[11/03/08 - 06:22 PM] Development Update: Monday, November 3 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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BLOCK PARTY (CBS, New!) - The Eye has ordered seven episodes of a new reality series that pits a neighborhood of families against each other for a significant prize. Reality guru/film producer Mike Fleiss ("The Bachelor") and his Next Entertainment are behind the project, which comes from Warner Horizon Television. No other details were given about the series, which is set to begin casting shortly. The pickup marks the first project commissioned by incoming CBS reality chief Jennifer Bresnan.
CHANGING POSITIONS (NBC, New!) - "Meet the Parents" and "Meet the Fockers" co-writer Jim Herzfeld has booked a new multi-camera comedy at the Peacock about a Wall Street guy in his late 30s who loses everything and is forced, along with his wife and their teen kids, to move in with his parents. Universal Media Studios and Doug Liman and David Bartis's Dutch Oven are behind the half-hour, which Herzfeld will write and executive produce. The Hollywood Reporter goes on to add that the parents are "a wealthy, very sexually active couple in their mid 50s who live in a large compound in the Hollywood Hills after amassing a fortune making (and starring in) instructional sex videos in the 1980s when they also invented the 'standing O' position."
GREY'S ANATOMY (ABC) - Co-star Brooke Smith has been let go from the popular drama, fueling speculation her ouster was related to her character's recently revealed sexual orientation. The actress, whose final episode airs on November 6, told Entertainment Weekly: "I found out in mid-September soon after shooting the monologue that aired last week where Erica has the revelation that she's gay. They even came down and told me it was a great scene -- one of the best they ever shot on the show. So I was really, really shocked. I was floored when they told me [I was being let go]. It was the last thing I expected. In fact, when they told me I asked, "When is this happening?" And they said, "The [next episode] is your last," which is the one that airs this Thursday. So it was very sudden." Executive producer Shonda Rhimes subsequently released a statement saying: "Brooke Smith was obviously not fired for playing a lesbian. Clearly it's not an issue as we have a lesbian character on the show � Calliope Torres. Sara Ramirez is an incredible comedic and dramatic actress and we wanted to be able to play up her magic. Unfortunately, we did not find that the magic and chemistry with Brooke's character would sustain in the long run. The impact of the Callie/Erica relationship will be felt and played out in a story for Callie. I believe it belittles the relationship to simply replace Erica with 'another lesbian.' If you'll remember, Cristina mourned the loss of Burke for a full season."
HEROES (NBC) - Co-executive producers Jesse Alexander and Jeph Loeb have exited the show due to creative differences. The pair, who joined the series after its pilot, are the first victims of an expected overhaul of the show's writing staff, which includes Cathy Mickel Gibson, Joe Pokaski, Lori Motyer, Aron Eli Coleite, Rob Fresco, Jim Chory, Adam Armus and Kay Foster. Creator Tim Kring executive produces the series alongside Dennis Hammer, Allan Arkush and Greg Beeman. The news comes after the Universal Media Studios-produced "Heroes" posted a series low 8.20 million viewers last week. That, coupled with an overall creative backlash and rumblings of overruns on its sizable $4 million per-episode budget, lead to the shakeup.
KING OF THE HILL (FOX) - ABC reportedly is eyeing the animated veteran following the news FOX won't be moving forward with a 14th cycle of the series. The Alphabet is home to "Hill" co-creator Mike Judge's (and fellow "Hill" executive producers John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky's) new animated effort "The Goode Family," due at midseason. Producer 20th Century Fox Television however would only confirm another network is interested in the show, but didn't offer any specifics. Due to the lengthy lead time needed for animated projects, it's unlikely "Hill" could make the move until late 2009 or early 2010.
KINGS (NBC) - Michael Green, the creator and executive producer of the upcoming drama, has inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with producer Universal Media Studios. The pact covers his duties on the newcomer as well as his future development.
STATEN ISLAND (FX, New!) - Lawrence O'Donnell ("The West Wing") is developing a new drama at the cable channel about a compromised police chief based in the famed New York City borough. Mandalay Television, FX Productions and Fox 21 are producing the project, which O'Donnell will write and executive produce.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters, Entertainment Weekly