LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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24 (FOX) - The network reportedly is developing a two-hour "prequel" to the show's upcoming - and strike delayed - seventh season. The project, which could air as early as this fall, is designed to fill the 19-month broadcast void between its May 2007 finale and return in January 2009. It's understood producers have begun securing the show's core cast members for the film however no names were released.
LIBERTYVILLE (Lifetime) - Rebecca Creskoff ("Quintuplets"), Misti Traya ("Living with Fran"), Harve Presnell ("Andy Barker, P.I."), Aedin Mincks and Geoff Pierson ("Dexter") are the latest additions to the multi-camera comedy pilot, about a divorced mother named Susie (Christine Ebersole) fearful of dating whose life is complicated by her lazy 22-year-old daughter and cantankerous father who live with her. Creskoff will play said daughter, Tiffany, while Presnell is set as Henry, Susie's 70-year-old father whose only passion in life is recreating World War II battles with miniature soldiers. Traya then is believed to be playing Susie's sister Lorie with Mincks as her precocious ten year-old son, Grant. Rounding out the bunch is Pierson as Susie's love interest Phil, the pharmacist at the drug store where she works, whose marriage may not be as rocky as she thinks. Tom Saunders is behind the half-hour, which comes from Keith Samples's Media Rights Capital and executive producer Caryn Mandabach.
LIVING LOHAN (E!, New!) - The cable channel has commissioned eight episodes of a new reality series about the lives of Dina Lohan and her non-Lindsay children - 14-year-old daughter Ali, 11-year-old Cody and college student Michael. Bunim-Murray Productions and Maloof Television are co-producing the project, which will track the group as they move from their Long Island home to the Maloof-owned Palms hotel in Las Vegas, where Ali is set to record her debut album (for the Maloofs' Interscope-based music label). As for Lindsay herself, there's no plans for her to appear on the series, which is targeted a summer launch. Jon Murray, Laura Korkoian, Jeff Jenkins, Phil Maloof and Andrew Jameson are the executive producers.
MY PROBLEM WITH WOMEN (NBC, New!) - The Peacock is developing a domestic version of the Peruvian series "Mi Problema con las Mujeres," about a thirtysomething bachelor who begins seeing a therapist in an attempt to understand why all of his romantic relationships fail. Musician/actor Justin Timberlake is executive producing the project alongside his manager, David Schiff; Reveille's Howard T. Owens and Todd Cohen; Power's Justin Bodle and Chris Philip; and the original series' producer, Jaime Carbajal. Also on board are Frecuencia Latina International's Miki Ivcher as an associate producer and Jay Weisleder as a consulting producer. No other details were given about the project, which has a script commitment from the network.
THE PITTS (FOX) - Allison Janney ("The West Wing") is the latest addition to the potential animated comedy, which chronicles the adventures of the unluckiest family in the world. She'll voice the mom, Liz Pitt, a role originated by the late Kellie Waymire in the live-action 2003 version. Dylan Baker, Lizzy Caplan and Andy Milonakis also star in the project, which comes from 20th Century Fox Television and co-creators Mike Scully and Julie Thacker-Scully. As previously reported, the show's table read next week will decide if it's ordered directly to series.
POP FICTION (E!, New!) - The cable channel's mysterious new series, which premieres this Sunday at 10:30/9:30c, was finally outed this week. Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg's Katalyst Films is reportedly behind the project, which features celebrities pulling "Punk'd"-esque pranks on the paparazzi and gullible media outlets. Each installment of its eight-episode order then will showcase how some of the latest tabloid fodder is actually just a hoax, such as Paris Hilton's recent "date" with a gray-haired, orange-robed shaman that set gossip pages ablaze about her newfound religious status. Viewers are then shown how far the dupe went as - in the case of Hilton's episode - everyone from TMZ.com to the New York Daily News to the network's own "E! News" program fell prey to the trick. Not surprisingly no other details were given, other than Kutcher won't be hosting the series.
RITA ROCKS (Lifetime) - Nicole Sullivan ("The King of Queens"), Richard Ruccolo ("Two Guys and a Girl") and Tisha Campbell Martin ("My Wife and Kids") have been tapped for the lead roles in the comedy pilot, about an overworked wife and mother in the middle of a full-blown identity crisis who starts a garage band with her postwoman and neighbor. Sullivan will play the title role of Rita Clements, who's further detailed in the casting notice as: "Mid 30s-Mid 40s, any ethnicity. A straight shooting wife and mother whose charisma shines through her mundane world of minivans and bulk shopping, Rita is a harried working mother of two. She spends every waking hour trying to whittle down her to-do list and in between working for "Bed Bath & Beyond", cooking for her family and ferrying her two kids hither and yon, Rita fears that she has no time to herself, and that her killer schedule is taking away the sparkle from her eyes. Very happy in her marriage to Jay, and able to keep her daughter Shannon more or less in line (her daughter Hallie is another, darker story), Rita decides that her life needs a teeny-tiny slice for Rita all alone -- and when she starts her own garage band with Patty and Owen, the light comes back into her life."
Ruccolo then is set as her husband, Jay Clements - "Early 30s-Late 40s, any ethnicity. Rita's husband, and the father of Hallie and Shannon, Jay is a handsome former jock who now spends his days working 9 to 5 in a jacket and tie. He has a warped sense of humor, which comes in handy while trying to keep up with his family of warped women. A guy who wanted to play guard for the Pistons, but who now sells car insurance, Jay initially thinks that Rita's disaffection represents an abdication of her responsibilities as a wife and mother. But after realizing that something buried deep inside Rita demands to be let out, Jay accepts the fact that her plea for some "Rita Time" is a necessity for her, not a luxury." - with Martin as Patty Mannix - "Late 20s-Late 40s, African-American. The local postal carrier, Patty is a charismatic woman who can't seem to stay out of other people's business. Usually seen in blue shorts and shirt with knee-high socks, Patty is garrulous, amiable, cheerful and outgoing, and her checkered past has given her a host of anecdotes, most of which unwittingly portray Patty as a scattered busybody with low impulse control - just what the job of "rock star" demands. A keyboardist whose none too thrilled with her current form of employment, she cajoles Rita to follow her bliss, and before long the two of them are rocking out together in Rita's garage." Jim Berg and Stan Zimmerman are behind the multi-camera project, which is set up at Media Rights Capital.
SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE (FOX) - Ashley Williams ("Side Order of Life"), Glynn Turman ("The Wire"), Nate Mooney ("The Riches"), Karolina Muller, Kerry Bishe and Tommy Ford have all been cast in the comedy pilot, about Wayne (David Denman), a man going through a midlife crisis who quits his dead-end office job to be a paramedic on the night shift. Bishe is set as Violet, whom the casting notice details as follows: "Mid 20s-Early 30s. Violet is a petite woman who is partnered with Ving; Violet has a "broken wing" complex, and after spotting Wayne as a newbie, takes him under her personal protection - by warning him that Happy is a literal, blood-drinking vampire. A woman who majored in paranormal activities at Cambridge, Violet is a mighty fountain of information and pseudo-information, and definitely does her eccentric best to help Wayne through his first few shifts." Ford then is set as her partner Ving with Mooney as Happy.
Next up is Turman as Lt. Miller - "50s, the EMT Commander. is understaffed and over-challenged, and he clearly believes in kicking the ducklings into the deep end at the first opportunity, ready or not. A man who apparently believes that an incompetent, under-trained, utterly baffled EMT is better than no EMT at all, Miller orders Wayne into action with no body armor and no training and even less supervision." Rounding out the group are Williams and Muller as Joan and Svetlana, respectively, two unspecified characters. Zack Braff is directing the ABC Studios-based half-hour from a script by his brother, Adam Braff. The pair then are executive producing alongside Emile Levisetti.
THIS MIGHT HURT (ABC) - Jason Winer's single-camera comedy has moved from FOX to the Alphabet. The project, which Winer is writing and directing, revolves around a private medical practice run by three partners. 20th Century Fox Television is behind the half-hour, which Winer will executive produce via his Guy Walks Into a Bar banner alongside Jon Berg, Matthew Weinberg and Todd Komarnicki. FOX originally commissioned the pilot back in August but ultimately scrapped production, freeing the studio to shop it to other networks. Casting is underway for a production start next month.
TOWER (CBS, New!) - "Cold Case" creator Meredith Stiehm has received a pilot presentation order from the Eye for a new drama about a group of Chicago reporters who treat breaking news as cases to be both investigated and solved. She'll pen and executive produce the hour, which is set up at CBS Paramount Network Television.
TRUE BLOOD (HBO) - Alexander Skarsgard ("Generation Kill") has signed onto Alan Ball's upcoming drama series, about the love story between a vampire, Bill (Stephen Moyer), and Sookie (Anna Paquin), a waitress who can read people's minds. He'll play a vampire/Viking who has been alive for more than a thousand years in the project, which is based on the "Southern Vampire" book series by Charlaine Harris. Brook Kerr, Carrie Preston, Michael Raymond-James, Ryan Kwanten and Sam Trammell also star.
WORST WEEK (CBS) - Kyle Bornheimer ("Dash 4 Cash") and newcomer Jay Malone are the first to be cast on the comedy pilot, about a young couple who have to navigate the politics of dealing with their soon-to-be in-laws. Bornheimer will play the male lead, Sam, who's described in the casting notice as: "31. A nice-looking, appealing guy who occasionally makes bad decisions and often has bad luck. He's a writer/editor at Cap Weekly (Washington D.C.'s version of Entertainment Weekly). Very much in love with Mel, his pregnant fiancee, Sam dreads visiting her parents - possibly because he partially burned down their house the last time he was there. However, that disaster pales in comparison to the events that transpire during his current stay at the Cook residence. In the midst of his many blunders, Sam tries to work up the nerve to tell his disapproving prospective in-laws that Mel is pregnant, and that he and Mel are now engaged." Malone then is set as Adam Green - "31. Sam's co-worker and best friend, he's an offbeat, scruffy artist who works at the magazine. Humorously glum, Adam has made a fine art out of never enjoying himself, and his grumpy personality contrasts markedly with Sam's cheerful demeanor. Right now, Adam is feeling left out of the office party - and he's going to let everyone know it." Matt Tarses is behind the Universal Media Studios/Hat Trick Productions-based project, which Marc Buckland is directing. The pair will also executive produce alongside Hat Trick's Jimmy Mulville.
ZIP (NBC) - Kay Panabaker ("Summerland") and Troy Gentile ("Drillbit Taylor") have both signed onto the comedy pilot, about a con artist (Steven Weber) and his family trying to get by in Beverly Hills. They'll play two of the children of Weber's character, Ellie and Nelson. The former is detailed via the casting notice as follows: "15, with a dry sense of humor, a stinging wit and a real verbal flair, she is the oldest Stringer child, a savvy, bright, somewhat jaded young lady who's tired of her father's scams." Nelson then is described as: "14. He is Trip's oldest son, a charming young scammer who wants to be just like his dad." Dreama Walker and Colby Paul originated the roles in the pilot's previous incarnation. Bernardo De Paula also stars in the Universal Media Studios-based half-hour, which Richard Shepard is helming from a script by co-creators Marc Abrams, Mark Rizzo and Michael Benson.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters