[06/06/14 - 11:43 PM]
Development Update: Friday, June 6
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!

CASUAL VACANCY, THE (HBO; W: Sarah Phelps; D: Jonny Campbell) - Michael Gambon, Keeley Hawes, Rory Kinnear, Monica Dolan, Julia McKenzie and Rufus Jones will topline the cast of the mini-series, a small screen take on J.K. Rowling's novel of the same name about "a seemingly idyllic English village with a cobbled market square and ancient abbey." Gambon plays Howard Mollison, "owner of the Pagford delicatessen"; with Dolan as Tess Wall; McKenzie as Howard's wife, Shirley Mollison; Jones as Howard's son, Miles Mollison; Hawes as Miles's wife, Samantha Mollison; and Kinnear as Barry Fairbrother. Also starring are Simon McBurney as Tess' husband, Colin Wall; Keeley Forsyth as Terri Weedon; Abigail Lawrie as Terri's daughter, Krystal Weedon; Richard Glover as Simon Price; Marie Critchley as Simon's wife, Ruth Price; and Michelle Austin. (Deadline.com)

DOWN DOG (Amazon, New!) - Robin Schiff ("Are You There, Chelsea?") has landed a pilot commitment from the digital company for a new comedy about "a slacker working as a yoga instructor who takes over the yoga studio with no skills and experience, relying on the help of his two childhood friends." No other details were given. (Deadline.com)

GOD SAVE TEXAS (HBO, New!) - Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright (The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda And The Road To 9/11) is developing a new drama at the pay channel about "an idealistic cowboy who, looking to save his ranch and marriage, tries to get elected to the Texas Legislature, where he becomes the target of the powerful energy lobby and learns how to survive in the crazy, brutal world of Texas politics." Lauren Shuler Donner, Margo Lion and Jack Leslie will also executive produce The Donners' Company-based hour, which is based on Wright's 2005 play "Sonny's Last Shot." (Deadline.com)

NARCOS (Netflix; W: Carlo Bernard & Doug Miro; D: José Padilha) - Pedro Pascal ("Game of Thrones") has been cast in the upcoming drama, an all-new take on the amazing story of the Medellin Cartel, once the world's most ambitious and violent trafficking organization. He'll play Javier Pena, "a Mexican DEA agent sent to Colombia on a U.S. mission to capture and ultimately kill Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura)." Boyd Holbrook also stars. (Deadline.com)

RED OAKS (Amazon; W: Greg Jacobs & Joe Gangemi; D: David Gordon Green) - Gage Golightly ("Teen Wolf") has joined the cast of the Steven Soderbergh-produced comedy pilot, set in the summer of 1985 and follows 20-year-old David Myers who takes a job as an assistant tennis pro at the predominantly Jewish Red Oaks country club in New Jersey and tries to figure out what kind of life he wants to lead. She's set as Karen, "David's girlfriend and co-worker at Red Oaks Country Club." Ennis Esmer and Richard Kind also star. (Deadline.com)

RETURNED, THE (A&E; W: Carlton Cuse & Raelle Tucker; D: Keith Gordon) - Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Sandrine Holt and Agnes Bruckner are the latest additions to the drama series, which focuses on a small town that is turned upside down when several local people, who have been long presumed dead suddenly reappear, bringing with them both positive and detrimental consequences. Winstead will play Rowan, "the girlfriend of late musician Simon (Mat Vairo) who had a very difficult time getting past his death 10 years ago and now will have to adjust to his return"; with Holt as Julie, "a competent compassionate doctor who is struggling in her personal life"; and Bruckner as "the sheriff's chief deputy." Jeremy Sisto, Kevin Alejandro, Sophie Lowe, Mark Pellegrino and India Ennenga also star. (Deadline.com)

SALEM ROGERS: MODEL OF THE YEAR 1998 (Amazon, New!) - Lindsey Stoddart has reportedly booked a pilot order from the digital company for a new comedy about "a self-centered, arrogant former supermodel who is forced to leave rehab after 10 years and reunites with her long-suffering former assistant, now a self-help writer using her years with Salem as an inspiration." No other details were given. (Deadline.com)

WHITNEY HOUSTON (Lifetime; W: Shem Bitterman; D: Angela Bassett) - "America's Next Top Model" alum Yaya DaCosta has booked the title role on the cable channel's biopic of the same name, which chronicles the headline-making relationship between the iconic singer, actress, producer and model, and singer, songwriter Bobby Brown -- from the time they first met at the very height of their celebrity, to their courtship and tumultuous marriage. The Sanitsky Company is producing. (TVLine.com)

AND IN OTHER NEWS... - Thom Barry will recur on "Perception" as "the skeptical and no-nonsense special agent in command of the Chicago FBI office and Kate Moretti's (Rachel Leigh Cook) boss" (Deadline.com); and NBC has opted to postpone its early production on episode three of "Law & Order: SVU's" upcoming 16th season "due to exhaustion on the part of the cast, particularly star Mariska Hargitay" (Deadline.com).

  [june 2014]  


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