LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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BOSTON MED (ABC, New!) - The Alphabet has commissioned a new reality series that "puts cameras in the hallways, surgery wards and emergency rooms" of three Boston-area hospitals: Massachusetts General, Children's Hospital Boston and Brigham & Womens. The hour-long project, which is expected to air on Thursday nights for seven to eight weeks this summer, comes from ABC News' Terence Wrong (Peabody Award-winner "Hopkins 24/7"). Among the featured stories: the first-ever filming of a face transplant in this country. Additional details are expected to be released in the coming weeks.
THE CAPE (NBC) - Keith David ("Death at a Funeral") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about a former cop (David Lyons) framed for a crime he didn't commit who becomes The Cape, a masked hero, to clear his name. He'll play Max Malini, the leader of "The Carnival of Crime" - a group of carnival-themed bank robbers, who becomes Vince's mentor. His character is further detailed as a showman/magician/escape-artist with "a faded-Errol-Flynn-feel about him." Dorian Missick, James Frain, Jennifer Ferrin and Summer Glau also star in the Universal Media Studios-based hour, which Simon West is directing from a script by Tom Wheeler.
PLEADING GUILTY (FOX) - John Larroquette ("Boston Legal") is once again returning to the legal genre, booking 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. He's on board as Martin Gold, the managing partner of the Chicago-based firm who "dines on human marrow [and] always uses the right fork." Madchen Amick and Omid Abtahi co-star in the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, which Jon Avnet is helming off a script by Jason Tracey.
THE RICKY GERVAIS SHOW (HBO) - The pay channel is moving forward with a second season of the series, an animated adaptation of Ricky Gervais' hit podcasts featuring stream-of-consciousness exchanges between Gervais, his collaborator Stephen Merchant and their offbeat friend Karl Pilkington. The trio also serve as executive producers alongside Bob Higgins and Glyn Hughes for Media Rights Capital and Wildbrain. Said pickup however isn't the result of large numbers for its viewership: to date it's averaging just 180,000 viewers an episode, with a 0.1 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic.
RIDE ALONG (FOX) - Jennifer Beals ("Lie to Me") has booked the female lead in the drama pilot, a police procedural set (and filmed) in Chicago. She's set as Teresa Colvin, Chicago's first female police chief. Her character is additionally detailed as follows: "A fast riser and skilled cop, Teresa has arrived at the very top of the Chicago Police Department in a very short period of time. She did this by proving herself on the streets, by charming those in power above her and by absorbing everything Jarek [Jason Clarke] taught her over the years." The 20th Century Fox Television-based ensemble also stars Billy Lush, Devin Kelley, Matt Lauria and Todd Williams. Charles McDougall is directing from a script by Shawn Ryan.
SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT (ABC) - Don Johnson ("Just Legal") is set to star opposite Mary Steenburgen in the comedy pilot, about a conservative father whose life is turned upside down when his grown kids move back in with him. He'll play Bob Dobson, the family patriarch and provider. Chad Kultgen is behind the project, which comes from ABC Studios and the Sony Pictures Television-based Tantamount.
UNTITLED KEVIN KLINE PROJECT (HBO, New!) - Oscar-winner Kevin Kline ("A Fish Called Wanda") is set to star in and executive produce a potential new drama at the pay channel about "a prominent doctor (Kline) who must restart his life after serving a 15-year prison sentence for murdering his mistress." David Auburn ("Proof") is penning the hour, which he's executive produce alongside Kline, Gavin Polone and Kline's manager Judy Hofflund. No other specifics were given.
UNTITLED PAULA ABDUL/KENNY ORTEGA PROJECT (NBC, New!) - Paula Abdul ("American Idol"), Kenny Ortega ("High School Musical") and 3 Ball Productions ("The Biggest Loser") are looking to team for a potential new dance competition series at the network. 3 Ball originated the format, which would presumably feature Abdul and Ortega as host and choreographer, respectively. No other specifics were given other than it involves impromptu, large scale public performances (a la the parade scene in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"). Ortega is formally on board while a deal with Abdul has yet to close.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters