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The latest news from the TV beat

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Smelling Blood
Turns out The WB has far more than randy teens interested in its programming. Sources say ABC has taken a quiet interest in acquiring Buffy the Vampire Slayer, should the ongoing contract renegotiation battle between The WB and Buffy‘s studio, Twentieth Century Fox, reach an impasse. Industry insiders predict Twentieth will ask for A Party of Five-level $2 million per episode (up from nearly $1 million) on the demon-duster, which may be too rich for The WB. That’s where the Alphabet could come in. ”Since day one, [ABC Entertainment cochair] Stu Bloomberg has been a fan of the show,” says a source close to the drama. ”He’s been trying to get Joss Whedon [Buffy‘s creator] to create a show for them.” Nevertheless, any salivating by rival Buffy admirers (and don’t rule out Fox) is premature since official talks between Twentieth and The WB don’t begin until January. Until that time, Twentieth has to convince The WB that Buffy is more than just a niche series that appeals to a limited audience — a rationale the netlet has been using to keep the price down. But it looks like The WB is losing that argument: The show is not only up 12 percent among adults 18-34 but recently posted its best-ever performance among young women, proving Buffy still has some fight in it after five seasons.

Older and Reiser
In Hollywood, friends don’t let friends write bad sitcoms — which explains why Paul Reiser has been spending his free time lately punching up the scripts on CBS’ Ladies Man. The comedy (which returns to the Eye mid-season) is currently helmed by Vic Levin, a scribe on Reiser’s former series Mad About You. ”We literally walked on the set and said, ‘Wow! Look who’s here!”’ says one source on the sitcom. ”That’s what friends are for.”

Quiet on the Set
If you tune in to the Nov. 17 episode of ABC’s Two Guys and a Girl, you won’t hear a single joke that’ll make you laugh. Notice how we said hear. In an homage to silent filmmakers like Harold Lloyd, the entire show was shot absent of audio. (There will be background music, but no laugh track and no dialogue.) ”The network was a little bit concerned,” chuckles Two Guys and a Girl executive producer Kevin Abbott. ”But it came down to a matter of faith and ultimately they said, ‘Okay, if you guys really want to do it, go do it.”’ Actually, the sitcom had given the network the silent treatment before. ”We did an episode in our second season that had no dialogue for three minutes, and we really thought it was cool,” Abbott says. ”Mostly, this came about because we wanted to teach those sound guys a lesson that they are dispensable.”

— Dan Snierson

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