Kirstie Alley tapped for Fox comedy
The actress, whose TV-comedy credits include Cheers and Fat Actress, has been cast to star in a Fox pilot, The Minister of Divine. The show, based on a British series called The Vicar of Dibley that ran for several seasons on the BBC, will follow a reformed rebel (Alley) who returns to her small hometown to lead the local church.
Ryan O’Neal arrested
The actor was arrested for allegedly assaulting his son, actor Griffin O’Neal, with a gun during an argument at his Malibu home. An undetermined number of shots were fired, but no gun-related injuries were reported. O’Neal claims he fired the weapon in self-defense. The 65-year-old actor was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and negligent discharge of a firearm. He was released on $50,000 bond after five hours in custody. O’Neal told the Los Angeles Times on Monday that he fired the gun at a banister to scare off his son, who attacked him with a fireplace poker. (Reuters)
Shawn Levy directing The Flash
Levy (Night at the Museum, Cheaper by the Dozen) will helm the Warner Bros. Pictures movie about the comic book hero. Charles Roven and Alex Gartner will produce. David Goyer, who co-wrote Batman Begins, was originally attached to write and direct, but he left the project, citing creative differences with Warner. Levy will supervise the writing of a new script, though it is expected to incorporate elements of Goyer’s draft. (Hollywood Reporter)
Columbia offers Rick Rubin co-chairman position
Columbia Records has offered the star music producer a position as co-chairman of the label. It would be his first senior executive position and would make him responsible for everything from marketing campaigns to signing artists. He would run the label alongside current chairman Steve Barnett. In addition to producing on three records nominated for Album of the Year Grammys this year (Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Stadium Arcadium, Dixie Chicks’ Taking the Long Way, and Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds), Rubin has also recently worked with System of a Down, Shakira, Neil Diamond, and Audioslave. The producer first came to national attention in the 1980s when he and Russell Simmons formed Def Jam and put out records by Run DMC, LL Cool J, and the Beastie Boys. To take the position at Columbia, Rubin would have to negotiate out of his current contract with Warner Bros. (New York Times)
DGA awards Scorsese for Departed
The Directors Guild of America named Martin Scorsese Filmmaker of the Year for The Departed. It’s the first time the director received the DGA award after six previous nominations. Since 1949, 52 of 58 DGA winners went on to win the best directing Oscar. (Variety)
Zucker to be named NBC chief executive
Jeff Zucker will be given the top job at NBC, replacing Bob Wright, who has been CEO since 1986, one of the longest CEO tenures in network TV. The transition has been in the works for months, and an announcement is expected some time this week. Zucker first joined the network in 1986 as a researcher for NBC Sports. He became executive producer of the Today show in 1992 and is credited with turning it into the country’s most-watched morning news program. (Hollywood Reporter)
Viacom demands YouTube remove clips
Viacom has demanded that all of its copyrighted clips be removed from YouTube’s Web site following the collapse of a revenue sharing deal between the two companies. YouTube has agreed to remove the clips, an estimated 100,000 in total from MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount, and other Viacom properties. (Variety)
Henley confirms new Eagles album
Don Henley confirms that this spring The Eagles will release a new record, their first since 1979’s The Long Run. Henley says the band has been working on the album since 2003. (Billboard)
NBC taps Brooke Shields for pilot
Brooke Shields will star in Lipstick Jungle, a one-hour pilot based on a novel by Candace Bushnell about three wealthy, power-hungry professional women in New York. Shields will play a movie studio president. (Hollywood Reporter)
Russos to direct ABC’s Carpoolers
Joe and Anthony Russo will direct ABC’s comedy pilot Carpoolers. Their resume includes direction of the pilots for Fox’s Arrested Development, which earned them an Emmy, FX’s Lucky, and ABC’s What About Brian, as well as the movie You, Me and Dupree. (Hollywood Reporter)
Fangoria launches film division
Fangoria Entertainment is launching a film unit, Fangoria Films, with Brian Witten at the helm. It will focus on original horror projects. Fangoria Entertainment already has a 28-year-old monthly magazine, a subscription-based broadband TV site, a radio show on Sirius, and the Fuse Fangoria Chainsaw Awards. It is also launching a line of comic books later this year. (Variety)
Fox Searchlight acquires John Carney film
Searchlight grabbed North American rights to the writer/director’s musical Once for just under $1 million. The movie won the Sundance World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic at last month’s festival. The movie shows how two like-minded, musically-inclined people can sing, play, and interact in a way that they could not through speech. (Hollywood Reporter)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Page Six: An airline passenger says she sat next to a very drunk and belligerent Jade Jagger on a London-New York flight.
Liz Smith: J. Lo did not make personal demands of Louis Vuitton as part of a multimillion dollar advertising agreement.
Ben Widdicombe: Donald Trump has some contractors considering a boycott over disputed payments.
Rush & Molloy: A new book claims that J. Edgar Hoover’s obsession with Rock Hudson’s gay lifestyle caused Universal to change one of its films in which the actor starred.