[04/27/11 - 11:20 PM]
Development Update: Wednesday, April 27
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!

BLACK JACK (Comedy Central) - Ving Rhames has been tapped for the title role on the comedy pilot, about Black Jack (Rhames) "who, after 20 years as the most kick-ass special ops agent the U.S. government has had on its payroll, finally goes too far and is de-commissioned." Michael Starrbury penned the script while David Gordon Green is attached to direct. Rhames's casting lifts said contingency off the pilot's production. Danny McBride, Jody Hill and Matt Reilly are also executive producing alongside Green and Starrbury.

THE FIRM (NBC, New!) - eOne Television and Paramount Pictures are developing a small screen take on John Grisham's book-turned-Tom Cruise-led-feature of the same name. Lucas Reiter penned the pilot to the project, which was originally developed by CBS but stalled in the script stage. The eOne incarnation however has already been cleared for 22 episodes on Sony's AXN networks in more than 125 territories around the world with NBC in talks to carry the series domestically. As for specifics, "The Firm" will follow Mitch McDeere (Cruise in the film) and his family as they emerge from the Federal Witness Protection Program after 10 years, "determined to reclaim their lives and their future [but] soon find that past dangers are still lurking and new threats are everywhere." Casting is underway for a July production start in Canada. Grisham and Reiter are executive producing alongside John Morayniss, Michael Rosenberg and Noreen Halpern.

GAME CHANGE (HBO) - Sarah Paulson, Peter MacNicol and Justin Gaston are the latest additions to the project, a docudrama about John McCain's (Ed Harris) and Sarah Palin's (Julianne Moore) failed 2008 presidential campaign. Paulson will play McCain's senior campaign adviser Nicolle Wallace with MacNicol as McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis and Gaston as Levi Johnston, who fathered the baby of Palin's teenage daughter Bristol (Melissa Farman). Jamey Sheridan, Larry Sullivan, Ron Livingston and Woody Harrelson also star in the film, from director Jay Roach, writer Danny Strong and executive producers Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman.

METRO (NBC) - Oscar-winner Stephen Gaghan has signed a two-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television. The pact will cover his duties on the aforementioned pilot - a drama depicting a complex web of crime, policework and politics in Los Angeles, starring Jimmy Smits, Danny Pino, Noah Emmerich and Madchen Amick - should it move forward to series. He'll also develop new series projects for the studio via his Unsupervised Television banner, to be run by Suzanne Joskow. Already in the works are two efforts at FOX: a Washington, D.C. drama and an animated comedy.

NCIS (CBS) - Cote de Pablo has inked a new two-year deal to continue on the veteran Eye drama. She'll reportedly receive a significant salary bump to about $120,000 per episode - on par with the show's other female cast member, Pauley Perrette - as well as a sizable cash bonus. Said development means all the show's principal cast members - de Pablo, Perrette, Sean Murray, Michael Weatherly, David McCallum and Mark Harmon - are locked up for next season.

THE OFFICE (NBC) - Former co-executive producers Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg have inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with ABC Studios. The duo, who penned the upcoming Justin Timberlake/Cameron Diaz feature "Bad Teacher," will develop new projects for the studio via their Quantity Entertainment banner.

UNDERCOVER BOSS (CBS) - A half-hour companion series - "featuring updates on the CEOs and employees, as well as previously unseen footage" - is reportedly being shopped as part of the show's off-network package by CBS Television Distribution. Said run is being targeted for a fall 2012 bow on both cable business news outlets as well as general entertainment channels. Production is underway on a pilot for the series with Stephen Lambert executive producing via his Studio Lambert banner.

  [april 2011]  


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