[02/26/09 - 06:24 PM] Development Update: Thursday, February 26 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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COUGAR TOWN (ABC) - Busy Philipps, Dan Byrd and Brian Van Holt have all joined the cast of the Courteney Cox-led comedy pilot, about Julia (Cox), a newly single 40-year-old mother with a 17-year-old son. Byrd will play said son with Van Holt as Julia's loser ex/her son's dad and Philipps as Julia's friend/co-worker. Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel co-created the half-hour, which is based at ABC Studios.
GOSSIP GIRL (The CW) - Brittany Snow ("American Dreams") is in final negotiations to topline the much-ballyhooed spin-off, a prequel chronicling the wild teen years of Lily van der Woodsen (Kelly Rutherford) in Los Angeles during the 1980s. She'll play Lily Rhodes, who's detailed in the casting notice as follows: "Female, 16, beautiful, slightly entitled. Caucasian. Kelly Rutherford's character as a teenager. Born into a world of wealth. Rebellious and wild. Kicked out of her prominent boarding school and forced to live with and watch over her irresponsible older sister in Los Angeles. A poor little rich girl, a princess in the Valley. She discovers she can be herself amongst the less privileged kids she befriends at her new school. She is on a journey to discover which world she belongs in." Also signing on is Shilo Fernandez as Owen: "Male, 19. Open ethnicity, ethnic preferred. Hot - Valley punk guy with a caustic wit. Has had a tough life." Alloy Entertainment, College Hill Productions and Warner Bros. Television are behind the hour, which comes from Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage. Krysten Ritter also stars as Carol, Lily's sister.
EMPIRE STATE (ABC) - Michael Nouri ("Invincible") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, which centers on a blue-collar young man falling in love with a wealthy girl. He'll play the girl's father in the ABC Studios-based hour, which Jeremy Podeswa is directing from a script by Michael Seitzman.
MAGGIE HILL (FOX) - British actress Christina Cole has booked the title role on the drama pilot, about a brilliant female surgeon (Cole) who thrives despite battling adult-onset schizophrenia. Ian Biederman created the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, which Stephen Hopkins is directing.
MERCY (NBC) - "Weeds" co-star Guillermo Diaz has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about three nurses bound together in friendship. He's set as a male nurse working with them. Adam Bernstein is helming the Universal Media Studios-based hour from a script by creator Elizabeth Heldens.
NCIS (CBS) - Chris O'Donnell is officially on board the upcoming spin-off, which will air later this season as a two-part episode of "NCIS." He'll play Callen, "the troubled, enigmatic lead agent whose natural talent for undercover work is legend." LL Cool J, Louise Lombard, Peter Cambor and Daniela Ruah also star in the CBS Paramount Network Television-based project, which comes from creator Shane Brennan and director Tony Wharmby.
'TIL DEATH (FOX) - "Everybody Hates Chris" executive producer Don Reo has been tapped as the latest showrunner of the hiatused comedy. He'll serve as an executive producer alongside creators Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith for the show's recently ordered fourth season. The news marks a reunion of sorts for the producers - Reo gave Yuspa and Goldsmith their first staff writing gig on the 1996 CBS comedy "Pearl."
TRAUMA (NBC) - Derek Luke, Kevin Rankin, Cliff Curtis and Jamey Sheridan are all the latest additions to the drama pilot, a medical procedural about a team of EMTs. Luke will play "a stoic trauma doctor who tries to be a good family man" with Curtis as "a genius surgeon and adrenaline junkie who travels by helicopter"; Sheridan as "an intuitive doctor who runs the trauma center"; and Rankin as "a paramedic who drives the fire department truck." Dario Scardapane is behind the hour, which is set up at Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey's Film 44 and Universal Media Studios. Jeffrey Reiner is directing.
THE UNKNOWN (ABC) - Anthony Carrigan, Michelle Borth, Bob Stephenson and Rochelle Aytes have all scored roles on the drama pilot, about a team of dedicated amateur detectives working on cases of unidentified victims. Carrigan will play "a troubled artist recruited for his talent of facial reconstruction" while Borth is set as "a member of the team who has an office day job." Rounding out the quartet is Stephenson as another member of the team, "a phone company worker," and Aytes as "a tough police detective." Mark Friedman created the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced hour, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television. Danny Cannon is also on board to direct and executive produce.
WALORSKY (FOX) - The network has opted to push the pilot's production to June, citing difficulties casting the lead. Alessandro Tanaka and Brian Gatewood created the comedy, about an ex-cop-turned-security guard who patrols a mall in Buffalo. Ravi Nandan and Scot Armstrong are executive producing the half-hour, which is set up at their American Work banner and 20th Century Fox Television.
WASHINGTON FIELD (CBS) - Cole Hauser ("K-Ville") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about an elite FBI team that handles crises around the world. He'll play the squad's supervisor. Hauser's involvement is tied to a talent holding deal the actor signed with the network back in October. Jon Cassar is helming the CBS Paramount Network Television-based hour from a script by Edward Allen Bernero and fellow co-creators Jim Clemente and Tim Clemente.