Dan Snierson
January 12, 2001 AT 05:00 AM EST

When ‘Survivor’ Attacks

Pretend that you are the producer of a new TV series. What could possibly suck more than having to air opposite Friends? How about having to air opposite Friends and…Survivor?!? That’s now the plight of The WB drama Gilmore Girls, a critical favorite that has been slowly building its ratings — but will face crazy competition when CBS’ Survivor: The Australian Outback moves into the Thursday-at-8 slot on Feb. 1. How did Gilmore Girls executive producer Amy Sherman-Palladino find out about the horrific news? ”My husband called and said, ‘So, I just wanted you to hear it from me first,”’ she recalls. ”And I’m like, ‘You’re leaving me?’ and he’s like, ‘No, Survivor’s going to be on opposite you.’ And I’m thinking, Okay, what else can they possibly put on against us? If they could just move Millionaire and some sort of live snuff film there, that’d be really good.” Still, Sherman-Palladino says that The WB hasn’t pressured her yet to goose up Gilmore Girls with stunt-casting or other ratings-grabbing gimmicks, and the network maintains it has no plans to move the show. ”I called [the network] and they were all chirpy and cheery,” she notes. ”I said, ‘Am I the only one freaking out?’ But they said, ‘Don’t worry, we love you. You’re not going anyplace. It doesn’t matter how many strange things they eat on that show, we’re not going to take you off.’ I’m like, ‘Well, thank you, but cocktails would be better. Send booze.”’

Guardian ‘Angels’

Ever notice that there are an unusually large number of prime-time series with the word ”angel” in the title? Heaven help us, because another one could touch a TV set near you, courtesy of Anne Rice. The Interview With the Vampire novelist is developing a script at NBC for a drama (tentatively titled Anne Rice’s Earth Angels) about a group of higher beings who have taken human form in New York City and must battle nefarious forces not seen by mere mortals. ”They are the thin line between evil taking over and evil not taking over,” explains Tony Krantz, cochairman and CEO of Imagine Television, which would produce the series in association with 20th Century Fox Television. ”The show would have the same kind of opulence and romantic beauty to it as Interview With the Vampire, but it’s a whole new cosmology for Anne. It is frightening, deeply romantic, sensual, and has action.” In other words: Roma Downey, watch your back.

AND SO ON… In casting news, former Hercules star Kevin Sorbo will pump up ABC’s Dharma & Greg during February sweeps. Sorbo, now seen on the syndie series Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda, will guest-star in two episodes as a history professor whom Dharma develops a crush on…. Over at Fox, Ally McBeal is beefing up its big-screen guest-star roster. Along with a six-episode stint from Taye Diggs as a sharp newcomer to the law firm, Anne Heche (who had originally signed for a three-episode commitment) has agreed to extend her stay for four additional shows. Starting Jan. 8, she’ll play a schoolteacher and children’s-book author with Tourette’s syndrome who becomes a client — and love interest — of John Cage.

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