[02/06/09 - 06:43 PM]
Development Update: Friday, February 6
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:

Looking to keep track of all the various projects in development? Click here to visit our signature "Devwatch" section. There visitors can view our listings by network, genre, studio and even development stage (ordered to pilot, cast-contingent, script, etc.). It's updated every day!

2009-10 BROADCAST NETWORK PILOTS (Various) - The Hollywood Reporter's Pilot Log indicates CBS has given a cast-contingent pilot order to Shana Goldberg-Meehan's multi-camera comedy, originally known as "Oldyweds." Now dubbed "At Last," the Warner Bros. Television-based project revolves around Lucy and James, who "in their mid-30s, decide to get married but realize they have a lot of baggage, friends, ex-lovers, etc." The Eye is also apparently moving forward with its Jason Biggs-led comedy pilot - from Mitch Hurwitz and Jim Vallely - about adult siblings and their parents who are over-involved in one another's lives.

And finally over at NBC, the Peacock and Jon Pollack are said to still be casting for his single-camera comedy about a powerful woman in the high-stakes world of hedge funds. The lead character, Maggie Covell, is detailed in the casting notice as follows: "25-33, any ethnicity. This incredibly appealing woman is pretty, dynamic and brilliant. She is bursting with energy in her fast talking style as a hedge fund manager. She is head-strong with barracuda instincts and a passion for her work. Not one to let emotions get in the way of what's important, Maggie is suffering recurring panic attacks now that the company's taken a plunge and she's got to come up with a bet that'll bring in a hundred million in one day. In the meantime, she's a little put out with the new guy, a friend of the boss who seems a little "Mary Tyler Moore" for such a cutthroat business."

ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE (CBS, New!) - Claudia Lonow ("Cashmere Mafia") has booked a cast-contingent pilot order for a new comedy based Mary F. Pols's autobiographical novel of the same name. CBS Paramount Network Television and BermanBraun are behind the half-hour, which like the book will track the story of a San Francisco movie critic who finds herself accidentally pregnant after a fling with a much younger man. Lonow penned the script and is executive producing alongside BermanBraun's Lloyd Braun and Gail Berman.

AMERICA'S GOT TALENT (NBC) - Jerry Springer is exiting as host of the series after two seasons. "I've had a wonderful time serving as host on 'America's Got Talent,'" Springer said in a statement to the press. "These last two seasons, working with everyone associated with the show and all the extraordinary and talented performers across America, has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me. This summer, I will be pursuing a wonderful opportunity in the theatre. That, coupled with my syndicated talk how leaves my plate more than full and thus, I will not be returning for season four." The Peacock's reality chief Paul Telegdy also released a statement saying: "Jerry has been an important part of the 'America's Got Talent' family for the past two seasons. We thank him for his hard work and dedication to the show and congratulate him on this new endeavor." A new host is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

BURN NOTICE (USA) - Co-star Jeffrey Donovan is set to earn $125,000-$150,000 an episode following a renegotiation of his contact with producer Fox Television Studios. The actor, who's believed to have made $55,000 per installment in his original deal, has also added an additional year to his seven-year contract. It's understood the studio and USA will share the cost of the pay increase. "Notice" currently ranks as the most-watched program on cable among adults 18-49, having hit series highs in the key demographic twice this season.

THE GOOD WIFE (CBS, New!) - The Eye has given a cast-contingent pilot order to a new drama about a politician's wife who pursues her original career as a defense attorney. Robert and Michelle King ("In Justice") are behind the hour, which is based at CBS Paramount Network Television and Scott Free. The Kings are executive producing alongside Scott Free's Ridley Scott, Tony Scott and David W. Zucker.

LEGALLY MAD (NBC) - "Boston Public" alum Loretta Devine has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a twentysomething woman (Charity Wakefield) who takes a job at a law firm run by her father (Hugh Bonneville). She'll play Janette Harris, whom the casting notice details as follows: "30s, any ethnicity, attractive, on the constant verge of a nervous breakdown. Meticulous in appearance, she prides herself on being perfect. Has an army of therapists, none help." Jon Seda, Kristin Chenoweth and Kurt Fuller also star in the hour, which comes from creator David E. Kelley and Warner Bros. Television.

LIFE FOR DUMMIES (Syndication, New!) - Paige Davis ("Trading Spaces") has been tapped to host a potential new syndicated talk show based on Wiley Publishing's popular "For Dummies" how-to book series. A. Smith and Co. founders Arthur Smith and Kent Weed are behind the project, which will "explore a wide range of topics using a combination of interviews, studio demonstrations, field segments and personal testimonials." Smith and Weed then will executive produce with Davis also receiving a producer credit.

MELROSE PLACE (The CW) - Entertainment Weekly has unveiled character breakdowns for the netlet's "Melrose Place" revival. Among the ensemble: David Patterson and Ella Flynn ("He's Melrose royalty, the now-grown son of the original Jake, with the taut abs and thick black book to prove it. She's his omnisexual sometime lover, a PR whiz whose tongue is as sharp as her stilettos."); Jonah Miller and Riley Richmond ("He's a Kevin Smith wannabe whose obsession with his movies is unlikely to give him a happy ending with his sickly-sweet schoolteacher fiancee -- especially when she takes a shine to the glamorous life he loathes."); Auggie Kirkpatrick ("A hunky hippie, this recovering alcoholic is willing to give everybody the benefit of the doubt. No word on whether the word sucker will be tattooed on Debbie Downer's forehead, but come on..."); Lauren Bishop ("Sort of an anti-Michael, this straight-arrow med student falls on such hard times that she's forced to pull a Sydney and trade sexual favors for financial ones."); and Violet Foster ("Though she's fresh off the turnip truck, this small-town teen already has a worldly-wise m.o.: play the sex kitten till you're ready to bare your claws."). Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer are behind the project, which is set up at CBS Paramount Network Television.

MIAMI TRAUMA (A.K.A. UNTITLED BRUCKHEIMER/LIEBER PROJECT) (CBS) - Jerry Bruckheimer and Jeffrey Lieber's medical drama has received a pilot commitment from the network. The project, which is based at Warner Bros. Television and the former's Bruckheimer Television, focuses on a team of trauma surgeons who race against the clock to save critically injured patients. Lieber penned the pilot and is executive producing alongside Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman. KristieAnne Reed will also serve as a consulting producer.

POWERS (FX, New!) - MTV's Splash Page reports that Brian Michael Bendis has booked a script commitment at the cable channel for a small screen take on his comic book series. Bendis himself penned the script and will presumably will executive produce the hour, a police procedural set in a superhero-populated world. "'Powers' is in active development as a pilot at FX," Bendis told MTV. "I just handed in a draft to the network and we're getting our notes from the network as soon as this thing is over. So next week I'll get the notes, and as long as they don't involve sock puppets and some sort of orgy scene that I'm not interested in, then hopefully it will go in the right direction." The comic was previously optioned as a feature film back in 2001 but never made it past the script stage.

STATE OF ROMANCE (NBC, New!) - Veteran writers Barbara Wallace and Tom Wolfe ("Welcome to New York") have landed a pilot order from the Peacock for a new single-camera comedy described as a modern day "Pride and Prejudice" set in Chicago. Universal Media Studios is behind the half-hour, which the pair wrote and will executive produce. No other specifics were released.

THREE RIVERS (A.K.A. UNTITLED BARBEE/HANSON PROJECT) (CBS) - The Eye is moving forward with its other medical drama in the works for next season, this time from executive producers Carol Barbee and Curtis Hanson. Barbee penned the script to the project, which focuses on the doctors, donors and recipients involved in organ transplants. Carol Fenelon also serves as an executive producer on the hour, which is based at CBS Paramount Network Television.

WAITING TO DIE (CBS, New!) - Sony Pictures Television-based Tantamount has landed yet another pilot this season, this time for a new comedy about two simple guys who are happy with their lives - no matter how bad it might look from the outside. Will Sasso and Chad Kultgen penned the pilot and are executive producing alongside Tantamount's Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Tannenbaum and Mitch Hurwitz.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [february 2009]  


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