[02/25/11 - 10:49 PM]
Development Update: Friday, February 25
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) - "Chelsea Lately" staple Jo Koy is the latest addition to 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." The comedian, who is in the middle of a talent holding deal with producer Warner Bros. Television, will play Mark ("handsome and very familiar with pot"), a bartender at the sports bar where Chelsea works. Angel Laketa Moore, Lauren Lapkus and Natalie Morales are also featured in the half-hour, as is Chelsea Handler (as her sister Sloane), whose book the project is based upon. Dottie Zicklin and Julie Ann Larson co-wrote the adaptation while Gail Mancuso will direct.

BAD MOM (ABC) - Jennifer Crittenden ("The New Adventures of Old Christine") and Gabrielle Allan ("Miss/Guided") have inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with ABC Studios. The pact, which starts in June, calls for the newly formed duo to develop new series projects for the studio. They'll already supervising the studio-based pilot "Bad Mom," about Julia, a single mother of two, who's forced to actually raise her kids once her mother, Marian - who had been filling said void, decides she wants her life back. Jenna Elfman is in talks to star. Sharon Horgan penned the half-hour while Chris Koch will direct.

DAMAGE CONTROL (A.K.A. IN CRISIS) (ABC) - Tony Goldwyn has landed a role on the drama pilot, about Olivia Price (Kerry Washington), a professional fixer and her dysfunctional staff. He'll play Fitzgerald Grant ("handsome, charismatic, brilliant and humble; Kennedy-esque"), an old friend of Price's who's now the President of the United States in the ABC Studios-based hour. He reaches out to her after Julia Tannen, a young aide, starts saying she's sleeping with him. Columbus Short, Guillermo Diaz, Henry Ian Cusick and Katie Lowes also star in the project, from writer Shonda Rhimes and director Paul McGuigan.

GOOD CHRISTIAN BITCHES (ABC) - Jennifer Aspen ("Glee") is the first to board the drama pilot, about Amanda Vaughn, a widowed mother of two who - to get a fresh start - moves back to the affluent Dallas neighborhood where she grew up. Aspen will play Sharon Pevy (who's likened to "Designing Women's" Suzanne Sugarbaker circa season three), a former beauty queen who's now a compulsive eater. Robert Harling penned the ABC Studios-based hour, which is based on Kim Gatlin's book of the same name. Alan Poul is directing.

GRIMM (NBC) - Russell Hornsby ("In Treatment") and Bitsie Tulloch ("quarterlife") are the latest additions to the drama pilot, about Nick Burckhardt (David Giuntoli), a police detective who discovers fairy tale creatures live among us and is tasked with defending humans from these mythical beasts. She'll play Juliette Lambert ("a bundle of beauty and energy" with a red pea coat, a la "Little Red Riding Hood"), Nick's girlfriend who works at a French bakery, with Hornsby as Hank Green, Nick's dutiful partner. Silas Weir Mitchell also stars in the hour, from director Marc Buckland and co-creators David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf. Universal Media Studios is producing.

HALLELUJAH (ABC) - Frances O'Connor ("Cashmere Mafia") has scored a role on the drama pilot, about a tiny town in Tennessee which finds itself being torn apart by the forces of good and evil. She's set as Ruth Turner, whose family welcomes Jared O'Neal (Jesse L. Martin) - a mysterious stranger who arrives to restore faith to the town's residents - into their home. Michael Apted is directing the ABC Studios-based hour from a script by creator Marc Cherry.

ICELAND (FOX) - Kerry Bishe ("Scrubs") and John Boyd ("24") have both scored roles on the comedy pilot, about a woman whose life is shaken after her fiance passes away. Bishe will play said woman, Mackenzie ("mid-20's, pretty, a young Maura Tierney type"), with Boyd presumably as Todd ("mid-20's, a wiry, geeky guy with poor interpersonal skills"). Andy Bobrow penned the Sony Pictures Television-based half-hour, which Will Gluck is attached to direct.

A MANN'S WORLD (NBC) - Don Johnson ("Just Legal") has been tapped for the title role on the drama pilot, about a straight Beverly Hills hairdresser in his 50s who is struggling to stay young and relevant in a place where looks are everything. He'll play said hairdresser, Allan Mann ("a sexy, knock-out at thirty, now late fifties, but still sexy"), who doubles down on his beauty empire by opening a day spa next door to his salon. Writer/director Michael Patrick King is behind the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, which also stars Taylor Kinney.

PARTNERS (ABC) - Frances Fisher ("Eureka") has landed a role on the drama pilot, about half-sisters - Mattie (Scottie Thompson) and Jess (Annie Wersching) - who work together as police detectives. She's on board as their incarcerated mother, Colleen Scott, who confessed to killing Mattie's abusive father 20 years ago. Also cast in the ABC Studios-based hour is Nester Serrano as Captain Ben Wolford ("a man with a gentle soul"), Jess and Mattie's boss. Kenneth Mitchell, Larry Gilliard Jr. and Michael Beach also star in the project, from writer Edward Allen Bernero. Yves Simoneau is directing.

PLAYBOY (NBC) - David Krumholtz ("NUMB3RS") has reportedly joined the cast of the pilot, a period drama set at the Playboy Club in Chicago in 1963. He'll play Billy Morton ("all business, ZBT president, young Albert Brooks"), said club's General Manager in the 20th Century Fox Television-based project. Alan Taylor is directing from a script by Chad Hodge while Amber Heard, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Laura Benanti, Leah Cudmore and Naturi Naughton also star. Separately, Krumholtz is developing "Igotchaback," about "an up-and-coming music industry manager tasked with representing an aging rap star mired knee-deep in existential crisis," at FX. Said half-hour is loosely based on the life of Wu Tang Clan founding member GZA and his publicist Heathcliff Berru. No other auspices were given.

SMASH (NBC) - Raza Jaffrey ("MI-5") has scored a role on the drama pilot, a show-within-a-show vehicle about a group of people who come together to put on a Marilyn Monroe-themed Broadway musical. He's on board as Dev ("a handsome, contemporary Indian"), "the live-in boyfriend of the musical's star, Karen (Katharine McPhee), who works in the mayor's office." Christian Borle, Debra Messing, Jack Davenport and Megan Hilty co-star in the project, from creator Theresa Rebeck. Michael Mayer is directing for Universal Media Studios.

TILDA (NBC) - The pay channel has reportedly passed on the Diane Keaton-led comedy pilot, about a powerful and reclusive Hollywood blogger likened to Deadline.com's Nikki Finke. David Harbour, Ellen Page, Jason Patric, Leland Orser, Sanaa Lathan and Wes Bentley also starred in the project, from co-creators Bill Condon and Cynthia Mort. The latter departed the project back in August over creative differences while Alan Poul, Alexa Junge and John Hoffman were subsequently brought in to spearhead the potential series. Ultimately with actors' options set to expire in mid-March, the network passed. Said report adds that HBO is still interested in a show about Finke, "this time with her on board from the beginning."

  [february 2011]  

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