[02/16/11 - 10:46 PM]
Development Update: Wednesday, February 16
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:

Looking to keep track of all the various projects in development? Click here to visit our signature "Devwatch" section. There visitors can view our listings by network, genre, studio and even development stage (ordered to pilot, cast-contingent, script, etc.). It's updated every day!

ARE YOU THERE VODKA? IT'S ME CHELSEA (NBC) - Gail Mancuso ("Rules of Engagement") has signed on to direct the comedy pilot, about Chelsea Hanson (Laura Prepon), "a fresh-faced single cocktail waitress highly opinionated and open about her love to drink and have sex." Dottie Zicklin and Julie Ann Larson penned Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour, which is based on Chelsea Handler's memoir of the same name.

THE DOCTOR (CBS) - Emmy-winner Christine Lahti ("Chicago Hope") has landed the lead role on the drama pilot, about Emily Campbell, "a mother who reconnects with her adult children when she joins the family medical practice." David Nutter is helming the Warner Bros. Television-based project, which was penned by Rina Mimoun.

DON'T TRUST THE BITCH IN APT. 23 (ABC) - James Van Der Beek ("Dawson's Creek") and Michael Blaiklock ("Secret Girlfriend") have both joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about June (Dreama Walker), "an earnest, honest, optimistic girl from the heartland who is forced to move in with Chloe (Krysten Ritter), a sexy, unstable New York City party girl who has the morals of a pirate." Blaiklock will play Eli, "the preppy perv-next-door," with Van Der Beek as himself, who happens to be Chloe's best friend. Said role was originally written for Lance Bass in the script but is subsequently being rewritten for Van Der Beek. Jason Winer is directing the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour from a script by Nahnatchka Khan.

HALLELUJAH (ABC) - Michael Apted ("Rome") is set to direct the drama pilot, about a small town "being torn apart by the forces of good and evil and whose fortunes change when a stranger comes to town, bringing justice, peace and possibly restoring faith." Jesse L. Martin stars in the project, which Marc Cherry penned for ABC Studios.

HEAVENLY (The CW) - Emmy-winner Mimi Leder ("ER") has been tapped to helm the drama pilot, about "a dedicated young female attorney and a former angel-turned-human who tackle cases together at the attorney's legal aid clinic." CBS Television Studios is behind the hour, which was written by Richard Hatem.

HOMEGROWN (CBS) - The ever-busy Andy Ackerman ("Perfect Couples") is set to helm the comedy pilot, about "a blue collar man who wrestles with how to parent his unmarried grown daughter and her 12-year-old son while sharing a house with them, his wife and his recently widowed mother." Ackerman, who's also directing FOX's "I Hate My Teenage Daughter" and ABC's "Smothered," will work from a script by Jeff and Jackie Filgo. Warner Bros. Television is producing.

HOUND DOGS (TBS) - Rob Mayes has joined the cast of Ron Shelton's minor league baseball pilot, about "a fictional Nashville team whose players and general manager have plenty of personal issues to contend with off the field." He'll play "Cash" Adams, "a sexy rookie pitcher whose love interest is a young woman (Laura Bell Bundy) attempting a career as a country singer but is currently a bartender." Chris Butler, Darrell Hammond, Lolita Davidovich, Megan Ferguson, Ryan Doom and Tom Verica also star in the hour, from Sony Pictures Television.

HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN (CBS) - Nancy Lenehan ("Worst Week") has scored a role on the comedy pilot, about Alan (David Hornsby), an uptight guy learning to live his life with the help of his old high school classmate. She'll play Diane, Alan's WASPy overbearing mother. Hornsby himself penned the half-hour, which is set up at CBS Television Studios.

I HATE THAT I LOVE YOU (NBC) - Anna Camp ("True Blood") is the first to be cast in the pilot, "a twisty romantic comedy in which a straight couple, Brad and Missy, introduce their lesbian roommates, Brad's Allie and Missy's Sarah, to each other. Allie and Sarah hit it off but things get complicated when Allie becomes pregnant with Brad's baby." She'll play Sarah ("sexy, sporty, tom-boyish") in the half-hour, which comes from creator Jhoni Marchinko and 20th Century Fox Television.

ICELAND (FOX) - Will Gluck ("Easy A") has signed on to direct the comedy pilot, about "a group of friends moving forward after the loss of a loved one." He'll work from a script by Andy Bobrow, who penned the single-camera half-hour for Sony Pictures Television.

PERSON OF INTEREST (CBS) - Michael Emerson ("Lost") is the first the be cast in the drama pilot, about an ex-CIA agent, presumed dead, who teams up with a mysterious billionaire to prevent violent crimes in New York City. Emerson, who was previously attached (alongside Terry O'Quinn) to NBC's "Odd Jobs" - which didn't move forward, will play the latter character in the project, which comes from the Warner Bros. Television-based Bad Robot Productions. Jonah Nolan penned the hour while David Semel is directing.

PLAYBOY (NBC) - Laura Benanti ("Eli Stone") is the latest addition to the period drama pilot, set at the Playboy Club in Chicago in 1963. She's on board as Carol-Lynne, a Madonna-esque bombshell and "an established star at the Playboy Club who knows that her days as a Bunny are numbered." Amber Heard and Naturi Naughton co-star in the project, which comes from 20th Century Fox Television and creator Chad Hodge. Alan Taylor is directing.

POE (ABC) - Kevin McNally (Joshamee Gibbs in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise) has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about Edgar Allan Poe, "the world's very first detective, as he uses unconventional methods to investigate dark mysteries in 1840s Boston." He'll play Kyle Kilpatrick, the city's "tough, authoritative" commissioner. Chris Hollier penned the hour for Warner Bros. Television, which Alex Graves is directing.

PRIME SUSPECT (NBC) - Maria Bello ("ER") has been tapped as Jane Timoney on the drama pilot, about a detective in a tough New York precinct dominated by men. Helen Mirren won two Emmys for portraying Jane Tennison in the original U.K. incarnation. Peter Berg is directing the Universal Media Studios-based hour from a script by Alexandra Cunningham.

RINGER (CBS) - Tara Summers ("Damages") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about Bridget Cafferty (Sarah Michelle Gellar), "a troubled young woman who, while on the run from the mob, hides out by inhabiting the life of her wealthy twin sister, Siobhan Marx, until she learns that her twin's life has a bounty on it as well." She's believed to be playing Gemma Gallagher, Siobhan's tall, attractive best friend. Ioan Gruffudd, Mike Colter and Nestor Carbonell also star in the project, to be helmed by Richard Shepard from a script by co-creators Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder. ABC Studios and CBS Television Studios are co-producing.

THE RIVER (ABC) - Jaume Collet-Serra ("Unknown") has been tapped to direct the drama pilot, about "a family who travels to the deep Amazon to locate and rescue their missing father." He'll work from a script by Michael Green who's executive producing alongside Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey, Jason Blum and Oren Peli. ABC Studios is producing.

SECRET CIRCLE (The CW) - Liz Friedlander ("The Vampire Diaries") is set to direct the drama pilot, about "a young woman who moves to a new town and discovers that not only is she a witch and part of a secret coven, but she's also the key that will unlock a centuries-old battle of good versus evil." Andrew Miller penned the hour, which is based on L.J. Smith's series of young adult novels. Kevin Williamson is also executive producing for Warner Bros. Television.

UNTITLED JOE PORT/JOE WISEMAN PROJECT (FOX) - Mike O'Malley ("Glee") has scored the lead role on the comedy pilot, about Dave Bronsky, "a passionate, overly enthusiastic former jock who, after a breakthrough experience on a family vacation returns home with a renewed conviction to 'bond the crap out of his family.'" It's understood said role won't interfere with his recurring duties on "Glee." Joe Port and Joe Wiseman are behind the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, to be helmed by Shawn Levy. Rob Huebel also stars.

UNTITLED WHITNEY CUMMINGS PROJECT (NBC) - Betsy Thomas ("My Boys") has been tapped to supervise the comedy pilot, about "a young couple who tackle the ups and downs of a committed relationship in today's complicated world." She'll executive produce the Universal Media Studios-based project, alongside Whitney Cummings, who penned the script and stars, Barry Katz, Quan Phung and Scott Stuber.

WEEKENDS AT BELLEVUE (FOX) - Jack Bender ("Lost") has signed on to direct the drama pilot, about a psychiatrist in charge of the weekend shift of the famed psychiatric unit. Lisa Zwerling penned the hour, based on Julie Holland's memoir of the same name, for the Universal Media Studios-based BermanBraun.

WONDER WOMAN (NBC) - Adrianne Palicki ("Lone Star") has booked the title role on the David E. Kelley-penned drama pilot, about the DC Comics heroine of the same name. In addition, Bill D'Elia ("Harry's Law") will executive produce the hour alongside Kelley for Warner Bros. Television. Jeffrey Reiner is directing.

  [february 2011]  

· ER (NBC)

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