[02/27/09 - 06:56 PM] Development Update: Friday, February 27 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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90210 (The CW) - Rebecca Rand Kirshner Sinclair has inked a new two-year, seven-figure overall deal with CBS Paramount Network Television. The pact calls for the executive producer to assume the showrunning duties from current captains Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah next season. The writer/producer, who joined the series with episode nine, had been set to focus on development next season with only a consulting role on "90210." The network and studio nevertheless are said to be happy with Sinclair's input and subsequently offered her the show's top role. It's not clear if Sachs and Judah will remain with the series for season two.
CRASH COURSE (ABC, New!) - Orlando Jones and Dan Cortese are set to host a new reality series for the network in which contestants navigate an outrageous obstacle course - featuring everything from weather hazards to falling rocks - in a stunt car. Production on the pilot is set to begin this weekend with Arthur Smith and Kent Weed ("I Survived a Japanese Game Show") executive producing. It's understood the network is eyeing the project as a companion piece to its summer hit "Wipeout."
EMPIRE STATE (ABC) - David Morse ("John Adams") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a blue-collar man falling in love with a wealthy woman. He'll play the boy's strong-willed, caring father. Michael Nouri also stars in the hour, which comes from creator Michael Seitzman, executive producer Mark Gordon and director Jeremy Podeswa.
INSIDE THE BOX (ABC) - "Viva Laughlin" alum Lloyd Owen is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about a Washington-based news network. He'll play a suave Englishman tapped to replace the retiring bureau chief. Betsy Beers, Richard E. Robbins and Shonda Rhimes are the executive producers of the hour, which comes from ABC Studios and director Mark Tinker.
MAGGIE HILL (FOX) - Denis O'Hare ("Milk") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a brilliant surgeon (Christina Cole) who endures adult-onset schizophrenia and thrives. He'll play a top schizophrenia doctor who treats Cole's character. Stephen Hopkins is helming the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour from a script by Ian Biederman.
MELROSE PLACE (The CW) - Katie Cassidy, who stars in CBS's upcoming drama "Harper's Island," has joined the cast of the netlet's "Melrose" update. She'll play Ella Flynn, "an up-and-coming publicist with a big career ahead of her." Michael Rady also stars in the hour, which comes from CBS Paramount Network Television, director Davis Guggenheim and co-creators Darren Swimmer and Todd Slavkin.
THE PHILANTHROPIST (NBC) - Former Peacock scripted chief Teri Weinberg has inked a two-year, first-look deal with her former employer. The pact gives the network first crack at her Yellow Brick Road banner's output. In addition, she'll also join the upcoming drama "The Philanthropist" as an executive producer. There she'll serve alongside fellow executive producers Charlie Corwin, Peter Horton and creator Tom Fontana.
SEE CATE RUN (ABC) - Ben Feldman ("Living With Fran") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a young prosecuting attorney (Amy Smart) who one day is going to be a serious contender for president of the U.S. He'll play her boyfriend, an ADA who works with her. John Scott Shepherd created the hour, which comes from ABC Studios and director Dean Parisot.
VAMPIRE DIARIES (The CW) - Steven R. McQueen ("Everwood") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about Elena, "a tragic young heroine who is the object of passion for two vampire brothers -- one good, one evil -- who are at war for her soul and for the souls of her friends, family and other residents of the small town in which she resides." He'll play Jeremy, Elena's outcast cute younger brother. Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson are behind the project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television and Alloy Entertainment.