[07/20/07 - 07:42 PM]
Development Update: Week of July 16-20
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!

BACKYARDS & BULLETS (NBC) - Kristin Lehman ("Drive") is the first to be cast in the drama pilot, about a suburban Neighborhood Watch group gone awry. She'll play the wife of the central character, the town's new chief detective. Charles McDougall is directing the hour from a script by co-creators Ed Decter and John J. Strauss.

BIONIC WOMAN (NBC) - Katee Sackhoff ("Battlestar Galactica"), who guest starred in the pilot, is set to continue on as a recurring. The last-minute deal won't affect her duties as a regular on "Galactica," which is currently in production on its final season.

BROTHERS & SISTERS (ABC) - Danny Glover, last seen on the small screen back in 2005 for "ER," has booked a recurring role on the drama's sophomore season. No details about his character were released other than he'll play a new love interest for Sally Field's character.

CAVEMEN (ABC) - Julie White ("Transformers") has been upped to a series regular on the freshman comedy, about three modern cavemen as they struggle to fit into society. She'll continue on in her role as the Southern belle mother to Kaitlin Doubleday's character, who is engaged to one of the cavemen.

THE CIRCUIT (ABC Family, New!) - Billy Campbell ("The 4400") and Michelle Trachtenberg ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") are set to topline a new original movie for the cable channel, about a racer whose career is on the decline (Campbell) who suddenly finds himself competing against his estranged daughter (Trachtenberg) on the track. Drew Fuller ("Army Wives") also stars as the love interest for Trachtenberg's character. Peter Werner will direct and serve as co-executive producer on the project, which is being written by Bill Hanley, with rewrites by Quinton Peeplescq and Janet Brownell. Telefilm gurus Frank von Zerneck and Robert Sertner then are executive producing alongside William Gilmore and Charles Lenhoff with Randy Sutter producing.

CRIMINAL MINDS (CBS) - Mandy Patinkin has officially exited the drama series following a week of speculation and rumor. ABC Studios, CBS Paramount Network Television and Patinkin all issued a joint statement on Monday confirming the news, which clarified that his departure "was not in any way connected to contract renegotiations or salary issues." It's understood his character will be written out in an early episode during the upcoming season but no specifics were given. Executive producer Ed Bernero further explained the situation in a statement to the "Criminal Minds Fanatic" blog, which can be read by clicking here.

THE CW AT THE TCA (The CW) - The netlet confirmed during its TCA session it has renewed its flagship series "America's Next Top Model" through the 2009-10 season, meaning at least six more cycles of the series will be produced. In addition, executives confirmed the second season of "The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll" will track the formation of a new female singing group dubbed Girlilicious, rather than a new search to find another member of the group itself. Season one winner Asia Nitollano opted for a solo career rather than to join the Dolls earlier this year. Finally, the network also revealed Chris Rock will make his first on-camera appearance on his series "Everybody Hates Chris" during its season premiere. He'll play a school guidance counselor, a role which could potentially recur.

DANCE X (ABC, New!) - "Dancing With the Stars" judges Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba are set to be the focus of a new reality competition series on the Alphabet. Based on the recently launched BBC series of the same name, the project will feature the duo as they try to find members of a musical troupe made up of people who can dance and sing. Tonioli and Inaba however won't be judges, they'll serve as coaches/choreographers of their own teams. The format then has each team performing an elaborate musical number with an audience vote determining the winner. The coach of the losing team then must eliminate one of their members. "Dancing's" BBC Worldwide is producing the series, which is being targeted to spell the two "Dance" cycles this season. At least six episodes of the series are set to be produced, with the results being reported at the start of the following week's episode.

GIANTS OF RADIO (CBS) - Creator Jason Winer has inked a one-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television, his first deal of said type to date. The pact calls for the actor/writer/director to develop new series projects for the studio with an eye toward directing the resulting effort. In addition, he's also expected to film another off-cycle pilot a la "Radio" in November, using the same loosely scripted style.

HEROES (NBC) - Dana Davis ("The Nine") is the latest addition to the show's ever-expanding cast. She'll play Monica, a hero who "would give up everything to help the people around her." Davis joins the previously cast new regular Dania Ramirez, as well as incoming recurring players Nick D'Agosto, Barry Shabaka Henley, Holt McCallany, David Anders, Eriko Tamura, Lyndsy Fonseca and Dianna Agron.

IN TREATMENT (HBO) - Emmy-winning director Paris Barclay has been tapped as a co-executive producer on the upcoming pay channel serial. It's understood he'll oversee half of the show's 45 episode order as well as direct several installments. There he'll serve alongside showrunner Rodrigo Garcia as well as fellow executive producers Hagai Levi, Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson. Noa Tishby also serves as a co-executive producer while Sarah Lum and Leonard Torgan are producing.

K-VILLE (FOX) - "Law & Order" alum Milena Govich has landed a potentially recurring role on the freshman drama. She'll play D.A. Lyndsey Swann on the series, which revolves around cops in post-Katrina New Orleans.

THE KINGDOM (CBS, New!) - The Eye has issued a hefty $2 million put pilot commitment for a new Middle Ages-based drama about four average young men, one of whom discovers he's heir to the throne. Chad Hodge ("Runaway") and Sony Pictures Television are behind the hour, which Barry Sonnenfeld ("Pushing Daisies") plans to direct. The network's commitment also includes a $3.5 million-$4 million license fee for the pilot and a more than $1.5 million series license fee per episode should it move forward. As for specifics, the series will explore how the new power changes the lives of the four friends, particularly the new King Lucas who'd rather drink and womanize than fulfill his new duties. Both Hodge and Sonnenfeld have overall deals at the studio.

LIPSTICK JUNGLE (NBC) - Executive producers/showrunners Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline have been let go from the series, marking another behind-the-scenes change for the long-in-the-works project. It's understood the network and studio hope to push the series in yet another creative direction as the search is underway for a new showrunner. Production on the series then has been postponed until November while the producers regroup. Candace Bushnell, whose book serves as the basis of the series, nevertheless remains attached as an executive producer.

SCRUBS (NBC)/WITHOUT A TRACE (CBS) - Buena Vista Television and Warner Bros. Domestic Television have cleared their respective show's syndicated runs through at least the 2009-10 season following their successful launches on local stations across the country this past season. Both companies doesn't receive cash license fees for the shows as they instead opt to hold half of its advertising for national ad sales. To date "Scrubs" is averaging a 1.8 household rating while "Trace" is garnering an average 3.0 household rating.

STANDOFF (FOX) - Craig Silverstein, creator of the short-lived drama, has inked a new three-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television. As part of the pact he'll join the studio's freshman drama "K-Ville" as an executive producer, where he'll serve alongside creator Jonathan Lisco. The deal replaces Silverstein existing pact, which had another year to go.

UGLY BETTY (ABC) - "Six Feet Under" alum Freddy Rodriguez has landed role on the show's upcoming second season. He'll play Giovanni, a potential new love interest for America Ferrera's character, who's described as a smart, ambitious, aggressive and lovable blue-collar guy who runs the office sandwich cart and prides himself in making each sandwich a work of art.

UNTITLED SNOOP DOGG PROJECT (E!, New!) - The cable channel has commissioned a new half-hour reality series featuring the beloved rap star. The project, which is currently untitled, will focus on Snoop (a.k.a. Calvin Broadus, Jr.) as he balances stardom and a music career with attempts to raise three kids and manage the youth football league he founded. The network is eying a late 2007 bow for the series, which will also feature appearances by Snoop's daughter and two sons, his wife Shante and a number of family pets. Snoop himself will executive produce the project alongside his manager, The Firm's Constance Schwartz, and Doggystyle Records/Snoopadelic Films chief Ted Chung.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [july 2007]  

· 4400, THE (USA)
· ER (NBC)

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