[01/07/09 - 06:27 PM] Development Update: Wednesday, January 7 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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THE MIDDLE (ABC) - Neil Flynn ("Scrubs") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a middle-class couple (Patricia Heaton and Flynn) in middle America who cope with the financial and emotional strain of trying to raise three kids. Charlie McDermott also stars in the single-camera project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television and creators DeAnn Heline and Eileen Heisler. Julie Anne Robinson is directing.
THE NATALEE HOLLOWAY STORY (LMN) - Newcomer Amy Gumenick has been tapped for the title role in the original movie, which chronicles Beth Twitty's (Tracy Pollan) efforts to discover the truth about what happened to her daughter (Gumenick). Holloway infamously disappeared in 2005 during a senior class vacation in Aruba. Mikael Salomon is helming the project from a script by Teena Booth based on Twitty's novel, "Loving Natalee: A Mother's Testament of Hope and Faith." Frank Von Zerneck and Judith Verno are executive producing via their Von Zerneck-Sertner Films for Sony Pictures Television.
STUD (HBO, New!) - Former "Dexter" executive producer James Manos, Jr. is developing a new drama at the pay channel set in the intense, insular world of horse breeding. Based on Kevin Conley's non-fiction book of the same name, subtitled "Adventures in Breeding," the project will "examine the saga of one family of noted breeders and tap topics ranging from immigration to relationships to performance-enhancing drugs as the family seeks to find the perfect breeding combinations." Half Shell Entertainment's Mark Burrell, James DeJulio and Rob Salvatore are executive producing the hour alongside Manos, who penned the original pilot script and is working on a rewrite for the network.
UNTITLED KELSEY GRAMMER PROJECT (ABC, New!) - Kelsey Grammer ("Back to You") is set to star in a new comedy for the Alphabet about a hotshot Wall Street executive (Grammer) who loses his job and is forced to move back with his wife and kids to his hometown and reconnect with his family. Tucker Cawley ("Welcome to the Captain") is behind the half-hour, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television and Tom Werner's studio-based Good Humor Television. ABC has given a pilot commitment to the multi-camera project, which Cawley is writing and executive producing alongside Werner and Good Humor's Mike Clements. Grammer had previously toplined "Roman's Empire" at the network, which was passed on just months ago.