[03/17/11 - 11:30 PM]
Development Update: Thursday, March 17
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!

90210 (The CW) - Rebecca Sinclair is stepping down as showrunner of the netlet's soap. "It was a creative decision," she told Deadline.com. "I'm eager to write my own stuff. I'm going to try to write a novel - something I've been wanting to do since college - a pilot and a movie. Working on '90210' has been an incredible learning experience, like going to the most intensive school, and I feel I've come out ready to create my own show." No replacement has been named. The series, which is widely expected to get a fourth season, returns April 18 with its last five episodes of the season.

THE ASSISTANTS (CBS) - David Henrie ("How I Met Your Mother") has snagged a principal role on 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). He'll play Mike Beadle, the eager new house assistant. Emily Rutherfurd, Lamorne Morris and T.J. Miller co-star in the CBS Television Studios-based half-hour, from writer Tucker Cawley and director Pamela Fryman.

HERD MENTALITY (CBS) - Damon Wayans ("My Wife & Kids") has been tapped for the lead role on the comedy pilot, inspired by the life of ESPN radio personality Colin Cowherd. He'll play Nick Herd ("fortyish, confident, good looking and well-dressed, though he'd never admit he tries"), whose acerbic ways get him in trouble at home and at work. Bill Martin and Mike Schiff are behind the CBS Television Studios-based half-hour, to be directed by Andy Cadiff. Danny Comden also stars.

MY LIFE AS AN EXPERIMENT (NBC) - Donald Sutherland ("Pillars of the Earth") is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, about A.J. Wilder (Jon Dore), an immersion journalist whose unusual assignments frequently affect his home life in Brooklyn with his wife, Stacie (Paget Brewster), and two kids. He'll play Sam Bobkin ("pompous, arrogant"), Stacie's father, who is less than thrilled with her choice in a husband. Adam Campbell also stars in the Sony Pictures Television-based half-hour, from co-creators Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith.

POE (ABC) - Marco Grazzini is the newest addition to the pilot, a period drama which envisions famed author Edgar Allan Poe (Chris Egan) as the world's very first detective in 1840s Boston. He's set as Alexander Shelton ("handsome, wealthy, in a military uniform"), the current beau of Poe's childhood sweetheart Sarah Royster (Tabrett Bethell). Kevin McNally, Leslie Odom Jr. and Natalie Dormer also star in the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, from writer Chris Hollier and director Alex Graves. Separately, Grazzini is also guesting on The CW pilot "Awakening" in an unspecified role.

REVENGE (ABC) - Joshua Bowman (U.K.'s "Holby City") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp), a mysterious young woman who comes to the Hamptons to exact revenge on the people who destroyed her family. He'll play her fiance, Daniel Grayson ("young 20s, all American, son of privilege"), whose parents (Madeleine Stowe, Henry Czerny) she blames for her father's death. Ashley Madekwe, Christa B. Allen, Connor Paolo, Gabriel Mann and Nick Wechsler also star. Phillip Noyce is directing the ABC Studios-based hour, which was penned by Mike Kelley.

THE RIVER (ABC) - Thomas Kretschmann and Paulina Gaitan have both boarded the drama pilot, about the search in the Amazon for Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood), a missing TV explorer, led by his wife Tess (Leslie Hope) and son Lincoln (Joe Anderson). Kretschmann will play Captain Reese Byrne ("a soldier's comportment, a boxer's economy of movement; dedication and efficacy rubbed deep into his skin"), the expedition's head of security. Gaitan then is set as Jahel Valenzuela - the daughter of the ship's engineer, Emilio - who's just as good a mechanic as her father. Eloise Mumford, Paul Blackthorne and Shaun Parkes also star. Jaume Collet-Serra is directing the ABC Studios-based hour from a script by Michael Green.

S.I.L.A. (NBC) - Jimmy Smits ("Outlaw") is returning to the Peacock as the actor has booked a role on the pilot, a drama depicting a complex web of crime, policework and politics in Los Angeles. He'll play Virgilio Zaragoza, the mayor of Los Angeles, who "cares deeply about his city, power, and women, perhaps in reverse order, and the nakedness of his need to be loved is part of his considerable charm." Also featured in the ensemble are Daniella Alonso, Danny Pino, Emma Dumont, Luis Chavez, Madchen Amick, Matthew Levy and Noah Emmerich. Stephen Gaghan is behind the hour, from 20th Century Fox Television.

SECRET CIRCLE (The CW) - Shelley Hennig and Jessica Parker Kennedy have each snagged a role on the drama pilot, about Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson), a California teen who moves to her mom's hometown of New Salem, Maine and discovers that she comes from a family of witches. They'll play two more of the seven-member circle, a coven of young witches: Diana Meade ("smart, sexy, not overly done up"), who quickly befriends Cassie; and Melissa ("steely, disinterested"), who keeps her at arm's length. Phoebe Tonkin and Thomas Dekker also star while Liz Friedlander is directing from a script by Andrew Miller.

UNTITLED LIZ MERIWETHER PROJECT (FOX) - Damon Wayans Jr. ("Happy Endings") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about Jessica Day (Zooey Deschanel), an optimistic Midwestern woman who moves into a New York apartment with three juvenile guys. He'll play one of the trio, Coach, an out-of-shape trainer. Said role is in second position to his duties on the yet-to-debut ABC comedy. Hannah Simone, Jake M. Johnson and Max Greenfield also star. Liz Meriwether penned the half-hour for 20th Century Fox Television. Jake Kasdan is directing.

  [march 2011]  

· 90210 (CW)

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