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FOX ENDS '70S, MALCOLM: The '70s are over and Malcolm is no longer in the middle, but nearing the end. That's the word from Fox, which announced on Tuesday that it's bidding adieu to two long-running comedies. That '70s Show will air its series finale (and 200th episode) on May 18, while Malcolm in the Middle (rejoining the Sunday lineup starting Jan. 29) will serve up its swan song-150th eppy on May 14. Also from Fox: Prison Break (yeah, I almost forgot about it, too) will return March 13 with a much-needed recap show, then deliver nine consecutive new episodes starting March 20; The Bernie Mac Show starts offering double-episodes on Jan. 20; Bones moves to Wednesdays-at-8 as of March 8; and the new comedies Free Ride and The Loop will have special previews on March 1 and 8, before settling into their official time slots on March 12 and 16.

ABC HALTS NEW SERIES: ABC has halted production on Heather Graham's Emily's Reasons Why Not, which premiered last week to so-so ratings and was quickly yanked from this week's schedule in favor of a repeat of The Bachelor. "It's a shame," exec producer Gavin Polone tells Variety. "I can't fault ABC, though. They promoted it like crazy and when the audience stays away... quick decisions are made. That's the television business."

ROCK ON: Per Variety, CBS has given the green light to a second season of Rock Star, the reality contest that, in its freshman outing, sought a new lead singer for INXS. Although the network is releasing few details about the follow-up's premise

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ABC SHOWS NO FAITH: On the heels of reports that ABC has halted production on the Emily's Reasons Why Not, which will be kept off the air for at least another two weeks (as will Jake in Progress), comes word that Hope & Faith will remain on hiatus through February sweeps to make room on Friday for the refrigerator-sized Master P a permanently expanded Dancing with the Stars results show.

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ARCADIA CUTIE HAS CLASS: Jason Ritter, aka the late John Ritter's son and Joan of Arcadia's big brother, has joined the cast of the CBS comedy pilot The Class, in which half a dozen friends from the third grade are reunited at a party (thrown by Ritter's Ethan), then see their lives continue to intersect.

IN OTHER PILOT NEWS...: ABC has given the green light to a trio of dramas and one comedy: Sixty-Minute Man, about a suburban dad who comes to believe he figures into a massive conspiracy; Day Break, an action-thriller concerning a framed cop on the run; the sudser Brothers & Sisters; and Our Thirties, a laffer about friends of a certain age living in San Fran. Cool, TV needs more trolleys.

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JAG STAR IS THE MAN: JAG alum David James Elliott has been tapped to star in Sixty-Minute Man, an ABC drama pilot about a family man who, unable to recall hourlong chunks of his days, begins to suspect he is part of a national conspiracy. Hey, as long as those missing hours weren't spent cozying up to Catherine Bell, I don't see the problem.

IN OTHER PILOT NEWS...: CBS ordered a drama from CSI exec producer Carol Mendelsohn about legal associates working under a ruthless managing partner, and a family-based comedy, The Angriest Man in Suburbia.... ABC picked up Men in Trees (cheated-on lady shrink moves to Alaska, meets many available men, but no Rob Morrow), The Traveler (two pals on the run from rogue government spooks) and a Housewives-esque take on women at a law firm.... Fox ordered the annoyingly titled laffers If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home by Now (wacky people inhabit a temporary housing complex) and The Adventures of Big Handsome Guy and His Little Friend (about a big handsome guy and his little friend, and no, that's not a euphemism).


(Where do they get some of these names?)

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NBC Shakes Up Post-Olympic Schedule

Sunday, January 22, 2006

11:13 AM PT

The NBC schedule that comes out of the Winter Olympics next month will look a good deal different from the one the network has used thus far this season.

Three new series, plus a new "Apprentice" and a weekly edition of the surprise hit game show "Deal or No Deal," will join the Peacock's lineup starting Monday, Feb. 27, the day after the Olympics end. The biggest changes come on Monday, with "Deal or No Deal" and "The Apprentice" taking up the first two hours of the night, and Friday, which gets a relocated "Las Vegas" at 9 p.m. ET at the new Dick Wolf drama "Conviction" at 10.

Additionally, "Law & Order" will move out of the 10 p.m. Wednesday spot, its home seemingly since time immemorial, to make room for the new series "Heist." "L&O" will slide back to 9 p.m. for the remainder of the season, where it will have to square off against extremely tough competition in the "American Idol" results show on FOX, ABC's "Lost" and CBS' "Criminal Minds."

"We are not going to slip quietly into spring," NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly says. "With these exciting new shows in our reconfigured schedule, we will be very competitive -- and given the promotional momentum of the Olympics, we can give these promising shows the launch they deserve."

"Deal or No Deal" will lead off the post-Olympic schedule with a week of nightly runs on Feb. 27. Following that, it will air weekly at 8 p.m. Mondays starting March 6 ("Surface" ends its season prior to the Olympics). The fifth installment of "The Apprentice" makes the move to Monday as well, while "Medium" stays put at 10.

With "The Apprentice" moving to Mondays, NBC has shipped "Las Vegas" to Friday with the hope of reinvigorating a night it used to dominate but has let slide in recent seasons. It will lead into "Conviction," which follows the professional and personal lives of young assistant district attorneys in New York. (The edition of "Dateline" that once aired on Friday moves to Saturdays.)

Finally, "The Office" will end its season at the end of March to allow star Steve Carell to head to work on the movie "Evan Almighty" for NBC sibling Universal Pictures. "Teachers," a comedy about middle-school teachers from "Scrubs" writer-producer Matt Tarses, will fill that spot for six weeks beginning April 6.

Here's a rundown of the schedule changes:


8 p.m. "Deal or No Deal" (nightly Feb. 27-March 3, weekly starting March 6)

9 p.m. "The Apprentice 5" (premieres Feb. 27)


9 p.m. "Law & Order" (new time period beginning March 22)

10 p.m. "Heist" (premieres March 22)


9:30 p.m. "Teachers" (premieres April 6)


9 p.m. "Las Vegas" (new time period beginning March 3)

10 p.m. "Conviction" (premieres March 3)

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'Earl,' 'Office' Get Early Calls for Fall

Sunday, January 22, 2006

12:34 PM PT


Seeking a new comedy tentpole now that the last vestige of its 1990s "Must See" lineup is headed into the sunset, NBC has picked up two of its newest shows for next season.

Both "My Name Is Earl" and "The Office" will return for 22 episodes in the 2006-07 season, ensuring that the network will have a couple of half-hour building blocks as it tries to regain the ratings it's lost over the past couple years. The pickups come on the heels of the two series' move from Tuesday to Thursday without suffering any appreciable drop in ratings.

"The strength of the ratings and performance and the quality of these two shows make this a very easy decision," NBC head Kevin Reilly says. "We are confident that these comedies will only continue to increase in popularity."

"Earl" is the top-rated new show and top comedy of the season among adults 18-49, drawing 12 million viewers per week and a 5.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic NBC uses to measure success. It was up for two Golden Globes earlier this week.

"The Office," meanwhile, has earned some of its best-ever ratings since moving with "Earl" to Thursday nights earlier this month. The show draws about 8 million viewers per week, many of them in the coveted "upscale" category of homes with incomes above $100,000. Star Steve Carell won a Golden Globe Monday for his performance as clueless boss Michael Scott.

The news comes on the same day that NBC made it official that "Will & Grace" would end its eight-season run in May.



Courtesy of: ZAP2IT

Summer Yields 'Windfall' of 'Treasure' for NBC

Sunday, January 22, 2006

11:06 AM PT


As the temperatures start rising in June and July, NBC plans to have viewers singing, "Summer days, drifting away, to uh-oh those summer nights."

On Sunday (Jan. 22) morning, the Peacock network set out its plans to fill the summer months with original programming, mixing in both new drama and a variety of alternative offerings.

NBC has saved the midseason drama "Windfall" for a summer slot. The FOX transplant focuses on a group of 20 friends who split a $386 lottery prize and are surprised to discover that instant wealth doesn't necessarily bring instant happiness. Luke Perry ("Beverly Hills, 90210"), Jason Gedrick ("Boomtown"), Lana Parrilla ("Boomtown"), Sarah Wynter ("24"), D.J. Cotrona ("Skin"), Jon Foster ("The Door in the Floor"), Alice Greczyn ("The Dukes of Hazzard") and Jaclyn DeSantis ("Road Trip") star in the series, executive produced Laurie McCarthy ("CSI: Miami").

The possibility of vast wealth also drives the alternative series "Treasure Hunters," which is described as a "fast-paced, adventure-reality series." Teams face intellectual and physical challenges as they travel to historically significant locations on a quest for a mysterious treasure.

In addition, as was previously reported, NBC will resurrect "Last Comic Standing" in the summer months, more than a year after the network nearly killed the reality franchise by fasttracking a third installment in the fall of 2004.

"We want people to know that NBC is not taking the summer off, and in fact, we are offering an engaging new drama in 'Windfall,' a riveting new competition series in 'Treasure Hunters' and the return of the audience favorite 'Last Comic Standing,'" says NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly.

In addition to those shows, Reilly said that NBC will be joining the multi-network rush toward English-language telenovelas, working with corporate sibling Univision on a fresh version of "Body of Desire."

Specific premiere dates and time slots are yet to be announced.

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A GRAHAM SHAME: Why was ABC so quick to say "not" to Emily's Reasons Why Not, the heavily hyped and Heather Graham-fronted comedy that it pulled after only a single low-rated airing? Network entertainment president Stephen McPherson explained to reporters on Saturday: "Once we saw it was not launching, we felt like unfortunately it was not going to get better and we had to make a change." Still, you don't diss Rollergirl like that. You just don't.

PILOT TALK: In the latest round of pilot pickups, ABC has green-lit October Road, about a screenwriter who returns to his hometown to teach at a local university, and Enemies, in which two childhood best friends now find themselves on very opposite sides of the law. Meanwhile, Fox OK'd The 12th Man, inspired by Paul Shirley's blog about being a so-so NBA player, and Primary, about a pair of hostage negotiators in love. (Boy, those two must have some prolonged fights: "Please," she says via megaphone, "slowly put the cap on the toothpaste, then come out of the bathroom.")

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TNT Gets 'Saved' with Scott

Monday, January 23, 2006

11:54 AM PT


TNT has added another series to its roster of originals, picking up the drama "Saved" for a 13-episode run due to start in the summer.

The show stars Tom Everett Scott ("Philly") as a med-school dropout with a gambling problem who works as a paramedic in Portland, Ore. The series will follow his character, Wyatt Cole, as he handles grueling 24-hour shifts on the job and relationships outside work. The show could become a companion piece to "The Closer," which will open its second season in June.

"'Saved' is a character-driven procedural drama featuring a tough, somewhat flawed, three-dimensional central character trying to make it in an ever-complicated world," TNT's Michael Wright says. "The show is indicative of TNT's continued commitment to creating top-notch dramatic original programming."

The cast also includes Elizabeth Reaser ("The Family Stone") as Wyatt's ex-girlfriend, a medical resident, and Omari Hardwick ("Beauty Shop"), Michael McMillian ("What I Like About You") and Tracy Vilar ("Full Frontal").

David Manson (FX's "Thief," "John Doe") created the series and will executive produce with David Nevins of Imagine TV.

"Saved" will be Scott's first series since "Philly" aired on ABC in 2001-02 (he also did voice-over work for The WB's short-lived "Do Over" the following season). His other credits include a recurring part on "ER," "The $treet" and the feature films "That Thing You Do!" and "Boiler Room."



'12th Man' Pilot Off the Bench at FOX

Monday, January 23, 2006

11:27 AM PT

He stands 6-foot-10, and he's scored a total of 33 points in a three-year NBA career. And soon, a version of his life will become a comedy pilot for FOX.

He is Paul Shirley, a marginal pro baller whose ESPN.com blog "My So-Called NBA Career" has been optioned for development into a single-camera comedy at FOX in the latest round of pilot acquisitions. FOX has also ordered "Primary," a drama about hostage negotiators, while ABC has given the go-ahead to two dramas, "October Road" and "Enemies."

Shirley's chronicle of his itinerant life as an end-of-the-bench player -- he's played on 11 pro teams, including three NBA clubs, in this country and overseas in the past four years -- will be the basis for "The 12th Man," the showbiz trade papers report. Dan Fogelman ("Like Family") will write and executive produce the pilot with director Tim Story ("Fantastic Four"). Shirley will serve as a producer.

"Primary" follows partners on a hostage-negotiation team who also are becoming partners off the job, making both things more difficult. Craig Silverstein ("The Dead Zone," "The Inside") is writing and executive producing. Both FOX projects come from corporate sibling 20th Century Fox TV.

At ABC, "Enemies" follows two childhood friends who now are, as the title states, enemies -- one's a cop and the other is a criminal. Sean Bailey ("Project Greenlight," "Push, Nevada") will write and executive produce through his company, LivePlanet, and Touchstone TV (which like ABC is part of Disney).

Finally, "October Road" will follow a screenwriter who moves back to his hometown to teach at a college and reconnects with the people he used to know. The Touchstone drama was written by Scott Rosenberg ("High Fidelity," "Going to California") and "Alias" veterans Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec. All three with executive produce with pilot director Gary Fleder ("Runaway Jury," "Blind Justice").

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WITHOUT A PRAYER: Tuesday brought news of not one, not two, but a holy trinity of shelved series. Despite a riveting cameo by TV Guide's own former Party Boy, Daniel R. Coleridge, TNT has canceled Wanted, while ABC has brought Jake in Progress to a halt. (Think John Stamos has called ER yet to let them know he's available? Two words for you: Ask Ausiello.) Lastly, NBC has slammed shut The Book of Daniel, "due to many reasons," series creator Jack Kenny reports in a message to fans at NBC.com. Now, before the American Family Association gets all full of itself, their efforts had little to do with Daniel's demise, a reliable source tells us; rather, the ratings were just sinfully bad.

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PILOT TALK: Per the Hollywood Reporter, film cutie Minnie Driver will star opposite Eddie Izzard in the FX drama Lowlife, in which they will play traveling husband-and-wife con artists who decide to settle down in suburbia with their three kids.... Current How I Met Your Mother guest star Ashley Williams will play an over-the-hill rock star's manager's assistant in the ABC comedy Him and Us.... Curb Your Enthusiasm's Jeff Garlin is developing a "Jack Benny-style" variety show for TBS, says Variety.... Joan of Arcadia creator Barbara Hall has earned the green light from CBS for the comic-book adaptation Ultra, about a single-gal superhero.



SHORT CUTS: Cartoon Network has renewed the controversial animated series The Boondocks for a 20-episode second season.... The Pussycat Dolls will (yet again) sing "Don't Cha"

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PILOT TALK: Brokeback Mountain scribes Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana are developing Sheriff Luke, an ABC drama

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ABC Sets Premiere for 'Sons & Daughters'

Friday, January 27, 2006

01:42 PM PT


ABC has found a home for its midseason comedy "Sons & Daughters," giving it a home on the network's Tuesday-night schedule starting in March.

The show, a scripted-improv hybrid created by Fred Goss (Bravo's "Significant Others") and Nick Holly, will debut at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, March 7 with back-to-back episodes. It will double-run in that spot for six weeks, giving "Commander In Chief" a break so the drama can finish its season with a run of new episodes.

"I love this show," ABC Entertainment President Stephen McPherson says. "Nick and Fred have created a provocative, hilarious, emotional, real look at that dysfunctional joyride we know and love called family."

The show centers on Cameron Walker (Goss), a middle-class guy pulled in a number of different directions by his extended family. The show's large cast also includes Gillian Vigman ("MADtv"), Max Gail ("Barney Miller"), Dee Wallace ("E.T.," "The Perfect Husband"), Jerry Lambert ("44 Minutes"), Alison Quinn, Amanda Walsh and Desmond Harrington ("Taken," "Dragnet").

"Sons & Daughters" will face some formidable competition in its timeslot. Tuesday at 9 is also home to FOX's "House" and "The Amazing Race" on CBS. NBC has its own doubled-up comedy, "Scrubs," in the time period as well.

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ABC SEEKS TV-SIZED BRANGELINA: ABC is developing a series based on Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the big-screen thriller that helped introduce Brad Pitt to Angelina Jolie (and, in turn, Jennifer Aniston to much woe, and the rest of us in existence to way too much tired gossip). The pilot likely would be ready in time for mid-season 2006-2007 or fall 2007 consideration.

READY, SET...: In other pilot news, Fox is developing More, Patience, a half-hour laffer about a New York psychiatrist.... NBC is doing Community Service, where a Trump-like real-estate titan is forced to do good in a small town.... CBS has three comedies and a drama in the pipeline, including Welcome to the Jungle Gym (working mom and her gal pals raise kids) and Shark (in which a lawyer-to-the-stars becomes a prosecutor).

... GO!: Meanwhile, even better news for a potty-mouthed babe and a half-man, half-vampire. Comedy Central has ordered six episodes of The Sarah Silverman Program, set to premiere in the summer, while Spike TV has rung up 13 hours of its first-ever scripted series, Blade, based on the Marvel superhero. Filling Wesley Snipes' shoes will be Kirk "Sticky" Jones. (Nope, not gonna ask.)

CULT IS CW'S FIRST CUT: Although its pickup was ordered two weeks ago by WB, the drama pilot Cult, starring Matthew Bomer (Tru Calling), is no longer moving forward with production, one of the first "casualties" of the announced WB-UPN merge into CW.



Courtesy of: SCI-FI WIRE

NBC Orders Supernatural Pilot

12:00 AM, 30-JANUARY-06

Conan O'Brien's production company has landed a pilot at NBC about a man who gets a second shot at life, Variety reported. CBS, meanwhile, picked up what it called an Indiana Jones-type drama pilot.

O'Brien's Conaco, along with NBC Universal TV Studio, is behind an as-yet-untitled hourlong drama, formerly titled The Haskett Chronicles, from writer Willie Reale (Keen Eddie).

The potential series revolves around a politician who is murdered but is given a chance to come back to the physical world in order to save his soul. This time, he's at a much lower stage in life.

Reale scored two Tony Award nominations in 2003 for A Year With Frog and Toad. He will executive-produce with O'Brien, Jeff Ross, A.J. Morewitz and David Kissinger, the trade paper reported. NBC and NBC Universal TV Studio are both owned by NBC Universal, which also owns SCIFI.COM.

CBS, meanwhile, ordered the pilot Under Pressure, which centers on a "modern-day Indiana Jones" who takes on mysteries from the past and the present.



Courtesy of: ZAP2IT

ABC Makes 'Emergency' Contact

Monday, January 30, 2006

10:41 AM PT

With its two big midseason comedy bets mothballed and a looming hole in its schedule next fall, ABC has decided to get an early start on its fall pickups.

The network has given a six-episode order to a comedy called "In Case of Emergency," which comes from "According to Jim" writer/producer Howard J. Morris. The network has also asked for additional scripts, the showbiz trade papers report.

The show will center on four former high school friends, now in their 30s. A calamity brings them back together, and they discover that their lives haven't quite worked out as they envisioned. The show's title refers to the emergency contact numbers on medical and insurance forms.

Morris, who's also worked on "Home Improvement" and "My Wife and Kids," is writing the pilot script and will executive produce with Emile Levisetti, an exec producer of ABC's "Hope & Faith."

ABC will have a couple extra hours of primetime to program in the fall, when "Monday Night Football" migrates to its fellow Disney-owned network ESPN. The network was hoping that some of that time might be filled with "Emily's Reasons Why Not" and "Jake in Progress," which were to fill the 9 p.m. hour following football season this year.

That notion lasted all of one week. "Emily's Reasons" has been cancelled, and while there's a chance "Jake in Progress" might return, its history suggests it's unlikely to deliver big ratings.

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FOX LOADS FOR BEAR: Fox has picked up the pilots Til Death (a comedy about newlyweds living next door to a cynical long-married couple) and Beyond (a thriller about NASA's new race to space), and ordered Bash, a sketch-comedy/celebrity-roast hybrid to feature such guests as Johnny Knoxville, Jenny McCarthy and Bob Saget. The net also has inked Hustle & Flow's Anthony Anderson and Undeclared's Jay Baruchel to talent deals.



Courtesy of: ZAP2IT

ABC Slots Four Midseason Shows; 'Alias' MIA

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

05:38 PM PT

ABC will be performing some scheduling gymnastics to get the remainder of its large midseason slate on the air, with four new series joining the previously slated "Sons & Daughters" on the network in March and April.

Left out of the mix, however, is "Alias," which was originally scheduled to return in March for its final episodes but is now a schedule orphan.

First up among the new shows is the unscripted series "Miracle Workers," which debuts at 10 p.m. ET Monday, March 6, a week after "The Bachelor: Paris" concludes its season. A feel-good show in the vein of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," the series follows a team of doctors and nurses who will help people overcome overwhelming medical issues.

"Miracle Workers" will air for four weeks before giving way to the drama "What About Brian," which stars "7th Heaven" alum Barry Watson as a single guy in his 30s whose friends are all married or about to be. Complicating matters, he has a massive crush on his best friend's (Matthew Davis, "Legally Blonde") fiancee (Sarah Lancaster, "Everwood").

"Brian" will premiere on Sunday, April 2, where it will have the advantage of "Desperate Housewives" as a lead-in, before moving to its Monday home the following night. ABC will also return "Supernanny" to Mondays at 9 p.m. March 6.

Thursday, March 16 will bring the two-hour debut of "American Inventor," a series executive produced by "American Idol's" Simon Cowell. The show will give would-be Edisons a chance to show off their ideas to viewers and a panel of judges, with the winner getting a chance to bring his or her invention to consumers.

The show will settle in at 9 p.m. Thursdays on March 23. Also that night, a series of four "Home Edition" specials featuring the show's team helping disaster victims on the Gulf Coast will debut in the 8 p.m. hour. With "Primetime" remaining at 10, "Alias" has no place to go for the remainder of its final season. An ABC rep couldn't be reached Wednesday to discuss where the show might land.

ABC's final midseason entry is "The Evidence," a crime procedural from "ER" executive producer John Wells that debuts at 10 p.m. Wednesday, March 22 ("Invasion" will go on hiatus and return in April to finish its season). The show follows two San Francisco detectives (Orlando Jones and Rob Estes) who reconstruct crimes based on the evidence collected at the scene.

ABC previously announced that "Sons & Daughters" will take "Commander In Chief's" Tuesday spot for six weeks starting March 7. "Chief" will return April 18.

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NBC Enters Online 'Tomorrow' Land

Thursday, February 02, 2006

02:25 PM PT

You can watch "Lost"-related extra content on your cell phone, buy episodes of TV shows for your iPod and find original programming at various places on the web.

So it was probably only a matter of time before a TV network developed an online-only series. That time, it turns out, is now.

NBC announced Thursday (Feb. 2) that it's developing an online-only music competition called "StarTomorrow," which will debut on NBC.com in the summer. Viewers will watch the performances of maybe 100 bands from across the country, voting each week on which ones to put through to the final round.

In addition to the performances, the show will offer video packages that include interviews, rehearsal footage and background information on each group. The winner of the 16-week series will get a recording contract with Casablanca Records, headed by music-biz veteran Tommy Mottola -- who's also an executive producer of the series.

"This is the first time NBC will be distributing a network-quality program exclusively online," says Jeff Gaspin, who oversees digital content for NBC. "We want to give consumers a new viewing experience, and digital content enables us to give more scheduling and programming latitude to them, truly allowing viewers to create their own show."

The team behind "The Biggest Loser" -- Dave Broome, JD Roth, Todd Nelson and John Foy -- will executive produce "StarTomorrow" with Mottola and Jeb Brien.

It's unclear how an online-only series will make money. Product-placement deals are likely, and a show like "StarTomorrow" would seem like a natural fit with Apple's iTunes service, which already offers several over-the-air NBC series for download.

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PILOT TALK: Per Variety, Frank Darabont, writer-director of The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption, will helm the NBC drama Seeing Red, about an eccentric cop with the ability to talk to dead crime victims. Similarly, Elf director Jon Favreau will step behind the cameras for ABC's In Case of Emergency.... NBC has picked up two more comedy pilots: Alpha Mom (businesswoman juggles job and family) and one starring comedian Kevin Brennan.... The West Wing's Mary McCormack has landed the lead in USA Network's In Plain Sight.

THIS 'N' THAT: Showtime has renewed The L Word, now in its third season, for another round to begin production this summer.... ABC.com and the iTunes Music Store are now offering free Grey's Anatomy podcast downloads, in which cast members and producers tease upcoming episodes.... Linda Dano, who called curious George her son on Desperate Housewives, has another motherly gig lined up. Check out today's Soaps News for the details.

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FAMILIAR FACES FILL FALL PILOTS: Now the fun really begins

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FALL 2007: CASTING ABOUT: The latest pilot-casting news finds ER's John Leguizamo top-lining CBS' Edison, as an undercover cop; Ally McBeal's Jane Krakowski in Sex, Power, Love & Politics, CBS' comedy about Capitol Hill staffers; 2 Fast 2 Furious' Cole Hauser landing a lead in Fox's legal drama, Damages; Fred Willard as a toy-company owner in the CBS laffer Play Nice; Matthew Lillard in Fox's treasure-hunting thriller 13 Graves; and Ocean's Eleven's Scott Caan playing best bud to Danny Comden in an untitled ABC comedy.



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'Modern Men,' 'Richest' Get March Tryouts at WB

Tuesday, February 07, 2006 10:41 AM PT


The WB has found homes for two more of its midseason shows, which will each get a little time before the public before the network closes up shop later in the year.

The sitcom "Modern Men" and unscripted show "Survival of the Richest" will both air on Friday nights starting in March. "Modern Men," which stars Jane Seymour ("Wedding Crashers," "Dr. Quinn") as a life coach to three hapless guys, will debut at 9:30 p.m. ET Friday, March 17. "Survival of the Richest," a competitive take on the notion of seeing how the other half lives, will debut March 31, filling the 8 p.m. hour for six weeks.

The scheduling moves mean three-fourths of the network's current Friday schedule -- "What I Like About You," "Living with Fran" and "Twins" -- will be off the air for much of the spring. The WB's most successful Friday show, "Reba," will remain in its 9 p.m. slot.

Both shows will have what amounts to a six- or seven-week window to make their case for inclusion in plans for The CW, the new network that will combine the programming of The WB and UPN in the fall.

"Modern Men" is A-list producer Jerry Bruckheimer's ("CSI," "Without a Trace") first foray into sitcoms. The show stars Josh Braaten ("Married to the Kellys"), Max Greenfield ("Veronica Mars") and Eric Lively ("The L Word") as three guys who realize their current ways of dealing with women aren't working. They then hire a life coach (Seymour) to help them out.

The show also stars George Wendt ("Cheers") as Braaten's dad and Marla Sokoloff as his sister.

"Survival of the Richest" comes from RDF Media ("Wife Swap") and producers of "Average Joe" and "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance." It pairs seven heirs to obscene wealth (their families are worth a collective $3 billion, according to the network) with seven working-class kids each saddled with thousands of dollars in debt. They then have to pair off and compete in a series of challenges designed to make them see through their teammates' eyes, with the winners walking away with a cash prize.

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WB JILTS MEL, JENNIE AND FRAN: WB is benching Twins as of March 17 to make room for the new comedy Modern Men, and on March 31 they'll displace What I Like About You and Living with Fran in favor of the new reality show Survival of the Fittest. On a more important and entirely unrelated note, have you seen the Vanity Fair cover? Scarlett's skin is like porcelain, I tell you. (I can say this because so much of it is on display.)


FALL 2007: CASTING ABOUT: Joey has lost his gal pal: Per the Hollywood Reporter, Andrea Anders has left the shelved Friends spin-off to join Jason Ritter on CBS' The Class. Also, Jay Harrington (aka Desperate Housewives' Dr. Ron) has been cast on CBS' Capitol Hill comedy Sex, Power, Love & Politics, and Wendy Raquel Robinson has been tapped to star in UPN's (CW's?) Girlfriends spin-off, tentatively titled The Game.


Courtesy of: ZAP2IT

Pilots: 'Joey' Star Heads to 'Class' with CBS

Wednesday, February 08, 2006 01:57 PM PT


One of the stars of NBC's "Joey" has signed on to a pilot at CBS, casting further doubt on the future of the "Friends" spinoff.

Elsewhere, Wendy Raquel Robinson ("The Steve Harvey Show") has been cast in a potential "Girlfriends" spinoff that's hoping to set up shop at new network The CW next season.

Andrea Anders, who plays Joey's (Matt LeBlanc) smitten neighbor Alex on "Joey," has joined the cast of "The Class," according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show, about a reunion of former third-grade classmates engineered by one of them, has already earned a 13-episode order from CBS for the fall.

Jon Bernthal ("How I Met Your Mother"), who'll play Anders' former high-school sweetheart, and Heather Goldenhersh ("Kinsey") have also joined the cast. Jason Ritter ("Joan of Arcadia"), as the guy who throws the party that brings his ex-schoolmates together, Lucy Punch and Jesse Tyler Ferguson had previously signed on.

For Anders, "The Class" is in "second position" to "Joey," meaning that should NBC renew it, CBS would have to recast her role. "Joey's" prospects, however, look dim at the moment. The show hasn't aired since December and NBC currently has no plans for it on the midseason schedule.

At UPN/The CW, meanwhile, Robinson has taken a role in a possible offshoot from "Girlfriends" called "The Game," which will center on women involved in the lives of pro athletes. The characters will be introduced in a "Girlfriends" episode later in the season.

Robinson currently appears in the big-screen romance "Something New." Her credits also include "Miss Congeniality" and "Cedric the Entertainer Presents."


'Unit' Falls in Line with 'NCIS'

Wednesday, February 08, 2006 02:34 PM PT


CBS is hoping some of the success of its naval-cops drama "NCIS" will rub off on another show set in the military -- "The Unit."

The network says "The Unit," a drama about special-forces soldiers and their families from David Mamet ("Glengarry Glen Ross") and Shawn Ryan ("The Shield"), will premiere at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, March 7. Although it will face a formidable competitor in FOX's "House" in that time period, the new show will also get as its lead-in "NCIS," which has a compatible theme and an audience of better than 15 million viewers per week.

As a result of the move, "The Amazing Race" will be pushed back to 10 p.m. ET starting March 7, following a two-hour premiere at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28. "Love Monkey," which has struggled to attract an audience in the 10 p.m. slot, will give up its berth.

"The Unit" stars Dennis Haysbert ("24") as the leader of a special-forces team that handles complex missions around the world and Scott Foley ("Felicity") as its newest member. The show will also explore the effect the unit's work has on its members' families, with Audrey Marie Anderson ("Once and Again") playing Foley's wife, who's resistant to the strictures his work places on her, and Regina Taylor ("The Education of Max Bickford") as Haysbert's wife.

Also in the cast are Robert Patrick ("Walk the Line," "The X-Files"), Max Martini ("Harsh Realm"), Michael Irby ("Flightplan"), Demore Barnes and Abby Brammell.

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LOVE LOST: Emily and Jake, meet Tom. Variety reports that CBS has shelved Tom Cavanagh's Love Monkey after just three airings as part of a Tuesday-lineup shuffle. Taking over the 10 pm/ET slot is The Amazing Race (which premieres Feb. 28), clearing the way at 9 pm for The Unit, the new drama costarring President Palm--, er, Dennis Haysbert.


FALL 2007: CASTING ABOUT: Law & Order alum Angie Harmon has been tapped to star in the ABC pilot Secrets of a Small Town, a murder mystery penned by Desperate Housewives producer Charles Pratt Jr.... The Daily Show's Rob Corddry has the title role in Fox's Becoming Glenn, in which a fortysomething guy reflects on his life as a 32-year-old slacker living at home.... ABC has greenlit Southern Comfort (Bill Gates nerd-turned-billionaire moves back to his small hometown) and Mr. Nice Guy (the life of a shlimazel), while NBC has ordered The Singles Table (five strangers meet and bond at a mutual pal's wedding) and a comedy about two brothers

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Courtesy of: ZAP2IT

WB Reschedules 'Bedford' Debut, 'Everwood' Return

Thursday, February 09, 2006

05:05 PM PT

The WB has fiddled a bit with its March schedule, delaying the premiere date for the new drama "The Bedford Diaries" and the return of "Everwood."

"The Bedford Diaries," which follows students in a human-sexuality class at a New York college, will now debut Wednesday, March 29, a week after its originally scheduled debut. The change will allow the network to run the eight episodes it's ordered through most of May sweeps.

A "Gilmore Girls" episode will run in the 9 p.m. Wednesday spot on March 22.

"Everwood," meanwhile, will return to The WB on Monday, March 27, rather than March 20. The show has been off the air since December -- in large part because it doesn't historically repeat well -- and is moving from its Thursday home to its former Monday spot.

On the 20th, the network will air back-to-back episodes of "Related," with the second constituting the show's season finale. "Everwood" will return with two episodes the following week before settling into the post-"7th Heaven" slot on April 3.


'Hostel' Star Hernandez, Larter Land Pilots

Friday, February 10, 2006 10:31 AM PT


Jay Hernandez, fresh off being hacked to bits in "Hostel," will have a slightly less horrific experience in his next acting gig.

Hernandez has signed on to the ABC pilot "Six Degrees," joining a sizable list of actors picking up work in the latest round of casting. That list also includes Ali Larter and Hayden Panettiere in NBC's "Heroes," "Star Trek: Enterprise" vet John Billingsley in an ABC drama and three leads -- Matt Bomer, Aaron Stanford and Logan Marshall-Green -- in the Alphabet's "Traveler."

"Six Degrees," from executive producer J.J. Abrams ("Lost") and writers Raven Metzner and Stu Zicherman ("Elektra"), will focus on six New Yorkers who don't know each other but whose lives are nonetheless intertwined. Hernandez, whose credits also include "Friday Night Lights" and the upcoming Oliver Stone 9/11 movie "World Trade Center," will play one of the six, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Also at ABC, Bomer ("Tru Calling"), Marshall-Green ("The O.C.") and Stanford ("X2") will play the three friends at the center of "Traveler," two of whom must dodge the authorities after the third frames them as terrorists. The project is a bounce-back for Bomer, who was cast as the lead in The WB's "Cult" before it was scrapped by that network's successor, The CW.

Billingsley, who played Dr. Phlox on "Enterprise," is joining an untitled drama at ABC from Hank ("Without a Trace") and K.J. Steinberg, about nine people who were taken hostage in a bank robbery and how it affects their lives. Owain Yeoman ("Kitchen Confidential") has also been added to the cast, which already includes Chi McBride and Scott Wolf.

Additionally, John L. Adams ("The Dead Zone") has joined Angie Harmon in ABC's drama "Secrets of a Small Town." He'll play a cameraman who accompanies Harmon's TV reporter to her hometown, where a high-school girl has been murdered.

At NBC, meanwhile, Larter and Panettiere lead five additions to the pilot "Heroes," about a group of people who discover they have superpowers. Santiago Cabrera ("Empire"), Tawny Cypress ("Jonny Zero") and Masi Oka ("Luis," "Scrubs") have also joined the show; former "Alias" regular Greg Grunberg was previously cast.

Larter is best known for "Varsity Blues" and "Final Destination 2"; "Heroes" would be her first regular TV work. Panettiere's credits include "Remember the Titans," "Ally McBeal" and the Lifetime movie "Lies My Mother Told Me."


CBS Breaks Up with 'Love Monkey'

Friday, February 10, 2006 11:00 AM PT


We're not sure if CBS gave "Love Monkey" the It's-not-you-it's-me speech, but we do know that just a few days before Valentine's Day, the network has broken things off with the show.

After just three episodes, none of which brought very strong ratings, "Love Monkey" has been pulled from the schedule. CBS is officially saying the dramedy is "on hiatus," but the network currently has no plans for its return.

Although it drew largely positive reviews, the show, based on a book of the same name by Kyle Smith, struggled to find an audience against the likes of "Law & Order: SVU" and "Boston Legal" on Tuesday nights. It debuted to about 8.6 million viewers on Jan. 17 but fell off in each of its subsequent two airings, dropping to a low of 6.2 million this week.

"Love Monkey" starred Tom Cavanagh ("Ed") as a record-company executive trying to figure out just what it was he wanted in a relationship. Aiding him on his quest were friends played by Jason Priestley, Judy Greer -- the obligatory great girl right under his nose -- Larenz Tate and Chris Wiehl.

CBS will air repeats of "NCIS" and "CSI" in the 10 p.m. Tuesday slot for the next two weeks. "The Amazing Race" returns the following week with a two-hour debut and will air at 10 p.m. for the remainder of the season.

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FALL 2006: CASTING ABOUT: Film toughie Chazz Palminteri has been cast in the ABC drama pilot Drift, in which he will play the boss of an insomniac NYPD detective.... Lena Headey (Imagine Me & You) will play a single-girl superhero in Joan of Arcadia creator Barbara Hall's Ultra, for CBS.... Balthazar Getty is the latest actor to be added to ABC's family sudser Brothers & Sisters.... Aldis Hodge, Coby Bell, Cynthia Addai-Robinson and Hosea Sanchez have been cast in CW's Girlfriends spin-off. (Not a one of those names rings a bell for me, either. I just get giddy reporting on the UPN-WB mutation.)

FOUR PLAY: Logo, MTV Networks' gay- and lesbian-themed channel, has four original series in the works, including Slink, an animated tale about five lesbian pussycats who inherit a Malibu mansion, and The Rules: A Lesbian Survival Guide, which I imagine details clubs that Rosie O'Donnell does not frequent.

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UNAN1MOUS DECISION: On March 22, Fox will debut Unan1mous, a reality competition in which nine bunker-confined contestants

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OFFICE EXTENDS HOURS: NBC's The Office, which was originally slated to air its season finale on March 30

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