LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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ABC has ordered its first wave of pilots to series, including three dramas and two single-camera comedies. They join the previously announced direct-to-series order for "Mistresses." Descriptions follow from 2012 ABC Program Development Guide. (@ABC_Publicity)
THE FAMILY TOOLS (A.K.A. RED VAN MAN) (ABC) - "Jack Shea (Kyle Bornheimer) is the King of Epic Fails. When it comes to his career, he always screws things up. In the Army, he accidently shot someone. In the Police Academy, he accidently shot himself. Seminary school didn't work out much better. He's just flunked out - for the third time. So Jack is headed home to regroup, again. Jack's dad, Tony (JK Simmons), has spent his whole life building a successful hometown handyman business, but is suddenly forced to retire due to a heart condition. He loves his business and doesn't want to abandon his clients, but it's clear the time has come to pass the tool belt on to someone else. Now, armed with big dreams, power tools and a slacker assistant named Darren who calls him "pimp juice", Jack becomes the new Mr. Jiffy-Fix. As in his past job experiences, things don't go smoothly, and Jack soon discovers there's quite a learning curve to this handyman stuff. (Note to self: be careful with the nail gun.) And it doesn't help that his dad's looking over his shoulder every step of the way. But if Jack can find his sea legs, with a little help from his family including his cool Aunt Terry (Leah Remini) and his teenage cousin Mason, he just might finally make his father proud. From Bobby Bowman (Raising Hope, My Name Is Earl, Yes Dear, Family Guy) and Mark Gordon (Grey's Anatomy, Criminal Minds) comes a new ensemble comedy about trying to find your true calling, right at home."
NASHVILLE (ABC) - "What Hollywood is to the movie business, Nashville is to music. This is where today's music is being made and tomorrow's stars are being born. If you're Faith Hill or Carrie Underwood in-the-making, you want to be in Nashville. Chart-topping Rayna James (Connie Britton) is a country legend who's had a career any singer would envy, though lately her popularity is starting to wane. Fans still line-up to get her autograph, but she's not packing the arenas like she used to. Rayna's record label thinks a concert tour, opening for up-and-comer Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), the young and sexy future of country music, is just what Rayna needs. And scheming Juliette can't wait to steal Rayna's spotlight. But sharing a stage with that disrespectful, untalented, little vixen is the last thing Rayna wants to do, which sets up a power struggle for popularity. Could the undiscovered songwriting talent of Scarlett O'Connor (Clare Bowen) be the key to helping Rayna resurrect her career? Rayna's wealthy, but estranged, father Lamar Hampton (Powers Boothe) is a powerful force in business, Tennessee politics, and the lives of his two grown daughters. His drive for power results in a scheme to back Rayna's handsome husband Teddy, in a run for Mayor of Nashville, against Rayna's wishes. Set against the backdrop of Nashville's thriving contemporary music scene, and political world, executive producers Callie Khouri (writer of Thelma & Louise) and RJ Cutler (The September Issue) take you inside the cutthroat world of country music, family, and politics... from the concert tours to the romantic entanglements, to the halls of power and old demons that threaten to derail a career."
THE NEIGHBORS (A.K.A. DOWN TO EARTH) (ABC) - "How well do you know your neighbors? Meet The Weavers: Debbie (Jami Gertz) and Marty (Lenny Venito). Marty, in hopes of providing a better life for his wife and three kids, recently bought a home in "Hidden Hills," a gated New Jersey townhome community with its own golf course. Hidden Hills is so exclusive that a house hasn't come on the market in 10 years. But one finally did... and the Weavers got it! It's clear from day one that the residents of Hidden Hills are a little... different. For starters, their new neighbors all have pro-athlete names like Larry Bird, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Reggie Jackson, and Dick Butkus. Over dinner, Marty and his family discover that their neighbors receive nourishment through their eyes and mind by reading books, rather than eating. The Weavers soon learn that the entire community is comprised of aliens from Zabvron, where the men bear children and everyone cries green goo... from their ears. The Zabvronians have been stationed on Earth for the past 10 years, disguised as humans, awaiting instructions from home, and the Weavers are the first humans they've had the opportunity to know. As it turns out, the pressures of marriage and parenthood are not exclusive to planet Earth. Two worlds will collide with hilarious consequences as everyone discovers they can "totally relate," and learn a lot from each other. Dan Fogelman (the writer of Cars, Tangled, and Crazy, Stupid, Love), Director Chris Koch (Workaholics, Modern Family), Jeff Morton (Modern Family) and Aaron Kaplan (GCB, Terra Nova) executive produce this new comedy about close encounters of the 3rd kind, in New Jersey."
RED WIDOW (A.K.A. PENOZA) (ABC) - "Melissa Rosenberg (executive producer and head writer on "Dexter" and screenwriter of the Twilight franchise), Howard Klein (executive producer of "The Office," "Parks & Recreation") and Endemol Studios ("Hell On Wheels") join forces for a riveting new thriller that takes you inside the world of crime and intrigue and shows you just how far one woman will go to protect her family. Meet Marta Walraven (Radha Mitchell - Melinda and Melinda) a suburban housewife who's living the good life in Northern California. She has a loving husband, a beautiful home overlooking Sausalito, and three amazing kids. But behind this perfect facade is a family of organized criminals. Marta's father, her brother, and husband Franklin all make their living through illegal means, and up until now, she has turned a blind eye to this fact. But when Franklin is murdered, Marta uncovers a tenacity she never knew she had. She'll do whatever it takes to avenge his death and keep her family alive. Even if it means filling her husband's shoes and joining the family business. As Marta digs into this dark underworld, she'll test her own strength, relying on her resourcefulness, determination and family ties like never before."
ZERO HOUR (ABC) - "Hank Foley (Anthony Edwards) is no stranger to adventure. But this one is a little more than he bargained for. As the publisher of Modern Skeptic magazine, Hank has spent his career following clues, debunking myths and solving conspiracies. A confessed paranormal junkie, his motto is "logic is the compass." But when his beautiful young wife (Jacinda Barrett) is abducted from her store, an antique clock shop, Hank gets pulled into one of the most compelling mysteries of human history, stretching around the world and back centuries. Contained in one of his wife's clocks is a treasure map, and what it leads to could be cataclysmic. Now it's up to Hank to decipher the symbols and unlock the secrets of the map, while ensuring the answers don't fall into the wrong hands. With his two young associates Rachel (Addison Timlin) and Arron (Scott Michael Foster) in tow, along with Deck a sexy FBI agent (Carmen Ejogo), Hank will lead them on a breathless race against the clock, to find his wife and save humanity. Executive produced by Lorenzo DiBonaventura (the Transformers and GI: Joe franchises, Salt, Red), Paul Scheuring (Prison Break) and Dan McDermott (Human Target) comes this fast-paced thriller that will take you on quest around the globe to reveal one of mankind's most riveting conspiracies, one that powerful forces have kept hidden for too long."