[05/08/14 - 07:10 PM]
Development Update: Thursday, May 8 - Three Dramas, Two Comedies Kick Off ABC's Series Orders
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!

Here are the latest projects being picked up to series by the aforementioned network for the 2014-15 season (via press release):


The humble city of Modesto is far inland from San Francisco, surrounded by farmland. Parts are pastoral, while others are grittier with rising crime due to gangs, drug trafficking and addiction. All over the news are reports about a young couple who were attacked in their home. Matt Skokie, a war vet, was killed and his wife, Lily, was raped and beaten unconscious. This tragedy sends shock waves into the community, stirring up tensions across racial lines, and connecting victims, suspects, and their families. Matt's father Chuck (Timothy Hutton) has flown in from Arizona for the grim job of identifying his son's body. He and his ex-wife Barb (Felicity Huffman) haven't seen each other in a long time and she is still angry with Chuck for his gambling addiction that destroyed their family. Barb became a struggling single mom and regrets having to raise Matt and his brother in public housing - as the only white kids there, they were badly treated. Chuck got the help he needed to overcome his addiction, but it took a lot of time to repair his relationship with his sons. They are at the hospital with Lily's parents, Tom and a tearful Eve, watching over their unconscious daughter. They still believe there is life in her, but doctors tell them that they are pessimistic that she will ever recover, even if she wakes up. The two couples have to decide whether they talk to the press. Tom and Eve are not ready, but Barb wants to keep the story front page so the people who did this to their children are arrested. It's been several days and no arrests. But that will soon change. The police are about to arrest four suspects. There's teenager Tony Gutiérrez raised by single father, Alonzo. He insisted that Tony and his daughter, Jenny, steer clear of gangs and trouble. But, Tony rented out a car from his father's garage to a thug named Hector Tontz... mainly because he was too scared to refuse. Because that car was at the scene of the crime, Tony is arrested. Later, Hector is arrested with force after he was caught using victim Matt's credit card. Police get Hector, who proclaims his innocence, to give up petty crook Carter. He and his 20-year-old white girlfriend, Aubry, are methheads and always looking to buy. They are broke and desperate, and have a knack for finding trouble, like at a club when black girls beat up Aubrey for being with a 'brother.' Cops burst into their apartment and arrest the couple. Is it possible they knew the victims? The investigation takes a turn when a search of the couple's home reveals a disturbing secret. The case has just gotten bigger and the players will have their lives torn apart. A racially charged drama, from the point of view of the victims, the accused, and their families - written and produced by Oscar winner John Ridley (12 Years A Slave).


Andre 'Dre' Johnson (Anthony Anderson) is about to be promoted to Vice President of Relevant Advertising. He and his physician wife, Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), are living the American dream: great careers, four beautiful kids, and a Colonial home in an upper middle class neighborhood. However, Dre starts to see his perfect life differently when he discovers that he's being promoted to "Urban" VP at his firm and in the same week, his son announces that he wants to have a Bar Mitzvah. All of a sudden it hits Dre: Has success brought too much assimilation? Is his family of out of touch with their own identity? Dre's opinionated, old school father, Pops (Laurence Fishburne), and his liberal wife have very different opinions about how Dre should handle the promotion and Dre Jr.'s birthday request. But Dre has it all under control. In order to prove that he hasn't lost touch with his roots, he presents an extreme version of an "Urban" marketing campaign at work that raises more than a few eyebrows. He also decides to throw an African Rites of Passage ceremony for his mortified son. Ultimately, Dre's family helps him realize that the best way to live is by embracing the new while honoring the past. He decides to throw his son a hip hop Bro Mitzvah and the successful event inspires him to create a multicultural ad campaign that wows everyone at the office. Living the American dream isn't easy, but Dre is determined to find a way to hold onto his cultural identity while embracing a new future in this comedy that is written and loosely based on the life of Kenya Barris (The Game), and executive produced by Larry Wilmore (Bernie Mac).


Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love; Tangled; Cars) teams up with Broadway and Hollywood's award-winning musical team - composer Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid; Beauty and the Beast) and lyricist Glenn Slater (The Little Mermaid; Tangled) - for a musical comedy fairytale of epic proportions. Once upon a time, the dashing hero Galavant (Joshua Sasse) was a slayer of dragons, protector of the innocent, and defender of the less fortunate. But one day, the evil King Richard (Timothy Omundson) fell for Galavant's ladylove Madalena and kidnapped her. On Madalena and King Richard's wedding day, Galavant courageously fought his way back to the palace to rescue his love. And while this is where most fairytales end happily ever after, it's where the tale of GALAVANT truly begins. Madalena stuns Galavant when she announces that she chooses fame, fortune, and the crown over Galavant and breaks his heart. Five years later we rejoin Galavant, heartbroken and drowning his sorrows in drink. Having given up on heroics, he's a bit out of shape and flat broke. But his faithful squire Sid sees a momentous opportunity when Princess Isabella of Valencia arrives in search of "The Great Galavant." She asks him to save her kingdom from its evil invader... none other than King Richard himself. Galavant must get back in the saddle, literally and figuratively, to take revenge on his nemesis, win back Madalena, and restore his "happily ever after." But our fallen hero doesn't realize that Isabella might not be revealing the whole story... Our hero's quest for redemption will have many twists and turns along the way. And as one of the songs from Menken and Slater proclaims: "Huzzah And Tally-Ho! Sit Back And Here We Go!"


Michaela, Wes, Laurel and Patrick are ambitious first year law students at a prestigious, cutthroat East Coast Law School where only the best students are given a shot at participating in real cases. They compete against each other at all costs for the attention of brilliant, charismatic, and seductive Professor Annalise DeWitt in Criminal Law 101 aka HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER. Professor DeWitt (Viola Davis) is a master litigator and invites all four of these students who want to work on a high profile murder case. She manipulates them into doing dirty legal legwork like seducing someone to gain insight in the prosecution's case, or digging up dirt to discredit the star witness. Wes even witnesses Annalise having an affair, and soon learns her lover is actually an unwitting pawn on the witness stand. She wins her case with ease and the students question just how far they are willing to go to earn a seat next to her in a courtroom on the next case. Although they know this formidable professor is dangerous, they will need her help, four months later, when they find themselves arguing out in the woods standing over a dead body. Now they are all entangled in a masterful, sexy, suspense-driven legal thriller from Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers, executive producers of Grey's Anatomy and Scandal.


Parents have a soft spot for their children. In THE WHISPERS, an unseen alien force has figured this human weakness out. They have invaded earth and are using our most unlikely resource to achieve world domination - our children. In the country's center of political power, Washington DC, several kids have been talking about their imaginary friend, Drill. What the parents don't know is this friend is not as imaginary as they assume. Drill is able to entice the kids to play very dangerous games with very real consequences. FBI agent Claire Bennigan has been called in to investigate the case of a 6-year-old girl who almost killed her mother playing a game with her imaginary friend. She wonders if this girl is disturbed or is there something bigger at play. Meanwhile, halfway across the world, the defense department just sent Wes Lawrence to the Sahara Desert, where he witnesses what looks like an alien spaceship and something else even more inexplicable. Someone needs to start putting the pieces together to save humanity. As the game clock counts down, and the children unwittingly help the aliens, it's a suspenseful race against an unseen enemy. Amblin TV is co-producing with Dawn Olmstead's Grady Girl.

  [may 2014]  


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