[09/18/09 - 06:03 PM] Development Update: Friday, September 18 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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THE BORGIAS (Showtime, New!) - Feature helmer Neil Jordan is developing a new historical drama at the pay channel about the infamous Borgia clan, "the notorious Italian noble family that ran amok during the Renaissance." Showtime is said to be close to a pilot commitment for the project, which also comes from DreamWorks Television and Robert Zemeckis's ImageMovers banner. Jordan penned the script on spec and has completed a story bible for the series. He'll also executive produce alongside Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank of DreamWorks and Zemeckis, Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey of ImageMovers. As for specifics, the series will revolve around Rodrigo Borgia, "who served as Pope Alexander VI from 1492-1503 before dying suddenly, and his murderous and larcenous children Lucrezia, Cesare and Juan."
CHUCK (NBC) - Vinnie Jones ("X-Men: The Last Stand") is set to guest star on the show's third season. He'll play Karl Stromberg, "an expert hit man with a soft side." No other details were given about said role.
IN PLAIN SIGHT (USA, New!) - John McNamara ("Eyes") has been tapped as the showrunner of the series, which returns for its third season next year. He'll take over for David Maples and Paul Stupin, who announced their departure earlier this year. The news is the result of a new overall deal the prolific writer/producer has inked with Universal Media Studios. In addition to his "Sight" duties, he'll develop new series projects for the studio. Production on the new season of "Sight" begins in January in Albuquerque.
LEAPFROG (ABC, New!) - Shana Goldberg-Meehan ("Joey") has landed a pilot commitment from the Alphabet for a new multi-camera comedy about "two sisters at different stages in their romantic relationships - one sister is in a happy, long-term relationship but isn't married; the other gets pregnant and winds up quickly marrying her new beau." Warner Bros. Television is the studio attached.
PREGNANCY PACT (Lifetime) - Thora Birch and Nancy Travis are the first to be cast in the original movie, which is inspired by "the true story of the boom of teen pregnancies at Gloucester High School in Massachusetts." Birch will play Sidney Bloom, "an opinionated blogger who returns to her hometown to investigate the sudden spike in teenage pregnancies at her old high school." Travis then is set as Lorraine Dougan, "head of a local conservative-values group and mother of Sara, a pregnant 15-year-old." The Gloucester story drew national attention after a Time magazine story suggested the pregnancies were the result of a pact among the girls. Robert M. Sertner and Frank von Zerneck are behind the project, which Rosemary Rodriguez will direct from a script by Pamela Davis and Teena Booth.
UNTITLED BRETT PAESEL/MARSH MCCALL PROJECT (ABC, New!) - Brett Paesel and Marsh McCall have booked a script commitment from the Alphabet for a new comedy about Megan McPhee, "a newly divorced woman who, in an attempt to rebuild her life, takes a rather unusual job." ABC Studios is behind the multi-camera half-hour with Warren Littlefield also executive producing.
UNTITLED PENN & TELLER PROJECT (ABC, New!) - Vegas magicians/comedians Penn and Teller ("Penn & Teller: Bullshit") are set to topline a potential new dramedy at the network about a pair of "magicians by night and reluctant detectives by day." Leonard Dick ("House") is writing the Warner Bros. Television-based project and will executive alongside the duo. Peter Golden is also onboard as a co-executive producer.