Victor Garber tapped for Eli Stone
The veteran actor (Alias et al) will star opposite Johnny Lee Miller in the ABC pilot Eli Stone. Produced by Touchstone Television and studio-based Berlanti Television, the show is being touted as a ”high concept legal drama” focused on Eli Stone (Miller), a San Francisco attorney who learns he might be a prophet. Garber will play a senior attorney and the father of Stone’s financee. ABC snapped up Garber when he became available after Fox/Warner Bros. TV’s Justice was canceled in November. (Hollywood Reporter)
New production company options Elvis book
Newly-minted Cinema League has optioned movie and TV rights for Sergeant Presley: The Untold Story of Elvis’ Missing Years in a deal with authors Rex and Elisabeth Mansfield and Marshall and Zoe Terrill. The story follows Presley through basic training in Texas to Germany and includes his addiction to prescription medications and his introduction to Priscilla. Rex Manfield was a fellow soldier during the singer’s tour in the Army from 1958 to 1960, and his wife Elisabeth was once romantically linked with Presley. Shooting is scheduled to start this summer. (Hollywood Reporter)
Crowded House reunite to record and tour
The Australian/New Zealand rock group has joined the growing number of bands announcing reunions this young year (Rage Against the Machine, Jesus and Mary Chain, and an all-but-confirmed reunion of The Police) by releasing a new record and hitting the road for a world tour. Lead singer Neil Finn and bass player Nick Seymour said they had been writing music for the past year and will be releasing a record of new material called, Time on Earth. They will play their first dates of the tour this April at the Coachella festival and are currently auditioning drummers to replace original drummer Paul Hester, who committed suicide in 2004. Crowded House had a series of hits in the 1980s, most notably ”Weather with You” and ”Don’t Dream It’s Over.” They disbanded in 1996. (Hollywood Reporter)
Steve Irwin’s final documentary attracts 3.2 million viewers
More than 3.2 million viewers tuned into the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet Sunday night to watch Irwin’s Ocean’s Deadliest. The documentary, which aired on both networks, attracted 1.5 million to Animal Planet and 1.7 million to Discovery. Irwin was shooting the doc when he was fatally stung by a stingray. (Hollywood Reporter)
Release date set for September Dawn
Black Diamond Pictures and Slo Hand Releasing have set a May 4 release for the movie, which stars Jon Voight and Terence Stamp. The story centers on the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre, in which more than 100 pioneers were killed by Mormons while traveling to California. The victims’ descendants allege that Brigham Young played a role in the killings, but the Mormon Church denies his involvement. Stamp plays Young, and Voight portrays a Mormon Bishop. The movie also features Lolita Davidovich, Dean Cain, Trent Ford, Tamara Hope, John Gries, Taylor Handley, Krisinda Cain, and Shaun Johnston. (Variety)
ABC picks up five comedy pilots
ABC has greenlit five half-hour comedies: The Call, from 20th Century Fox TV and Real Time Prods., about a team of Los Angeles paramedics who save people’s lives while screwing up each other’s; Sam I Am, from Touchstone TV and Brillstein Grey Entertainment, about a woman who wakes from a coma with amnesia and has to rediscover her life; Carpoolers, from Touchstone TV, DreamWorks TV, and 3 Arts Entertainment, about a group of suburban guys who carpool to work together; Family of the Year, from 20th TV, about the Holloways, 10-time Tatum, NM Family of the Year winners, who are thrown for a loop when a another family encroaches on their territory; and The Middle, from Warner Bros. TV, about the lives of a middle class, Midwestern family through the eyes of the mother. (Hollywood Reporter)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Page Six: Kirk Douglas writes about some kinky romps from his past in his upcoming memoir, Let’s Face It — 90 Years of Living, Loving and Learning, due in April.
Rush & Molloy: Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg have announced their support for Sen. Barack Obama over Sen. Hillary Clinton in their race for president.
Ben Widdicombe: Christina Haag, former girlfriend to John F. Kennedy Jr., gets a $1.2 million advance for her memoir.