LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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24 (FOX) - Billy Ray ("State of Play") has been tapped to pen the feature incarnation of the veteran FOX series. Said project will reportedly take Jack Bauer to Europe however no other specifics were given. Kiefer Sutherland is expected to star and executive produce the effort alongside Howard Gordon and Brian Grazer. Production however is contingent on the fate of the television series as filming a feature while the show is active is considered high unlikely. It's understood FOX could make the call on a ninth season as early as the month's end in order to give producers enough lead time to give the series an appropriate conclusion. Nevertheless, the option still exists for producer 20th Century Fox Television to shop the show elsewhere.
CHAOS (CBS) - Brett Ratner has formally signed on to direct the drama pilot, about "rogue CIA operatives who combat bureaucratic gridlock, rampant incompetence and political infighting." Ratner was already on board to executive produce the hour, which comes from creator Tom Spezialy and 20th Century Fox Television.
CHASE (NBC) - Rose Rollins ("The L Word") is the first to be cast on the drama pilot, about "a high-priority fugitive-apprehension team in South Texas." She's believed to be playing Daisy Ogbaa, the group's weapons/tactical specialist. Jennifer Johnson is behind the hour, which comes from Jerry Bruckheimer Television and Warner Bros. Television.
THE CLEVELAND SHOW (FOX) - Co-creator Rich Appel has inked a new three-year, seven-figure overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television. The pact continues Appel's 15-year run at the studio, which he began in 1994 as a staff writer on "The Simpsons." He'll continue as showrunner on the animated comedy, which is already in production on its second season, for the foreseeable future.
DATING IN THE DARK (ABC) - The Alphabet has ordered a second season of the dating series, in which couples date in total darkness before being shown their potential mate. Six new episodes will roll out this summer with Tom Shelly returning as executive producer for Endemol USA and Talpa Content USA. Casting has been underway since December however the formal announcement wasn't made until this week.
FRESHMEN (ABC)/LIVIN' ON A PRAYER (CBS) - "How I Met Your Mother" executive producer Pamela Fryman has been tapped to helm both pilots, which come from fellow "Mother" producers Carter Bays, Craig Thomas, Joe Kelly, Kourtney Kang and Greg Malins. The Malins-penned "Freshmen" revolves around three newly elected members of Congress - two men and one woman - who wind up sharing an apartment in Washington, D.C. The remaining quartet are behind "Prayer," about a Pittsburgh couple who are mulling the next stage of their relationship. Both series come from 20th Century Fox Television.
HAPPY ENDINGS (ABC) - Joe and Anthony Russo ("Community") have signed on to direct the comedy pilot, about a couple that breaks up at the altar, forcing them and their group of friends to figure out how to maintain their friendships after the split. David Caspe penned the single-camera half-hour, which is set up at FanFare Productions and Sony Pictures Television.
LEAPFROG (ABC) - Jennifer Finnigan ("Close to Home") has been tapped to star in the comedy pilot, about sisters at different stages of their romantic relationships. She'll play Maddie, who's in a happy, long-term relationship with Ben but isn't married. Joanna Garcia co-stars as her sister Mia who gets pregnant and marries Casey, her boyfriend of seven and a half weeks. Shana Goldberg-Meehan is behind the multi-camera half-hour, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television.
NATHAN VS. NURTURE (NBC)/OPEN BOOKS (CBS) - Sitcom guru James Burrows ("Gary Unmarried") is set to direct both pilots, which come from Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros. Television, respectively. Laura Benanti stars in the Gail Lerner-penned "Open Books," about a book editor at a small boutique publishing house in New York. "Nature," from David Guarascio and Moses Port, then revolves around a 35-year-old heart surgeon who decides to search for his biological parents only to find they had three more kids and kept them.
ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY (TLC) - The cable channel has commissioned a second season of the reality series, about an obese family of four that weigh a collective 1,400 pounds. The show wrapped its freshman run last month. 12 new episodes are expected to roll out beginning in July. Chris Coelen, Julia Silverton and Mike Duffy are behind the project, which comes from RDF USA.
PLEADING GUILTY (FOX) - Hart Hanson ("Bones") has signed on as an executive producer of the drama pilot, about an ex-cop-turned-attorney who works as a partner at a powerful Chicago law firm. The project, which is apparently cast-contingent, is based on Scott Turow's novel of the same name. Hanson then will supervise Jason Tracey, who penned the adaptation, and continue on as showrunner if it's ultimately ordered to series. Jon Avnet, Katherine Pope and Peter Chernin also serve as executive producers for 20th Century Fox Television with Avnet also attached to direct.
PRIME SUSPECT (NBC) - Mick Jackson (HBO's "Temple Grandin") is on board to direct the pilot, about a courageous female detective who investigates complex mysteries in a politically explosive big city. Hank Steinberg is behind the hour, which is based on the U.K. series of the same name. Erwin Stoff and Paul Buccieri also serve as executive producers for ITV Studios and Universal Media Studios.
RIDE ALONG (FOX) - Charles McDougall ("The Good Wife") has been tapped to helm the Shawn Ryan-penned pilot, about one of Chicago's toughest cops as he struggles to clean up the corruption in town. 20th Century Fox Television is behind the hour, which recently cast Todd Williams in a supporting role.
SCOUNDRELS (ABC) - Patrick Flueger ("The 4400") is the latest addition to the upcoming drama, about "the matriarch (Virginia Madsen) of a family of criminals who decides it's time for her brood to go straight after her husband is sentenced to a long prison term." He'll play "twin brothers Logan, the only honest member of the family who is about to graduate from law school, and the not-so-smart Cal, a classic career criminal." Patrick Adams originated the dual role in "Good Behavior," ABC's previous incarnation of the project. Lyn Greene and Richard Levine are behind the hour, which is set up at ABC Studios and South Pacific Pictures.
UNTITLED PAUL REISER PROJECT (NBC, New!) - Paul Reiser ("Mad About You") is on track to return to the Peacock. The network is reportedly close to ordering a pilot for a new single-camera comedy from the comedian, about a group of male friends. Reiser penned the Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour on spec and would executive produce alongside Jonathan Shapiro ("Life"). No other specifics were given.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters