[09/26/08 - 06:24 PM] Development Update: Friday, September 26 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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BUNKER HILL (A.K.A. MORSE CODE) (TNT) - The Donnie Wahlberg-led drama has been given a pilot commitment by the network. Wahlberg plays Mike Moriarty in the project, "a crime drama about a young war hero/Drug Enforcement Administration officer who works in his hometown of Boston." Walon Green and Jon Avnet are behind the Warner Horizon Television-based hour, which Avnet is directing from a script by Green. Wahlberg himself is also executive producing.
LIFE ON MARS (ABC) - Director Gary Fleder, who most recently helmed the pilots to ABC's "Finnegan" and "Life on Mars," has reupped his overall deal with sibling ABC Studios. Under the pact, he's developing an untitled hour with "Jericho" co-creator Jonathan Steinberg about a 25-year-old who becomes a senator. He'll executive produce the project via his Mojo Films banner alongside the company's development chief Mary Beth Basile. Earlier this week, Fleder signed on to direct The CW pilot "Light Years" from creator Liz Tigelaar.
THE NEW MCTOMS (FOX, New!) - Boyce Bugliari and Jamie McLaughlin (The CW's "Dash 4 Cash") are developing a new hybrid multi- and single-camera half-hour about a conservative matriarch who must face the reality of her three children marrying ethnically diverse spouses. The project is set up at Salma Hayek and Jose Tamez's ABC Studios-based Ventanarosa banner. Bugliari, McLaughlin, Hayek and Tamez then are executive producing the comedy, which has a script commitment from the network.
PROJECT RUNWAY (Bravo/Lifetime) - In a surprise move to all parties involved, a New York judge has granted a preliminary injunction on the Weinstein Co., temporarily barring the show's move from Bravo to Lifetime or marketing any such move. Said decision could derail the show's sixth season launch in January on Lifetime. Production nevertheless is continuing in Los Angeles. Lifetime inked a blockbuster five-year, $150 million deal with the Weinstein Co. back in April to acquire the series (read the story), which included 10 additional cycles of "Runway" (two 14-episode seasons per year) as well as spin-offs "The Models of Project Runway" and "Project Pygmalion" (14 episodes each) not to mention the broadcast rights to 70 Weinstein movies. NBC Universal subsequently filed a lawsuit against the Weinstein Co. claiming it didn't give NBC Universal-sibling Bravo proper notification that another party had made an offer for "Runway." The claim stems from a January 2007 agreement which reportedly gave Bravo the right of first refusal for any outside bid. In any case, Judge Richard Lowe III has ordered NBC Universal to post a minimum $20 million bond as part of the trial proceedings. A timetable on how the case will proceed is expected to be set in the next month.
TRUE BLOOD (HBO) - Mehcad Brooks, Todd Lowe, Deborah Ann Woll and Michelle Forbes have been named series regulars on the show's recently ordered second season. All four actors currently recur on the inaugural season - Brooks as Benedict "Eggs" Talley, a mellow, guitar-strumming refugee from a hard life; Lowe as Terry Bellefleur; Woll as Jessica; and Forbes as Maryann.
UNTITLED DAVID GUARASCIO/MOSES PORT PROJECT (FOX, New!) - "Aliens in America" alums Moses Port and David Guarascio have booked a new single-camera comedy at the network about a twentysomething man who starts taking a mood enhancer called Blisstilan and, after snapping out of his funk, takes a job at the pharmaceutical company behind the product. The man must now navigate working for his new boss, a high-powered female executive who boasts the nickname "The Velvet Hammer." No studio was listed as being attached. Port and Guarascio will pen the pilot and executive produce.
UNTITLED DOUG JUNG PROJECT (TNT, New!) - The cable channel is in final negotiations with Jerry Bruckheimer for a new drama pilot from creator Doug Jung ("Big Love") based on an original idea by Danny Cannon. The untitled hour, which Cannon will direct from a script by Jung, is described as a "character-based police drama that follows a squad of young undercover LAPD officers as they walk the line between doing their job and being seduced into the easy money and corruption of the crime world." Cannon, Jung and Bruckheimer then will executive produce alongside Jonathan Littman for Warner Horizon Television.
THE WONDERFUL MALADYS (HBO, New!) - Sarah Michelle Gellar ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") is set to topline and executive produce a potential new comedy at the pay channel about the dysfunctional lives of three adult siblings in New York who lost their parents at a young age. Feature writer Charles Randolph ("The Interpreter") is behind the half-hour, which he penned on spec last year. Gellar's character then is detailed as having "a kind of zealous immaturity - like a drug addict with a to-do list." It's understood HBO is fast-tracking the project to begin production early next year. Gellar and Randolph are executive producing alongside Brillstein Entertainment Partners.