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  • life around as she works at her standup and does her other show-biz type stuff to keep her career on the move. This show originally aired as a special.

[*] , hoping this show will do for pool what celebrities playing cards did for poker.

[*] who is a former Green Beret.

[*] . The story follows the life of a minister who chats with God, helps those in need, and at the same time fights his own addiction to painkillers, per Hollywood Reporter.

[*] . The project is about three siblings whose lives did not turn out as they anticipated.

[*] kid - and his legal mentor. Thus far, this project is untitled.

[*] . Look for this show to debut in late spring or early summer 2005.

[*] .

[*] , among others.

[*]

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Network News Bits

December

  • two-night, four-hour season premiere begins Sunday, January 9.

to Wednesday, January 26 beginning at 10:00/9:00c.

including flu and borderline walking pneumonia. It's understood the producers are now targeting a March or April premiere for the new season.

have been cast in the lead roles of the comedy pilot, about the life and family of a football superstar (Chestnut) who has an extra-large sense of entitlement and often is out of touch with reality. Cox will play Uncle Goldey in the project, which is loosely based on commercial writer/director John Immesoete's popular series of humorous Budweiser ad spots featuring the egotistical football player Leon.

is shepherding.

as the pair have scored a put pilot commitment for a new comedy about two life-long friends that must adapt to a new way of life when one of them gets engaged. The project, which is loosely based on the pair's real-life exploits, is set up at Warner Bros. Television with Martin and Schiff writing and executive producing.

- The Alphabet's mini-series update of Laura Ingalls-Wilder's classic book series has been quietly scheduled to begin Saturday, March 26 as part of the network's "Wonderful World of Disney" franchise. Here's how ABC's press materials describe the project: "For nearly a decade (1975-1983) the long-running hit series Little House on the Prairie was appointment viewing for the entire family. Now ABC retells the engrossing story of the pioneering Ingalls family in an exciting three-part series that remains true to Laura Ingalls-Wilder's classic book series, Little House. For young Laura Ingalls and her family, traveling to rural Kansas to start a new life after the Civil War is filled with life-threatening challenges. They brave dangers from wolves, disease, cowboys and Indians, as well as overcome battles with storms and prairie fires. Through it all, the family pulls together as they re-build their lives while learning to depend on their neighbors. This wholesome series is sure to bring families back to television together again."

Clark Johnson ("S.W.A.T.") is also on board to direct the project from a script by writer/producer Rand Ravich.

executive producer Daniel Kellison is also on board to help develop the series which is set up at Carolla, Kimmel and Kellison's production company Jackhole Industries.

the assistant to writer/producer Marsh McCall, has received a script commitment from the Alphabet for a new comedy at the network about a soft-spoken gay man who lives with his very not gay brother. McCall himself is attached to supervise the project through his Warner Bros. Television-based Marsh McCall Productions. The news marks McCall's third project in the works for the 2005-06 season, the others being untitled comedies at CBS and the WB, both of which have put pilot commitments.

to cast her in one of its pilots targeted for a fall 2005 premiere date.

- David Maraniss's book of the same name about famed football coach Vince Lombardi is being developed as an original movie at the cable channel. No other details were given.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

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Network News Bits

December

is set as Detective Lt. Provenza, a hard-line politically incorrect cop.

character.

epic 12-hour mini-series. The project, currently in production, is set to premiere during the summer of 2005.

banner.

banner.

is behind the project, additional details of which were not available.

[*]SCI_FI- Andromeda

Benefactor, The

Clubhouse

Complex, The: Malibu

Dead Like Me

Doc

Dr. Vegas

Everybody Loves Raymond

Grounded for Life

Hawaii

Home Delivery

Last Comic Standing

N.Y.P.D. Blue

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Network Notes

  • .

[*]Fox has ordered a pilot, "The War at Home" which is about the power struggle between a pair of hypocritical parents and their kids.

[*]Fox's drama pilot, "Prison Break", tells about one brother, an engineer, purposefully getting himself sent to prison in an effort to break out his brother. Dominic Purcell has been cast in the role of the death row brother. The engineer brother is played by Wentworth Miller.

[*]WB has picked up the TV rights to the New York Times bestseller, "Bergdorf Blondes" by Plum Sykes. The book about NYC rich girls will be developed into a dramedy by Warner Bros. TV.

[*]Elsewhere at the WB, the network will look at a script of a new comedy from Peter Tolan and Diane Farr, with Sony Pictures TV, about a group of women reaching that critical age of 30 and living in LA, per Variety.

[*]Paris & Nicole, returning in January (by bus) - For fans, the wait is nearly over

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'Jake in Progress' Off to Slow Start

Not every new television series is a championship contender.

The ultimate referee is Nielsen Media Research. Despite a strong year for a handful of new network programs, last week's prime-time rankings illustrated how difficult it can be to entice viewers with the promise of something new.

The John Stamos comedy "Jake in Progress," for instance, failed to take advantage of the best time slot ABC could offer. Back-to-back episodes were presented in the hour that "Desperate Housewives' usually occupies, and managed barely more than half the audience that show typically draws.

The premiere episode had 14 million viewers and the second one 12 million. Considering the preceding "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" had an audience of 18.4 leading into it, a lot of channel changing was taking place.

Partly as a result, ABC fell to fourth in the weekly standings among viewers and younger fans.

NBC's highly anticipated boxing series "The Contender" was seen by 8.9 million people in a Thursday showcase, or half what "ER" does in the same Thursday time slot. Its Sunday audience of 6.7 million was barely more than a third of what Ty Pennington drew to redo a house.

No one was laughing for the debut of Kelsey Grammer's "Sketch Show" on Fox, which had one of that network's smallest audiences.

The WB's "Starlet" reality series had a mediocre start, and two repeats of the show had the network's lowest ratings for the week.

The ABC drama "Blind Justice" had a strong but not overwhelming start, helped by a curiosity to see what "NYPD Blue" co-creator Steven Bochco had for an encore.

CBS won the week, averaging 12.5 million viewers in prime time (8.1 rating, 13 share). Fox was second with 11.1 million (6.7, 11) and easily won among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic. NBC had 9.6 million (6.4, 10), ABC 8.5 million (5.5, 9), UPN 3 million (2.0, 3), the WB 2.6 million (1.8, 3) and Pax TV 580,000 (0.4, 1).

Dan Rather had a solid send-off at CBS, with 9.2 million people watching his prime-time retrospective special.

Rather's exit heated up the evening news race. The "CBS Evening News" scored a rare ratings win on Rather's last night last Wednesday, Nielsen said.

It helped tighten up the weekly race, won by NBC's "Nightly News" with 9.8 million viewers (6.9 rating, 13 share). ABC's "World News Tonight" had 9.6 million viewers (6.7, 13) and the "CBS Evening News" had 8.7 million (6.1, 11).

A ratings point represents 1,096,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 109.6 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

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CBS Extends Its Ratings Lead for week of March 7-12

CBS once again dominated in the overall ratings last week, while Fox, thanks to American Idol, prevailed among the key 18-49-year-old audience, according to Nielsen Research. CBS's strong showing did not depend on specials or stunts -- it offered none -- but on the regular stalwarts in its lineup. On the other hand, ABC introduced two new shows with only so-so results. Blind Justice, which replaced NYPD Blue, opened in second place in its Tuesday timeslot at 10:00 p.m., drawing an audience somewhat larger than Blue's. The John Stamos comedy Jake in Progress, however, appeared to represent little progress for the network. In fact, by premiering it in Desperate Housewives' time slot on Sunday, the network once again lost its biggest ratings draw. As a result, ABC wound up the week a distant fourth.

The four major networks lined up this way for the week:

The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:

1. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 18.0/27;

3. American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 15.8/24;

2. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 15.8/24;

4. Without a Trace, CBS, 15.0/25;

5. American Idol (Monday), Fox, 14.0/21;

5. CSI: Miami, CBS, 14.0/22;

7. Survivor: Palau, CBS, 12.4/20;

8. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 11.4/17;

9. Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS,

10.7/16; 10. Cold Case, CBS, 10.5/16.

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Network News Bits

Week of March 14

WB

[*] - Amy Aquino ("Crossing Jordan") has booked a guest role on the drama pilot, about the relationship between a young prodigy lawyer (Jay Baruchel) and his mentor, a jaded defense attorney (Don Johnson) who has fallen from the big leagues. She'll play Judge McLaughlin in the Warner Bros. Television/Bruckheimer Television-based project, which is executive produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Shapiro and Jonathan Littman.

[*]

UPN

[*]

NBC

[*] - The Peacock has snatched up the rights to the four-hour Hallmark Entertainment-produced mini-series, which stars Steve Guttenberg, Peter Weller, Rutger Hauer, Bryan Brown and Adam Baldwin. The project was originally targeted for the Hallmark Channel itself, however NBC - hoping to find another tentpole mini-series event - snagged the Robert Halmi-produced adaptation for roughly $20 million. "Adventure" then will air at some point during the 2005-06 season, well before the big-budget Wolfgang Petersen-directed feature (set to hit theatres in May 2006). Here's how Hallmark's press materials describe the project: "The blockbuster phenomenon now becomes a precedent-setting new miniseries as Hallmark Entertainment raises the stakes

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Network News Bits

Week of March 21

NBC

[*] - The comedy pilot, about an obese woman (Jessica Capshaw) who turns thin and struggles in her relationships with her still-large family and friends, has been scheduled to tape on Friday, April 22 at Universal Studios in Los Angeles. The project, which is set up at NBC Universal Television and Broadway Video, comes from executive producers Paula Pell, Lorne Michaels and JoAnn Alfano.

[*] - The Peacock's latest entry in its "Behind the Camera" franchise is set to air on Monday, April 4 at 9:00/8:00c. Chris Diamantopoulos and Erinn Hayes star as Robin Williams and Pam Dawber respectively in the project, from director Neil Fearnley and former "Mork & Mindy" writer David Misch.

[*] - Jay Paulson ("Go") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a 27-year-old former golden child (Anna Faris) who finds herself becoming a reluctant enabler to her crazy family. He'll play Matthew, the brother of Faris's character in the project, which comes from NBC Universal Television and creator Jhoni Marchinko. Missi Pyle also stars.

[*] - Bianca Kajlich ("Rock Me Baby") is the first to be cast in the comedy pilot, about a likable self-deprecating serial dater who has never been in a serious relationship and his two best friends. It's understood Kajlich will play one of the man's two best friends, a woman who, after playing the field for years, has fallen in love and gotten engaged. It's not clear if Kajlich's casting lifts the cast-contingency off the pilot's production. Nevertheless, the pilot is currently scheduled to tape on Thursday, April 21 at Universal Studios in Los Angeles. Bill Lawrence and Eric Weinberg ("Scrubs") are the executive producers.

[*] - Marc Buckland ("Scrubs") has signed a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with Touchstone Television. The pact calls for Buckland to develop original projects for the studio as well direct several of its pilots this season. Currently, he's set to helm NBC's "Earl" as well as "Filmore Middle." The latter pilot, about disillusioned teachers at a rundown public school, has been scheduled to tape on Tuesday, April 19 at Sony Pictures Studios despite its cast-contingency.

[*] - The comedy pilot, about four childhood friends in New York City (all yet to be cast), is currently scheduled to tape on Wednesday, April 13 at the CBS Studio Center in Los Angeles. David Kohan and Max Mutchnick ("Will & Grace") are behind the Warner Bros. Television/KoMut Productions-based project, to be directed by James Burrows.

[*]

ABC

[*] - Brian Benben ("Dream On") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about two feuding neighbors that are forced to contend with each other when their wives and kids become friends. He joins the previously cast Lenny Clarke in the project, which comes from Michael Caleo, Matt Gross and Touchstone Television. Taping on the pilot is scheduled to take place on Friday, April 15 at the CBS Studio Center in Los Angeles.

[*] - The comedy pilot, about four women (Sofia Vergara, Gail O'Grady, Nicole Sullivan and one yet to be cast) who run a real estate office in New York, is set to tape on Thursday, April 21 at the Warner Bros. Studios. Suzanne Martin created the project, which also stars Stephen Dunham.

[*] - Michael O'Neill ("Secondhand Lions") has landed a role in the drama pilot, about a feisty female A.D.A. (KaDee Strickland) in Houston who uses unconventional methods against the old-boy Texas defense attorneys. No details however were released about his character. Bruce McGill and Fran Kranz also star in the project, which comes from Grant Scharbo, Gary Glasberg and Gina Matthews and is set up at 20th Century Fox Television and Roundtable Ink.

[*] - Christine Baranski ("Happy Family") and Jodi Lyn O'Keefe ("Nash Bridges") have both been cast in the comedy pilot, about a thirtysomething writer (Andrew Walker) whose life is turned upside down when his biological mom (Baranski) shows up on his doorstep one day, resulting in his adoptive (Bernadette Peters) and birth mothers comically competing for his attention. Baranski will play Judy Rabinowitz, said biological mother in the project, which comes from 20th Century Fox Television. Her character is described as: "48 plus. Lloyd's biological mother, she is Jewish, a child therapist and the single parent of beautiful 26 years old Rachel. While generous of spirit, with a warm heart, and cozy, lived-in house, Judy can turn on a dime, revealing her more frenetic, out of control nature."

O'Keefe then is set as Rachel: "26, incredibly beautiful. She is Judy's biological daughter and therefore Lloyd's younger half sister. Smart, dry, caustic, self-involved and not one to miss a good family feud, she grabs some wine and sits back to watch the fireworks as Judy does her best to entertain Lloyd and his strange family. She's also clearly attracted to Tucker [Lloyd's younger non-biological brother], and the two are soon making out." Kevin Abbott, Peter Principato, Paul Young are executive producing the project with Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, E. Brian Dobbins co-executive producing.

BRAVO

[*]

FX

[*]

UPN

[*]

SHOWTIME

[*]

CBS

[*]

[*]UNTITLED SUSIE ESSMAN PROJECT (CBS)

FOX

[*] - Nicholas Brendon ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, about a bad-boy, down-on-his-luck chef who takes over at a top New York restaurant and must fight off all the urges of his former lifestyle. Brendon will play Seth Klein in the project, which also stars Owain Yeoman and John Francis Daley. His character is described in the casting notice as: "20s. A pastry chef extraordinaire, and is also a compulsive gambler, who

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NBC NETWORK NEWSBITS

Week of 3/29

  • - Jackie Debatin ("Amy's Orgasm") is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, about a single mother (Janeane Garofalo) of three in Las Vegas who earns a living as a professional poker player. She'll play Marilyn, the Las Vegas Showgirl/half sister of Garofalo's character in the project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television and Is or Isn't Entertainment. Geoff Pierson also stars as Harvey, the father of Garofalo's character. Jack Burditt, Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky are the executive producers.

- Michael McKean ("A Mighty Wind") is set to play the father of Anna Faris in the comedy pilot, about a former golden child (Faris) who becomes the enabler to her crazy family. Miss Pyle and Jay Paulson also star in the project, which comes from creator Jhoni Marchinko and NBC Universal Television. In addition, Gary Halvorson ("Committed") has signed on to direct the comedy pilot from a script by Marchinko.

- Justin Theroux ("Six Feet Under"), Alexander Chaplin ("Spin City") and Dash Mihok ("Basic") have all joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a likable self-deprecating serial dater who has never been in a serious relationship and his two best friends, all of whom have remained friends despite their divergent lifestyles. Theroux, whose casting lifts the cast-contingency on the NBC Universal Television-based pilot's production, will play the lead role while no details were given about Chaplin and Mihok's characters. Bill Lawrence and Eric Weinberg are the executive producers.

- Jonah Lotan ("The Jacket") and newcomer Todd Grinnell have been cast the comedy pilot, about four friends since childhood living in New York City. Lotan will play Ben in the Warner Bros. Television/KoMut Productions-based project, which comes from "Will & Grace" creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick. His character is described in the casting notice as: "Mid 20's. Cute, intelligent dry-witted freelance journalist and fulltime good guy. He is the unspoken leader of this group. His friends rely on him the most, and though he doesn't cop to it, his biggest fear is letting them down. Think John Cusack in 'High Fidelity.'" As for Grinnell, it's not clear which character in the casting notice he plays.

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ABC NETWORK NEWSBITS

Week of 3/29

  • - Khary Payton ("Hellraiser: Hellworld") has joined the cast of the Heather Graham-led comedy pilot, about a woman (Graham) who publishes a self-help book but doesn't take her own advice. It's not clear which character in the casting notice Payton is playing. Gavin Polone, Emily Kapnek, Vivian Cannon and Robin Schiff are behind the project, which comes from Sony Pictures Television and Polone and Cannon's Pariah Television.

- Maggie Lawson ("It's All Relative") is the latest to book a role on the comedy pilot, about two estranged brothers (Fred Savage, Eddie McClintock) - one gay and one straight - who wind up running the family business when their parents (Jane Curtin, William Devane) get divorced. She'll play the best friend of Savage's character in the project, which comes from creator Marco Pennette and Touchstone Television-based producers Brian Robbins and Mike Tollin.

- Maximillian Alexander ("All My Children") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a bounty hunter business run by a single father/private eye (Greg Grunberg), his grandfather-partner (Don Rickles) and their new partner (Kym Whitley). It's not clear which character Alexander is playing in the project, which also stars Joanne Kelly and Daylia Wallace. J.J. Abrams, Greg Grunberg and John Eisendrath are behind the pilot, which is set up at Touchstone Television and Bad Robot Productions.

, never gives his parents a moment's trouble. Very mature for his age, Horace has a deep sense of the history of the situation when his mother becomes the first female President of the United States." Rod Lurie and Marc Frydman are the executive producers of the Touchstone Television-based project, which also stars Leslie Hope, Jasmine Jessica Anthony, Donald Sutherland, Julie Ann Emery, Harry J. Lennix, Kyle Secor and Ever Carradine.

- David DeLuise ("Gilmore Girls") has been cast as Billy in the comedy pilot, about the lives of three quirky couples whose lives intersected after they met in a baby preparation class. He'll join the previously cast Michael Boatman, Erinn Hayes and Susan Ward in the Warner Bros. Television-based project, which comes from creators/executive producers Mark Torgrove and Paul Kaplan.

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FOX NETWORK NEWSBITS

Week of 3/29

  • - Harry Van Gorkum ("The Nanny") has joined the cast of the single-camera comedy pilot, about a married father (Alan Ruck) of two teenage sons who announces he's gay and in love with his wife's (Kristen Johnston) shrink. No details were given about Gorkum's character in the project, which comes from executive producers Tim Doyle, Nicky Silver, Sandy Grushow and Paul Shapiro and is set up at 20th Century Fox Television and Grushow's Phase Two banner.

to fail - so she can take over the restaurant. We later learn that she is none other than Pino's daughter. Possible future love interest for Jack." Jaime King, Nicholas Brendon, Owain Yeoman and John Francis Daley also star in the project, which comes from executive producers Darren Star, David Hemingson, David Knoller and Jim Rosenthal and is set up at 20th Century Fox Television, New Line Television and Darren Star Productions.

- Diedrich Bader ("Center of the Universe") is the first to be cast in the comedy pilot, a workplace sitcom set at a police precinct in New York's Times Square. He'll play Lt. Peter Fontaine in the project, which comes from NBC Universal Television and Lorne Michaels & Joann Alfano's Broadway Video. Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein are the creators/executive producers.

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CBS NETWORK NEWSBITS

Week of 3/29

  • - Jenni Baird ("Global Frequency") has joined the cast of the Sally Field-led drama pilot, about a team of lawyers who prosecute major cases. No details were given about her character in the Warner Bros. Television/25C Productions-based project, which comes from executive producers Ed Redlich, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly and Jon Avnet. Lisa Gay Hamilton and Eriq La Salle also star.

- Dick Wolf ("Law & Order") has reportedly landed a last-minute pilot order for a new comedy at the Eye about two strangers who impulsively decide to marry. Les Firestein ("Wanda at Large") is behind the project, which is set up at Wolf's NBC Universal Television-based Wolf Films. The pilot's delay is understood to be tied to tensions between NBC Universal and CBS over demands by the Eye to make "Ready" a co-production with Paramount Network Television. Nevertheless, casting appears to be moving forward on the project with the studio issues likely being sorted out if/when CBS orders it to series.

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NETWORK NEWSBITS

Week of 3/29

  • - The cable channel has confirmed the comedy series will premiere on Wednesday, June 29. Here's how the network's press materials describe the project: "Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and David Wain (from cult hits "The State" and "Wet Hot American Summer") write and star in "Stella," a live-action adaptation of their popular stage show. Every episode features a new set of absurdist obstacles for our perpetually suit-clad trio as these modern-day Marx brothers embark on various misadventures, from the everyday (gaining co-op approval via a "Flashdance"-inspired dance routine) to the outrageous (performing open-heart surgery on their ex-Nazi landlord). Black, Showalter and Wain also serve as executive producers."

- The long-awaited third season of "Chappelle's Show" is now set to premiere on Tuesday, May 31, one week after its second season release on DVD.

- A modest 824,000 viewers tuned into last week's opener of the Farrah Fawcett-led reality series. Said numbers were off significantly from the debut of Nick at Nite's animated entry "Fatherhood" last year (1.8 million).

- Donal Logue ("Grounded for Life") has been cast as the lead in the comedy pilot, which now features the title "The Dennis." The project, which is set up at 20th Century Fox Television and Adelstein-Parouse Productions, revolves around a former child prodigy forced out by his parents so he can become a man. Emily Kapnek is behind the project, which is also executive produced by Marty Adelstein and Dawn Parouse.

- Will Estes ("American Dreams") is set to star opposite Michelle Trachtenberg in the upcoming telefilm, about a small-town woman's journey of self-discovery after her fiance suffers a serious accident. Harry Winer is helming the Con Artists Productions/Fox TV Studios-based project from an adaptation of Ann Packer's best-selling novel of the same name by John Wierick. Brenda Friend, Mel Gibson, Bruce Davey, Nancy Cotton, David Madden and Lisa Demberg are the executive producers.

new roommate. Her first order of business? To secretly fix their apartment's Jacuzzi and to fill the empty swimming pool." Gina Gershon also stars in the Warner Bros. Television/Silver Pictures-based project, which comes from executive producers Jennifer Gwartz, Danielle Stokdyk, Dana Baratta and Joel Silver.

- Mariel Hemingway ("See Arnold Run") is the latest to join the cast of the drama pilot, about a rich New York family and the relationship between the father and the younger son (Chris Egan) following the older son's death. No details were released about her character in the project, which comes from Warner Bros. Television, Berlanti-Liddell Productions and Fort Hill Productions. Amber Heard, Noel Fisher and Tim Matheson also star in the pilot, while Matt LeBlanc, Jesse Wigutow, John Goldstone, Greg Berlanti and Mickey Liddell are the executive producers.

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Network News Bits

Week of April 4

WB

NBC

FOX

USA

UPN

THE SHOW WITH AJ CALLOWAY - Kel Mitchell ("Dance 360") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, a fictionalized look at the life of BET host AJ Calloway. He'll play a producer on Calloway's show in the project, which comes from Sony Pictures Television and Handprint Entertainment. David Goetch ("Game Over") and Handprint's Benny Medina, Jeff Pollack and Evan Weiss are the executive producers.

CBS

UNTITLED JERRY BRUCKHEIMER/MARSH MCCALL PROJECT - Katherine Waterston has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about three adult siblings - two brothers (Jonathan Silverman, Reid Scott), one sister - doing their best to deal with their eccentric, newly single father when their mother leaves him. It's believed Waterston will play the sister in the Warner Bros. Television-based project, which comes from creator Marsh McCall and Jerry Bruckheimer & Jonathan Littman's Bruckheimer Television.

Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters

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More TV Shows May Be Coming To Your Computer

Broadcast and cable networks may begin offering more TV shows for downloading and streaming over the Internet following the successful online presentations of such shows as Showtime's Fat Actress, Bravo's Project Greenlight, and Sci Fi's Battlestar Galactica, the Chicago Tribune observed today (Monday).

Bob Greenblatt, president of entertainment at Showtime, said that more than 175,000 people streamed Fat Actress on their computers before the first episode ever aired, but that it's not something he objected to, given the technique's promotional value. "We needed people to be able to see this show, to get a sense of what it was," he said.

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Network News Bits

April 5

  • wife and Dennis's mother, Pam also absolutely dotes on Dennis. In fact, she has made her entire house into a veritable Dennis shrine, and has recorded every moment of Dennis's life on carefully catalogued videotapes. Miserable when Don kicks Dennis out of the house, Pam lo-jacks Dennis's luggage to track her son. However, when she shows up at Cooter's garage, she learns that Dennis doesn't want to come home - at least not yet." Emily Kapnek, Marty Adelstein, Dawn Parouse are the executive producers while Alex Maggioni serves as a co-executive producer.

- Renee Taylor ("Alfie") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a twentysomething writer (Timm Sharp) who moves into a retirement community. No details were given about her character. Robert Culp, Luis Avalos, Bill Macy and Larry Hankin also star in the NBC Universal Television/3 Arts Entertainment-based project. Rodney Rothman, Jonathan Groff, David Miner and Howard Klein are the executive producers.

- Writer/producer Kari Lizer ("Will & Grace") has signed a two-year overall deal with Warner Bros. Television. The pact calls for Lizer to continue shepherding her two comedy pilots at the studio - the Julia Louis-Dreyfus-led "Old Christine" at CBS and the Anne Heche-led "True" at the WB - should they get picked up to series.

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ABC MAY 2005 SWEEPS (ABC)

The Alphabet has released some preliminary details about its May sweeps plans. As usual movies will be heavily featured:

"Sweet Home Alabama" (Thursday, April 28th),

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (Saturday, April 3)

"My Big Fat Greek Wedding" (Thursday, May 5),

"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (Saturday, May 7),

"Catch Me If You Can" (Thursday, May 12),

"Pearl Harbor" (Thursday, May 19) and

"The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" (Friday, May 20) already scheduled for the 28-day period.

Only a handful of finale dates have been confirmed - "Hope & Faith" (Friday, May 6),

"America's Funniest Home Videos" (two hours; Friday, May 13 at 8:00/7:00c),

"Lost" (two hours; Wednesday, May 25) and

"Alias" (Wednesday, May 25 at 10:00/9:00c)

- with others expected to be announced shortly.

As for guest stars, Amy Irving and Joel Grey appear on the May 11 episode of "Alias" (which was also directed by Jennifer Garner);

Ricardo Antonio Chavira, Danny Trejo and Efren Ramirez all guest on the May 3 installment of "The George Lopez Show";

Heather Locklear and Rupert Everett appear on the May 1 episode of "Boston Legal";

and Dean Cain and Mark Consuelos both stop by "Hope & Faith's" final two episodes this season (April 29 and May 6).

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UPN NETWORK NEWSBITS

TALK SHOW DIARIES

TALK SHOW DIARIES (UPN) - Kathleen Rose Perkins ("Without a Trace"), Tami Roman ("The Real World: Los Angeles"), Richard T. Jones ("Judging Amy") and Brad Rowe ("Leap of Faith") have all been cast in the comedy pilot, about the brutally honest, fiercely loyal and incredibly complex on- and off-camera exploits of the three female hosts of a morning talk show. Rowe will play Blake Brown, who's described in the casting notice as: "30s. A handsome man. He's the executive producer of "Friends in the Morning." However, he's under no illusion that he's the "boss" of his dynamic all-female stars. Blake has a huge crush on the formidably cool and reserved Zoe, but he can't figure out what her story - make that her sexual orientation - really is. Meanwhile, he keeps snooping around trying to get a handle on the situation, but so far he's still very much in the dark."

Jones then is set as Jerry: "Late 20s to early 30s. A handsome, cool, African-American ladies' man. He's the show's head hairstylist. In other words, he is god - the supreme power on the set. Always in the know about everything, he keeps his confidences and gets along famously with the show's stars - who are well aware that, if they cross Jerry, they will eventually end up looking like Donald Trump." Roman is believed to be playing Zoe: "Late 20s to early 30s. The third co-host of "Friends in the Morning". She's an attractive, brilliant, cool and enigmatic woman who keeps her private life just that - private. A graduate of Harvard, Zoe specializes in decor and fashion, although she has her sights set on climbing the ladder into hard news. Unflappable, with a dry wit, she lets very little faze her - but even she is shocked to learn that Windsor's apparently perfect marriage is history."

And finally, Perkins will play Marion: "Early 20s. She's a quintessential California girl who was a lowly weathergirl in a local market until she got a break that landed her on "Friends in the Morning," a popular national show. A bit of a third wheel, Marion is trying hard to fit in. A resounding success with viewers, she's finding it harder to win over her more experienced co-hosts, Windsor [Nancy Travis] and Zoe. Deceptively ditzy, Marion is actually more intelligent than she first appears. She is continually trying to woo Blake, but to no avail. Sweet, sincere and well-meaning, Marion is deeply concerned when she discovers that Windsor's marriage is in trouble, and she's not the kind of woman who can easily disguise her feelings - even on the air." Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Allison Gibson are the executive producers of the project, which comes from Touchstone Television and Coquette Productions.

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Status: canceled series (2004-2005 season)

andromeda (sci_fi)

benefactor, the (abc)

big man on campus (wb)

center of the universe (cbs)

clubhouse (cbs)

complex, the: malibu (fox)

dead like me (showtime)

doc (pax)

dr. vegas (cbs)

drew carey's green screen (wb)

everybody loves raymond (cbs)

father of the pride (nbc)

good day live (syndication)

grounded for life (wb)

hawaii (nbc)

he's a lady (tbs)

high school reunion (wb)

home delivery (syndication)

j.a.g. (cbs)

jane pauley show, the (syndication)

jonny zero (fox)

last comic standing (nbc)

lax (nbc)

life & style (syndication)

life as we know it (abc)

little house on the prairie (abc)

model citizens (pax)

mountain, the (wb)

my big fat obnoxious fiance (fox)

n.y.p.d. blue (abc)

newlyweds: nick & jessica (mtv)

next great champ, the (fox)

north shore (fox)

osbournes, the (mtv)

pat croce: moving in (syndication)

point pleasant (fox)

second verdict (pax)

star trek: enterprise (upn)

third watch (nbc)

tru calling (fox)

who's your daddy? (fox)

wild card (lifetime)

will, the (cbs)

wwe heat (spike_tv)

wwe velocity (spike_tv)

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May Sweeps Schedules

BRAVO MAY EVENTS (Bravo) -

Bravo has released its preliminary May schedule, which includes a mix of premieres, finales and marathons.

Kicking off things is the season finale of "Project Greenlight" on Thursday, May 12 at 10:00/9:00c.

Earlier in the week, viewers can catch a previously unaired episode of "Queer Eye for the Straight Girl" on a special night and time: Sunday, May 8 at 11:00/10:00c.

Later in May, fans of "Blow Out" can gear up for the show's return in June with two marathons of its six-episode freshman run (Sunday, May 22 starting at 11:00 a.m. eastern and Friday, May 27 beginning at noon eastern).

Finally, "Sports Kids Moms & Dads," the third installment in the network's "Moms & Dads's" franchise," is set to launch on Tuesday, May 31 at 11:00/10:00c.

The pay channel has confirmed various dates and events on its May schedule.

First up, viewers can look for the spring finale of "Real Time With Bill Maher" on Friday, May 13 at 11:00/10:00c.

Not to worry, "Maher" returns with 11 new episodes beginning Friday, August 19.

That same night at 9:00/8:00c sees the launch of "Costas Now," the revamped monthly version of "On the Record With Bob Costas."

Later that month, "Deadwood" wraps its season on Sunday, May 22 at 9:00/8:00c with the two-night, two-part mini-series "Empire Falls" on Saturday, May 28 and Sunday, May 29 (both beginning at 9:00/8:00c.

-

USA's latest original series "Kojak" is set to wrap its first season on Sunday, May 22 at 10:00/9:00c while a marathon of all 10 hours of the show's freshman run has been slated for Monday, May 30 starting at 11:00 a.m. eastern.

Meanwhile, fans of "The 4,400" can count down the weeks until its June 5 return with repeats of its first season on Saturday nights starting May 7.

And as reported previously, "Rapid Fire," USA's fourth "true crime" original, will debut on Tuesday, May 24 at 9:30/8:30c.

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Network News Bits

April 7

UPN

20 THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU'RE 30 (UPN) - Liz Vassey ("The Tick"), Heather Stephens ("Men, Women & Dogs"), Bumper Robinson ("Living Single") and Ezra Godden ("Band of Brothers") have been named the principal cast members of the comedy pilot, about four twentysomething friends who create a list of 20 things they want to do before they are 30 and set out to accomplish them. Alan Cohen and Alan Freedland are behind the Touchstone Television/Tiger Aspect-based project, full character details of which weren't specified.

- Vanessa L. Williams ("Boomtown") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about the sexy and dangerous world of Miami's South Beach. No character details however were given. Paramount Network Television, Tony Krantz's Flame Television and Jennifer Lopez & Simon Fields's Nuyorican Productions are behind the project, which also stars Marcus Coloma. Krantz, Lopez, Fields and Philip Levens are the executive producers.

WB

BOW (The WB) - Alan Dale ("The O.C.") has joined the cast of the Frog's comedy pilot, a fictionalized look at the life of actor/rapper Bow. No details were given about his character in the Touchstone Television-based project, which also stars Joseph Lawrence, Kim Fields and Charles Duckworth. Erica Montolfo, Dan Cross, David Hoge, Teresa Caldwell and Michael Mauldin are the executive producers.

- Evan Ellingson ("Complete Savages") and Spencer Locke ("Spanglish") have both joined the cast of the Camryn Manheim-led comedy pilot, about an eccentric hippie-type single mother (Manheim) with three kids who moves into a new neighborhood filled with trendy soccer moms. No details were released about their respective characters. Heather Paige Kent also stars in the Warner Bros. Television/Tannenbaum Co.-based project, which comes from executive producers Anne Flett Giordano, Chuck Ranberg, Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum.

FOX

DIRTBAGS (FOX) - Stephanie Lemelin ("Anonymous Rex") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a group of twentysomething friends in a blue-collar suburb of Boston, some of whom have never left and others who have ventured out and returned. Melissa Joan Hart also stars in the 20th Century Fox Television-based project, which comes from executive producers Matt Boren, Doug Segal and Will Gluck.

SCI FI

EUREKA (Sci Fi) - Greg Germann ("Ally McBeal") is the latest addition to the cable channel's drama pilot, about a newly hired sheriff (Colin Ferguson) who discovers that the world's geniuses have been secretly relocated to a small town. He'll play Warren King in the project, which comes from creators Andrew Cosby and Jaime Paglia. His character is described in the casting notice as: "42. Handsome, charming and brilliant, King is the Mayor of Eureka, as well as its chief researcher. A three time winner of the Nobel Prize, he is working feverishly to uncover the origins of the universe. He obviously does not want any security breaches to take place, and insists that things be handled quietly when the laws of physics start breaking down."

ABC

HOT PROPERTIES (ABC) - Amy Hill ("50 First Dates") has scored a guest role on the comedy pilot, which follows four women who run a real estate office in New York. No character details however were released. She joins current cast members Nicole Sullivan, Sofia Vergara, Gail O'Grady and Stephen Dunham in the project, which comes from creator Suzanne Martin and Warner Bros. Television.

- The Alphabet has confirmed the show's "introductory guide" has been titled "Lost: The Journey." Said installment will air on Wednesday, April 27 at 8:00/7:00c.

- The comedy pilot, about two estranged brothers - one gay, one straight (Eddie McClintock, Fred Savage) - who are forced to come together and run the family business when their parents (Jane Curtin, William Devane) get divorced, is scheduled to tape on Tuesday, April 26 at the CBS Studio Center in Los Angeles. In addition, Ted Wass ("I'm With Her") has been tapped to direct the project, which comes from creator Marco Pennette and Touchstone Television-based producers Brian Robbins and Mike Tollin. Maggie Lawson also stars.

- Erin Hershey Presley ("Will & Grace") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a woman (Brenda Bleythn) who gets divorced and changes her life. Presley will play Jane, a recent college grad and neighbor to Bleythn's character. Eugene Byrd also stars in the project, which comes from NBC Universal Television, Touchstone Television and Conaco Productions. Holly Hester, Conan O'Brien, A.J. Morewitz and Jeff Ross are the executive producers.

NBC

HOME INTERVENTION (A.K.A. DESIGN INTERVENTION) (NBC) - The backdoor pilot special has been slated to air on Sunday, April 17 at 7:00/6:00c. Here's how NBC's press materials describe the project: "In this new special, Vern Yip ("Trading Spaces") comes to the rescue of a family that has lost all hope -- and become nearly bankrupt in their quest to build a home. Yip meets Randy Rutledge, who bought a piece of land with his wife a decade earlier and intended to build their dream house. Since that initial purchase, life got in the way and the house was never finished. Meanwhile, the Rutledge family expanded to include two children and their pets, all attempting to live in a house with gaping holes, no bathroom doors and no kitchen. Yip arrives with his team of contractors and builders to help Rutledge finally finish the house of his dreams and regain some self-respect in the process. Rutledge must still do the work -- but now he has a much larger team supporting him. With the help of Yip, the family has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get his project back on track."

- Newcomer Colby Paul and Courtney Burness ("Blue's Clues") have both been cast in the comedy pilot, about a single mother (Janeane Garofalo) of three in Las Vegas who earns a living as a professional poker player. While not specified, it's believed the pair play two of Garofalo's children. Geoff Pierson and Jackie Debatin also star in the Warner Bros. Television/Is or Isn't Entertainment-based project, which comes from executive producers Jack Burditt, Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky.

- As was the case for "The Office," the Peacock also plans to use its sibling cable networks to offer viewers second chances to catch the April 13 premiere of "Relevations." CNBC will encore said installment on Thursday, April 14 at both 8:00/7:00c and 11:00/10:00c with USA airing it on Friday, April 15 at midnight/11:00c; Sci Fi on Friday, April 15 at 8:00/7:00c and Sunday, April 17 at 11:00/10:00c; and Bravo on Tuesday, April 19 at 11:00/10:00c. NBC itself is also rebroadcasting the pilot on Sunday, April 17 at 10:00/9:00c and Wednesday, April 20 at 8:00/7:00c, right before the debut of its second installment.

HBO

UNTITLED DAVID ISAACS/KEN LEVINE PROJECTS (New!)

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MTV

THAT '70S HOUSE (MTV, New!) - Production has begun on a new "Big Brother" meets "Frontier House"-esque reality series that takes 12 unsuspecting young people who think they're going to live it up "Real World"-style and sticks them in a home straight out of the '70s (i.e. no Internet, cable TV, cell phones or other modern luxuries).

Said project, which has a 10-episode order, will then have the group compete in various '70s-related challenges such as roller boogie disco for an unspecified prize all the while walking, talking and dressing as if they belong in the era. Aaron Lee created the series, which comes from Adam Cohen and Joanna Vernetti's Super Delicious Productions ("The Assistant").

No targeted premiere date was given.

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