[03/01/11 - 11:19 PM]
Development Update: Tuesday, March 1
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!

40 (HBO, New!) - Ed Burns is set to star in a potential comedy at the pay channel from Doug Ellin ("Entourage") about four lifelong friends in New York "who help each other navigate life at 40, which isn't all they expected it to be." He'll play one of the quartet who's married with kids and "used to work at Bear Stearns making over 2 million a year but has now been out of work for almost a year." The others are billed as "a rich metrosexual guy, a ripped personal trainer and a schlumpy neurotic married guy." Ellin, who has an overall deal at the network, penned the half-hour and is executive producing.

ARE YOU THERE VODKA? IT'S ME CHELSEA (NBC) - Mark Povinelli has scored a role on the comedy pilot, inspired by Chelsea Handler's best-selling autobiographical book of the same name about her twentysomething adventures. He'll play Todd, a bar back at the sports bar where Chelsea (Laura Prepon) works. Angel Laketa Moore, Jo Koy, Lauren Lapkus, Natalie Morales and Handler herself also star. Dottie Zicklin and Julie Ann Larson co-wrote the Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour, to be helmed by Gail Mancuso.

THE ASSISTANTS (CBS) - Emily Rutherfurd ("The New Adventures of Old Christine") is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, about four assistants who toil for a celebrity couple - Gale Meeks and Ali Vance (who are likened to Rob Riggle and Sarah Jessica Parker). She'll play Liddy Gribble ("friendly if a bit manic and socially awkward"), Ali's sister who now works for her as house manager. T.J. Miller also stars in the Tucker Cawley-penned half-hour, which is set up at CBS Television Studios.

BOARDWALK EMPIRE (HBO) - Michael Zegen ("Rescue Me") has scored a role on the show's upcoming second season. He'll play Benny, "a tough, smart urban kid... as aspiring Jewish gangster," who will ultimately grow up to be the notorious gangster known as "Bugsy" Siegel. No other specifics were given.

BREAKING IN (FOX) - Co-creator Adam F. Goldberg has inked a two-year overall deal with Sony Pictures Television. The pact covers his duties on the soon-to-launch comedy, which likewise comes from director Seth Gordon, as well as his future development. No financial details were given.

THE CROSSING (NBC) - Rachelle Lefevre ("Off the Map") has been cast in the pilot, a period drama set in Circle Bend, Missouri following the Civil War and revolves around Jason Edding, a former soldier who is welcomed as its savior - whether he likes it or not. She'll play Anna, a widowed leather goods store owner with a young daughter (Claire Wellin), who becomes involved with Jason. Her casting is in second position to the ABC drama. Peter Horton is helming the Universal Media Studios-based hour from a script by Joshua Brand.

GOOD CHRISTIAN BITCHES (ABC) - Leslie Bibb and Annie Potts have both joined the cast of the drama pilot, based on Kim Gatlin's book 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. Bibb will play said role with Potts as her overbearing mother, Gigi. The duo joins the recently cast Jennifer Aspen in the hour, which Alan Poul will helm off a script by Robert Harling.
GRACE (ABC) - Abigail Spencer ("Hawthorne") has booked the female lead on the drama pilot, about Michael Grace (Eric Roberts), a famous choreographer whose womanizing ways have produced three daughters - Sarah, a lawyer; Shay, a photographer; Eden, a teenager - all with different mothers. She's on board as the eldest daughter Sarah ("smart, funny, intense"), a former dancer-turned-Beverly Hills lawyer who opts to buy her father's failing studio and run it. Lesli Linka Glatter is directing the ABC Studios-based hour from a script by Krista Vernoff.

HAIL MARY (CBS) - Veteran character actor Stephen Tobolowsky has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about Mary Beth Baker (Minnie Driver), a suburban single mom who teams up with her murdered son's best friend to solve crimes. He'll play Barney Cox, the strip mall private investigator Mary Beth initially hired to look into her son's death - and ultimately goes to work for. Jeff Wadlow is behind the hour, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television.

HART OF DIXIE (The CW) - Jaime King ("My Generation") has scored a role on the drama pilot, about Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson), a young big-city doctor who inherits a medical practice in the oddball town of BlueBell, Alabama. She's on board as Lemon Breeland, an overly effusive member of the Blue Belles, elite young ladies chosen to keep the town's history alive. Wilson Bethel also stars in the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, which Jason Ensler is directing from a script by Leila Gerstein.

HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN (CBS) - Rhys Darby ("Flight of the Conchords") has snagged 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. He'll play Mike, the "earnest, brow-beaten" husband of Alan's sister, Janet. Dave Foley and Nancy Lenehan co-star in the CBS Television Studios-based project, which was penned by Hornsby.

IDENTTIY (ABC) - Jay Paulson ("Happy Town") has booked a role on the drama pilot, a procedural set at the Identity Crimes Division, the FBI's first cyber-crime unit mixed with traditional investigators. He's believed to be playing the character formerly known as Jose Rodriguez ("rookie, cocky, good-looking; a young pagan who'll sleep with anything"), the junior member of said team. Orlando Jones and potentially Wentworth Miller also star in the ABC Studios-based hour, from writer John Glenn.

MISSING (ABC) - Ashley Judd has closed her deal to topline the drama, about "a suburban mother who, after her son disappears in Italy while studying abroad, rushes to Europe to track him down" where "it soon becomes clear she is no ordinary soccer mom, but a former CIA agent who will stop at nothing to bring her son home alive." The Alphabet has ordered 10 episodes of the series, from ABC Studios, creator Greg Poirier and fellow executive producers Gina Matthews and Grant Scharbo. Steve Schill is directing the pilot and will likewise executive produce.

NO ORDINARY FAMILY (ABC) - Co-creator Greg Berlanti has inked a massive four-year, eight-figure overall deal with Warner Bros. Television. The pact, which begins in June, calls for the prolific writer/producer to develop new series projects for the studio, home to his current feature work. Berlanti had been based at ABC Studios, where he shephered "Brothers & Sisters," "Eli Stone" and "Dirty Sexy Money" for sibling ABC.

THE OVER/UNDER (USA) - Steven Pasquale ("Rescue Me") has booked the lead role on the drama pilot, about Paul Keller, "a day trader with a massive gambling problem who is fired from his job six months after a bad trade costs his firm millions. Shut out of the job market, he and his beautiful, photographer wife retreat to a neighborhood on the cusp of gentrification. He finds an unlikely partner and starts to turn his life around in an unexpected way." Anthony Carrigan also stars as Marino Puzzo, the aforementioned partner with whom he opens a high-end bookie business. In addition, Bronwen Hughes ("Fairly Legal") has been tapped to direct the pilot, which was written by Sheila Callaghan. Fox Television Studios and Universal Cable Productions are co-producing.

PAN AM (ABC) - Christina Ricci has officially set to star in the period drama pilot, about the pilots and flight attendants working at the iconic Pan Am airline in the 1960s. She'll play Maggie, a 24-year-old fiery redhead, who while "on duty is a beautiful, perfectly groomed and poised stewardess, and off duty is an earthy, bohemian living among the beatniks and intellectuals of Greenwich Village." Thomas Schlamme is helming the Jack Orman-penned hour, which also stars Margot Robbie and Michael Mosley. Sony Pictures Television is producing.

S.I.L.A. (NBC) - Daniella Alonso ("My Generation") and Matthew Levy ("Sons of Tucson") have both landed roles in the pilot, a drama depicting a complex web of crime, policework and politics in Los Angeles. She'll play Daniela Garza ("a former newscaster type"), the press liason for Virgilio Zaragoza, the Mayor of Los Angeles; with Levy as Max Broadkey, an adrenaline junky who's happiest when viewing life by remote. Stephen Gaghan wrote and will direct the hour for 20th Century Fox Television. Danny Pino also stars.

UNTITLED SUSANNAH GRANT PROJECT (CBS) - Jennifer Ehle ("The King's Speech") has booked the female lead on the drama pilot, about Michael Halstead (Patrick Wilson), "an ultra-competitive surgeon whose life is changed forever when his ex-wife, a doctor running a free clinic, dies and begins teaching him what life is all about from the hereafter." She'll play Michael's aforementioned ex-wife, Anna Lindberg ("confident, wildly attractive, despite the lack of fuss she spends on her appearance... or maybe because of it"). Susannah Grant penned the CBS Television Studios-based hour, which Jonathan Demme is attached to direct.

  [march 2011]  

· 40 (HBO)

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