Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hump Day TV News

Fox, ABC, UPN greenlight 4 drama pilots
Shows about a mobster's wife, a treasure hunter, an insomniac detective and a troubled teen are the latest drama projects picked up to pilots by Fox, ABC and UPN.

Fox's "Southern Comfort," from 20th Century Fox Television, centers on the wife of a Southern mobster who takes over the family business when her husband goes to prison. Brothers Joe Gayton ("Bulletproof") and Tony Gayton ("Murder by Numbers") penned the script and are executive producing. They are repped by APA.

Another Fox/20th TV drama pilot, "13 Graves," was written by J.H. Wyman ("The Mexican").

The fat lady sings for 'Sopranos'
PASADENA -- "The Sopranos" is fini after this season -- really.

David Chase, creator and executive producer of the HBO hit series, assured critics Friday at the Television Critics Assn. winter press tour that he won't be coaxed back for more after the 20 episodes he is working on are completed.

"That will be the end," Chase said. "Definitely."

The previous season of "Sopranos" was intended to be the final episodes, but HBO managed to lure Chase back for more. Twelve new episodes unspool in March, followed by the final eight episodes in January 2007. Chase even scotched the perennial speculation that HBO could produce a theatrical version of the show.

FX tries out 'Black' look in new season
PASADENA -- FX Networks president and general manager John Landgraf introduced upcoming new series in keeping with the channel's envelope-pushing sensibility at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena.

Landgraf on Friday unveiled the new unscripted series "Black. White.," in which a Caucasian family and a black family find out what life is like in each other's race, as well as the returning comedy "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."

"The nature of the brand FX is trying to establish is risk-taking," Landgraf said. "You've got to have guts to do it."

'Masterpiece' plans could include Winfrey
PASADENA -- If PBS' pitch is persuasive, the upcoming season of "Masterpiece Theatre" might carry the imprimatur "Oprah Winfrey Presents." EDITOR'S NOTE: SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE?

The idea for a Winfrey sponsorship of the venerable PBS series was broached two years ago and will be presented again to Harpo, Winfrey's production company, outgoing PBS president and CEO Pat Mitchell told reporters Saturday during the network's portion of the winter Television Critics Assn. press tour.

"Oprah is incredibly philanthropic with her money and supports so many good causes," Mitchell said. "This would be one."

"Masterpiece Theatre," first broadcast in January 1971, has been without an underwriter since Exxon Mobil pulled its support two years ago. Rebecca Eaton, executive producer of the series, said PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has allocated funds to hire Sports Solutions International to develop sponsorship opportunities for the series EDITOR'S NOTE: CAN YOU TAKE HER CASH BUT NOT LET HER COME TO PROGRAMMING MEETINGS?

Blanchard, Lange, CBS revive 'Sybil'
CBS has greenlighted "Sybil," an original movie based on Flora Rheta Schreiber's best-selling book that will star two-time Oscar winner Jessica Lange and Emmy winner Tammy Blanchard.

Writer John Pielmeier (CBS' "Hitler: The Rise of Evil") has adapted the book, which chronicles the real-life treatment from 1954-65 of a young woman who suffered from dissociative identity disorder, better known as multiple personality disorder.

The movie, to be directed by acclaimed TV director Joseph Sargent, centers on Sybil (Blanchard), who, after a suicide attempt, is introduced to psychiatrist Dr. Corneila Wilbur (Lange). During their sessions, Sybil, who confides that she frequently loses her memory and can't account for large blocks of time, slowly remembers the physical, emotional and sexual abuse to which she was subjected as a child by her mentally disturbed mother. During 11 years of treatments, 16 distinct personalities -- which Sybil had created to cope with the abuse -- emerge, each varying in age and personal appearance. EDITOR'S NOTE: THE ORIGINAL WAS THE TV MOVIE/MINI THAT REALLY PUT SALLY FIELD ON THE MAP.

CBS announces 'micro-series' on TV, Internet
Continuing the evolution of television marketing, CBS said Tuesday a "micro-series" will air in seven installments of a minute or less and be available online and by cell phone.

"The Courier," described by the network as a serialized drama about a man risking his life to rescue his kidnapped wife, will debut Tuesday, Jan. 24, during the first-act commercial break of "CSI: Miami" (9 p.m. EST) and conclude during "Criminal Minds" on Feb. 1.

The first chapter will be 60 seconds; the rest will be 40 seconds in length and will air in the first-act break after 9 p.m. EST on series including "Cold Case." It won't air on Jan. 28 or Jan. 31.

In the series, a "mystery man" named iiro follows clues and performs "a sequence of death-defying tasks" to save his wife, the network said. EDITOR'S NOTE: I HOPE I REMEMBER TO CHECK IT OUT. (NOT SURE IF IT'S WORTH WATCHING COMMERCIALS FOR THE NEXT 2 WEEKS...WHAT CBS IS HOPING I'LL DO, I IMAGINE...JUST TO MAKE SURE I DON'T MISS THIS).

Carter taking Fox TV to court over 'X-Files'
"The X-Files" creator Chris Carter has sued 20th Century Fox Television for breach of contract, contractual interference and other claims over payments allegedly due to the showrunner from the hit television series.

20th Century Fox TV is accused of reneging on terms of the deal because they were found to be "too favorable" to Carter, according to the lawsuit, filed in December in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Carter brought the case through his production company, Ten Thirteen, and is seeking unspecified damages. The suit was filed by plaintiff attorney Stanton "Larry" Stein, the Alschuler Grossman Stein & Kahan lawyer who sued 20th in 1999 on behalf of "X-Files" star David Duchovny in a case of alleged "self-dealing" between Fox and its affiliated companies. EDITOR'S NOTE: WHICH DUCHOVNY WON, AS I RECALL?


Anderson wants to re-open X-Files
Gillian Anderson hopes to wear Scully’s ID badge again, the actress told

The second “X-Files” film – after 1998’s “X Files : Fight the Future” – has been on the drawing board for quite a few years now. EDITOR'S NOTE: YES. THEY HAVE DONE NOTHING BUT TEASE US UNMERCIFULLY FOR AGES AND AGES. SNIFFLE....

"David [Duchovny] and I and (creator) Chris Carter are determined to do it," Anderson said.
But due to certain rights issues, "it's become a bit messy. I think the intention is that we will and we hope to - and that, hopefully, by the time we actually do, whenever that is, people will still give a damn." EDITOR'S NOTE: HERE WE ARE. ALL SITTING HER (SEMI)PATIENTLY. STILL GIVING A DAMN. (BATTING EYES LIKE A LITTLE LAMBIE).


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