[03/08/07 - 12:05 AM]
Development Update: Thursday, March 8
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!

THE CALL (ABC) - Kal Penn ("24") and Kali Rocha ("Grey's Anatomy") have landed the final principal roles on the comedy pilot, about a team of L.A. paramedics (Penn, Danny Comden). Penn's character, Ian Wode, is further detailed in the casting notice as: "27-35. He is Nick's partner. Ian is neurotic but capable. He's a pessimist, a hypochondriac, and a worrier, though he never flinches. He'll reel off one thousand disastrous "worst-case scenarios" for the stuff they're currently facing, but consistently proves fearless when push comes to shove - the kind of fearless that bitches about what he's doing the entire time he's doing it. He's got 12 years in (four more than Nick) so technically he's the senior paramedic in the sled, and he reminds Nick of this periodically. Nick gives him a hard time about the "rank" thing almost constantly - while telling those on the outside that he's the best paramedic he's ever seen. Ian's superpower is his encyclopedic knowledge of all things medical - and chemical and literary and gastronomical - the guy knows everything about everything. However, he lacks the emotional intelligence of his partner."

Rocha then is playing the paramedics' boss, a role which was originally written as a man. Said character, Walt "The Wolf" Wolfram, is detailed as follows: "Late 30s-Early 50s. He is the regional director for Aurora/Healthco, the mega-corporation that employs our heroes. The Wolf is a self-important, small-minded bureaucrat who understands the bottom line and nothing more. He sees the patients saved by Nick & Co. not as people, but as numbers. The Wolf hates Nick because of Nick's disregard for authority, but won't fire Nick because he's too goddamn good. His only friend is his long-suffering, dead-pan assistant, Jeff."

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Danny Comden (Nick Adams), Jodi Lyn O'Keefe (Jenna "Kinky" Kincaid), John Francis Daley (Tom Timlin), Kal Penn (Ian Wode), Kali Rocha ("The Wolf")
Writer: Dave Hemingson
Director: Michael Spiller
Executive Producers: Bob Cochran (Real Time Productions), Dave Hemingson, Howard Gordon (Real Time Productions), Joel Surnow (Real Time Productions)
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television

THE CAPTAIN (CBS) - Jeffrey Tambor ("Arrested Development") has scored a role on the comedy pilot, about a young writer (Fran Kranz) who moves into a legendary Hollywood apartment building. He'll play a retired TV writer who lives in the building.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Fran Kranz (Josh), Jeffrey Tambor, JoAnna Garcia (Hope), Valerie Azlynn (Astrid)
Writer: John Hamburg
Director: John Hamburg
Executive Producers: John Hamburg
Studio: CBS Paramount Network Television

GYPSY & ME (HBO, New!) - Sigourney Weaver ("The Village") is set to topline a new original movie for the cable channel, about famed 1950s burlesque artist Gypsy Rose Lee who after retiring from the stage became a bestselling author and got her life story turned into a musical. The project is based on "My G-String Mother: At Home and Backstage With Gypsy Rose Lee," her memoir that was written by her son Erik Lee Preminger, who, by the tender age of 12, was acting as her stage manager. Martin Sherman ("Mrs. Henderson Presents") is penning the pilot script with Weaver and Laurence Mark ("Dreamgirls") executive producing. David Blackman is also believed to be serving as a producer.

Commitment: Script
Cast: Sigourney Weaver (Gypsy Rose Lee)
Writer: Martin Sherman
Director: TBA
Executive Producers: Laurence Mark, Sigourney Weaver
Producer: David Blackman
Studio: TBA

THE HILL (ABC) - Michelle Trachtenberg ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") has scored a lead role on the comedy pilot, about an aide (Eric Christian Olsen) to a Democratic senator (Wendie Malick) who falls for the daughter (Trachtenberg) of his boss' archnemesis. No other details were released.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Eric Christian Olsen, Michelle Trachtenberg, Wendie Malick
Writer: Shana Goldberg-Meehan
Director: Andy Ackerman
Executive Producers: Shana Goldberg-Meehan
Studio: Warner Bros. Television

JOURNEYMAN (NBC) - Gretchen Egolf ("Roswell"), Brian Howe ("N.C.I.S.") and newcomer Charlie Wyson have all landed roles on the drama pilot, about a man (Kevin McKidd) who travels back in time to alter and fix the lives of people in trouble, but by recalibrating the past, he sometimes affects the future. Egolf will play Katie Vasser, the wife of McKidd's character. Her role of Katie Vasser is further detailed in the casting notice as: "30, any ethnicity. Dan's wife, smart, witty, sexy, the kind of woman who gets marriage proposals on the first date, Katie is a former journalist herself who gave up her career to stay home and be with their son Zack (a fact she sometimes needles Dan with, even though she's devoted to Zack). Katie's gone through some rough patches with Dan in their marriage, notably regarding his gambling addiction, and there's a certain amount of apprehension mixed with her love for him. Katie grows increasingly concerned and suspicious when Dan suddenly begins disappearing for hours/days at a time, and then shows up with the unlikely explanation that he's time traveling. Unbeknownst to the contemporary Katie, Dan sees a much younger Katie in his travels, when she's dating his brother Jack and expecting Dan to marry Livia. Although living in the present in the series, her life is no less challenging."

Howe then is set as Hugh Skillen - "40-50. Dan's editor and boss at the San Francisco Register, has a dry sense of humor and great respect for Dan, who is his star reporter. Aware of Dan's past problems with gambling, Hugh is on alert when Dan suddenly starts disappearing and missing deadlines. A family friend, Hugh arranges with Katie and other friends and family for an intervention." - while Wyson is playing Zack Vasser - "6, Caucasian. Dan and Katie's son. He's a good kid who tells his dad he's going to be playing the theme from Rugrats for the school recital, even though he knows his dad's attendance record can be spotty. Zack is probably aware of the current strain on his parents' marriage with his father's unexpected disappearances, but he seems fiercely loyal and confident in his dad."

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Brian Howe (Hugh Skillen), Charlie Wyson (Zack Vasser), Gretchen Egolf (Katie Vasser), Kevin McKidd (Dan Vasser), Moon Bloodgood (Livia Beale), Reed Diamond (Jack Vasser)
Writer: Kevin Falls
Director: Alex Graves
Executive Producers: Alex Graves, Kevin Falls
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television

LOS DUQUES (CBS) - Emmy-winner Hector Elizondo ("Chicago Hope") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about three generations of a powerful Latin American family. He'll play Pancho Duque, the patriarch of said clan, husband to Amalia (Rita Moreno) and father to Frank (Nestor Carbonell), Alex (Jimmy Smits) and Henry (Eddie Matos). Also signing on: Newcomer Sam Carmen, Alona Tal ("Veronica Mars"), Lina Esco ("C.S.I.: N.Y.") and Colombian actress Paola Turbay. Turbay is set as Isabel, the wife of Jimmy Smits' character while Carmen and Esco will play their children Artie and Katie, respectively. (The previously cast Michael Trevino also plays one of their kids, Jamie). Finally, Tal's character is Rebecca King, Jamie's girlfriend.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Alona Tal (Rebecca King), Eddie Matos (Henry Duque), Hector Elizondo (Pancho Duque), Jimmy Smits (Alex Vega), Lina Esco (Katie Vega), Michael Trevino (Jaime Vega), Nestor Carbonell (Frank Duque), Paola Turbay (Isabel Vega), Rita Moreno (Amalia Duque), Sam Carmen (Artie Vega)
Writer: Cynthia Cidre
Director: Christian Duguay
Executive Producers: Cynthia Cidre, Jimmy Iovine (Interscope Records), Jimmy Smits (El Sendero Productions), Jonathan Prince, Polly Anthony (Interscope Records)
Studios: ABC Television Studio, CBS Paramount Network Television

THE MAN (CBS) - Mia Maestro ("Alias") and David Castro ("A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints") have both joined the cast of the drama pilot, about an undercover cop (LL Cool J) who juggles his job and his adopted children. Maestro will play Dr. Lola Fiero, who's described in the casting notice as: "This 28 years old Latina from Brooklyn attended UCLA Medical School and now works at Cedars Sinai, where she frequently comes into contact with Manny. During their coy flirtations, it's clear they feel a mutual attraction for one another that may blossom into a relationship down the line. She is touched by Manny's concern for Kiko."

Castro then is set as Kiko, who's likewise detailed as: "10, Latino. He loves to play baseball and gets his coaching from his dad who does drug deals in between innings. Worn by the life his father has exposed him to, he knowingly swallows the drugs hidden in his house in an effort to keep his father from going back to jail. He survives this close call and now faces, yet again, entering into the foster care system. He faces the reality of his life as bravely as a ten year old can and is heartened at Manny's apparent care for him."

Commitment: Ordered to pilot (14-20 minute presentation)
Cast: David Castro (Kiko), Jessica Collins (Constance Brielle), LL Cool J (Manny "The Man" Baxter), Melinda Clarke (Lt. Brooke McClusky), Mia Maestro (Dr. Lola Fiero)
Writer: Anthony Zuiker
Director: Simon West
Executive Producers: Anthony Zuiker, Simon West
Producers: Jason Barrett (Alchemy Entertainment), LL Cool J
Studio: CBS Paramount Network Television

MARLOWE (ABC) - Adam Goldberg ("Joey") and Sherman Augustus ("N.C.I.S.") have both landed roles in the pilot, a procedural drama centering on P.I. Philip Marlowe (Jason O'Mara). Goldberg will play an L.A.P.D. detective who helps him with Augustus as John Whelan, an unspecified character.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Adam Goldberg, Amanda Righetti (Nancy Andreeson), Jason O'Mara (Philip Marlowe), Sherman Augustus (John Whelan)
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

N.S.A. INNOCENT (FOX) - British actor Stephen Moyer (USA's "The Starter Wife") has been tapped for the lead role on the drama pilot, which centers on a family man (Moyer) recruited by the N.S.A. His character, Paul Fisher, is further described in the casting notice as follows: "Late 30's-Early 40's. He's the NSA innocent. Athletic, but also intellectual, he is a scientist at home in the world of ideas and abstractions. Married with a sixteen year old son, his family life is undergoing some strains, which are greatly increased when the NSA forces him to spy for them, in absolute secrecy (even from his wife) on a co-worker suspected of treason. In the course of the pilot, and the series, Paul will discover inner resources and strength which allow him to survive in this unfamiliar and brutal world."

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Stana Katic (Baker), Stephen Moyer (Paul Fisher)
Writers: Bob Cochran, David Ehrman
Director: Jon Cassar
Executive Producers: Bob Cochran (Real Time Productions), David Ehrman, Howard Gordon (Real Time Productions), Joel Surnow (Real Time Productions)
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television

PLAYING CHICKEN (FOX) - Comedian Bill Burr ("Chappelle's Show") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about two brothers (Norbert Leo Butz, Burr) with opposite political views who are forced to live together. He'll play Tim, said brother in the half-hour.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Bill Burr (Tim), Marianne Muellerleile (Donna), Norbert Leo Butz (Jake)
Writers: John Morris, Sean Anders
Director: John Pasquin
Executive Producers: Eric Gold (Werner-Gold-Miller), Jimmy Miller (Werner-Gold-Miller), Tom Werner (Werner-Gold-Miller)
Co-Executive Producers: John Morris, Sean Anders
Studio: Warner Bros. Television

THE RICH INNER LIFE OF PENELOPE CLOUD (CBS) - Nick D'Agosto ("Related") and Erick Avari ("Heroes") have both scored roles on the comedy pilot, about a brilliant writer (Tomei) who tries to recapture her youthful optimism. The former is set as Ivy, who's described in the casting notice as: "22. This sensitive, talented, oddly appealing male grad student (real name: August Walbridge IV - hence, "Ivy") with curly hair is being pressured by his father to drop out of the English program at Berkeley and follow in the family business - Senator. He shows up tipsy to Penelope's office with 500 pages of his "short" story. He's in awe of her, and when she inadvertently plagiarizes his work for her reading, he is flattered, not angry. Despite (or because of) their age difference, they feel an attraction to one another that culminates in some heated kissing."

Avari then is set as Dr. Hakim - "60s, burly and dignified, this matter of fact, wry, kind yet tough Middle-Eastern therapist replaces Penelope's prescription-happy doctor and sets her on a new path. Having attended Baghdad University, now pretty much rubble, he has a clear-cut view of what actually constitutes a "rough life", and it ain't Penelope's. He firmly tells Penelope that unless she gives up Ativan, she will never write again."

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Erick Avari (Dr. Hakim), Marisa Tomei (Penelope Cloud), Nick D'Agosto (Ivy)
Writer: Jeff Greenstein
Director: TBA
Executive Producers: Jeff Greenstein
Studios: ABC Television Studio, CBS Paramount Network Television

TWILIGHT (CBS) - Shannon Lucio ("The O.C.") and Alex O'Laughlin ("The Shield") have both been cast in the drama pilot, about a private investigator (O'Laughlin) who also is a vampire. Lucio then is set as an ambitious TV reporter who becomes close with him. In addition, Rod Holcomb ("Shark") has come aboard to direct the project.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot (14-20 minute presentation)
Cast: Alex O'Laughlin, Shannon Lucio
Writers: Ron Koslow, Trevor Munson
Director: Rod Holcomb
Executive Producers: Gerard Bocaccio, Joel Silver (Silver Pictures), Ron Koslow, Trevor Munson
Studio: Warner Bros. Television

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [march 2007]  

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