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[03/12/07 - 12:24 AM]
Development Update: Monday, March 12
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 APOSTLES (FOX) - Meghan Markle ("CSI: NY") has scored a role on the drama pilot, about a group of cops whose pressure on the job often bleeds into their off-duty lives. She'll play the wife of Keith Robinson's character.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Grayson McCouch, Jessalyn Gilsig (Christine Rydell), Keith Robinson (John "Preacher" Calhoun), Leslie Hope (Dee), Meghan Markle (Kelly Calhoun), Shawn Hatosy (Peter), Yara Martinez (Erin)
Writer: Charles Pratt, Jr.
Director: David McNally
Executive Producers: Charles Pratt, Jr.
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television


BEDROOMS & BOARDROOMS (ABC) - Joshua Malina ("The West Wing") and Nia Long ("Boston Legal") have both been cast in the drama pilot, about four high-powered CEOs and CEOs-to-be (Dylan McDermott, Michael Vartan, Christopher Titus, Malina) who are friends and members of the same golf club. Malina will play Karl, the CEO of a large pharmaceutical company who is sweet but insecure, while Long is set as Katie, the "work wife" of Vartan's character.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Christopher Titus (Brody), Dylan McDermott (Duncan), Joshua Malina (Karl), Michael Vartan (James), Nia Long (Katie), Peyton List (Cameron)
Writer: Jon Harmon Feldman
Director: Charles McDougall
Executive Producers: Jon Harmon Feldman
Studio: Warner Bros. Television


FUGLY (CBS) - Nikki Cox ("Las Vegas"), Michael Rapaport ("The War at Home") and Tony Gentile ("Nacho Libre") have booked the final principal roles on the comedy pilot, about three siblings - identical twin sisters (Cox, Marissa Jaret Winokur) and a brother (Rapaport) - who buy one of the sisters (Cox) an extreme makeover and move to Hollywood to capitalize on her newfound good looks. Cox's character, Crystal Stump, is further detailed in the casting notice as follows: "27-31. Crystal is now a newly fledged swan who has recently been transformed through plastic surgery into a ravishingly beautiful and sexy woman with a knockout figure, after previously being a chubby plain-Jane. Crystal initially gets involved in her own private makeover drama when she travels home to North Carolina for her estranged father's funeral. Her brother Jack, who points out that no one in their family has any looks or brains, suggests that they sell their father's house and use the proceeds to "make one of us beautiful." Out of her three siblings, Crystal wins the bottle spin, and soon finds her newly gorgeous self in Hollywood, where she, Jack and her formerly identical twin sister Tammy intend to get rich off Crystal's new beauty. However, there's a big snag. Crystal is having trouble adjusting to her new status as a woman who turns heads instead of stopping clocks. Before, when she was "fugly," she could tell who was a shallow creep within moments of meeting them. Now, everyone treats her like a goddess, and it's hard to judge their true characters. However, as Tammy and Jack point out, Crystal is their "product," and they aren't leaving town until they see some pay-off on their "investment"."

Rapaport, whose involvement is in second position to the FOX comedy, then is set as Jack - "27-31. Crystal's ne'er-do-well brother, offbeat looking, and with a gambling problem. When Crystal sends him money for their father's funeral, Jack spends it all at the dog track and opts for a do-it-yourself ceremony, with the open casket in the kitchen. Jack, who points out that nobody in their family got any looks or brains, concocts the hare-brained scheme to sell their father's house, transform one of the three heirs into a knockout and move to L.A. to strike it rich. Crystal's transformation exceeds his wildest expectations. As Jack points out to Crystal, she's the "product," and he intends to sell her as the valuable commodity she has suddenly become." - with Gentile as Nathan - "10-14. Tammy's son. He's a clueless backwoods boy who was the result of one of his mother's drunken escapades. Nathan has been "home-schooled" by Tammy for years, and his schooling has been limited, to say the least. Now, he's enrolled in a public school in Los Angeles, where he's been relegated to the 4th grade, and where he has finally learned that long division is not a "myth," as Tammy had told him. Excited by the prospect of actually learning something, Nathan is shaping up to be an unexpectedly bright boy."

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Marissa Jeret Winokur (Tammy), Michael Rapaport (Jack), Nikki Cox (Crystal Stump), Tony Gentile (Nathan)
Writer: Greg Garcia
Director: Todd Holland
Executive Producers: Alan Kirschenbaum, Greg Garcia (Amigos de Garcia)
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television


LIFE ON MARS (ABC) - The Alphabet has pushed the pilot to midseason consideration, citing difficulties casting the lead role. The David E. Kelley-created hour revolves around a detective who somehow travels to the past where he works to solve his girlfriend's present-day abduction. Casting then is expected to resume after the current pilot season.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Rachelle Lefevre (Annie Cartright)
Writer: David E. Kelley
Director: Dwight Little
Executive Producers: David E. Kelley (David E. Kelley Productions), Jane Featherstone (Kudos Productions), Stephen Garrett (Kudos Productions)
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television


LITERARY SUPERSTAR (ABC, New!) - Jenna Elfman ("Courting Alex") is reportedly set to topline a new pilot for the Alphabet, about a book publicist who's intensely loyal to her clients and lobbies to continue working with smaller, quirkier authors. The single-camera half-hour, which is close to landing a pilot order with a penalty attached if it doesn't move forward to series. Bestselling Australian novelist Matthew Reilly penned the pilot script and will executive produce alongside Darren Star and his Sony Pictures Television-based banner. Production however wouldn't begin until the fall, after the currently pregnant Elfman gives birth to her child. In the meantime, Elfman is set to guest star on the Alphabet's freshman drama "Brothers & Sisters," where she'll play Lizzy Jones, a pregnant woman who is a rival to Calista Flockhart's character.

Commitment: Script
Cast: Jenna Elfman
Writer: Matthew Reilly
Director: TBA
Executive Producers: Darren Star (Darren Star Productions), Matthew Reilly
Studio: Sony Pictures Television


NASCAR IN PRIMETIME (ABC, New!) - Production has begun on a new documentary series that will take a behind-the-scenes look at the world of NASCAR. ABC News' All Media/Longform Unit ("NYPD 24/7") is behind the project, which is expected to air in the late summer/early fall. Between four and six hours are set to be produced of the series, which began shooting Friday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The series also marks the first time that NASCAR has allowed unfettered access to its behind-the-scenes workings and won't have editorial control over the finished product. Rudy Bednar and Michael Bicks are the executive producers.

Commitment: Ordered to series (four to six episodes)
Cast: TBA
Writer: TBA
Director: TBA
Executive Producers: Michael Bicks, Rudy Bednar
Studio: ABC News


PHILADELPHIA GENERAL (FOX) - Eliza Dushku ("Tru Calling") and Jaclyn DeSantis ("Windfall") have both been cast in the pilot, a comedic drama about the lives and loves of a team of nurses. Dushku will take over for Katheryn Winnick in the lead role of Eve Miller while DeSantis is set as Joanne "Jo" Moser, the project's final principal role. It's understood Winnick was recast after the character was taken in a different, more comedic direction. As for specifics, Dushku's character is detailed as follows: "Early-Mid 20s, Caucasian, our newbie. Natural good looks, inviting eyes, youthful energy, wise beyond her years. She's strong but has vulnerability. A former screw-up who's starting over, trying to turn over a new leaf, returning to, of all places, the hospital her father runs. She's had her share of partying and wrong guys, so she's been around the block and is wise beyond her years. Deep down, she's a good girl who just wants a relationship with her father. The fact that her arrogant stepbrother, Kurt, is also a doctor on staff at the hospital, complicates matters a bit, not to mention erodes Eve's self-confidence to a dangerous degree. However, when Eve heroically resuscitates a dying patient, she realizes that she's good at what she's doing - and she's exactly where she's meant to be."

DeSantis' character then is detailed in the casting notice as follows: "Late 20s-Early 30s. Attractive. She's pragmatic, a little gruff, a smart ass and great at what she does. She's our most senior nurse. She's in the midst of a nasty divorce from the lawyer husband she put through law school and is effectively raising their 9-year-old son alone. Her hard edge covers up a very human, softer side. Jo is having a serious affair with the handsome, sensitive Patrick, who is the antithesis of her "jackass" husband in every way. But she might not be ready to commit to anyone yet, and her hesitancy causes some friction in her new relationship."

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Brett Dalton (Dr. Kurt Taylor), Drew Sidora (Becca DiMato), Eliza Dushku (Eve Miller), Gregory Harrison (Dr. Richard Miller), Jaclyn DeSantis (Joanne "Jo" Moser), Melinda Page Hamilton (Margo MacDonald), Ramon Rodriguez (Patrick Quinn), Sara Rue (Chris Korenek)
Writers: Andy Stern, Samantha Goodman
Director: P.J. Hogan
Executive Producers: Ann McManus (Shed Productions), Barry Josephson (Josephson Entertainment), Eileen Gallagher (Shed Productions), P.J. Hogan
Co-Executive Producers: Andy Stern, Samantha Goodman
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television


SKIP TRACER (CBS) - Beverly D'Angelo ("Entourage") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about a guy (Stephen Dorff) who finds people who have tried to disappear. D'Angelo will play Donna King, the mother of Dorff's character who is in prison for the murder of her husband. Also landing a role: Jackie Burroughs ("Deck the Halls") as Florence, an elderly tenant in Skip's building.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Cast: Beverly D'Angelo (Donna King), Jackie Burroughs (Florence), Martha Higareda (Jennifer), Stephen Dorff (Skip Tracer)
Writers: Mitchell Burgess, Robin Green
Director: Stephen Frears
Executive Producers: Mitchell Burgess, Robin Green, Stephen Dorff, Stephen Frears, Tucker Tooley (Media Talent Group)
Studio: CBS Paramount Network Television


TWILIGHT (CBS) - Amber Valletta ("Hitch") has signed onto the drama pilot, about a PI (Alex O'Laughlin) who is a vampire. She's set as his timeless love, a vampire who made him immortal after biting him on their wedding night.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot (14-20 minute presentation)
Cast: Alex O'Laughlin, Amber Valletta, 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


THE WORLD ACCORDING TO BARNES (The CW) - Autumn Reeser ("The O.C.") and David Walton ("Heist") have both scored roles on the drama pilot, about a brilliant graduate student (Ryan Devlin) and his friends, who use their skills to solve crimes. Reeser will play the down-to-earth girlfriend of Devlin's character, a paralegal and the daughter of an FBI agent, while Walton is set as a chemistry student, the class' stud.

Commitment: Ordered to pilot (14-20 minute presentation)
Cast: Autumn Reeser, David Walton, Hank Harris (Ronald), Ryan Devlin (Bobby Barnes), Tim Matheson
Writer: Tom Wheeler
Director: Jason Ensler
Executive Producers: Andrew Plotkin (Class IV Productions), Steve Pearlman (Class IV Productions), Tom Wheeler
Studio: Warner Bros. Television


Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters





  [march 2007]  
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· APOSTLES, THE (FOX)
· BIG SHOTS (ABC)
· BOSTON LEGAL (ABC)
· BROTHERS & SISTERS (ABC)
· COURTING ALEX (CBS)
· CSI: NEW YORK (CBS)
· DEVELOPMENT UPDATE (TFC)
· ENTOURAGE (HBO)
· HEIST (NBC)
· LAS VEGAS (NBC)
· LIFE ON MARS (ABC)
· LITERARY SUPERSTAR (ABC)
· MOONLIGHT (CBS)
· NASCAR IN PRIMETIME (ABC)
· NURSES (FOX)
· NYPD 24/7 (ABC)
· OC, THE (FOX)
· SKIP TRACER (CBS)
· STUMPS OF HOLLYWOOD, THE (CBS)
· TRU CALLING (FOX)
· WAR AT HOME, THE (FOX)
· WEST WING, THE (NBC)
· WINDFALL (NBC)
· WORLD ACCORDING TO BARNES, THE (CW)









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