[09/14/07 - 08:45 PM] Development Update: Week of September 10-14 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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BIONIC WOMAN (NBC) - Jason Katims ("Friday Night Lights") has been tapped as a consulting producer on the freshman drama, which launches later this month on the Peacock. He'll help fill the void left by the departure of Glen Morgan last week. There he'll serve alongside executive producers David Eick and Jason Smilovic.
BLUE BLOOD (NBC) - The Peacock is redeveloping Brett Ratner and Neil Tolkin police drama's for FOX. The project, which is based on Ed Conlon's 2004 autobiography, revolves around a rookie NYPD police officer - a Harvard grad who decides to return to the family beat of law enforcement. Ratner is on board to helm the hour, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television. He'll also executive produce via his Rat Television banner alongside creator Tolkin and Little Engine Productions's Gina Matthews and Grant Scharbo. Production on the pilot, originally given a put pilot order by FOX last season, is set to begin later this year in New York.
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC) - Sabrina Wind has been upped to executive producer on the series. She previously served as a non-writing supervising producer on the drama, working as creator Marc Cherry's right-hand person for day-to-day production matters. In addition, Wind runs Cherry's self-titled production company. Separately, Sarah Paulson ("Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip") is set to guest star on the series. She'll play the sister of Felicity Huffman's character. Likewise Robert Forster is also set to appear, while Shirley Knight and Jesse Metcalfe will reprise their previous roles.
FAMILY MAN (TNT) - Martin Mull ("Sabrina, the Teenage Witch") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a respected father (William H. Macy) of three, upright citizen and advice-dispensing pillar of his community by day and the leader of a somewhat dysfunctional, bickering gang of burglars by night. He'll play the older brother of Macy's character, a member of Mensa who used to manage hotels but who now can't hold down a job at Astroburger. Sony Pictures Television is co-producing the project alongside Craig Zadan and Neil Meron's Storyline Entertainment.
FAMILY PRACTICE (Lifetime) - Anne Archer ("Ghost Whisperer") is the latest addition to the Sony Pictures Television-based pilot, about a woman (Joey Honsa) from South Chicago who becomes entangled with members of the affluent Kinglare family at one of the city's law firms. She's set as one of said clan - Helena Kinglare, who has built a formidable pro bono practice after spending much of her adult life raising her children and living in the shadow of her lawyer husband William Kinglare (Beau Bridges). Also landing roles - Cheyenne Jackson ("United 93") and Michael Muhney ("Veronica Mars") as the two Kinglare sons - Sebastian, who lives life to the fullest while looking for loopholes to avoid doing actual work; and Kent, the youngest member who tries to escape the family's shadow by becoming a public defender, respectively.
THE INTERROGATOR (NBC, New!) - J.D. Roth and Todd Nelson ("The Biggest Loser") has booked a new game show at the Peacock in which five contestants are pitted against each other to determine which of five safes features the key to a large cash prize. The twist however is that an "interrogator" is used to discern which contestants are lying and which are telling the truth. The winning contestant then must use the information they've learned to determine which of the safes to open. "Interrogator" is based on a Dutch format from Eyeworks, a major shareholder in Roth and Nelson's 3 Ball Productions banner.
THE IT CROWD (NBC) - The Peacock reported is close to pulling the plug on the hybrid multi-/single-camera comedy. It's understood that the network's new regime - chief Ben Silverman and top lieutenant Teri Weinberg - aren't high on the show. Production however has yet to begin on the show as scripts are still being written. It's not clear when the final decision will be made. Universal Media Studios and FremantleMedia North America are behind the project, which stars Joel McHale and Rocky Carroll.
LONG ISLAND CONFIDENTIAL (Lifetime, New!) - Jan Oxenberg ("Kidnapped") has scored a pilot order from the cable channel for a new drama about a detective who returns to her Long Island roots and learns that it's hard to escape one's past. The project is based at ABC Studios with Lawrence Bender and Kevin Brown executive producing alongside Oxenberg. Guy Bee ("Criminal Minds") is also on board to direct the hour, which is set in New York but will be shot in Toronto.
THE MIDDLEMAN (ABC Family, New!) - Javier Grillo-Marxuach ("Medium") is reportedly close to a pilot order from the network for a new drama based on his Viper Comics property, illustrated by Les McClaine, of the same name. The project centers on a twentysomething struggling artist recruited by a secret agency to fight comic book-type villains. Grillo-Marxuach penned the pilot on spec with production then contingent on finding a budget.
MISS/GUIDED (ABC) - "30 Rock's" Chris Parnell has joined the cast of the midseason comedy, about an ugly duckling (Judy Greer) who returns to her alma mater as a guidance counselor. He'll play a new character - Bruce, a rival guidance counselor. Caroline Williams is behind the project, which is co-produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Katalyst Films.
MY BOYS (TBS) - The cable channel is reportedly on track to renew the series for a second season of at least eight episodes. The freshman comedy averaged 1.5 million total viewers for the back half of its run, up slightly from the 1.4 million it averaged in the first half. The series, from Sony Pictures Television, Pariah and Two Out Rally Productions, then will presumably return next summer.
THE OAKS (FOX) - Bahar Soomekh ("Day Break"), Matt Lanter ("Shark") and Shannon Lucio ("The O.C.") are the first to be cast in the drama, which tells the intertwined stories of three families - a young couple who have just lost a child in 1968, a family of four in 1988 and a pregnant couple in 2008 - who live in the same house and are haunted by a restless spirit. Soomekh will play Hollis, the pregnant woman, who's detailed in the casting notice as follows: "Early-Mid 30s. Present Day. Attractive, and very much in love with her husband Dan, Hollis is a busy, highly educated, capable executive who is a type A personality and speaks several languages and is constantly checking her Blackberry and rescheduling meetings. She's a bit nervous about her pregnancy (her first) as well as the massive renovations she and Dan are making on their new home, but the couple's relationship is strong and we sense they will overcome any hurdles. The one bone of contention they can't seem to agree on, however, is whether or not to test the baby for disabilities; a concept that is brought clearer into focus when they meet their next-door neighbor Jessica, a beautiful, developmentally disabled woman who seems to have a history with Dan."
Lucio and Lanter then will play the 1968 couple, Sarah - "Early-Mid 20s, pretty but quietly devastated, she lives in The Oaks house in 1967 with her reticent husband Mike. She and Mike lost their daughter Amelia within the year, and the death has sapped them of their will to continue as a family. Sarah is trying hard to restore their closeness, but her attempts to seek counseling from their Priest only leave the couple feeling more bereft. Occasionally, Sarah believes she senses Amelia's presence, or hears her voice." - and Mike - "Early-Mid 20s, he lives in The Oaks house in 1967 with his young wife, Sarah. He works at his father's company and has a stoic, "strong but silent" personality. It's difficult to know what he's feeling, because he keeps his emotions hidden, but it slowly becomes clear that the loss of his only daughter, Amelia, has absolutely destroyed him. He wants to re-connect with his wife, but he doesn't know how, and every time he looks at her, all he can see is Amelia. Mike seems to be under his father's thumb, but at a tense family dinner, he stands up to his parents and defends his wife." Michael Cuesta is directing the 20th Century Fox Television/Little Engine-based project hour from a script by David Schulner.
THE PRISONER (AMC) - Co-producer Sky One has pulled out of the upcoming limited series, a remake of the U.K. original cult classic. Richard Woolfe, the company's chief, said in an interview with Digital Spy: "'The Prisoner' is not happening. It's a very quintessentially British drama and there were too many creative differences trying to share it with an American partner. I didn't want to be responsible for taking something that is quintessentially British and adapting it in a way that I didn't feel was reflective of the way people would remember it and the way people would want it to be. So we called time on that." AMC nevertheless is planning to continue with the project with fellow co-producer Granada International.
THE TALISMAN (TNT) - Production on the six-hour mini-series has been postponed as the producers try sort out budgetary issues on the project due to its elaborate special effects. The news marks the latest stumbling block for Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy's nearly 25-year effort to adapt the Stephen King/Peter Straub novel - about a boy's quest through this world and a parallel world known as the Territories to find a talisman that will save his mother - including aborted efforts on TV (Mick Garris penned a version for ABC in 2000) and film (Richard LaGravenese, Ehren Kruger, Carlo Bernard and Doug Miro all wrote drafts while Vadim Perelman and Ed Zwick were both attached to direct at various points). It's not clear if the project is still on target for a summer 2008 premiere.
TAPPED (NBC, New!) - Adam Gibgot has set up a new drama at the network about a group of people who realize they are somehow plugged into a frequency at which God is transmitting messages to them. Said recipients then use the messages to help humanity - one person at a time. No studio was mentioned as being attached.
UNDER (A&E) - Charles Murray's drama script, about an NYPD patrolman who is unable to escape his past as a member of the witness protection program, is the latest to receive a cast-contingent pilot order from the network. Gary Randall and Nancy Miller ("Saving Grace") are executive producing the hour, which is set up at Fox Television Studios. Murray penned the pilot script and will executive produce alongside the duo.
UNTITLED DAVID HUDGINS PROJECT (NBC, New!) - David Hudgins ("Friday Night Lights") is set to team with Dick Wolf ("Law & Order") for a new character-based procedural revolving around two brothers who are senior partners in a medical malpractice law firm, one of which is a doctor. The pair then will executive produce alongside Nena Rodrigue via Wolf's Universal Media Studios-based Wolf Films. It's understood the untitled hour will explore big issues such a medical ethics, how diseases should be handled and the impact of medical decisions on families.
UNTITLED GARZA SISTERS PROJECT (Lifetime, New!) - The cable channel is developing a new scripted comedy around identical twin sisters Natalie and Nicole Garza ("Campus Ladies"). No specifics about the project however were released.
UNTITLED GIGI LEVANGIE GRAZER PROJECT (NBC, New!) - Gigi Levangie Grazer ("The Starter Wife") is developing a new dramedy at the Peacock about a couple in their 30s who are going though a divorce. Universal Media Studios is behind the project, which Grazer hopes will show a "new, evolved way to get through divorce." As for specifics, said couple is a college professor moonlighting as a controversial political blogger, and his wife, who works at a private school and volunteers at a juvenile prison. The pair don't have enough money to split right away, so they continue to live under the same roof with their two children, ages 14 and 8.
THE WEDDING BELLS (FOX) - Michael Landes has inked a talent holding deal with the network and 20th Century Fox Television. The pact, like most of its type, calls for the pair to develop a new series project around the actor or cast him in one of its existing properties in development.
WISEGAL (Lifetime, New!) - Alyssa Milano ("Charmed") is set to topline a new docudrama for the cable channel about the true story of Patty Montanari, a widow with two young sons who become romantically involved with a captain in a Brooklyn crime family and was persuaded to work as a courier for the organization, transporting millions of dollars from Canada into the U.S. Joe Pistone, whose life was detailed in the 1997 feature "Donnie Brasco," is executive producing the project with Daniel H. Blatt, Leo Rossi and Anthony Melchiorri via the former's Daniel H. Blatt Productions. Jerry Ciccoritti is directing from a script by Shelley Evans with Danielle McVickers co-producing.