[11/30/09 - 06:24 PM]
Development Update: Monday, November 30
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:

Looking to keep track of all the various projects in development? Click here to visit our signature "Devwatch" section. There visitors can view our listings by network, genre, studio and even development stage (ordered to pilot, cast-contingent, script, etc.). It's updated every day!

COUGAR TOWN (ABC) - Ryan Devlin ("Veronica Mars") has scored a recurring role on the freshman comedy. He'll play Smith, a love interest for Busy Phillipps's character. Further details about his character however weren't released.

FUNNY IN FARSI (ABC) - Barry Sonnenfeld ("Pushing Daisies") has been tapped to direct and executive produce the comedy pilot, based on Firoozeh Dumas's memoir about his experiences growing up in Newport Beach, California during the 1970s. The Alphabet originally issued the project a director-contingent order during its last development cycle. In any case, Sonnenfeld will work from a script by Jeffrey Hodes and Nastaran Dibai ("Rita Rocks") for ABC Studios. His involvement is tied to a first-look deal the director/producer inked with the studio earlier this year. The pact also called for Sonnenfeld to direct two pilots for the studio.

KEEP HOPE ALIVE (FOX) - Garrett Dillahunt ("Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about Jimmy (Lucas Neff), "a 25-year-old man raising an infant with the help of his quirky family after the mother of the baby, with whom he had a one-night stand, ends up on death row." He'll play Jimmy's dysfunctional father and boss, "who is not thrilled to find himself a grandfather and worries that the baby might carry her mom's homicidal gene." Martha Plimpton and Olesya Rulin also star in the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, which Michael Fresco is directing from a script by Greg Garcia.

THE MENTALIST (CBS) - Aunjanue Ellis ("E-Ring") has booked a multi-episode arc on the sophomore drama. She'll play the CBI's "beautiful but tough" new boss, who "is brought in to restore discipline and morale to the division after the murder of three agents." Ellis takes over for Gregory Itzin's Virgil Minelli, who is being written out to accommodate the actor's return to "24" later this season. Her first episode will likely air in the spring.

RAISING THE BAR (TNT) - The cable channel has passed on ordering a third season of the legal drama. "Everyone at TNT had a great experience working on 'Raising the Bar' with Steven Bochco and the rest of the show's terrific cast and crew," said the network in a statement. "We're proud of the series and appreciate the efforts of all of the creative people who were involved. Unfortunately, ratings for 'Raising the Bar's' second season did not reach the levels required for TNT to renew the series." The network still has three episodes yet to air of the series however when or if they will be broadcast wasn't specified.

ROOSTER TALES (FOX, New!) - Matthew McConaughey is developing an animated comedy at the network based on the life of his brother Rooster. The project, to be penned by Kell Cahoon ("Psych"), follows "the world of a beer-swilling, redneck sheriff who marries a much younger woman from Mexico [only to realize] he's gained not only a wife but an entire clan - 114 members and counting." McConaughey and Cahoon will executive produce the half-hour alongside Mark Gustawes for the actor's J.K. Livin' Productions. It's understood FOX beat out TBS and Comedy Central for the project, which has a script commitment.

TOUGH TRADE (Epix) - Lucas Black ("The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift") and Cary Elwes ("Disney's A Christmas Carol") have both been cast in the drama pilot, about the Tucker family, "a Nashville music dynasty whose penchant for drink, debauchery and divorce has left it on the verge of bankruptcy." Black will play "an extremely talented guitarist and singer who could have followed in the Tucker legacy started by his grandfather (the previously cast Sam Shepard) and father (Elwes) but has no interest in pursuing a career in country music." Chris Offutt and Jenji Kohan are behind the hour, which is set up at Lionsgate Television.

UNTITLED JASON MANTZOUKAS PROJECT (FOX, New!) - Jason Mantzoukas (NBC's "Off Duty") has landed a script order from the network for a new medical comedy about "a female doctor who is unraveling at the seams." 20th Century Fox Television and The Chernin Co. are behind the half-hour, which Mantzoukas will executive produce alongside Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

  [november 2009]  

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