ABC to pilot Grey’s spin-off
ABC is preparing a Grey’s Anatomy spin-off centered on Dr. Addison Montgomery-Shepherd, the neonatal surgeon played by Kate Walsh, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. The two-hour pilot could run as soon as this May and will be written by Grey’s writer and creator Shonda Rhimes. (Reuters)
Britney Spears skips out on rehab
Sources report that Spears has left rehab less than 24 hours after checking in. This is the second time in a week she has reportedly entered and then left a rehab facility. ET Online reports that the singer left Promises residential treatment center in Malibu, CA early Wednesday morning. On Tuesday, Spears’ manager confirmed that she checked into rehab without disclosing what ailment she would receive treatment for. (ET Online)
Keanu Reeves to star in The Night Watchman
Keanu Reeves has been tapped to star in the James Ellroy-written drama The Night Watchman. Fox Searchlight and New Regency will co-finance the project, and David Ayer will direct. Ellroy, who also wrote L.A. Confidential, set the story after the Rodney King-inspired L.A. riots and O.J. Simpson verdict. Reeves plays an L.A. cop who’s always done what was needed to crack down on gang violence until one day he gets a wakeup call and decides he will have to change his strategy. Production begins April 30. (Variety)
Idol producers helming Emmys ceremony
The Primetime Emmys have asked Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick, the producers of American Idol, to executive produce the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, which will air live on Sept. 16. Lythgoe says he will honor the tradition of past Emmy ceremonies while ”recognizing the ever-changing landscape of today’s successful television.” (Variety)
O.C.‘s Clarke heads to CBS pilot
Melinda Clarke, who played Julie Cooper on The O.C., will join LL Cool J in the CBS cop drama pilot The Man. LL Cool J stars as an undercover cop who takes care of a boy orphaned after one of his drug busts, and Clarke will play a tough, sexy policewoman who has worked with him over the years. (Reuters)
Dreamgirls‘ Robinson heads to Fox pilot
Keith Robinson, who played C.C. White in Dreamgirls, will star in Fox’s pilot The Apostles, a drama focusing on a close-knit group of LAPD cops. Robinson will play a deeply religious, decorated officer. (Hollywood Reporter)
Online Idol game in the works
AmericanIdol.com, Yahoo.com, and King.com are launching a rhythm-based American Idol game in which users tap their keyboards to make their custom dressed avatars sing and dance to licensed songs such as ”The Greatest Love” and ”Lady Marmalade.” Multiple versions of the song have been recorded so that users can go off-key. Players will be evaluated by generic judges. A plan is in the works to get real-life contestants to play against online users. The game will be free to play. (Hollywood Reporter)
Phoenix, De Luca adapting Already Dead
Phoenix Pictures and Mike De Luca Prods. are working on a movie adaptation of the Charlie Huston vampire novel, the first of a five-book series. The second book, No Dominion, has just been released. The series is being eyed as a possible movie franchise. Scott Rosenberg will write the script. The series is about a vampire, who is also a private detective hired by a socialite to track down her runaway daughter. Meanwhile, a virus turns the city’s vampire victims into carnivorous zombies, threatening to upset the balance between humans and vampires. De Luca also helped launch the Blade series and produced Ghost Rider. (Variety)
Redford’s Lions gets November release date
The Robert Redford-directed Lions for Lambs, will be released nationwide on Nov. 9. The drama stars Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise, and Redford. It is the first production from United Artists, a partnership between Cruise, Paula Wagner, and MGM. United Artists also recently optioned the nonfiction book The Birthday Party, based on former Assistant U.S. Attorney Stanley Alpert’s account of his 1998 kidnapping. (Hollywood Reporter)
HBO teams with American Girl
HBO Films has signed a deal with American Girl for movies, series, specials, and documentaries. The first project is an untitled live-action movie based on American Girl’s Depression-era doll Kit Kittredge. It will be released by Picturehouse, the joint venture of HBO and New Line Cinema behind Pan’s Labyrinth and A Prairie Home Companion. Production on the Kittredge project will begin this summer. (Variety)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Page Six: Mischa Barton’s 19-year-old sister Hania has checked into rehab to treat her addiction to prescription pain killers.
Cindy Adams: Britney Spears may not be as bad a mother as you might think.
Ben Widdicombe: An employee at a Beverly Hills kids boutique says a pregnant Christina Aguilera came in shopping for her child-to-be.