LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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BAD MOTHER'S HANDBOOK (ABC) - "Will & Grace" alum Megan Mullally has been tapped to star opposite Alicia Silverstone in the comedy, about a 32-year-old woman (Silverstone) too busy taking care of her teenage daughter (Alia Shawkat) and her mother (Mullally). She'll play said mom in the single-camera half-hour, which comes from co-creators Alexandra Rushfield and Jennifer Konner. Richard Shepard is directing while Stu Bloomberg also serves as an executive producer for ABC Studios.
FINNEGAN (ABC) - Domenick Lombardozzi ("The Wire"), Jacob Vargas ("Moonlight"), Malachi Weir ("The Naked Brothers Band"), Tasha Smith ("Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?") and Tzi Ma ("24") are the first to be cast in the drama presentation, about the organized crime/vice unit in Los Angeles, which is led by a tough female detective. Ma is set as Commander Michael Chu, whom the casting notice details as follows: "50, Male. Prefer Asian-American but open to all ethnicities. The most important quality is his inherent weakness. Chu is Finnegan's boss, a political appointee, and a weak presence at the helm. Treated with utter contempt by Finnegan, who believes he's incompetent, he's the target of her incendiary fury when she learns that Chu knew about the FBI's parallel investigation into Carrion Capital, but didn't tell her about it, leading to the death of her informant. Convinced she has finally gone too far in her outbursts against authority, Chu tries to get her fired, but seethes quietly when the Police Chief stands behind her."
Weir then is playing Detective "Mutt" MacKenzie - "Late 20s-Early 30s, Male. Multi-lingual/multi-ethnic (any ethnic mix of any kind). Another member of Finnegan's OCV squad, he is highly intelligent, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic mutt. He's knowledgeable on almost any topic, which makes him a valuable go-to guy on a variety of cases. While Finnegan is investigating the murder of David Garner, Mutt is following a series of home invasions by the Locos gang, who are trying to finance weapons sales. He later joins Smash to follow up on a dangerous lead in the cop shooter case." - with Smith as Detective Nenna McCants - "Mid-Late 30s, Female, African-American. A street-wise, trash-talking woman who is smart and self-confident, Nenna is another member of Finnegan's squad, usually partnered with Carbo. A woman with a husband and five sons (which she began having early in life and including a "future delinquent"), Nenna is strong, self-confident, and unfazed by Finnegan's take-no-prisoners attitude to police work, wisely choosing to focus on the job at hand - unlike Carbo, who's attraction to Finnegan makes him constantly fret about his status in her eyes. Nenna's also a talented artist who brings her skills to the cop board. Her only real weakness is a weak stomach when it comes to scenes of graphic violence."
Next up is Lombardozzi as Detective Tony Carbo - "Late 30s-Early 40s, Male, Italian-American or someone with a great character face - needs to feel like a real person, not a caricature. Grounded, darkly funny, twenty pounds overweight, Carbo is a devout Catholic, separated from his wife Brenda, and the father of two children. One of the principal detectives on Finnegan's squad, he has lots of connections in the community, always "knows a guy" who can help with a problem, and would be a good guy to have by your side in a bar fight. He is also quietly in love with Finnegan, and hungers for her respect and approval; he'd like a sign of her affection as well, but may never get it. An unlikely opera buff who keeps a framed picture of Luciano Pavarotti near his desk, Carbo works closely with Nenna McCants in tracking down the murderer of David Garner." - and finally Vargas as Smash: "Late 20s, Male, an Hispanic-American detective. Smash is another member of Finnegan's squad - a physical, tough native of one of L.A.'s toughest neighborhoods, who knows how it works on the streets. While Finnegan, Carbo and McCants are investigating the murder of David Garner, Smash is on another case: a cop shooter who throws sniper fire at patrol officers. He is eventually pulled in to help Carbo and McCants on the Garner murder, and is with Finnegan and Carbo during the pursuit and apprehension of the Triad hired gun." Trent Jones penned the ABC Studios-based project, which Gary Fleder is directing. The pair are also executive producing alongside Francie Calfo.
PRISON BREAK (FOX) - Michael Rapaport ("My Name Is Earl") is set to join the cast of the drama's upcoming fourth season. He'll play a government agent who has "an interesting offer" for Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) and his brother (Dominic Purcell). Rapaport's casting is believed to be tied to a talent holding deal the actor signed with producer 20th Century Fox Television last summer (read the story). Production on the new season is scheduled to begin later this month.
STARTING UNDER (FOX) - The network has opted to pass on the Bernie Mac-led comedy pilot despite being given a blind series commitment back in November. FOX and producer Warner Bros. Television nevertheless are hoping to develop something new with the actor/comedian, who has a talent holding deal with the studio. The multi-camera comedy featured Mac as a larger-than-life and opinionated man, who, after a divorce, finds himself living with and working for his introverted twentysomething son (Bert Belasco). Andrea Parker, Ken Davitian and Silvana Arias also starred in the half-hour, which was penned by Bruce Helford. Andy Ackerman directed the pilot and also executive produced alongside Helford and Deborah Oppenheimer.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters