[10/16/13 - 11:17 PM] Development Update: Wednesday, October 16 By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB (ABC, New!) - Lily Koppel's best-selling novel - which "tells the true story of the women behind NASA's early astronauts and the struggles they face when their lives and families are catapulted into the spotlight overnight" - is being developed as a limited series at the Alphabet. Stephanie Savage will pen the adaptation - set in the 1960s - and executive produce alongside Josh Schwartz and Len Goldstein via their ABC Studios-based Fake Empire banner. Groundswell Productions' Michael London will likewise serve as an executive producer with the company's Janice Williams also producing. (Deadline.com)BABYLON FIELDS (NBC, New!) - Michael Cuesta, Gerald Cuesta and Michael Atkinson's much-ballyhooed drama pilot - in which the dead are resurrected and try to resume their former lives - is being revived at the Peacock. CBS and 20th Century Fox Television originally commissioned the project in 2007 with an ensemble cast that included Adam LeFevre, Amber Tamblyn, Jamey Sheridan, Kathy Baker, Leila Arcieri, Mackenzie Milone, Ray Stevenson and Will Janowitz. NBC has subsequently ordered a new pilot with Michael Cuesta - who has inked a two-year overall deal with 20th - once again directing from a script by Gerald Cuesta and Michael Atkinson. (Deadline.com)BLACK OAK (CBS, New!) - Julia Hart (The Keeping Room) has sold a new drama to the Eye about "a woman who inherits the haunted hotel that has plagued her family with a curse for generations, forcing her to confront her dysfunctional family's secrets, ghosts, and demons." Said effort is set up at the Warner Bros. Television-based Berlanti Productions with Greg Berlanti and Melissa Kellner Berman among the executive producers. (Deadline.com)CROSSBONES (NBC/Universal; W: Neil Cross; D: David Slade) - David Hoflin and Yasmine Al Massri are the latest to board the upcoming drama, about the diabolical pirate Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard (John Malkovich), who reigns over a rogue nation of thieves, outlaws and miscreant sailors in 1715. He'll play Vane, "a pirate captain known for being a vicious, villainous and murderous predator"; while she's set as Selma, "a poised and elegant Arabian woman who is Blackbeard's one confidante." Production on the series is set to begin shortly in Puerto Rico. Claire Foy, Richard Coyle and Tracy Ifeachor also star. (Deadline.com)DAMASCUS (CBS, New!) - America Ferrera ("Ugly Betty") is set to star in a potential drama at the Eye about "a crusading nun (Ferrera) who practices law on behalf of the least fortunate, and has her beliefs tested when her life collides with an elitist corporate lawyer. As the two set out to help those in need of justice, they come up against a secretive and powerful organization that is determined to destroy them." Nick Osborne penned the CBS Television Studios-based project, which has a put pilot commitment with Ferrera and Teri Weinberg likewise serving as executive producers. (Deadline.com)JENNIFER FALLS (TV Land; W: Matthew Carlson; D: TBA) - Nora Kirkpatrick and Joel David Moore have both been cast in the comedy pilot, about Jennifer (Jaime Pressly), a career woman and mother who must move back in with her own mom (Jessica Walter) after being let go from her high-powered, six-figure salary job. Moore will play Jennifer's brother, "who had lived in her shadow, and now she works for him in his bar"; while Kirkpatrick is on board as Jennifer's sister-in-law, "the only straight woman on her softball team and Jennifer's oldest friend from the neighborhood." Dylan Gelula and Missi Pyle also star. (Deadline.com)JUJITSU RABBI AND THE GODLESS BLONDE (FOX, New!) - Lauren Blum and Rebecca Dana are developing a new comedy at the network based on the latter's memoir, billed as an ultimate fish-out-of-water tale about her experience moving to Brooklyn's enormous Lubavitch community and living with Cosmo, a thirty-year-old Russian rabbi who practices jujitsu on the side. Sony Pictures Television-based FanFare Productions is behind the project, with the company's Jamie Tarses executive producing. (Deadline.com)MASSHOLES (FOX, New!) - Spike Feresten ("Talkshow with Spike Feresten") has set up an animated comedy at the network about Kevin Dunlevy, "a smart nerdy tween trying to survive in a small Massachusetts town full of tough guys and half-wits." 20th Century Fox Television is behind the project, which Feresten will write and executive produce. (Deadline.com)MYSTERY ISLAND (NBC, New!) - "The Office" alums Ed Helms and Graham Wagner have scored a pilot presentation order from the Peacock for an animated comedy "set on an island where holidaymakers get marooned after their cruise ship malfunctions." The project is set up at Universal Television with Pacific Electric Picture Co.'s Michael Falbo executive producing alongside said creators. Helms is expected to voice one of the characters. (Deadline.com)THE SHRINE (CBS, New!) - Nicholas Wootton ("Golden Boy") has set up a potential drama at the Eye about "a struggling Catholic hospital in Los Angeles that becomes a sensation when patient after patient is miraculously cured of cancer. Could it truly be divine intervention? A young female doctor investigates these 'miracles,' only to discover that there may be a murderous impostor in the hospital." Warner Bros. Television is behind the hour, which based on the upcoming book by Wootton's father, Gareth Wootton. Greg Berlanti and Melissa Kellner Berman of Berlanti Productions will also serve as executive producers. (Deadline.com)UNTITLED DAVEY HOLMES/SHAWN RYAN PROJECT (FOX, New!) - "The Chicago Code" alums Shawn Ryan and Davey Holmes are set to team with Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 6) for a period drama "set in 1957 in the Territory of Hawaii, which is on a path to become the 50th state in the Union two years later. Statehood and tourism are about to make a few men very rich, and when the brother of a small-time Hawaiian hustler is murdered, he resolves to wage war on the most powerful man on the island." Sony Pictures Television is behind the project, which has a put pilot commitment with MiddKidd Productions' Marney Hochman and Perfect Storm Entertainment's Danielle Woodrow executive producing alongside the aforementioned trio. (Deadline.com)AND IN OTHER NEWS... - ABC has asked for three additional scripts from its freshman comedies "The Goldbergs" and "Trophy Wife"(Deadline.com); Brian Koppelman and David Levien have bowed out as showrunners of HBO's "History of Music" project from Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger and Terence Winter and starring Bobby Cannavale (Deadline.com); Margo Martindale will return for at least one episode of "The Americans," reprising her Emmy-nominated role of Claudia (TVLine.com); Martin Donovan has been cast as Jack Crawford's (Laurence Fishburne) therapist at the FBI on the new season of "Hannibal"(TVLine.com); Yvette Nicole Brown will visit "Welcome to the Family" as "the Yoder family's annoyingly overbearing and strong next-door neighbor" (THR.com); and Shaun Cassidy has inked a two-year overall deal with Universal Television (THR.com).