EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that ABC Family is moving ahead with a series order to Bunheads, its dance drama pilot from Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. It will join another new ABC Family series that was picked up last week, comedy Baby Daddy. I hear that the cable network’s 2 other pilots from the current batch, drama Intercept and comedy Village People, are not going forward.
Bunheads stars Sutton Foster as Michelle, a Las Vegas showgirl who impulsively marries a man and moves to his sleepy coastal town, and takes an uneasy role at her new mother-in-law’s dance school. “I spent 20 years of my life with my hair in a bun,” Sherman-Palladino, who got her break as a writer on Roseanne, said when the project was picked up to pilot in September. “I was supposed to be a dancer. My mother was a dancer. Her greatest heartbreak was when I got on Roseanne. So, while writing this will never equal playing ‘Rumpelteazer’ in a bus and truck tour of Cats, it does let me to tip my hat to a really special time in my life.” Bunheads was originally picked up as a cast-contingent pilot in fall 2010 with a different writer.
EXCLUSIVE: Dan Lauria is set to star opposite Steve Byrne in TBS’ half-hour comedy pilot Sullivan And Son, starring comedian Byrne and executive produced by Vince Vaughn and Peter Billingsley. Written by Byrne and Cheers alum Rob Long, Sullivan And Son is in the vein of the classic NBC comedy and takes place in a popular and legendary neighborhood bar in a working-class neighborhood in Pittsburgh. It centers on Steve Sullivan (Byrne), the son of the bar’s current owner (Lauria) and the grandson of its founder, who surprises his Irish-American father and Korean-American mother (Jodi Long) when he decides to leave his job as a successful corporate attorney in New York and return to the neighborhood to take over Sullivan & Son. Lauria is with Talent Works, Marshak/Zachary & Jeff Berger.
Austin Butler, who has been recurring on ABC Family’s Switched At Birth, is set to star in a potential new series for the network. Butler has joined ABC Family’s hourlong pilot Intercept, a technology- and action-driven drama about four college students who get roped into solving crimes when one of them (Butler) creates a high-tech communication device that intercepts conversations throughout the West Coast. Butler joins recently cast Danielle Panabaker and Chloe Wang.
Danielle Panabaker (CBS’ Shark) is set to star in the ABC Family pilot Intercept; Donal Logue, Karen Allen and Ana de la Reguera have joined TNT’s Western pilot Gateway; and Tom Felton has been added to the European miniseries Labyrinth.
Intercept is a one-hour technology- and action-driven drama about four college students who get roped into solving crimes when one of them creates a high-tech communication device that intercepts conversations throughout the West Coast. Panabaker will play one of the two girls on the team, Kat, described as the prettiest and coolest girl on campus. Also cast in the pilot is Chloe Wang as Tess, the other female member of the team, a pretty, bookish techie.
TNT’s action/adventure Gateway is set in the Colorado town of the same name in the 1880s and tells the story of three Flynn brothers — Terence (David Denman), Daniel (Keir O’Donnell) and Jake (Cam Gigandet) — who step in to save their town when their sheriff father is murdered, pitting them against a corrupt cattle baron determined to make the town his own. Allen will play the brothers’ mom, a rancher’s daughter. Logue will play Auggie, Jake’s drinking buddy, an aristocratic soul who inherited the town store from his father. De la Reguera will play the practical and feisty co-owner of Lola’s saloon. Read More »
ABC Family is finalizing deals to give pilot orders to several hourlong projects, including Strut and Intercept. Strut, which was originally given a cast-contingent pilot order last fall, is a drama about a former showgirl who works with a struggling Texas high school drill team. Lamar Damon wrote the original script and was set to executive produce with Anna Mastro, Karey Burke, Charlie Stratton and Norman Buckley. The project has now been reworked by Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino who is executive producing with Burke, Stratton, Mastro and Buckley. Intercept, written by Ray Wright, is about college hackers.