[03/12/08 - 05:50 PM] Development Update: Wednesday, March 12 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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DISCOVERY PLANETGREEN SERIES (New!) - TLC will celebrate the upcoming launch of Discovery PlanetGreen (formerly Discovery Home Channel) with a handful of "green"-themed episodes of its current series as well as previews of the rebranded network's original series. Said newcomers include "Wasted" (Tuesday, April 15 at 8:00/7:00c), "Greenovate" (Tuesday, April 15 at 8:30/7:30c) and "Gadget's Electric Garage" (Wednesday, April 16 at 8:00/7:00c). Further details about the projects will be announced in the coming weeks. As for TLC, "Little People, Big World" (Monday, April 15), "What Not To Wear" (Friday, April 18) and "Date My House" (Saturday, April 19) are among the participating series.
DIVORCE COURT/THE HUGHLEYS (TV One) - TV One has scored the off-network rights to Twentieth Television's comedy "The Hughleys" and its long-running court show "Divorce Court." The former will launch with a 10-hour marathon on Saturday, April 5 starting at 8:00/7:00c with episodes regularly airing weekdays at 6:30/5:30c and 11:30/10:30c. As for "Court," the cable channel has been showcasing 120 "best of" episodes featuring Judge Mablean Ephriam weekdays at 4:00/3:00c and 4:30/3:30c since last month. No financial details were released about either deal, which is for three years.
ER (NBC) - Aida Turturro ("The Sopranos") has signed on while Australian actor David Lyons is in talks to play recurring roles on the veteran medical drama. The news comes as the Peacock and producer Warner Bros. Television enter negotiations to bring the series back for a 15th - and final - season. Industry insiders suggest the pickup hinges on a reduction on "ER's" license fee. The series traditionally gets a jump on filming its subsequent season, so production on the first four episodes of season 15 would follow on the heels of the completion of season 14's last six installments. As for the actors, Turturro will play a car accident victim while Lyons is being eyed as a handsome new doctor who lacks a conscience.
THE FBI (FOX) - The network has passed on the Brian Grazer-produced drama despite giving it a hefty series commitment back in August. No reason was given for the decision, which has led Imagine Television and 20th Century Fox Television to begin shopping the series to other networks, including CBS and TNT. Chap Taylor penned the pilot script, which centers on an Iraq War vet who is appointed as the new head of the FBI's Critical Incidents Response Group. John Eisendrath and David Nevins are executive producing alongside Grazer and Taylor.
NASHVILLE STAR (NBC) - Grammy winner John Rich, one half of the multiplatinum duo Big & Rich, will be a judge/mentor on the show's upcoming sixth season. In addition, producer Reveille has formed a joint venture with AEG Live and Warner Bros. Records to promote a "Nashville Star" concert tour across North America and release songs from this season's winner and other contestants, respectively. Billy Ray Cyrus is hosting the series, which launches its first NBC aired season on Monday, June 9.
SIT DOWN, SHUT UP (FOX, New!) - Mitch Hurwitz, Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum's Tantamount has landed its first pilot order, an animated take on the Australian live-action series of the same name. The project, which is being co-produced by Sony Pictures Television and Granada International, focuses on the lives of seven staff members at a high school in a small northeastern fishing town who are preoccupied with their own needs and agendas, meaning the students always come second. It's understood much like "The Pitts," a table read of the show for the network's executives will serve as its de facto pilot. Brendan Reed and Tim McLoughlan created the Australian version, which ran on Channel Ten in 2001.
SPACED (FOX) - Australian actor Josh Lawson has been tapped for the male lead in the comedy pilot, about two strangers who pose as a married couple in order to rent an apartment. It's understood the network had been putting the finishing touches on a talent holding deal with the actor prior to his casting. Simon Pegg played said role in the U.K. version. Adam Barr is adapting the U.S. incarnation of the project, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television, McG's Wonderland Sound & Vision and the ever-busy Granada International.
UGLY BETTY (ABC) - Showrunner Silvio Horta has inked a two-year, mid-seven-figure overall deal with ABC Studios. The pact, the first major one announced since the close of the WGA strike, will cover his duties on the Thursday night entry as well as call for him to develop new series projects for the studio.
X-TERMINATORS (Discovery, New!) - Reality guru Thom Beers ("Deadliest Catch") will roll out his latest original series, "X-Terminators," on Monday, April 14 at 10:00/9:00c. The series revolves around a team of pest control technicians. Leading into the newcomer will be new episodes of "Dirty Jobs" at 9:00/8:00c.