[02/08/11 - 11:02 PM] Development Update: Tuesday, February 8 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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BIG MIKE (A&E) - Ken Leung ("Lost") has joined the cast of the Greg Grunberg-led drama pilot, about "a plus-sized detective in a world where plus-sized is a minus." He'll play Bernie Li, an old-neighborhood friend of Mike O'Bannon (Grunberg) and his partner Armando Romero (yet to be cast) who became the San Diego Police Department's doctor so he could keep a watchful eye on his best friends. Ed Decter and John Strauss are behind the project, which comes from the Sony Pictures Television-based Happy Madison Productions.
EDEN (USA) - Gretchen Egolf ("Law & Order: Special Victims Unit") has booked a role on the drama pilot, about "a young hotel worker (Nick D'Agosto) who, with the help of his escaped con artist cousin (Enver Gjokaj), gets a job as the concierge at an elite NYC hotel." She'll play Kathryn Armstrong, the hotel's striking Ivy League educated new General Manager. Camille Guaty also stars in the Universal Cable Productions-based project, which Jace Alexander is directing from a script by Ken and Mary Hanes.
HART OF DIXIE (The CW) - Rachel Bilson ("The O.C.") is reportedly in negotiations to topline the drama pilot, about "an adorable, spoiled New Yorker" who inherits a medical practice in a small Southern town inhabited by an eclectic and eccentric group of characters." She'd play Zoe Hart, the title character. Leila Gerstein penned the hour for Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage's Warner Bros. Television-based Fake Empire. Earlier in the development cycle, Bilson was attached to star in "Ghost Angeles," a supernatural romantic comedy co-written by Schwartz that didn't move forward to pilot at NBC.
IN CRISIS (A.K.A. UNTITLED JUDY SMITH PROJECT) (ABC) - Kerry Washington ("For Colored Girls") and Columbus Short ("Stomp the Yard") are the first to be cast in the drama pilot, about "the life and work of a professional fixer and her dysfunctional staff." Washington will play said woman, Olivia Price, who's "stylish but weary, too smart for her own good." Short then is believed to be playing Harrison Jones, a lawyer at Olivia's firm - Price and Associates. Paul McGuigan is directing the ABC Studios-based hour from a script by Shonda Rhimes.
MAN UP! (ABC) - Amanda Detmer ("Private Practice") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a group of guys all at a different stages in their romantic relationships. She'll play Bridgette, the pretty, energetic ex-wife of one of them (Kenny, yet to be cast), who has a complicated relationship with him. Christopher Moynihan, Mather Zickel and Teri Polo also star in the half-hour, which Moynihan penned for ABC Studios and Tagline Television.
PRIVATE PRACTICE (ABC) - Co-star Audra McDonald is departing the series following the current season. "I have spent four amazing years working with the best cast and crew on television at Private Practice," the actress told TVLine.com. "Though I am stepping away from the series as a regular in order to spend more time in New York with my family, I am not closing the door on Private Practice or the character, Naomi. I am beyond grateful to [series creator] Shonda Rhimes, ABC, and the team behind the show."
REVENGE (ABC) - Phillip Noyce ("Brotherhood") has signed on to direct the drama pilot, about "a woman who rents a house in the Hamptons for the summer and is secretly on a mission to exact revenge on her neighbors." Mike Kelley penned the hour for ABC Studios. Temple Hill Entertainment's Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey are executive producing alongside Kelley. Separately, Noyce serves as an executive producer on FX's "Lights Out."
SECRET CIRCLE (The CW) - The netlet has formally ordered the drama, based on L.J. Smith's young adult novels about "a young woman who discovers that she's a witch and part of a secret coven that holds the key to unlocking ancient battle of good and evil," to pilot. Kevin Williamson is supervising the hour, which comes from Warner Bros. Television, CBS Television Studios and Alloy Entertainment. Andrew Miller penned the script and is executive producing alongside Williamson, Elizabeth Craft, Sarah Fain, Leslie Morgenstein and Gina Girolamo.
TV LAND COMEDY PILOTS (Exclusive!) - Lee Shallat Chemel ("The Middle"), Andy Cadiff ("Retired at 35") and Gil Junger ("Hot in Cleveland") have been tapped to direct the cable channel's trio of comedy pilots. Chemel will helm the Fran Drescher-led "Happily Divorced" while Cadiff is lensing Mark Reisman's project formerly known as "The Ex Men." And finally, Junger will direct Terri Minsky's "Rip City."
UNTITLED LIZ MERIWETHER PROJECT (FOX) - Zooey Deschanel ("(500) Days of Summer") is reportedly in talks to star in the comedy pilot, about an optimistic Midwestern woman who moves into a New York apartment with three juvenile guys. She'd play Jessica Day, the aforementioned woman in the single-camera half-hour, which Liz Meriwether penned for the 20th Century Fox Television-based Chernin Entertainment. Jake Kasdan is directing.
WHITE COLLAR (USA) - Hilarie Burton will reportedly be upped to series regular for the show's upcoming third season. She'll continue on as Sara Ellis, a top-shelf insurance investigator who regularly aids - not to mention provides some romantic sparks with - Neal (Matthew Bomer). Season two of the series wraps next month with season three due this summer.
WILD CARD (USA) - Edi Gathegi ("Twilight") has landed a role on the drama pilot, about two very different Las Vegas lawyers who handle the type of problems that happen after the sun goes down and need to be solved before the sun the comes up. He will play the duo's "smart, ambitious and resourceful investigator, a former hotel concierge who knows everyone in town." Ben Lawson also stars in the Fox Television Studios-based project, from creator Stephen Godchaux.