LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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BOARDWALK EMPIRE (HBO) - Aleksa Palladino, Paul Sparks, Shea Whigham and Anthony Laciura are the final additions to the drama pilot, which chronicles the early 20th century origins of Atlantic City. Palladino will play Angela, the wife of Michael Pitt's Jimmy Darmody; with Sparks as a funeral director whose real business is bootlegging; Whigham as Eli Johnson, the corrupt sheriff brother of Steve Buscemi's Nucky Johnson; and Laciura as Eddie Kessel, Nucky's loyal assistant. Terrence Winter penned the hour and is executive producing alongside director Martin Scorsese, Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson.
CANNED (ABC, New!) - Kevin Etten ("Reaper") is the latest to score a pilot order from the network, this time for a multi-camera comedy about a group of friends who all get fired on the same day. The project, whose commitment is showrunner-contingent, is set up at ABC Studios and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Etten penned the script and will executive produce with Brillstein's Peter Traugott.
CONFESSIONS OF A CONTRACTOR (CBS) - The Shawn Ryan-produced drama has received a pilot commitment from the Eye. Richard Murphy wrote the hour based on his book of the same name about the on and off the clock life of a successful L.A. contractor. Murphy also serves as a co-executive producer on the 20th Century Fox Television-based project, which Ryan, Jeff Okin and Paul Green are executive producing.
COUGAR TOWN (ABC) - The Courteney Cox-led/Bill Lawrence-produced comedy has formally been ordered to pilot. Cox stars as a newly single 40-year-old mom with a 17-year-old son in the ABC Studios-based half-hour, which Lawrence co-wrote alongside Kevin Biegel. The trio then also serve as executive producers.
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC) - Co-star Nicollette Sheridan is exiting the series after five seasons, reports TVGuide.com. "[Nicollette] had a great time on the show and is looking forward to her next project," a rep for Sheridan said in a statement. Not surprisingly, the circumstances of her departure were not revealed.
THE EASTMANS (CBS, New!) - Margaret Nagle has scored a pilot order from the Eye for yet another medical drama, this time about a complicated family of doctors. The project is set up at Warner Bros. Television with Nagle writing and executive producing. The Eye's medical roster also includes Curtis Hanson and Carol Barbee's "Three Rivers" as well as Jerry Bruckheimer and Jeffrey Lieber's "Miami Trauma."
FIRE IN THE HOLE (FX) - The cable channel has ordered a pilot for the project, about Kentucky-based U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, "a tough, soft-spoken lawman with a rough side," and "chronicles his cases and personal life, including unfinished business with an ex-wife and his aging father." Graham Yost is behind the hour, which is based on the Elmore Leonard short story of the same name. Michael Dinner is directing the Sony Pictures Television-based project, which Yost is executive producing alongside Carl Beverly and Sarah Timberman.
HUMAN TARGET (FOX) - Mark Valley ("Fringe") has scored the lead role on the drama pilot, about a mysterious security freelancer who assumes the identities of those in danger. He'll play Christopher Chance in the hour, which comes from DC Comics, Warner Bros. Television and McG's Wonderland Sound and Vision. Simon West is directing from a script by Jon Steinberg.
I WITNESS (CBS, New!) - Pam Veasey and Trey Callaway ("CSI: NY") have landed a pilot commitment from the Eye for a new drama about a gumshoe professor who uses her physiological skills to solve crimes. The project is set up at CBS Paramount Network Television with the pair writing and executive producing.
THE LAW (ABC, New!) - Cedric the Entertainer is set to topline a new comedy for the Alphabet about "reserve police officers for the LAPD who balance their full-time off-duty lives with the excitement of being weekend cops." The single-camera project, which has a pilot order, is set up at ABC Studios and DreamWorks Television. Cedric co-wrote the script with Bob Fisher who are also executive producing alongside Charles Segars, Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey. Cedric previously starred in a multi-camera pilot for the network last season.
LIGHTS OUT (FX, New!) - Feature writer Justin Zackham ("The Bucket List") and director Phillip Noyce ("The Quiet American") are set to team for a new drama pilot at the cable channel about "an aging former heavyweight boxing champion [with pugilistic dementia] who struggles to find his identity and support his wife [a pediatric orthopedic surgeon] and three daughters after his fighting days, leading him to accept reluctantly a job as an enforcer collecting debts." Fox Television Studios and FX Productions are behind the hour, which Noyce is expected to direct from a script by Zackham. Ross Fineman, the pair's manager, will executive produce alongside the duo.
PLANET LUCY (ABC, New!) - Gabrielle Allan has scored a cast-contingent pilot presentation order from the Alphabet for a new comedy about "an accident-prone woman who balances raising three kids with trying to reclaim who she was before she became a wife and mother." ABC Studios and Sony Pictures Television are behind the single-camera project, which is based on Fiona Neill's book "Slummy Mummy." Allan then is executive producing alongside Jamie Tarses.
TREME (HBO) - Rob Brown is the latest addition to the pilot, a post-Katrina-themed drama that chronicles the rebuilding of New Orleans through the eyes of local musicians. He'll play Delmond, a New York jazz musician and son of Albert (Clarke Peters) who reluctantly returns to his native New Orleans. Khandi Alexander, Kim Dickens, Steve Zahn and Wendell Pierce also star in the hour, which comes from executive producers David Simon, Eric Overmyer and Nina Noble.
UNTITLED ANITA RENFROE PROJECT (ABC, New!) - Comedian Anita Renfroe is set to star in a potential new comedy at the Alphabet described as a parenting show centered around the thought that family comes first, by any means necessary. The project, which has a pilot presentation order, is set up at the ever-busy Sony Pictures Television-based Tantamount. Rob Hanning and Amy Welsh penned the script and are executive producing alongside the company's Mitch Hurwitz, Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum.
UNTITLED KELSEY GRAMMER PROJECT (ABC) - The Kelsey Grammer-led comedy, about a hotshot Wall Street executive who loses his job and is forced to reconnect with his small-town family, has been ordered to pilot. Tucker Cawley penned the half-hour and is executive producing alongside Good Humor Television's Mike Clements and Tom Werner. Warner Bros. Television is the studio attached.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters