LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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CRIMINAL MINDS (CBS) - Chris Mundy, a co-executive producer on the series, has inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with co-producer the ABC Television Studio. The pact covers his duties on the veteran drama, which is a lock to return next season. He'll also develop new series projects for the studio.
DIVORCE COURT/JUDGE ALEX (Syndication) - Twentieth Television has extended both syndicated series through the 2008-09 season. The former, hosted by Lynn Toler, is currently in its eighth season while the Alex Ferrer-hosted latter is in the middle of its sophomore run.
FAITHFUL/THE SPORTSWRITER (HBO, New!) - The pay channel is developing a pair of sports-themed mini-series. First up is a small screen take on Stephen King and Stewart O'Nan's tome "Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season." Bill Diamond is on board to pen the project, which would track how the team - through the eyes of fans, players and the front office - ended its 86-year drought and won the 2004 World Series over the course of six one-hour installments. Bill Haber, via his Ostar Productions will executive produce while Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner is expected to receive a producing credit. Also in the works is an adaptation of Richard Ford's Pulitzer Prize-winning book trilogy about the life of New Jersey sportswriter Frank Bascombe. The books - "The Sportswriter," "Independence Day" and "The Lay of the Land" - tell the story of Bascombe's life from Vietnam to 9/11. James Mangold ("Walk the Line") is set to direct the planned six-hour project, which will be written by Mark Bomback ("Live Free or Die Hard") with Mangold and Cathy Konrad executive producing through their Tree Line banner.
FARMER WANTS A WIFE (The CW, New!) - The netlet has given an eight-episode order to a new reality dating series in which 10 women fed up with big city dating are introduced to a country-fried bachelor who offers the promise of the simple life. FremantleMedia North America's Cecile Frot-Coutaz and Super Delicious principals Adam Cohen, Cara Tapper and Joanna Vernetti are all behind the project, which is based on a UK format. As for specifics, it's understood the women will compete for "the farmer's" attention via a series of challenges designed to test their adeptness at farm living with one woman being sent home each week.
THE LIFE & TIMES OF TIM/PLAYING CHICKEN (FOX) - Veteran producer Tom Werner has signed a two-year overall deal with Warner Bros. Television. The news comes on the heels of the dissolution of his Werner-Gold-Miller banner with former partners Eric Gold and Jimmy Miller. The pact, which won't affect his current commitments to the FOX comedy pilots "The Life & Times of Tim" and "Playing Chicken," calls for him to develop new series projects for the studio alongside the company's former chief Mike Clements.
OUR THIRTIES (ABC) - Warren Littlefield has signed a two-year overall deal with the ABC Television Studio. The pact will keep his Littlefield Co. based at the studio where he'll continue to develop new series projects with his company's chief Andy Bourne. His last effort - the ensemble comedy "Our Thirties" for ABC - didn't make the cut for the 2006-07 season.
PEEP SHOW (Spike TV, New!) - The cable channel is the latest network to take a crack at importing the popular British comedy, about the lives and romantic pursuits of two very different twentysomething men. Robert Weide ("Curb Your Enthusiasm") is on board to potentially write and direct the half-hour as well as executive produce alongside Andrew O'Connor, Phil Clarke and RDF USA's Chris Coelen. U.K.-based Objective and RDF subsidiary Pangea then will co-produce. It's not clear how the U.S. version will vary from the U.K. original, which often featured P.O.V. shots from the characters themselves.
SUNSET TAN (E!, New!) - The cable channel has issued a six-episode order to a new reality series about the lives and loves of staffers and clients of a Los Angeles tanning salon. The project, from Mechelle Collins and Kevin Dill's Intuitive Entertainment ("Blow Out"), is set to bow on Monday, May 28 at 10:30/9:30c following the fifth season launch of "The Simple Life." Subsequent episodes then will air on Sundays at 10:30/9:30c. Among the storylines mentioned for the first season: twins who want to tan their names on their bodies; a dead person whose final wish was to be tan; and a Hawaiian Santa Claus looking to get bronzed.
TMZ (Syndication) - "Intervention" executive producer Bryn Freedman has been tapped as the day-to-day showrunner of the upcoming syndicated newsmagazine. Technically though, she'll serve as a co-executive producer reporting to executive producers Harvey Levin, managing editor of TMZ.com, and Jim Paratore, founder of paraMedia Inc. Also signing on: Charles Latibeaudiere as a supervising producer, Lee Brownstein as the show's director and Dana DeMars as the executive in charge of production. Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution is behind the half-hour, which has been cleared on stations covering 95% of the country for a September 10 launch.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters