LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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187 DETROIT (ABC) - Natalie Martinez ("Sons of Tucson") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about "Detroit's top homicide division as seen through the cameras of a fictitious documentary crew." She'll play Ariana Sanchez, a tough detective in her fifth year with the squad. She joins the previously cast Aisha Hinds and John Michael Hill in the ABC Studios-based hour, which was written by Jason Richman. Jeff Nachmanoff is directing.
BACK NINE (Spike TV, New!) - The cable channel has ordered a pilot for a potential new single-camera comedy about "a hard-drinking, larger-than-life, washed-up former U.S. Open champion [who] travels the country competing in small-time tournaments with Tiger, his sex-addicted longtime caddy, in order to qualify again for the PGA Tour." John Schneider ("The Secret Life of the American Teenager") is already attached to star as Ronnie Barnes, said golfer, with Miguel A. Nunez Jr. in talks to play Tiger. The latter character's name is a coincidence as co-creators Jason Filardi ("17 Again") and Mark Perez ("Accepted") penned the half-hour nearly a year ago. The pair will also co-direct the pilot and executive produce alongside John Lynch.
FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS (NBC) - "(500) Days of Summer" screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber have landed a pilot order from the Peacock for their single-camera comedy, which was originally set up at ABC. The Alphabet initially gave the project a script commitment back in September with a penalty attached if it didn't make it to pilot. Said half-hour didn't make the cut and producer 20th Century Fox Television subsequently found a new home at NBC. David Dobkin ("Wedding Crashers") is still on board to direct the project, which "explores modern-day romance through the eyes of five friends each looking for 'the one' but in the meantime settling for 'friends with benefits.'" Neustadter, Weber and Dobkin then are executive producing alongside Imagine Television's Brian Grazer and David Nevins.
LOST WEEKEND (The CW, New!) - Justin Hochberg ("The Apprentice") and Brett Ratner ("Women's Murder Club") are developing a new reality series at the netlet revolving around a large scale scavenger hunt. The project is set up at 20th Century Fox Television, where Ratner's Rat Television signed an overall deal back in December. As for specifics, it's understood the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas will be featured in the show as part of Ratner's relationship with global casino chain Kerzner International, for whom he directed various commercials. Exact format details however weren't released. "Weekend" nevertheless is being eyed for either a summer 2010 or midseason 2011 series order.
NATHAN VS. NURTURE (NBC) - "Better Off Ted" star Jay Harrington has scored the lead role on the comedy pilot, about "an overachieving heart surgeon who reunites with his birth father and underachieving brothers 35 years after his adoption." He'll play Griffin Birk, said doctor, who was originally named Nathan by his birth parents. Said casting is in second position to "Ted," which isn't expected to return for a third season. James Burrows is directing the Sony Pictures Television-based project, which was penned by David Guarascio and Moses Port. "Nathan" is slated to film on Tuesday, March 23, the earliest multi-camera pilot currently scheduled.
NINE LIVES (NBC) - The Peacock is redeveloping Steven Spielberg and Leslie Bohem's long-in-the-works mini-series as a weekly drama. Said effort was originally put in the pipeline at the then Sci Fi Channel back in August of 2003, eventually landing a 12-hour commitment in January of 2006. The project however ultimately didn't go into production. The Peacock has since revived "Lives," with Bohem penning a new script for a potential straight-to-series order. Spielberg is expected to return as an executive producer, as are his DreamWorks Television partners Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey. Here's how Sci Fi originally detailed the project: "Nine Lives unfolds as an epic story of love, exploring the greatest mystery of all... what happens after you die? The drama focuses on several characters, each grieving over the loss of a loved one. First by accident, then intentionally induced, each has discovered how to reunite with their loved ones in the afterlife through near-death experiences. But each journey to the other side brings closer an unknown evil, which is about to be unleashed on mankind."
NO ORDINARY FAMILY (ABC) - Autumn Reeser ("Entourage") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about the Powells, a typical American family whose members discover they have special abilities. She'll play Katie Andrews, the perky and energetic lab assistant to Stephanie, the mother of the aforementioned family. Michael Chiklis also stars in the ABC Studios-based hour, which comes from co-creators Greg Berlanti and Jon Harmon Feldman. David Semel is directing.
NOMADS (The CW, New!) - Ken Sanzel ("NUMB3RS") has squeezed in a pilot presentation order from the netlet for a new drama about "a group of nearly broke young backpackers traveling the world who agree to earn money by working secret missions for the CIA." Ridley Scott, Tony Scott and David W. Zucker are also on board to executive produce the project, which Sanzel is directing from his own script. CBS Television Studios, Warner Bros Television and Scott Free Productions are co-producing.
THE ODDS (CBS) - "Scrubs" co-star Donald Faison has landed a role on the drama pilot, about Las Vegas cops who are as outrageous as the crimes they solve. He's set as Tyler LaSalley, homicide's new lieutenant who's not nearly as affluent as he and his family would like to be. While not specified, Faison's involvement is presumably in second position to "Scrubs." Sullivan Stapleton also stars in the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, which comes from creator Jeff Wadlow.
OUTSOURCED (NBC) - Newcomer Ben Rappaport has been tapped for the lead role on the single-camera comedy pilot, about "a recently demoted manager at a novelties company who is shipped to India to manage a ragtag group of customer-service reps." He'll play Todd Donovan, said manager at Mid America Novelties, in the project. Josh Hamilton originated the role in its feature incarnation. Ken Kwapis is helming the Universal Media Studios-based half-hour, which was penned by Robert Borden.
TOP GEAR (History, New!) - The cable channel is reportedly looking to import the veteran U.K. series, in which outrageous automotive challenges and stunts are performed after making crazy transformations to cars. NBC took a stab at bringing the format to the States in 2008 with Adam Carolla, Eric Stromer and Tanner Foust serving as co-hosts. No details were given about History's incarnation, nor any producers named.
TWO AND A HALF MEN (CBS) - Courtney Thorne-Smith ("According to Jim") is set to recur on the veteran comedy. She'll play Lindsay, "a girlfriend for Alan (Jon Cryer) who is a deeply neurotic, recently divorced mother of a rotten 16-year-old boy." It's not clear when her first episode will air.
UNTITLED DANA GOULD PROJECT (ABC) - Todd Stashwick ("Curb Your Enthusiasm") is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, about "a high school guidance counselor and father to two young children (Dana Gould) who is caught between the old-school parenting beliefs of his father (Brian Dennehy) and his wife's progressive ideals." He's on board as Stan Nolan, Dana's older brother, "a former college football superstar now married with four kids and down on his luck." Gould penned the multi-camera half-hour, which comes from Warner Bros. Television.
UNTITLED TRACY ANDERSON PROJECT (The CW, New!) - Celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson is set to be the focus of a potential reality series on the netlet. Said effort, which comes from Ryan Seacrest Productions, would follow single mom Anderson as she trains and keeps celebrities in shape. Among her client list over the years: Madonna, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson and Shakira. No other details were given. It's understood, like "Lost Weekend" (see above), The CW is considering a summer 2010 or midseason 2011 series order for the project.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters