LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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THE BLACK PANTHERS/IDA TARBELL (HBO, New!) - Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Films is developing a pair of historical mini-series at the pay channel. First up is "Ida Tarbell," about the life of the journalist who exposed the unfair practices of John D. Rockefeller and his Standard Oil monopoly. Mimosa Jones ("Wild Card") is writing the script. Also in the works is "The Black Panthers," a look at the inner circle of the 1960s movement based on David Hilliard's "Huey: Spirit of the Panther" and Elaine Brown's "A Taste of Power: A Black Woman's Story." Carl Franklin ("Devil in a Blue Dress") is attached to write and direct the project. Both efforts will be executive produced by Winfrey and Harpo's Kate Forte. Franklin, Jesse B. Franklin, Cecil Cox and Craig Rice are also attached as executive producers on "Panthers."
DOLLHOUSE (FOX) - "Reaper" alum Ray Wise has booked an arc on the sophomore drama. He'll play Howard, "an intelligent higher-up in the Dollhouse who has huge presence and humor," Entertainment Weekly reports. It's not clear when his first episode will air. Wise joins previously announced guests Jamie Bamber, Keith Carradine, Alexis Denisoff, and Summer Glau on the show's new season, due on Friday, September 25 at 9:00/8:00c.
HANK (ABC) - Jordan Hinson ("Eureka") has joined the cast of the freshman comedy, set to launch on Wednesday, September 30 at 8:00/7:00c. She'll play Maddie, the daughter of Kelsey Grammer's character. Hinson is the third actress attached to said role: Macey Cruthird played Maddie in the original pilot only to be replaced by Sasha Pieterse back in July. Hinson was subsequently brought in after producers decided to age the Maddie character. In addition, Andrew D. Weyman ("Roommates") was tapped to helm the new pilot, which was filmed last month. James Burrows directed the original pilot.
PARENTHOOD (NBC) - Oscar- and Emmy-winner Helen Hunt reportedly has been offered the role of Maura Tierney's character on the midseason drama. Last week Tierney announced she could not participate on the freshman drama due to her breast cancer treatment. The series revolves around four adult siblings (including Peter Krause, Erika Christensen and Dax Shepard) and their parents (Bonnie Bedelia and Craig T. Nelson). Jason Katims is behind the Universal Media Studios-based project and is executive producing alongside Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.
SINS OF THE MOTHER (LMN, New!) - Jill Scott ("The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency") has been tapped to star in the original movie, about "a grad student who returns home to face her abusive, alcoholic mother only to discover that her mom is sober and has a 3-year-old daughter and new life." Scott would play the mother in the project, which is based on Carleen Brice's book "Orange Mint and Honey." Paul Kaufman is directing the project from a script by Elizabeth Hunter with Damon Lee executive producing for Mother Road Productions. Production is set to begin this week.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters