[03/08/12 - 11:29 PM]
Development Update: Thursday, March 8
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!

BABY BIG SHOT (CBS) - Kyle MacLachlan ("Desperate Housewives") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about Martina Garretti (Janet Montgomery), a working-class woman who uses her street smarts to compete with her more polished colleagues at a Manhattan law firm. He's on board as Donovan Stark ("a rhino who booms confidence and big-picture philosophy"), the founder of said firm, Stark & Cohen. Toni Trucks also stars in the Sony Pictures Television-based hour, from writer Dana Calvo. (Deadline.com)

BANSHEE (Cinemax) - Frankie Faison ("The Wire") has been cast in the upcoming drama at the pay channel, about an enigmatic ex-con (yet to be cast) who poses as a murdered sheriff in Banshee, Pennsylvania, imposing his own brand of justice while also cooking up plans that serve his own interests. He'll play Sugar Bates, "a powerful and wise former boxer and ex-con who is now the owner of the local watering hole." Daniel Ross, Matt Servitto and Trieste Dunn also star in the project, from co-creator Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler and executive producer Alan Ball. Greg Yaitanes is directing the pilot. (Deadline.com)

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (ABC) - Karen LeBlanc ("Defying Gravity") has scored a role on the pilot, a drama set in a mythical city where its princess, Grace (Ruth Bradley), is tasked with quelling a rebellion. She'll play Ehren, the "drill-sergeant-y" leader of the rebels - a role originally written as male. Chris Egan, Darius Campbell, F. Murray Abraham and Meegan Warner also star in the ABC Studios-based hour, from writer Jonathan E. Steinberg and director Yves Simoneau. (Variety.com)

THE BLUE LAGOON (Lifetime) - Denise Richards ("Blue Mountain State") has joined the cast of the original movie, the network's contemporary remake of the 1980 film, which featured Christopher Atkins and Brooke Shields as a boy and a girl marooned on a tropical island where they grow up together, fall in love and discover sexuality. She'll play Barbara Petersen, a successful and devoted mom who tirelessly searches for her daughter, Emma (Indiana Evans), who's been marooned on a tropical island with her classmate Dane (Brenton Thwaites). In addition, Atkins himself is set to film a cameo for the project, from executive producers Neil Meron, Craig Zadan and Judith Verno. (Deadline.com)

CHICAGO FIRE (NBC) - Lauren German ("Hawaii Five-0") and Teri Reeves (Hulu's "Battleground") are the latest additions to the pilot, a drama about the heroic men and women of the Chicago Fire Department's Firehouse 55. The former is set as Leslie Shay ("pretty, with blond hair"), a paramedic who's joined at the hip with fellow EMT Gabriela Dawson (Monica Raymund); while Reeves will presumably play Hallie Casey, Matthew's (Jesse Spencer) doctor wife, whom he's newly separated from but still has a connection. Charlie Barnett, David Eigenberg, Eamonn Walker and Taylor Kinney also star in the project, from the Universal Television-based Wolf Films. Jeffrey Nachmanoff is directing from a script by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas. (Variety.com)

DEFIANCE (Syfy) - Julie Benz, Tony Curran, Jaime Murray and Stephanie Leonidas have all been cast in the upcoming drama set in near future about a world where humans and aliens must learn to live together on an exotic new Earth that has been transformed by alien terra-forming machines. Benz will play Amanda Rosewater, "the idealistic newly appointed mayor of the mining boomtown who is determined to maintain peace in the community"; with Curran as Datak Tarr, "a member of another elite alien race known as the Castithans who schemed his way out of his home planet before it was destroyed"; Murray as Datak's beautiful and proper wife; and Leonidas as Irisa, "a beautiful warrior who is part of an alien race called the Irathients" who serves as law keeper Jeb Nolan's (Grant Bowler) right-hand. Scott Charles Stewart is directing the Universal Cable Productions-based project from a script by Rockne S. O'Bannon. (Deadline.com)

FRIEND ME (CBS) - Tim Robinson has been cast in the comedy pilot, about best pals Rob and Evan (both yet to be cast) who have just moved to L.A. from Indiana to start new jobs at Groupon. He's presumably on board as Sully ("will never take a job that interferes with his beer-league hockey team"), one of their friends from back home. Ajay Sahgal and Alan Kirschenbaum are behind the CBS Television Studios-based half-hour, which also stars Parvesh Cheena. Pamela Fryman is directing. (Variety.com)

GO ON (NBC) - Allison Miller ("Terra Nova") and Khary Payton ("Powers") have both been cast in the Matthew Perry-led comedy pilot, about Ryan King, an irreverent yet charming sportscaster, who after his wife dies, finds surprising solace from the members of his support group. She'll guest as Carrie, Ryan's quirky assistant, a role which is in second position to the former FOX drama as producer 20th Century Fox Television continues to find a home for the project. Payton then is set as group member Don ("beaten-down, bitter and dry"), a working-class guy who went bankrupt and his wife took the kids and left. Julie White and Suzy Nakamura also star in the Universal Television-based half-hour, from writer Scott Silveri and director Todd Holland. (Deadline.com)

GOTHAM (ABC) - Lennie James ("Hung") has scored a role on the pilot, a drama about Annie Travers (Megan Ketch), a cop who, after pursuing a seemingly unsolvable case, discovers a magical world that exists within New York City. He's on board as Gabriel Riga ("an Egyptian god in a suit"), a wealthy CEO running for mayor who has ties to said world. Barry Sloane also stars in the 20th Century Fox Television-based hour, to be directed by Francis Lawrence from a script by Michael Green. (Deadline.com)

GRACELAND (USA) - Scottie Thompson ("Trauma") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a group of agents from the DEA, FBI and U.S. Customs whose worlds collide while living together in an undercover house in Southern California. She's on board as Lauren Kincaid, "a loyal and determined DEA agent dealing with the repercussion of her wounded partner." Aaron Tveit, Brandon Jay McLaren, Daniel Sunjata and Manny Montana also star in the Fox Television Studios-based hour, from creator Jeff Eastin. (TVLine.com)

L.A. NOIR (TNT) - Neal McDonough ("Justified") has signed on for a lead role on the drama pilot, about the epic battle between Los Angeles Police Chief William Parker and mobster Mickey Cohen in the 1950s. He'll play the former fellow, "a man with a long memory and a ruthless streak when provoked, is committed to rooting out corruption in the police department, and equally dedicated to bringing down Mickey Cohen and the mob." Jeremy Strong, Jon Bernthal and Milo Ventimiglia also star in the project, from writer/director Frank Darabont. (Deadline.com)

THE LIFE (ABC) - Australian actress Radha Mitchell ("Silent Hill: Revelation 3D") has been tapped for the lead role on the drama pilot, about the widow of an assassinated criminal who is suddenly forced to adopt her late husband's role in order to protect her family. She'll play said woman, Marta Walraven, in the ABC Studios-based hour, from director Mark Pellington and writer Melissa Rosenberg. Lee Tergesen and Luke Goss also star. (Deadline.com)

MALIBU COUNTRY (ABC) - Justin Prentice and Juliette Angelo have both been cast in the comedy pilot, about a woman (Reba McEntire) who divorces her broke, cheating rock star husband and moves her family from Nashville to the only asset she has left - a little house in Malibu. They'll play her teenage twins Cash ("good-looking, confident bordering on cocky") and Sarah ("while pretty, is not as confident as her brother") in the project, from ABC Studios, director John Pasquin and writer Kevin Abbott. Lily Tomlin and Sara Rue also star. (Variety.com)

THE NEW NORMAL (NBC) - Bebe Wood has been tapped for a role on the comedy pilot, about a gay couple - Bryan (Andrew Rannells) and Andrew (Justin Bartha) - and Goldie (Georgia King), the woman who becomes a surrogate to help them start a family. She's set as Shania Clemmons, Goldie's eight-year-old daughter whom she had in her teens. Ellen Barkin also stars in the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, from co-creator Ryan Murphy and Ali Adler. (Variety.com)

OH F---, IT'S YOU (CBS) - Matt Cook is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, about Nick (Bryan Greenberg) a notorious womanizer who, after surviving a health scare, realizes that "the one" is his ex-turned-gal pal/business partner Wendy (JoAnna Garcia Swisher), who's already engaged to a nice guy, Warren (Ryan Gaul). He's on board as Spencer ("early 20s, shy and 'adorkable'"), the IT guru at Nick and Wendy's company, Hip Trips Travel Group. Greg Grunberg also stars in the Warner Bros. Television-based project, from Greg Berlanti and Greg Malins. James Burrows is directing. (Deadline.com)

RAY DONOVAN (Showtime) - Steven Bauer ("Breaking Bad") and newcomer Devon Bagby have both boarded the drama pilot, about Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber), Hollywood's best professional "fixer," the one called in to solve the complicated, confidential and controversial problems of the city's elite. He'll play Avi, "Ray's No. 1 man at his detective agency," with Bagby as Ray's son Conor. The show's ever-growing ensemble also includes Ambyr Childers, Dash Mihok, Eddie Marsan, Elliott Gould, Johnathon Schaech, Jon Voight, Katherine Moennig, Kerris Dorsey, Paula Malcomson, Peter Jacobson and Pooch Hall. Ann Biderman penned the script while Allen Coulter is directing. (Deadline.com)

REWIND (Syfy) - Shane McRae ("The Help") is the first to land a role on the drama pilot, about a team of military field operatives and civilian scientists who must use untested technology to travel back in time to alter past events in order to change the future and avoid a devastating terrorist attack. He's set as Henry Knox, "ex-Special Forces who now ranks as a field operative in a special division of the Department of Homeland Security." Jack Bender is helming the Universal Cable Productions-based project, written by Justin Marks. (Deadline.com)

THE SELECTION (The CW) - Newcomer Celia Kate Massingham is the latest addition to the pilot, a drama set 300 years in the future about America Singer (Aimee Teegarden), a poor woman who is chosen by lottery to compete to become the next queen of a war-torn nation. She'll play one of the remaining female roles, which wasn't specified: America's maid Lucy ("fresh-faced, worried") or her fellow competitors Ashley ("beautiful, genuine, and naive") or Celeste ("smart, beautiful, and conniving"). Mark Piznarski is directing the Warner Bros. Television-based hour from a script by co-creators Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain. Ethan Peck, Leonor Varela, Martin Donovan, Peta Sergeant and Sean Patrick Thomas also star. (Variety.com)

SUPER FUN NIGHT (CBS) - British actor Kevin Bishop has booked the male lead on the comedy pilot, about three nerdy female friends - Kimmie, Helen-Alice and Marika - on their quest to have super fun every Friday night. He'll play Richard ("straight laced and cute"), a new co-worker - and potential love interest - of Kimmie's who just transferred from the London office. Rebel Wilson is behind the project, which is set up at the Warner Bros. Television-based Conaco Productions. (Deadline.com)

TROOPER (CBS) - Timothee Chalamet, Quinn Shephard and Lily Pilblad have all scored roles on the drama pilot, about K.J. Flaxton (Mira Sorvino), a common-sense mother who becomes a New York State Trooper. They're set as her three kids: Lee ("the rebel with a cause"), Olivia ("the oldest; calling herself Olive these days") and Ruby ("prodigious prodigy"). Aron Eli Coleite is behind the project, from the Warner Bros. Television-Jerry Bruckheimer Television. Craig Gillespie is directing while Jay Hernandez also stars. (Variety.com)

THE UNPROFESSIONAL (ABC) - Mo Gaffney ("House of Lies") has been tapped for a role on the comedy pilot, about Hilary Pfeiffer-Dunne (Mary McCormack), a high-powered executive who now faces the biggest challenge of her life when she finds herself unemployed and acting as a full-time mom to her two teenagers. She'll play Robin, a down to earth supermom in her forties who routinely clashes with Hilary. Greg Germann also stars in the Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour, from writer Kari Lizer and director Craig Zisk. (Deadline.com)

UNTITLED BEN FALCONE/LARRY DORF PROJECT (CBS) - Emily Alyn Lind and Quinn Friedman have both landed roles on the comedy pilot, about David (Ben Falcone), a single 37-year-old who loses everything he has in the real estate collapse and must move back in with his parents (Judd Hirsch, Andrea Martin). They'll presumably play Martin and Hannah, the youngest of David's sister Lisa's (Rachael Harris) three kids. Emily Rutherfurd also stars in the project, which is set up at Warner Bros. Television. (Variety.com)

UNTITLED MINDY KALING PROJECT (FOX) - Zoe Jarman and Dana DeLorenzo have each landed roles on the comedy pilot, about Mira Kaviraya (Mindy Kaling), a young doctor trying to navigate both her personal and professional lives. The former will play Betsy ("female Chris Farley"), one of the receptionists at her office; with DeLorenzo's role wasn't specified. Ed Weeks also stars in the Universal Television-based half-hour, to be directed by Charles McDougall. (Deadline.com)

AND IN OTHER NEWS... - Jamey Sheridan's Vice President William Walden has been upped to series regular on "Homeland" (Deadline.com); Justine Lupe likewise has been named a regular cast member on "Harry's Law" as the firm's vivacious new hire Phoebe Blake (Deadline.com); Cierra Ramirez has joined the cast of "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" as a pregnant freshman who Amy (Shailene Woodley) has been asked to mentor, while Michael Grant has been promoted to series regular (Deadline.com); Trevor Donovan, Julie Mond and Shelley Long have been tapped to star in the Hallmark Channel original "Rites of Spring" (Variety.com); Sean Rankine, executive producer of "Basketball Wives," "Basketball Wives: LA" and upcoming "Ocho & Ev" - featuring Chad Ochocinco and Evelyn Lozada, has inked an overall deal with producer Shed Media (Variety.com); Georgina Haig will guest alongside Henry Ian Cusick as FBI agents on "Fringe" (TVLine.com); and Britney Spears reportedly is in negotiations to join "The X Factor's" second season (THR.com).

  [march 2012]  


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