[09/21/07 - 06:49 PM]
Development Update: Week of September 17-21
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!

DE LA HOYA/MAYWEATHER 24/7 (HBO) - HBO has quietly ordered a second season of the "24/7" series, this time focusing on Floyd Mayweather's upcoming bout against Ricky Hatton on December 8. The new season will bow on Sunday, November 18 at 10:00/9:00c with additional episodes on November 25, December 2 and Thursday, December 6 - all at 10:00/9:00c. The original four-episode effort drew an average of 4.7 million viewers when all of its weekly airings were factored in.

EAST BOUND AND DOWN (HBO) - The pay channel has commissioned five episodes (in addition to its pilot) of the single-camera comedy, about a burned-out professional baseball pitcher (Danny McBride) who returns to his hometown in the North Carolina, where the only job he can find is as a substitute gym teacher. McBride himself co-wrote the pilot alongside Ben Best and Jody Hill, the latter of which directed. The trio will also executive produce the series with Chris Henchy, Adam McKay and Will Ferrell via their Gary Sanchez Productions banner. Katy Mixon, John Hawkes and Andrew Daly also star.

ELEVENTH HOUR (CBS, New!) - Jerry Bruckheimer is importing the Patrick Stewart-led U.K. series for the Eye in what's being billed as the biggest TV pact this development season. The network has given a put pilot commitment to the Warner Bros. Television-based project, including a $4 million pilot and potentially 12 additional episodes at a license fee of $1.75 million. The series, which ran in the U.S. on BBC America in December of last year, revolves around a special science adviser to the government (Stewart) who, with his feisty female bodyguard in tow, saves people from the worst abuses of science. Mick Davis ("The Invisible") is penning the U.S. version with Danny Cannon ("CSI: Crime Scene Investigation") attached to direct. The pair then will executive produce alongside Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman and Granada International Media's Robert Green.

FAMILY MAN (TNT) - Annie Potts ("Joan of Arcadia"), Jennifer Aspen ("Mr. Woodcock"), Brendan Sexton ("Black Hawk Down") and Sean O'Bryan ("Private Practice") have all joined the cast of the drama pilot, about John Parker (William H. Macy), a respected member of the community who heads a dysfunctional gang of burglars at night. Potts will play John's wife with Sexton as his nephew, O'Bryan as his dim bulb younger brother and Aspen as his pole dancing younger sister. Macy and Steven Schacter are behind the Sony Pictures Television-based hour, which they're executive producing alongside Storyline Entertainment's Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.

FOOBAR (ABC, New!) - Filmmaker Alice Wu ("Saving Face") is developing a new drama at the Alphabet about the lives of workers at a major software company who are pushing the boundaries of the tech world at the same time that they're learning to be adults. The semi-autobiographical project is set up at Sony Pictures Television and Neil Moritz's Original Films. ABC has given a script commitment to the hour, which Wu will write and executive produce alongside Moritz.

HACKETT (FOX) - Tony winner Christian Hoff has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a bad-boy literary luminary (Donal Logue) who escapes his disgraced career teaching at Yale only to find himself among the ultra-PC ranks of teachers at an Ohio public high school. Hell play Eugene Wolgemoth, who's detailed in the casting notice as follows: "Early 30s-Early 40s. Very capable, good at his job, he is "the new breed of public education bureaucrat; exudes strength, lives for his job, and is Hackett's number one nemesis. Hopelessly P.C., super-sensitized, a perfectly put together metrosexual. And thoroughly threatened by Hackett". At the school, he strives to create a warm, inclusive, non-judgmental environment." Hoff replaces Jim Rash, who originally was cast in the role.

MAD MEN (AMC) - The cable channel is reportedly close to ordering a second season of the Lionsgate-based series, which would roll out next summer. The newcomer opened to 1.6 million viewers on July 19 before falling to 841,000 viewers for its most recent episode. The network however indicates viewership is actually up 31% in households when all airings are factored in. Nevertheless, for its nine Thursday, 10:00/9:00c airings, "Men" has averaged 1.1 million viewers, including 430,000 adults 18-49. Should the renewal come through, production will remain in L.A. and not move to New York as speculated by industry insiders.

THE OAKS (FOX) - British actresses Gina McKee and Sienna Guillory are the latest to join the cast of the drama, about 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. The latter is set as Jessica, the 2008 couple's neighbor. She's further detailed in the casting notice as: "Early-Mid 30s. Although she has Asperger syndrome (condition on the Autistic spectrum), you could not tell anything is wrong with her right away. She is Dan and Hollis's beautiful, friendly, chatty, guileless neighbor. She has lived next door her whole life, though she still believes that one day, once she acquires "independent living skills," she'll move out. She well remembers Dan from their school days, but he's uncomfortable about something in their past and clearly doesn't want to go down that road." McKee then is set as the wife in the 1988 family, Molly - "Early-Mid 40s. She's a harried wife and mother of two (an 8 years old daughter and 14 years old son) who is struggling to keep passion alive in her marriage. She lives in The Oaks house in 1987, and her looks, clothing and attitude reflects this (she has the full '80s aerobics outfit). The bloom is definitely off the rose in her relationship with her husband Frank, and their attempts to schedule sex don't usually go as planned, but they are devoted to one another. She is perplexed and disturbed by Lucy's recent bad behavior, which is supposedly dictated by a never-seen imaginary friend, Amelia."

PARANOID (FX, New!) - Feature writer Jim Uhls ("Fight Club") has booked a new drama at the cable channel about a modern-day surveillance agent who himself may be spied upon. The Shephard/Robin Co. was initially set to co-produce the project, but has instead opted to focus on its TNT pilot "Truth in Advertising." Nevertheless, Uhls penned the pilot script and will executive produce alongside his wife and producing partner Yalda Uhls.

RAFFIK (FOX, New!) - Anthony Horowitz's drama script - originally commissioned last month by Sony Pictures Televison (read the story) - has landed at FOX. The project, which is tentatively dubbed "Raffik," revolves around an Albanian detective sent to the U.S., where his enthusiasm for everything American inspires and baffles his new Los Angeles police partners. Horowitz is shepherding the hour alongside Darren Star for the studio. FOX has given the project a script order with a penalty attached if it doesn't go to pilot.

SHARK (CBS) - Orla Brady has scored a multi-episode arc on the series, about defense attorney-turned-prosecutor Sebastian Stark (James Woods). She'll play the ex-wife of Woods's character, originally played by Lindsay Frost in the pilot. No reason for the casting change was given.

THE SHIELD (FX)/THE UNIT (CBS) - Shawn Ryan has inked a massive three-year, eight-figure overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television. The pact sets up his Midd Kid Productions banner at the studio where he'll develop new series projects with his company chief/former Fox Television Studios executive Marney Hochman Nash. Currently an executive producer on "The Shield" and "The Unit," Ryan will also serve as the initial showrunner of the FOX newcomer "The Oaks." Production on said project's pilot is set to begin in November.

UNTITLED RUSSELL PETERS PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Comedian Russell Peters has landed a script commitment from FOX for a new comedy based on his life growing up in a working-class South Asian household. Last season, Peters was the subject of a pilot script at FOX and Warner Bros. Television from Tom Brady and executive producers Tom Werner, Eric Gold and Jimmy Miller. Peters then will shepherd the project alongside his manager brother, Clayton Peters at CPI Management Services.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [september 2007]  

· 24/7 (HBO)

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