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!
THE CLEANER (A&E) - Benjamin Bratt ("E-Ring") has been tapped for the lead role on the drama pilot, about a man who finds his calling in helping others - by any means necessary. Bratt's casting lifts said contingency off the pilot's production. In addition, David Semel ("Life") is in talks to helm and executive produce the CBS Paramount Network Television-based project, which was written by co-creators/executive producers Jonathan Prince and Robert Munic. The network has also asked for an additional script beyond the pilot. Jay Silverman and Warren Boyd also serve as co-executive producers.
CODE MONEYS (G4) - The cable channel has renewed the series for a second season of 13 episodes, citing a solid performance in the network's target 18-34 demographic. Creator/executive producer Adam De La Pena is behind the animated half-hour, which is set to return in April.
THE COLLECTION (The CW, New!) - Elisa Bell ("Little Black Book") is developing a new dramedy based on the life of famed designer Isaac Mizrahi. Mizrahi himself is co-executive producing the hour, which comes from ABC Studios and Sander-Moses Productions. Bell then will pen the pilot script and executive produce alongside Ian Sander and Kim Moses. As for specifics, the project reportedly will use the fashion world backdrop to tackle various issues, from racism to drugs to sexuality. It's also understood the producers are eying a heavy online component, much like fellow Sander-Moses production "Ghost Whisperer."
CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (CBS) - After weeks of speculation, co-star Jorja Fox confirmed to Entertainment Weekly on Monday she's quitting the veteran drama (read the story). Production on what will be her final episode is expected to be completed this week for an air date in mid-November. "There are all these things I want to do. Some are personal. Some are professional. And I really need to do some of them before I get too old," explained Fox. "If I thought the show were on its last legs, I would have tried harder to stay the course. But I feel like its going to be around for a while, so if I don�t want some of those dreams to pass me by. I have to get off the ride for a while." An expanded interview about the decision will appear in the magazine's latest issue, on newsstands this week.
DIARY OF A MANHATTAN CALL GIRL (HBO, New!) - "Sex and the City" creator Darren Star is back in business with HBO, this time for a new comedy based on Tracy Quan's semi-autobiographical column "Nancy Chan: Diary of a Manhattan Girl" for Salon.com. The project then will track how power, sex and money collide through the eyes of a group of Manhattan's highest-paid escorts forced to juggle their johns, jobs and relationships. Star is penning the pilot script and executive producing alongside Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas via his Sony Pictures Television-based Darren Star Productions.
ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT (Syndication) - Mark Steines has reupped his deal with CBS Television Distribution to remain as co-anchor on the veteran syndicated newsmagazine. No financial details or the length of the pact was released. Steines has been with the show since 1995, graduating from weekend and substitute anchor to Mary Hart's co-host in 2004.
L.A. GANG UNIT (A&E, New!) - 44 Blue Productions ("Caesars 24/7") has booked a pilot order from the cable channel for a new docusoap about the elite gang unit of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The half-hour project then would follow the highly experienced officers of the department's Gang Task Force who work in South Central Los Angeles. 44 Blue's Rasha Drachkovitch and Shane Conrad are executive producing alongside A&E's Robert Sharenow and Laura Fleury. Production has been underway for the past two months.
LOST (ABC) - Disney-ABC Domestic Television's sale of the show's off-network run to G4 and Sci Fi on Tuesday (read the story) is reportedly valued at $200,000 per episode, with the latter coughing up 75% of the bill. Both network's windows, believed to be for six years, are set to begin in the fall of 2008 with G4 running the series Monday-Friday (along with some weekend plays) while Sci Fi is expected to stack the show on Monday nights with four back-to-back episodes starting at 7:00/6:00c. In addition, G4 will feature unedited versions of the series under its "2.0" branding that includes interactive and Web-based elements.
MAN OF YOUR DREAMS (NBC, New!) - Jay Lacopo ("The Third Wheel") has scored a cast-contingent pilot order from NBC for a new multi-camera comedy about a womanizer who uses his expertise to help romantically challenged women. Conan O'Brien's Universal Media Studios-based Conaco Productions is behind the half-hour, which Lacopo will executive produce alongside O'Brien and the company's Jeff Ross and David Kissinger.
THE OAKS (FOX) - Michael Cuesta ("Dexter") has inked a two-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television. The pact calls for the prolific director/producer to develop new series projects for the studio as well as helm various pilots. Cuesta, who co-created and helmed the studio-based "Babylon Fields" for CBS last season, is currently directing the pilot for fellow studio property "The Oaks" at FOX.
SOME MOTHERS DO 'AVE 'EM (FOX, New!) - "That '70s Show" alum Phil Stark is set to pen a U.S. version of Raymond Allen's U.K. comedy of the same name about Frank Spencer, a man who seems to always be surrounded by disaster. The project is set up at BBC Worldwide Productions and Sony Pictures Television where Stark will executive produce alongside BBC's Paul Telegdy and Ian Moffitt. FOX has given a script commitment to the half-hour with a penalty attached if it doesn't go to pilot.
UNTITLED DAMON WAYANS PROJECT (ABC, New!) - "My Wife & Kids" co-creators Damon Wayans and Don Reo are developing a new multi-camera comedy at the Alphabet once again featuring the comedian. The untitled project, which is based at ABC Studios, casts Wayans as a recent widower who has to take in the 19-year-old stepson he never knew. The pair then will write and executive produce the half-hour, which has a script commitment from the network.
UNTITLED SHERRI SHEPHERD PROJECT (The CW, New!) - "The View" co-host Sherri Shepherd is looking to topline and executive produce a new semi-autobiographical comedy for the netlet about a married woman who discovers her husband has been cheating on her and has an illegitimate child. She subsequently agrees to let the child and her mother move in with the family. Dave Flebotte ("Will & Grace") is on board to pen the half-hour which he'll executive produce alongside Shepherd and ABC Studios-based producers Nina Wass and Gene Stein.
UNTITLED VICTOR FRESCO PROJECT (ABC, New!) - Victor Fresco ("Andy Richter Controls the Universe") has landed a put pilot order from the Alphabet for a new single-camera comedy about a man whose morals are tested working for a large, faceless mega-corporation. The network has given a script commitment to the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, plus a penalty if it isn't ordered to pilot. As for specifics, said man, Ted, is described as a charming, likeable thirtysomething who heads up the research and development department at a Fortune 500 company. He's also understood to be a single father of an 8-year-old who keeps him honest.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters