LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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CASTLE (ABC) - Lee Tergesen has been tapped as a new antagonist on the crime procedural. He'll play Gates, "a shrewd, hardened, and violent felon who becomes the prime suspect in this season's big '3XK' serial-killer investigation." Tergesen will make his first appearance on the show's seventh episode.
THE COUNCIL OF DADS (FOX, New!) - Peter Tolan ("Rescue Me") has booked yet another project, this time a half-hour comedy at FOX. Said effort, based on the non-fiction book by Bruce Feiler (subtitled "My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me"), revolves around a man who, after being diagnosed with rare, life-threatening cancer, assembles six of his closest friends - each with their area of expertise - who agree to help raise his young twin daughters following his death. Tolan is writing and executive producing the Sony Pictures Television-based project, which has a $1.5 million pilot production commitment. Feiler will serve as a consultant on the adaptation.
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC) - Nancy Travis ("The Bill Engvall Show") has snagged a role on the show's upcoming seventh season. She'll play the mother of Brian Austin Green's character. Travis's casting comes on the heels of John Schneider being tapped as Green's father. Both parents make their debut on the series come episode seven.
MY FORMERLY HOT LIFE (ABC, New!) - Stephanie Dolgoff's bestselling memoir is being eyed for the small screen at ABC. Julie Anne Robinson ("The Middle") is attached to direct and executive produce the potential single-comedy, "a comedic look at the good, the bad, and the ugly moments in a woman's life as she adjusts to the realization that she is no longer forever 21." Dolgoff and Christy Fletcher and Rebecca Gradinger of Fletcher & Co. will serve as co-executive producers. No writer or studio was indicated.
PERSON OF INTEREST (CBS, New!) - J.J. Abrams's latest entry has found a home at CBS. The drama is being penned by Jonah Nolan, who co-wrote "The Dark Knight" and "The Prestige" alongside his director brother, Christopher. No details were given about the crime thriller other than it is set up at Abrams's Warner Bros. Television-based Bad Robot. Abrams, Nolan and Bryan Burk will then executive produce.
SPARTACUS: BLOOD & SAND (Starz) - Andy Whitfield is departing the series as the actor been advised by his doctors to immediately resume aggressive treatment for a recurrence of cancer. "It's with a deep sense of disappointment that I must step aside from such an exceptional project as Spartacus, and all the wonderful people involved. It seems that it is time for myself and my family to embark on another extraordinary journey. Thank you sincerely for the support so far," said Whitfield in a statement.
While Whitfield's exit places season two, originally targeted for September 2011, in limbo, the show's six-episode prequel "Gods of the Arena" is still on track for a January premiere. "Right now, we just want to extend our concern and support to Andy and his family," said Starz's Carmi Zlotnik in the network's portion of the statement. "We will address our programming plans at some later date."
SQUIRRELS (The CW, New!)/UNTITLED COOPER & LEVIN PROJECT (CBS, New!) - Former "Brothers & Sisters" showrunners Jennifer Levin and Sherri Cooper-Landsman have set up a pair of drama projects. First up at CBS as an untitled hour about "a 45-year-old mom of three whose neurosurgeon husband kills himself, leaving her in financial ruin and forcing her to go back to complete the surgical residency she never finished, only now her oldest son is her supervising resident." Richard Shepard, Sean and Bryan Furst are also on board to executive produce, the former of which may direct.
Then at The CW there's "Squirrels," about a woman who, "following a whirlwind affair over graduation weekend with the hottest guy in her med school class, makes a radical decision to give up a plum surgical residency in Chicago in order to be near him, and takes the only remaining spot at UCLA -- psychiatry, a field which she has no belief in." Carol Mendelsohn and Julie Weitz are likewise attached to executive produce. Both hours come from CBS Television Studios.
THAT'S A RECORD (NBC, New!) - Jimmy Fallon is set to executive produce a new game show pilot for the Peacock in which users attempt unusual world records. Chris Hardwick ("Web Soup") is hosting the project, which is based on the Universal Record Database, a website devoted to said feats. Fallon frequently features such efforts on "Late Night," such as the number of bunnies snuggled in a hammock or the fastest time a robot can decorate a cupcake. JD Roth and Todd A. Nelson of 3 Ball Productions are also attached.
TRUE LIES (ABC, New!) - A small screen take on James Cameron's 1994 feature of the same name, about a super-spy (Arnold Schwarzenegger in the film) whose family discovers his real job, has found a home at ABC. Rene Echevarria ("Castle") is penning the adaptation which he'll executive produce alongside Cameron and his Lightstorm Entertainment banner for 20th Century Fox Television. The Alphabet has given a script commitment to the project with a penalty attached should it not go to pilot.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters