't want anyone else to run the show, and I don't want us to fade away."


GIANTS OF RADIO (CBS, New!) - Jason Winer ("The Adventures of Big Handsome Guy and His Little Friend") has landed a pilot order from the network for a workplace comedy set at a radio network. The single-camera project is based at 20th Century Fox Television with Winer (who will direct from his own script), Todd Komarnicki, Jon Berg and Matt Weinberg executive producing.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: TBA
Writer: Jason Winer
Director: Jason Winer
Executive Producers: Jason Winer, Jon Berg, Matt Weinberg, Todd Komarnicki
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television |


IMPROV EVERYWHERE (NBC, New!) - The Peacock has issued a pilot order for a new improv comedy in which a group performs elaborate stunts using volunteers as well as the viewing public. The project, which is based on Charlie Todd's web site of the same name, is set up at NBC Universal Television. Todd will then star in and executive produce the half-hour alongside Jason Carbone, Kara Welker and Dave Rath.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Charlie Todd
Writer: Charlie Todd
Director: TBA
Executive Producers: Charlie Todd, Dave Rath, Jason Carbone, Kara Welker
Studio: NBC Universal Television Studio


LIPSTICK JUNGLE (NBC) - Lindsay Price ("Pepper Dennis") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a trio (Kim Raver, Brooke Shields, Price) of successful and fabulous women in New York. She'll play one of said trio, Victory Ford. Her character is described in the casting notice as follows: "38-42, female. Fashion designer with her own label, Victory's lover is her work. She is a mix of drive, idealism, and innocence, with a trademark way of making an inspiring, rally-the-troops speech. Sexy, she has to be able to pull off short hair and make it look fabulous. Sheer force of personality makes you want to look like her and wear her clothes."

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Brooke Shields (Wendy Healy), Christopher Wiehl (Shane Healy), Kim Raver (Nico O'Neilly), Lindsay Price (Victory Ford)
Writers: DeAnn Heline, Eileen Heisler
Director: Gary Winick
Executive Producers: Candace Bushnell, DeAnn Heline, Eileen Heisler
Studio: NBC Universal Television Studio


M.O.N.Y. (NBC) - Carmen Ejogo ("Kidnapped") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about an everyman who surprisingly becomes mayor of New York. She'll play Francine Tyson, his intelligent and driven deputy mayor.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Bobby Cannavale (Joe Capanelli), Carmen Ejogo (Francine Tyson)
Writer: Barry Levinson, Tom Fontana
Director: Spike Lee
Executive Producers: Barry Levinson (The Levinson-Fontana Company), Tom Fontana (The Levinson-Fontana Company)
Studio: NBC Universal Television Studio


ME & LEE (FOX, New!) - Matthew Salsberg ("Weeds") has scored a director-contingent pilot order for a new offbeat comedy about a guy suffering from chronic back pain gets more than he bargained for when he undergoes "bionic" back surgery in a secret basement lab run by Lee Majors. Lionsgate Television is behind the single-camera half-hour, which will be executive produced by Salsberg, Jenji Kohan, Allan Loeb and Steven Pearl. Majors himself will appear in the pilot as well as subsequent episodes as a voice trapped in the man's head.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot (director-contingent)
Cast: Lee Majors
Writer: Matthew Salsberg
Director: TBA
Executive Producers: Allan Loeb (Scarlet Fire Productions), Jenji Kohan, Matthew Salsberg, Steven Pearl (Scarlet Fire Productions)
Studio: Lionsgate Television


MARLOWE (ABC) - Amanda Righetti ("Reunion") is the latest addition to the pilot, a present-day procedural drama about the famous detective (Jason O'Mara). She's set as a dancer who works part time for him.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Amanda Righetti, Jason O'Mara (Philip Marlowe)
Writers: Carol Wolper, Greg Pruss
Director: Rob Bowman
Executive Producers: Carol Wolper, Daniel H. Blatt, Daniel Pipski, Greg Pruss, Sean Bailey (LivePlanet)
Producer: Jason O'Mara
Studios: Chorion Limited, Touchstone Television


REAPER (The CW) - Bret Harrison ("The Loop") has scored the lead role in the pilot, a comedic drama about a 21-year-old slacker (Harrison) who becomes the devil's bounty hunter. Harrison's involvement is understood to be in second position to his duties on the FOX comedy, which has yet to launch its second season.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Bret Harrison
Writers: Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters
Director: Kevin Smith
Executive Producers: Deborah Spera (The Mark Gordon Company), Mark Gordon (The Mark Gordon Company), Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters
Studio: ABC Television Studio


THE RICH INNER LIFE OF PENELOPE CLOUD (CBS, New!) - Jeff Greenstein ("Desperate Housewives") has received a cast-contingent pilot order for a new multi-camera half-hour about a former literary star who has an epiphany and opts to pursue optimism rather than cynicism. Greenstein penned the pilot script and will executive produce. ABC Television Studio and CBS Paramount Network TV are co-producing.

Commitment: Cast-contingent
Cast: TBA
Writer: Jeff Greenstein
Director: TBA
Executive Producers: Jeff Greenstein
Studios: ABC Television Studio, CBS Paramount Network Television


THIS IS CULDESAC (NBC, New!) - YouTube stars Luke Barats and Joe Bereta are set to topline a new improv comedy pilot for the Peacock. The pair will also write, direct and executive produce the Realand Productions-based half-hour, in which they play the various residents of the small town of Culdesac. Dan Farah is producing.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Joe Bereta, Luke Barats
Writers: Joe Bereta, Luke Barats
Directors: Joe Bereta, Luke Barats
Executive Producers: Joe Bereta, Luke Barats
Producer: Dan Farah
Studio: Realand Productions


TWO FAMILIES (FOX) - Beau Bridges ("Stargate SG-1") is the first to cast in the comedy pilot, about a man who gets into a car accident and his secret, that he has been fathering two families, is revealed. He's set as said man, David Sr., in the project. His character is further detailed in the casting notice as: "50-60s. Caucasian, Must have a Dad-like quality. David Sr. hates to disappoint people; he lives to be liked. The reason he had two wives is he couldn�t say no to anyone. And he looks so completely normal, not sexy or slick. A regular guy but with a well of possibilities. He wears a windbreaker and gets his hair cut by a barber."

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Beau Bridges (David Sr.)
Writer: Barbara Wallace, Thomas R. Wolfe
Director: Michael Engler
Executive Producers: Barbara Wallace, Thomas R. Wolfe
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television, HBO Independent Productions


UNTITLED DAVID KOHAN/MAX MUTCHNICK PROJECT (CBS) - The Eye has greenlit production on the Warner Bros. Television-based project, a buddy comedy about two friends and writing partners, one straight and one gay, and the women who work with them.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot (previously put pilot)
Cast: TBA
Writers: David Kohan, Max Mutchnick
Director: James Burrows
Executive Producers: David Kohan (KoMut Entertainment), Max Mutchnick (KoMut Entertainment)
Studio: Warner Bros. Television


UNTITLED GABE SACHS/JEFF JUDAH PROJECT (ABC) - "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" co-star Ayda Field has joined the cast of the half-hour, a comedic soap about co-workers at a top law firm. She'll play one of them, a book-smart associate.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Ashley Williams (Julie), Ayda Field
Writers: Gabe Sachs, Jeff Judah
Director: Gary Halvorson
Executive Producers: Gabe Sachs, Jeff Judah
Studio: ABC Television Studio


WOMEN'S MURDER CLUB (ABC) - Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain, the pilot's creators, have sealed a seven-figure overall deal with its producer, 20th Century Fox Television. The pact will cover their duties on the drama should it move forward to series as well as any future development.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Aubrey Dollar (Cindy Thomas), Paula Newsome (Claire Washburn)
Writers: Elizabeth Craft, Sarah Fain
Director: Brett Ratner
Executive Producers: Brett Ratner (Rat Television), Elizabeth Craft, James Patterson, Joe Simpson, Sarah Fain
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television


Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters





  [february 2007]  
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· 30 ROCK (NBC)
· ADVENTURES OF BIG HANDSOME GUY AND HIS LITTLE FRIEND, THE (FOX)
· ALL FALL DOWN (ABC)
· APOSTLES, THE (FOX)
· ATLANTA (CBS)
· BIG DAY (ABC)
· BREAKING BAD (AMC)
· CALL, THE (ABC)
· CANTERBURY'S LAW (FOX)
· CLASS, THE (CBS)
· DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC)
· DEVELOPMENT UPDATE (TFC)
· GIANTS OF RADIO (CBS)
· HILL, THE (ABC)
· HOT YEARS, THE (FOX)
· HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (CBS)
· IMPROV EVERYWHERE (NBC)
· IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (FXX)
· JOAN OF ARCADIA (CBS)
· KIDNAPPED (NBC)
· KNIGHTS OF PROSPERITY, THE (ABC)
· LIPSTICK JUNGLE (NBC)
· LOOP, THE (FOX)
· MARLOWE (ABC)
· ME & LEE? (FOX)
· MIDDLE, THE (2007 VERSION) (ABC)
· MINISTER OF DIVINE, THE (FOX)
· MONY (NBC)
· MY NAME IS EARL (NBC)
· NICE GIRLS DON'T GET THE CORNER OFFICE (ABC)
· OFFICE, THE (NBC)
· PEPPER DENNIS (WB)
· REAPER (CW)
· REUNION (FOX)
· RICH INNER LIFE OF PENELOPE CLOUD, THE (CBS)
· RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (CBS)
· SAMANTHA WHO? (ABC)
· STARGATE: SG-1 (SYFY)
· STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP (NBC)
· THIS IS CULDESAC (NBC)
· TRAVELING IN PACKS (ABC)
· TWO AND A HALF MEN (CBS)
· TWO FAMILIES (FOX)
· UNTITLED KOHAN & MUTCHNICK PROJECT (CBS)
· UNTITLED SACHS & JUDAH PROJECT (ABC)
· UNTITLED VICTOR FRESCO PROJECT (FOX)
· WEEDS (SHOWTIME)
· WILDLIFE (NBC)
· WOMEN'S MURDER CLUB (ABC)
· ZIP (NBC)









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