The Witching Hour
It’s too early for Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans to declare ”Yup, Willow’s gay,” but creator Joss Whedon is definitely giving Alyson Hannigan‘s character a chance to explore her sexuality. Fans first got an inkling that something was brewing when Willow and fellow Wicca practitioner Tara (Amber Benson) suggestively clasped hands, signaling they were interested in making more than just supernatural magic together. Whedon won’t say how long the story line lasts, but does promise that Willow’s ex-boyfriend Oz (Seth Green) will soon reappear. ”My hope is that people won’t be so anxious to put a label on it, like she’s become a lesbian or it’s just a phase or she’s bisexual,” says Whedon. ”I didn’t want to make it a big issue.” Yeah, like that was a possibility.
The European invasion continues: CBS, which already has Swedish import Survivor in the works, just added Dutch reality show Big Brother (billed as The Truman Show meets The Real World) to its summer lineup. Other cross-Atlantic series getting a once-over from the nets: Belgium’s The Mole (volunteers search for buried treasure) and U.K. faves The Krypton Factor (contestants compete in mind games and physical feats) and Hotel Getaway, in which couples endure dreadful accommodations under the eye of hidden cameras. ”Europeans have been more open to running prime-time game and variety shows for years, when it wasn’t very cool here,” says William Morris’ Mark Itkin, who helped close the Big Brother deal. But such overseas fare went unnoticed, says Itkin, because U.S. networks believed sitcoms and dramas would have better shelf lives and get higher ad rates. Brit import Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, which reportedly commands more than $350,000 per 30-second spot, certainly changed that notion.
Love on the Rocks
Poor Jennifer Love Hewitt. Not only does the Time of Your Life star have to deal with the fact that Fox is, according to a source close to the show, on the verge of axing the drama, she’s also got the network’s late-night sketch artists on her back. Mad TV recently spoofed the ex-Party of Fiver’s new series, dubbing it Mistake of Your Life and incorporating the following jingle, sung to R.E.M.’s ”It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)”: ”It’s the mistake of your life and you knew it/ You were on a hit show but you blew it.” Of course, since Hewitt has reportedly been taking in well over $100,000 per episode for Life, she’s the one getting the last laugh.
WINNERS OF THE WEEK
Mel Gibson & Jet Li The rock ’em, sock ’em movie duo are now lethal weapons on the small screen, too, as they sold Invincible — a martial arts action drama they co-created — to TBS.
LOSER OF THE WEEK
‘Ladies Man‘ The Alfred Molina/Sharon Lawrence sitcom will lose its CBS Monday night momentum now that the network is yanking it for six weeks to make way for a new comedy, Grapevine.