LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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DEXTER (Showtime, New!) - Clyde Phillips is departing the series as showrunner after four seasons. "24" co-executive producer Chip Johannessen has been tapped to succeed Phillips for the show's fifth season, due in the fall of 2010. It's understood Phillips's departure is so he can spend more time with his family, which is still based in Connecticut. John Goldwyn, Sara Colleton, Charles H. Eglee, Melissa Rosenberg, Scott Buck and star Michael C. Hall also served as executive producers this past season.
THE REAL AMANDA STRAUSS (FOX, New!) - Callie Khouri ("Thelma and Louise") and Angelina Burnett ("The Cleaner") have booked a script at the network for a new drama about "a woman in the district attorney's office who harbors a big secret: she hails from a family of con artists." Sony Pictures Television is behind the hour, which also comes from the studio-based Furst Films. Sean and Bryan Furst will then executive produce alongside Burnett and Khouri, the latter of which may also direct.
TOUGH LOVE: COUPLES (VH1, New!) - The cable channel has commissioned a spin-off of its "Tough Love" franchise, simply dubbed "Tough Love: Couples." Said hour will feature host Steve Ward and his mother JoAnn as they "take five couples on the verge of becoming engaged and puts their relationships to the test." Ward will ultimately deliver "his verdict on whether the couples are right for each other, though it's up to the couples to decide whether to take his advice." Eight episodes are set to be filmed for a second quarter launch next year. Jim Berger, Pamela Healey, Nancy Juvonen, Drew Barrymore, Ember Truesdell and Chris Miller are the executive producers for High Noon Entertainment and Flower Films with Richard Hall, Steve and JoAnn Ward also serving in said capacity. Jeff Olde, Jill Holmes and Noah Pollack are supervising for VH1.
TRUE BLOOD (HBO) - Natasha Alam, Gregg Daniel, Cooper Huckabee and Joe Manganiello are the latest to score roles on the pay channel series. Entertainment Weekly reports Alam will play Yvetta, Eric's (Alexander Sarsgard) new dancer at Fangtasia, while Daniel is set as Reverend Daniels, whom Lettie Mae (Adina Porter) turns for comfort. Rounding out the bunch is Manganiello, who is set as Alcide, "a hot and sexy alpha male werewolf," with Huckabee as Joe Lee Mickens, Sam's (Sam Trammell) biological father.
THE VANDERBILTS (Showtime, New!) - Oscar-winner Julian Fellowes ("Gosford Park") is developing a new period drama at the network about "the family behind the Vanderbilt railroad and shipping empire, starting with Cornelius Vanderbilt, once one of the wealthiest men in the world." CBS Television Studios is behind the 19th century-based hour with Simon West, Bob Balaban and Rob Paris also serving as executive producers.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters