LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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DEFENDERS (CBS) - Jerry O'Connell has booked a lead role on the drama pilot, about "two fiery Las Vegas defense attorneys (O'Connell, Jim Belushi) who go to the mat for their clients." He'll play Pete Kaczmarek, one half of Mancini-Kaczmarek, "a fancy guy and a player." Jurnee Smollett and Tanya Fischer co-star in the CBS Television Studios-based hour, which comes from director Davis Guggenheim and co-creators Kevin Kennedy and Niels Mueller. O'Connell is also featured as Bruce Sweet in the NBC drama pilot "Rex Is Not Your Lawyer."
LEAPFROG (ABC) - Debra Jo Rupp ("That '70s Show") has scored a role on the comedy pilot, about two sisters (Joanna Garcia, Jennifer Finnigan) at different stages in their romantic relationships. She'll play Vicky Putney, the girls' "well-groomed, a bit intimidating" mother. Shana Goldberg-Meehan is behind the half-hour, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television.
NIKITA (The CW) - Melinda Clarke ("The O.C.") and Aaron Stanford ("Traveler") have both signed onto the drama pilot, a reworking of the "La Femme Nikita" franchise. She'll play Amanda, a division operative tasked with educating the newly recruited Alex (yet to be cast) in how to use her femininity to her advantage. Stanford then is on board as Birkhoff, a computer specialist who enjoys Red Bull, potato chips and watching skateboarding bloopers on YouTube. Maggie Q and Shane West also star in the hour, which comes from Warner Bros. Television. Danny Cannon is directing from a script by Craig Silverstein.
PERFECT COUPLES (NBC) - Mary Elizabeth Ellis ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia") and Hayes MacArthur ("Worst Week") are the latest additions to the comedy pilot, about three couples at various stages of their relationships. She's believed to be playing Amy ("attractive and kind, but flighty and unfocused"), the girlfriend of the previously cast David Walton. They're billed as the "too much passion" couple. MacArthur then is set as Rex ("handsome, successful, but way more self-assured than is warranted"), the boyfriend of the previously cast Olivia Munn. They in turn are labeled as the "perfect couple." Yet to be cast are Dave and Julia, "the cool, regular couple you see yourself in." Andy Ackerman is directing the Universal Media Studios-based half-hour from a script by Jon Pollack and Scott Silveri.
PLEADING GUILTY (FOX) - Madchen Amick ("Damages") has landed a role on the drama pilot, about Mack Malloy (Jason Isaacs), "an ex-cop and recovering alcoholic now serving as a partner in a top-drawer corporate law firm." She'll play Amelia "Brushy" Bruccia, "Mack's tough colleague and the firm's top criminal defense attorney who is having an affair with him." The script details her as follows: "If she wasn't so beautiful, people would call her spunky. With these looks, she's a force of nature. Brilliant, wry, alpha tough, enough to intimidate most men. But not Mack. At least, not usually." Jason Tracey penned the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, which Jon Avnet is directing.
THE QUINN-TUPLETS (CBS) - Anna Chlumsky ("Cupid") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about the personal and professional lives of adult quintuplets, whose whole lives have been documented on TV. She'll play the sole remaining quintuplet, Rachel, "a bright, bottle-blonde" local sportscaster. Amber Tamblyn, David Giantoli, Juliette Goglia, Kenneth Mitchell and Sam Witwer also star in the project, which comes from CBS Television Studios. Mimi Leder is directing off a script by Chris Kelley and Mike Kelley.
ROUGH JUSTICE (NBC) - Jimmy Smits ("Dexter") has signed on to topline the drama pilot, about "a Supreme Court Justice who excuses himself from the bench to go into private practice and fight constitutional injustices." He'll play Cyrus Garza, said man, who's not above one-night stands and placing a wager on the Wizards. Smits will also serve as a co-executive producer on the hour, which Terry George is directing from a script by John Eisendrath. Jesse Bradford also stars while Conaco Productions and Universal Media Studios are co-producing.
TAX MAN (FOX) - Judy Greer ("Miss Guided") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about an IRS office in Fresno, California. She'll play Vanessa Redland, "a former Morgan Stanley secretary, nicknamed the 'Terminator,' who joins the branch." Greer, who also stars in FX's "Archer" and Nick at Nite's "Glenn Martin, DDS," joins the previously cast David Krumholtz. Brent Forrester penned the half-hour, to be helmed by Fred Savage. The project is set up at 20th Century Fox Television-based Imagine Television.
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (NBC) - Brooke Bloom ("CSI: Miami") and Vanessa Minnillo ("True Beauty") are the latest additions to the comedy pilot, about two adult siblings who move in with Henry, their eldest brother (Ben Koldyke), after he inherits their parents' large, rambling house. Bloom will play Janet, the man's flighty sister, while Minnillo is set as Tina, the wife of Henry's materialistic brother Eric. Rebecca Creskoff and Brandy Norwood originated said roles in its previous incarnation at ABC. Erinn Hayes also stars in the ABC Studios-based half-hour, which comes from co-creators Brian Bradley and Steven Cragg. Ted Wass is directing.
TRUE LOVE (CBS) - Jason Biggs ("My Best Friend's Girl"), Dan Fogler ("Balls of Fury") and Sarah Wright ("The Loop") have each landed roles in the comedy pilot, about a group of twentysomethings in New York looking for love. He'll play one of them, Henry Parr, a lawyer who's billed "Prince Charming" by the local papers after talking down a jumper from the top of the Empire State Building. Fogler then is set as Larry Meyer ("chubby, bearded, and looking miserable"), Henry's best-friend and co-worker. Rounding out the cast then is Wright as Tiffany McDermott ("very young, Playboy Playmate type"), the nanny of Ashley Austin Morris's character. Minka Kelly and Hal Williams also star in the half-hour, which Pamela Fryman is helming off a script by Matt Tarses. CBS Television Studios, FanFare Productions and Sony Pictures Television are producing.
UNTITLED MEDICAL PROJECT (CBS) - Jay Hernandez ("Six Degrees") and Michael Beach ("Stargate: Atlantis") have booked roles on the drama pilot, about "a mobile medical team traveling the U.S. helping people in need." Hernandez is reportedly playing Paul O'Brian ("handsome and preppy"), the group's OB/GYN, with Beach as Pen Favinger, "a cowboy type with a big heart." Amy Smart, Janeane Garofalo and Rachelle Lefevre co-star in the hour, which comes from director Christopher Chulack and writer Hannah Shakespeare. John Wells Productions and Warner Bros. Television are producing.
WILDE KINGDOM (FOX) - Keri Russell ("Felicity") is on track to return to the small screen as the actress is reportedly in negotiations to star in the comedy pilot, about a Beverly Hills jackass who falls in love with a charitable tree-hugging woman who can't stand his lifestyle or values." She'll play the woman in question, details of which weren't specified. Arnett, Jim Vallely and Mitch Hurwitz co-created the half-hour, which Hurwitz is also directing. Lionsgate Television, Principato-Young Entertainment and Tantamount are co-producing.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters