[12/21/07 - 06:31 PM]
Development Update: Week of December 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!

AMC ORIGINAL SERIES (AMC, New!) - The cable channel has added four new projects to its development slate. Said efforts will eventually result in one of two pilots the network plans to order next year. The other pilot will be based off its previously announced projects. As for the newcomers, they are: "Fort Smith," from "24's" Robert Cochran, about Isaiah Parker, who polices the Five Points - comprised of five different Indian tribes - with his posse in the lawless post-Civil War West; an untitled hour from Alison Anders and Terry Graham, about Comanche leader Quanah Parker, who fights the U.S. Army for the rights to his tribe's land; "Greenfields," from playwright Nicky Silver ("Raised in Captivity"), about a psychiatrist who breaks his patient out of jail; and "Uninvited Guest," from "Less Than Zero" screenwriter Harley Peyton and Mandalay's Peter Guber and Elizabeth Stephens, about a character who suffers from multiple personality disorder.

THE AMERICAN MALL (MTV, New!) - MTV is teaming with "High School Musical" producers Bill Borden and Barry Rosenbush for a romantic comedy/musical set at a mall in the vein of the Disney Channel sensation. Nina Dobrev and Rob Mayes will topline the project, about Ally, a high school grad/singer-songwriter (Dobrev), who battles to save her mother's music store and to keep the boy she loves (Mayes), a musically gifted young janitor who fronts a garage band. Autumn Reeser also stars as Ally's mean-girl adversary Madison, the spoiled and ruthless heiress to the owners of the mall, while Wade Allain-Marcus, Bianca Collins, Rodney To, Neil Haskell, Brooke Lyons, David Baum, Blythe Auffarth, Yassmin Alers, Bresha Webb, Neil Haskell and Al Sapienza round out the cast. Production is set to begin next month at a mall in Provo, Utah with Shawn Ku ("Pretty Dead Girl") directing. Borden is producing "Mall," which was originally set up as a feature at Columbia Pictures prior to "Musical's" release, with Rosenbush and Arata Matsushima serving as executive producers. "Mall" then will premiere this summer with a DVD release a couple of days later.

BACKYARDS & BULLETS (NBC) - The Peacock has opted not to move forward with the drama pilot, about a suburban Neighborhood Watch group gone awry. The news comes as a result of the network letting its options on the cast expire. The show's ensemble included Abigail Spencer, Billy Burke, Casey LaBow, Enuka Okuma, Jessalyn Gilsig, Kristen Lehman, Lou Diamond Phillips, Mathew St. Patrick and Richard Ruccolo. Charles McDougall directed the Sony Pictures Television/Pariah-based hour from a script by Ed Decter and John J. Strauss. Pariah's Gavin Polone and Jamie Tarses also served as executive producers.

COCO CHANEL (Lifetime, New!) - The cable channel is developing a biopic/mini-series about the famed fashion icon featuring Barbora Bobulova and Shirley MacLaine as the designer in the early and later periods of her life, respectively. Christian Duguay ("Human Trafficking") is on board to direct the Alchemy Television Group-based project, which is currently filming. Enrico Medioli ("Once Upon a Time in America") penned the script while Lux Vide SpA, Pampa Productions, Rai and France 2 are co-producing alongside Alchemy. The two-part effort, which is being done in cooperation with Chanel's estate, tracks her upbringing in an orphanage outside Paris through her move to reinvent herself in her 70s, after spending years in exile.

KAYA (MTV) - MTV development chief Tony DiSanto confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter this week the series, the network's first scripted effort in more than five years, won't be returning for a second season. "Kaya" opened its 10-episode run on Monday nights following "The Hills" before being banished to Saturday nights after failing to capitalize on said lead-in. DiSanto however was quick to note the network still plans to push forward in the scripted genre as several projects are in the works, including an untitled effort from Adam Ripp and Steven Wolfson as well as "Darius," from "Law & Order" veteran Michael S. Chernuchin.

SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE (FOX, New!) - "The Office" alum David Denman is set to topline a new single-camera comedy pilot for FOX about a man going through a midlife crisis who quits his dead-end office job to be a paramedic on the night shift. "Scrubs" star Zack Braff is in talks to direct the ABC Studios-based half-hour, which was created by Braff's brother, Adam ("Andrew Henry's Meadow"). Denman then will play the lead role of Wayne with the Braffs executive producing alongside Emile Levisetti. Production on the pilot is expected to begin after the WGA strikes concludes.

UNTITLED CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER PROJECT (ABC) - ABC Studios has extended the options on the entire cast of the multi-camera comedy pilot, about a family man (Cedric the Entertainer) who always has been the proud breadwinner but has difficulty adjusting when his wife's (Regina Hall) hobby turns into a multimillion-dollar enterprise. Production on the project, which also stars Charles Malik Whitfield, Jasmine McNeal, Melissa Peterman, Peter Mackenzie and Steven Wash, Jr., was completed in October. Ken Whittingham directed from a script by co-creators Cedric the Entertainer, Michael Soccio and Rock Reuben.

WIFE SWAP (ABC) - Lifetime's purchase of the show's off-network rights from Disney-ABC Domestic Television on Tuesday (read the story) is said to be valued at $250,000 per episode. The four-year pact, which begins in October, gives the cable channel the right to play reruns of the series twice a day.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [december 2007]  

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