LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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3 KINGS (MTV, New!) - RDF USA ("Wife Swap") and Ashton Kutcher's Katalyst Films ("Punk'd") are developing a U.S. version of the British reality format of the same name. Said project, which will be shot in front of an audience, revolves around a set of masked contestants - possibly Kutcher himself or other celebrities - competing in a series of offbeat challenges focused on three separate areas: speed, skill and pain. Among the possibilities: tossing items at a bull until the bull chases them out of a ring. The winner then assumes the role of "king" while the losers are unmasked. MTV has given a pilot order to the project, which will be executive produced by Chris Coelen, Greg Goldman, Jason Goldberg and Kutcher via their respective companies.
Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Executive Producers: Ashton Kutcher, Chris Coelen, Greg Goldman, Jason Goldberg
Studios: Katalyst Films, RDF USA
DAMAGES (A.K.A. UNTITLED KESSLERS & ZELMAN PROJECT) (FX) - The cable channel has given a series order of 13 episodes to the project, a legal drama toplined by Glenn Close. Production is set to begin next month in New York for a late summer premiere. Noah Bean, Rose Byrne, Tate Donovan, Ted Danson and Zeljko Ivanek also star in the Sony Pictures Television-based hour, which comes from co-creators Daniel Zelman, Glenn Kessler and Todd A. Kessler. Allen Coulter directed the pilot.
Commitment: Ordered to series (13 episodes)
Cast: Glenn Close (Patty Hewes), Noah Bean (David), Rose Byrne (Ellen Parsons), Tate Donovan (Tom Kent), Ted Danson (Arthur Frobisher), Zeljko Ivanek (Ray Fiske)
Writers: Daniel Zelman, Glenn Kessler, Todd A. Kessler
Director: Allen Coulter
Executive Producers: Daniel Zelman, Glenn Kessler, Todd A. Kessler
Studio: Sony Pictures Television
THE GREAT AMERICAN SINGING BEE (NBC, New!) - The Peacock and Britain's ITV are both developing a new game show format in which contestants "sing in the blanks" when presented with partial song lyrics. The Gurin Co.'s Phil Gurin ("Weakest Link") and Juma Entertainment's Bob Horowitz ("Battle of the Network Reality Stars") are behind both projects, the ITV version of which is expected to hit the airwaves first. As for specifics, each episode reportedly starts with 28 contestants onstage who are then eliminated by being asked to sing a word, phrase or entire verse of a song, depending on the round. The winner then will take home an unspecified prize. NBC is said to be close to ordering a pilot for the project with an eye towards fast-tracking its production.
Commitment: Ordered to pilot
Executive Producers: Bob Horowitz, Phil Gurin
Studios: The Gurin Company, Juma Entertainment
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters