[02/02/09 - 06:26 PM] Development Update: Monday, February 2 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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ARRANGED MARRIAGE (CBS, New!) - Jane Lipsitz and Dan Cutforth ("Project Runway") have booked a series commitment from the Eye for a potentially controversial reality series in which four singles - all anxious to get married - enter into a marriage arranged by their friends and family. The series would then track their lives after said unions. The project marks the second series green light by the network's new reality chief Jennifer Bresnan (the first being "There Goes the Neighborhood"). Lipsitz and Cutforth are executive producing via their Magical Elves banner.
DATING IN THE DARK (ABC, New!) - The Alphabet has ordered a new reality series from Endemol USA in which participants go through all the usual mating rituals without ever actually setting eyes on each other. Production is set to begin on six episodes of the project, which is being co-produced by Talpa Content USA. It's understood "Dark" is based on the Netherlands format "Blind Love," in which scientifically matched singles go about the usual dating rituals in complete darkness. At the end of each self-contained episode, the participants are revealed to each other and must decide whether to move forward with a relationship. ABC reportedly ordered a pilot for "Dating" last year and are now moving forward with the series. Endemol's David Goldberg and Talpa Content's Jon de Mol are the executive producers.
FIRST & LAST (TNT, New!) - Phil Gurin and Marc Jansen are developing a new reality series at the cable channel which documents the first and last time people experience a particular event. For example, one installment may follow the first time a couple brings home their baby from the hospital then switch to a fireman's final day on the job upon retiring after 50 years. Emmy-winning filmmaker June Beallor ("Survivors of the Holocaust") is on board to serve as a co-executive producer on the project, which has a pilot commitment and is based on a European format, with Gurin and Jansen executive producing.
THE FISH TANK (CBS, New!) - Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith ("'Til Death") have scored a cast-contingent pilot order from the Eye for a new comedy about a teenager who finds himself living the dream when his parents give him the house to himself five days a week. Sony Pictures Television is behind the half-hour, which Yuspa and Goldsmith wrote and will executive produce.
HOUSE RULES (CBS, New!) - Producer Mark Gordon and writer Michael Seitzman have landed their second pilot commitment this season, this time for a new drama which follows a freshman class of congressmen as they begin their careers in Washington, D.C. Last week, the pair earned a green light from ABC for "Empire State" however "House Rules" is in first position for Seitzman, who penned the pilot. Gordon and Seitzman then are executive producing alongside Deborah Spera for ABC Studios.
HUMAN TARGET (FOX) - Simon West ("Keen Eddie") has been tapped to direct the drama pilot, about a mysterious security freelancer who assumes the identities of those in life-threatening danger. He'll work from a script by Jon Steinberg based on the DC Comics title of the same name. Steinberg and McG are executive producing for the latter's Warner Bros. Television-based Wonderland Sound and Vision.
KYLE XY (ABC Family) - The cable channel has confirmed the series will wrap after three seasons on Monday, March 16. "Kyle" opened its season to just 1.5 million viewers on January 12 (with a 0.4 rating among adults 18-49), despite a significant lead in from "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" (3.1 million viewers, 1.1 rating among adults 18-49). The news was announced as ABC Family unveiled its plans for the rest of 2009, including new seasons of "Greek" and "Lincoln Heights" as well as new series "Ruby and the Rockits," "Perfect 10" and "10 Things I Hate About You."
LOST IN THE '80S (NBC) - The Peacock has pulled the plug on the drama pilot despite the recent signings of P.J. Hogan to direct and Billy Campbell to star. "Lost," about a Midwestern family in the 1980s, was ordered to pilot back in September, prior to Angela Bromstad taking over the reigns of NBC Entertainment. Bob Brush was behind the hour, which was set up at the Sony Pictures Television-based Tantamout with Brush and Tantamount's Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Tannenbaum and Mitch Hurwitz executive producing.
A MARRIAGE (CBS, New!) - Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick ("quarterlife") are once again returning to the small screen, landing a pilot order for a new drama described as a dissection of a marriage that works. The pair penned the pilot and will executive produce via their Bedford Falls banner with Zwick directing. No studio is currently attached.
NO HEROICS (ABC) - The Alphabet has ordered a pilot for the project, a domestic take on Drew Pearce's ITV single-camera comedy about four superhero friends balancing their B-list powers with their personal lives. Pearce and Jeff Greenstein ("Desperate Housewives") co-wrote the pilot and are executive producing alongside Tiger Aspect's Andrew Zein for ABC Studios.
PARKS & RECREATION (A.K.A. UNTITLED DANIELS/SCHUR PROJECT) (NBC) - The Amy Poehler-led comedy has been officially dubbed "Parks and Recreation," according to a promo for the series that ran during the network's Super Bowl coverage. It's understood the name "Public Service" was also considered but ultimately scuttled. "Can't make fun of public service!," NBC topper Ben Silverman told The New York Times. "Worried because we don't want to seem mean about it."
PSYCH (USA) - Creator/executive producer Steve Franks has inked a two-year overall deal with Universal Cable Productions. The pact covers his duties on the popular cable series through a potential fifth season as well as any development during the period. Meanwhile, fellow UCP staple Jace Alexander has signed a first-look deal with the studio. Alexander helmed the pilots to USA's "Burn Notice" and "Royal Pains" as well as Sci Fi's "Warehouse 13," all of which went to series. The deal gives UCP first crack at any of Alexander's projects.
REINCARNATIONIST (FOX) - Deran Sarafian ("K-Ville") has signed on to direct the drama pilot, about investigators who use the concept of reincarnation to solve mysteries in their clients' previous lives in order to resolve problems in the present. David Hudgins is behind the Warner Bros. Television-based hour and is executive producing alongside Lou Pitt and MJ Rose.
TRAUMA (NBC) - Jeffrey Reiner ("Friday Night Lights") has been tapped to helm the drama pilot, a high-octane emergency medical procedural set in the field. Reiner's involvement lifts the contingency off the pilot's production. Dario Scardapane penned the pilot script and is executive producing alongside Film 44's Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey for Universal Media Studios.
UNDERCOVER BOSS (CBS, New!) - The Eye has commissioned a pilot for a new reality series in which an executive at a major corporation goes undercover at his or her own company in an entry level job. Stephen Lambert is behind the project, which is set up at his recently launched All3Media-based Studio Lambert. Britain and Australia have previously committed to the series, which like FOX's "Secret Millionaire," is designed to open the eyes of the participant. Lambert and Eli Holzman, the head of the company's U.S. arm, are executive producing.