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''Freaks and Geeks'' finally gets the ax

Plus, Brad Pitt, Robert Redford, Helena Bonham Carter, Kiss, Barbra Streisand, ”Buena Vista Social Club,” and more

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John Daley, Linda Cardellini, ...
Chris Haston

GOODNIGHT, GEEKS The Best Show You’re Not Watching — ”Freaks and Geeks” — is about to become the Best Show You Couldn’t Watch If You Wanted To. NBC has finally given the ratings-challenged show the ultimate wedge: Cancellation. The final episode aired Monday night, and ”Dateline” will now temporarily take its place on Mondays at 8. Six episodes went unaired, and DreamWorks — which produced the show — is shopping them around, hoping to even find another network that will not just take the reruns, but also renew the show.

CASTING Brad Pitt may reteam with his ”A River Runs Through It” director, Robert Redford, in ”Spy Game,” the story of an older CIA agent who has to rescue his young protégé from a Chinese prison…. Julianne Moore is in negotiations to star in the adaptation of ”I Was Amelia Earhart,” which she would film after ”Hannibal”…. Guy Pearce (”L.A. Confidential”) will play a man haunted by the ghost of his childhood girlfriend (Helena Bonham Carter) in ”Till Human Voices Wake Us.”

ADIEU, FAIR TONGUE Don’t let that mournful tear smudge the star painted over your eye: Kiss have announced that their current tour will be their last. ”I admire with all my heart what the [Rolling] Stones have done,” Gene Simmons told Variety. ”But we would rather, like our shows, leave ’em wanting more instead of overstaying our welcome.” (Thank goodness they got out before four 50-year-olds in platform boots and pancake makeup started to look silly.) Simmons did not say what the members (who reunited in 1996) would be doing after this, but you know whatever it is, it’ll be subtle.

REEL DEALS David Fincher (”Fight Club”) is considering directing ”The Panic Room,” a thriller about a mother and her two kids who are being stalked in their own brownstone apartment by burglars. The intruders better not be figments of the mother’s imagination: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!… Can’t get enough of aged Cuban musical dudes? Well, good news! Director Wim Wenders is culling unused footage from his hit documentary ”Buena Vista Social Club” to make another doc for TV on the band. Viva recycling!… Susannah Grant, who wrote ”Erin Brockovich,” is being rewarded for her latest hit: She’s been signed by Sony to make her directorial debut with her own script for an untitled romantic comedy.

WHOOPEE, MORE PRIZES Fox is jumping on the game show bandwagon like it’s a trampoline. The network has announced a quiz special for May, ”The Smartest Person in America,” which, if successful, could serve as a pilot for a series. The contestants will answer intellectual questions in the quest for an obligatory $1 million prize. Proving that Fox is short for ”Fox-cimile,” ABC — whose ”Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” was practically Xeroxed for Fox’s ”Greed” — has already had a similar project in the works for six months called ”Mastermind,” based on a BBC series. However, because Fox is rushing ”Smartest,” it will beat ”Mastermind”’s summer debut by at least a month.

BREAKING UP After eight years and three albums, Soul Coughing is bidding a super bye-bye: The group has announced they are splitting up. Singer and leader M. Doughty is working on a solo project, and a message on the band’s website says, ”The band would like to sincerely thank their fans for all the support they have received over the years. They hope that this enthusiasm follows them into the new endeavors that they are exploring.”

NOT GOING ANYWHERE FAST Nobody says goodbye like Barbra Streisand, and nobody means it less. In an oxymoronic move, she tells Variety’s Army Archerd that she’s considering doing even more farewell concerts, this time in New York and L.A.