[03/03/11 - 10:50 PM]
Development Update: Thursday, March 3
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!

17TH PRECINCT (NBC) - James Callis ("Battlestar Galactica") and Matt Long ("The Deep End") have both landed roles on the pilot, a police drama set in an alternate version of San Francisco where magic rules instead of science. Callis is set as Jeff Bosson ("British accent; slender but with the professional slouch of someone who takes pride in avoiding the gym"), Caolan Longstreet's (Jamie Bamber) partner at the 17th. Long then is playing Jimmy Travers, a rookie who's partnered with veteran detective Mira Barkley (Stockard Channing). Eamonn Walker also stars as their DCI Wilder Blanks. Sony Pictures Television is behind the Ronald D. Moore-penned hour, to be directed by Michael Rymer.

AWAKENING (The CW) - Lucy Griffiths (U.K.'s "Robin Hood") is the first to be cast in the drama pilot, about two combative sisters who come of age amid the beginning of a zombie uprising. She's set as Jenna Lestrade ("beautiful, smart, warm"), the elder sister, a public defender in Manhattan who's less comfortable with her zombie status than her younger sister, Jayce. Said casting stems from a talent holding deal the actress had with sibling CBS. Bill Laurin and Glenn Davis co-wrote the hour for Warner Bros. Television. David Van Ancken ("The Vampire Diaries") is attached to direct.

THE CROSSING (NBC) - Bill Sage ("Nurse Jackie") is the latest addition to the period drama pilot, about Jason Edding (Martin Henderson), a Civil War veteran who crosses the country and settles into a complicated town where he is welcomed as its savior - whether he likes it or not. He's set as Grey Ghost, "a disfigured former Colonel in the Confederate Army with prematurely grey hair who lives nearby in a sumptuously appointed cave - his base of operations to wreak terror on the townsfolk." Claire Wellin and Rachelle Lefevre also star in the Universal Media Studios-based project, from writer Joshua Brand and director Peter Horton.

HAIL MARY (CBS) - Enrique Murciano ("Without a Trace") has booked a role on the drama pilot, about Mary Beth Baker (Minnie Driver), a suburban single mom in Atlanta who opts to become a private investigator following her son's murder. He's on board as Carlos Moreno ("ex-military and an Atlanta native; has been in love with Mary Beth since they were kids"), a detective with the police department's Major Crimes Division. Stephen Tobolowsky also stars in the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, from director Brad Silberling and writer Jeff Wadlow.

HEAVENLY (The CW) - Ben Aldridge (U.K.'s "Lark Rise to Candleford") has booked the male lead on the drama pilot, about Lily DeMarco, a San Francisco attorney who teams with Dashiell Coffee, an angel-turned-human, to save the futures - and the souls - of their clients. He'll play the angel in question, who opted to become human after experiencing emotion for the first time. CBS Television Studios is behind the hour, to be directed by Mimi Leder from a script by Richard Hatem.

HERD MENTALITY (CBS) - Danny Comden is the first to be cast in the pilot, a comedy set behind the scenes of a sports radio show and inspired by the life of ESPN personality Colin Cowherd. He'll play Doug, the producer of said show. Andy Cadiff ("Hot in Cleveland") is on board to direct the half-hour, from co-creators Bill Martin and Mike Schiff. CBS Television Studios is producing.

ONCE UPON A TIME (ABC) - Ginnifer Goodwin ("Big Love") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about "a woman with a troubled past who is drawn into a small town in Maine where the magic and mystery of Fairy Tales just may be real." She'll play Sister Mary Margaret Blanchard, a schoolteacher who also happens to be Snow White, having been placed under a spell by the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla). Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis co-wrote the ABC Studios-based hour, to be directed by Mark Mylod.

PLAYBOY (NBC) - Jeff Hephner ("Hellcats") has booked the male lead on the pilot, a period drama set the Playboy Club in Chicago in 1963. He'll play Nick Darlton ("35, a man, a jaw, confident, sharp, genial yet private, the ultimate playboy"), an attorney/fixer who used to work for the Bianchi crime family. Alan Taylor is directing the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour from a script by Chad Hodge. Amber Heard, David Krumholtz, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Laura Benanti, Leah Cudmore, Naturi Naughton and Wes Ramsey also star.

PRIME SUSPECT (NBC) - Aidan Quinn ("Canterbury's Law") has snagged a role on the Maria Bello-led drama pilot, about Jane Timoney, "an iconoclastic female detective who has to make her bones in a tough New York precinct that is dominated by men." He'll play Jane's boss, Kenny Rowe, a lieutenant at Manhattan's North Homicide division. Peter Berg is directing the Universal Media Studios-based hour off a script by Alexandra Cunningham. Joe Nieves, Kirk Acevedo, Tim Griffin and Toby Stephens co-star.

THE RIVER (ABC) - Joe Anderson ("Across the Universe") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about the crew of a state-of-the-art research vessel on a quest to find a missing TV explorer in the Amazon. He's set as Lincoln Cole ("tough, happiest in quiet settings"), the aforementioned man's son who has "all his father's rugged independence, with none of his exhibitionism." Eloise Mumford also stars in the project, from director Jaume Collet-Serra, writer Michael Green and ABC Studios.

TAGGED (FOX) - Robin Givens has scored a role on the pilot, a workplace comedy set at the Los Angeles County's coroner's office. She's believed to be playing Marleeza Dinkins, "the relentlessly cheerful, marginally bone-headed new head of the county department, who doesn't know a thing about forensics or pathology." B.J. Bales, Gary Cole, Lindsey Kraft and Tommy Dewey also star in the Sony Pictures Television-based project, from co-creators David Guarascio and Moses Port. Scott Ellis ("Weeds") is also on board to direct.

UNTITLED ROB SCHNEIDER PROJECT (CBS) - Nadine Velazquez ("My Name Is Earl"), Tony Plana ("Ugly Betty") and Lupe Ontiveros ("Desperate Housewives") have all been cast in the comedy pilot, about a solitary architect (Rob Schneider) who marries into a huge Mexican-American family. Velazquez is on board as Maggie, Rob's young bride, with Plana as her conservative father Fernando and Ontiveros as Abuelita, her "tough and feisty maternal grandmother who only speaks Spanish." Sitcom veteran Jamie Widdoes ("Two and a Half Men") is directing the CBS Television Studios-based project from a script by Schneider and Lew Morton.

WEEKENDS AT BELLEVUE (FOX) - Amber Stevens ("Greek") has scored a role on the drama pilot, about Ellie Harlow (Lauren Ambrose), the weekend physician in charge of Bellevue's psychiatric emergency room, a one-woman front line charged with assessing and treating some of the city's most vulnerable and troubled citizens. She's been cast as Claire Cohen ("upbeat and outgoing, obsessed with the psychodynamic approach to psychiatry"), a fresh-faced psychiatry intern. Janet McTeer co-stars in the Lisa Zwerling-penned hour, from Universal Media Studios. Jack Bender is directing.

WONDER WOMAN (NBC) - Elizabeth Hurley, Tracie Thoms and Pedro Pascal have all been cast in the drama pilot, which stars Adrianne Palicki as the comic book heroine of the same name. Thoms will play Etta Candy, the cheerful secretary for Diana Themyscira, Wonder Woman's public identity; while Pascal is set as Ed Indelicato, Diana's contact at the LAPD. Hurley then will guest star in the potentially recurring role of Veronica Cale, head of Cale-Anderson Pharmaceuticals, who despite beauty and success that would rival Diana herself, can't stand our heroine and aims to take her down. Jeffrey Reiner is directing the David E. Kelley-penned hour for Warner Bros. Television.

WORK IT (ABC) - Rebecca Mader ("Lost") has landed a role on the comedy pilot, about two out-of-work car salesmen - Lee (yet to be cast) and Angel (Amaury Nolasco) - who dress as women by day to get jobs working as pharmaceutical reps. She's on board as Grace Hudson ("imperious, undermining"), a fellow drug sales rep. John Carapulo also stars in the Warner Bros. Television-based effort, from co-creators Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen with Beth McCathy-Miller directing.

  [march 2011]  


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