LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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THE AMAZING MRS. NOVAK (Lifetime) - Amy Pietz ("Aliens in America"), Tom Verica ("American Dreams") and Kristen Dattilo ("The Chris Isaak Show") are the first to be cast in the drama pilot, about a supermarket manager who unexpectedly becomes the governor of New Jersey. Pietz will play the title role of Trish Novak with Verica as her husband Frank and Dattilo as her sister-in-law Goldie. Vanessa Taylor is behind the hour, which comes from Warner Horizon Television and Kudos Film & Television. Carolyn Bernstein, Jane Featherstone and Stephen Garrett also serve as executive producers.
ELI STONE/THE GOODE FAMILY (ABC) - The Alphabet has asked for four more scripts of "Eli Stone," which returned for its second season last night. It's understood the network is pleased with the episodes filmed to date and gave the actual go ahead shortly before yesterday's premiere. Meanwhile, midseason entry "The Goode Family" has likewise been asked for seven additional scripts. The early request is a result of the lead time needed to potentially produce additional episodes the series, an animated comedy from "King of the Hill" co-creator Mike Judge.
THE IRENA SENDLER STORY (CBS, New!) - Anna Paquin ("True Blood") is set to topline a new Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation about Irena Sendler, a Polish woman credited with saving the lives of thousands of Jewish children during World War II. Paquin will play the Nobel Peace Prize nominee, who died at age 98 earlier this year. Production on the telefilm is set to begin next month in Riga, Latvia, for an April premiere. John Kent Harrison is directing from his own script, based on Anna Mieszkowska's book "Mother of the Children of the Holocaust: The Irena Sendler Story," with Brent Shields and Jeff Most executive producing.
JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (NBC, New!) - Josh and Jonas Pate ("Surface") have scored a script commitment from the Peacock for a new drama based on the famed Greek myth following a bidding war with at least one other network. The project, which has a penalty attached should it not move forward to pilot, is expected to be shot entirely on green screen, a la the recently launched Sci Fi series "Sanctuary." The Pates then are penning the pilot and will executive produce for Media Rights Capital. NBC previously aired an "Argonauts" mini-series (from Hallmark Entertainment) back in May of 2000.
MADE OVER (ABC, New!) - "Miss/Guided" co-creator Caroline Williams has landed a put pilot order from the Alphabet for a new comedy about a shallow, image-obsessed cosmetics executive who has a crisis of conscience and quits her job. She subsequently joins a younger woman with completely different values to start a unique consulting company. The project, which Williams will write and executive produce, is set up at Warner Bros. Television.
MEDIUM (NBC) - The Peacock has asked for three more scripts of the drama, which is set to return at midseason on the network. Thus far NBC has only ordered 13 episodes for the show's fifth season. The additional scripts however suggest that number may increase in the coming months.
RITA ROCKS (Lifetime) - The Nicole Sullivan-led comedy, which bows with a weeklong stunt next week, has gotten an order for three additional scripts. Following the aforementioned stunt, "Rita" will air Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c starting October 28.
UNTITLED DAVID E. KELLEY PROJECT (NBC, New!) - David E. Kelley's latest legal drama has received a series commitment from the Peacock, home to his 1986-1994 drama "L.A. Law." The newcomer, which Kelley wrote on spec, is set in a Chicago law firm and revolves around an aging partner and his daughter who works with him as well as a host of eccentric characters around them. The news marks Kelley's first new project since moving to Warner Bros. Television earlier this year. Kelley will then executive produce the pilot, which has a multimillion-dollar penalty if it doesn't go to series.
UNTITLED TRIBECA PROJECTS (CBS, New!) - Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal have inked a three-for-one pilot deal with CBS. The pact calls for the pair's Tribeca Productions to develop three projects for the network, one of which is ultimately guaranteed a pilot order. Already in the works: an untitled hour set in New York from Oscar-winner William Monahan ( "The Departed"). No other specifics about the project were released.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters