LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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HOWIE DO IT (NBC) - ShineReveille International has been tapped to distribute the six-episode series, which features Howie Mandel in disguise pulling pranks on unsuspecting marks, internationally. Hallock-Healey Entertainment's Scott Hallock and Kevin Healey are executive producing the project alongside Mandel, Michael Rotenberg and Morgan Elliot. NBC has yet to announce a premiere date.
THE PHILANTHROPIST (NBC) - "Law & Order" alum Jesse L. Martin is in negotiations to co-star on the midseason drama series opposite James Purefoy. The project, from Universal Media Studios and Original Media, centers on Teddy Rist (Purefoy), a renegade billionaire who uses his wealth, connections and power to help people in need around the world. Martin then would play Philip Maidstone, Teddy's business partner and lifelong friend. Filming on the show's initial order - which is now believed to be less than its original 13-episode commitment - is set to begin in London, South Africa and the Czech Republic for a spring premiere. Charlie Corwin, David Eick, Jim Juvonen and Peter Horton are the executive producers.
TYLER PERRY'S HOUSE OF PAYNE (TBS) - The WGA has filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board over claims that writers Kellie Griffin, Christopher Moore, Teri Brown-Jackson and Lamont Ferrell were fired from the series after the quartet (and three others) attempted to negotiate a WGA contract with Perry's production company. Perry's attorney, Matt Johnson, however told various sources they were fired due to poor work performance. In any case, WGA West plans to picket Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta when it opens this weekend. As for the other writers, three were asked to stay on, and two did.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters