LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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BARELY LEGAL (NBC, New!) - Hilary Duff has been tapped to star in a new half-hour comedy based on the true story of Kathleen Holtz, who in November 2007 passed the notoriously difficult California bar at age 18 to become the state's youngest lawyer. Elisa Bell ("Little Black Book") is behind the project, which comes from actor/producer Rob Morrow's ("NUMB3RS") Bits and Pieces Productions and Universal Media Studios. Duff's involvement is the result of a talent holding deal the actress recently inked with the network and studio. Bell then is penning the script and executive producing alongside Morrow.
LIGHT YEARS (The CW) - Shiri Appleby ("ER"), Kristoffer Polaha ("Valentine") and Kerr Smith ("Justice") have all joined the cast of the drama pilot, about Lux (Brittany Robertson), a foster child who, on her 16th birthday, decides to track down her slacker biological father and mother, who haven't spoken since high school when their one-night stand resulted in pregnancy. Appleby then will play said mom, morning radio host Cate Campbell (Appleby); with Polaha as her dad, bar owner Nick "Baze" Basile; and Smith as Ryan, Campbell's boyfriend and co-host on the show. Liz Tigelaar is behind the CBS Paramount Network Television-based hour, which Gary Fleder is directing.
MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE (TNT) - The cable channel has ordered 10 episodes of the Ray Romano-led/produced drama about three fortysomething college buddies (Romano, Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula) who are each coming to terms with a midlife that doesn't live up to their previous expectations. Romano and Mike Royce co-created the hour, which they'll also executive produce alongside Rory Rosegarten and Cary Hoffman for TNT Original Productions. Scott Winant directed the pilot, while Brian White and Richard Gant also star. Production is expected to begin in time for a January 2010 premiere.
STARZ AT THE TCA - The pay channel has confirmed newcomer "Party Down" and the third season of "Head Case" will both roll out on Friday, March 20. "Down," from executive producers Dan Etheridge, John Enbom, Paul Rudd and Rob Thomas, follows a Los Angeles catering team - a sextet of Hollywood wannabes (Adam Scott, Jane Lynch, Ken Marino, Lizzy Caplan, Martin Starr and Ryan Hansen) stuck working for tips while hoping for their "big break." Jerry Seinfeld, Tori Spelling, Geri Halliwell and Hugh Hefner have already signed on to make cameos on the series. Fellow freshman entry "Spartacus," a green screen remake of the Roman slave revolt tale, then is expected to bow this summer, while no decision has been made about the fate of recently wrapped "Crash."
THE WENDY WILLIAMS SHOW (Syndication) - Debmar-Mercury is officially moving forward with a national rollout of the syndicated talk show, which aired a six-week test run over the summer on Fox owned-and-operated stations in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Detroit. The series is a go in more than 70% of the country, including stations in all the top 20 markets. Rob Dauber will return as executive producer with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia alum Liz Koman serving as executive VP of branded marketing for the show. "Williams" will also remain in New York, home to her popular "Wendy Williams Experience" daily radio show on R&B station WBLS-FM.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters