LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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CASTLE (ABC) - Nathan Fillion ("Desperate Housewives") is in negotiations to topline the drama pilot, about a famous mystery novelist helping the NYPD solve crimes. Fillion would play the title character, Nick Castle. Rob Bowman is directing the ABC Studios-based project from a script by Andrew Marlowe.
CRIMINAL MINDS (CBS) - A&E and ION Media Networks have each acquired the off-network rights to the veteran CBS drama. The former, whose license fee is estimated to in the $650,000-$700,000 per episode range, will begin airing weekly repeats of the series starting next month with a five-night-a-week expansion in the fall of 2009. ION, who is said to have forked over $175,000 per episode, will likewise begin its strip of the series in the fall of 2009. The pact with co-producers ABC Studios and CBS Paramount Network Television is capped at eight seasons. In terms of comparable off-network sales, the combined $825,000-$875,000 per episode fee falls behind recent acquisitions such as "Cold Case" (TNT, $1.4 million), "Without a Trace" (TNT, $1.4 million) and "CSI: NY" (Spike TV, $1.9 million) but ahead of "Bones" (TNT, $450,000).
LAW & ORDER (NBC) - Tom Everett Scott ("Cashmere Mafia") is set to appear in the show's final two episodes this season. He'll play Governer Shalvoy in said installments, one of which will also feature Alison Elliott ("The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford") as his wife, Rita. No other details about their roles were given.
LITTLE GIRL LOST: THE DELIMAR VERA STORY (LMN, New!) - Judy Reyes ("Scrubs"), Ana Ortiz ("Ugly Betty") and A Martinez ("General Hospital") have all signed on to star in a new original for the Lifetime sibling. The project, due later this year, is based on the true story of Luz Cuevas (Reyes), who believed that her infant daughter, Delimar, had perished in a fire in their Philadelphia apartment, only to spot her at a birthday part six years later. Ortiz will play Valerie Valleja, a distant relative of Luz's, while Martinez is as Angel Cruz, a councilman who helps Luz. Paul Kaufman, Joey Plager, Larry Thompson and Harvey Kahn of Front Street Productions are executive producing the project, which Kaufman is directing. Lifetime is co-producing in association with TF1.
THE MEANT TO BE'S (CBS) - Tom Hollander ("Pirates of the Caribbean") has joined the cast of the pilot, a romantic drama about a young woman (Amy Smart) who dies, but in order to "pass over," she must return to Earth and help people improve their lives. He'll play the head of the Fate division who is bending the rules to save lives. Ioan Gruffudd also stars in the project, which comes from CBS Paramount Network Television and creator Glenn Gordon Caron.
MY BROTHER'S HOT (AND OTHER DILEMMAS) (A.K.A. UNTITLED KRISTIN NEWMAN PROJECT) (ABC) - Alyssa Milano ("My Name Is Earl") is in talks to play the lead role in the comedy pilot, about a thirtysomething woman (Milano) who tries to break free of her overbearing and dysfunctional family, friends and boss. Her character, Louisa "Lou," is further detailed in the casting notice as follows: "Early 30s, Female, a bit rumpled and girl-next-door pretty, intelligent, with a sense of humor, selfless. Lou has never gotten married or even managed much of a life of her own because she's always been caught up in the lives of her parents: her larger-than-life, selfish, charming mother, Elizabeth, and her irresponsible father, Joe, both of whom got divorced when she was 12. Something of a mother figure to Joe's young children by his second wife, Lou works at a literacy program funded by a famous playboy athlete, and is pretty much put herself in call to the catastrophes/demands of both her parents. Urged by her best friend Sasha to get some "me" time and go out of town to hook up with The Nice Chicago Guy, Lou finds her plans put off - again - when her dad drops his latest bomb: he's marrying again, his kids are in rebellion, his new fiance has a hunky 35 year old son who's perfect for Lou, and worst of all--her mother chooses this moment to decide to devote the rest of her life to her relationship to Lou." The single-camera half-hour comes from creator Kristin Newman and co-producers ABC Studios and DreamWorks Television.
THE PRINCE OF MOTOR CITY (ABC) - Aunjanue Ellis ("Justice") is the first to be cast in the drama pilot, a gothic family soap inspired by William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" set in the world of the Detroit auto industry. She'll play Cora Neel in the ABC Studios-based project, which comes from co-creators Hamish Linklater and Jessica Goldberg. Her character is detailed in the casting notice as follows: "40s-50s, African-American, "Diana Ross sexy and Condi Rice ruthless," she's a member of Hamilton's board who is absolutely appalled by the information that Billy is the new owner of Hamilton Motors. She believes the best idea is to sell the entire company to a German manufacturer. She and Paul Riley have a tense relationship, and no one except Cora knows why William Hamilton appointed Cora to the board in the first place."
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters