+ CBS’ unprecedented decision to begin airing repeats of Showtime’s Dexter on Feb. 17 seems like a deadly proposition given the show’s hyperviolent theme: The drama focuses on a forensics expert (Michael C. Hall) who moonlights as a vigilante serial killer. But Showtime entertainment president Robert Greenblatt, who personally oversaw the editing process since the drama’s writer-producers are on strike, says it was a cinch: CBS didn’t require the episodes to conform to the standard 44-minute length, so he only had to shave roughly six minutes off of each installment — and most cuts involved little more than dirty words. ”CBS never asked us to reduce the number of killings or to change the psychology,” explains Greenblatt. ”Aside from some cosmetic changes, you’ll see virtually the same show. Dexter doesn’t have a lot of overt violence or sexuality. It’s just the premise that makes people squirm a bit.”
+ Having scored a box office bull’s-eye with Cloverfield, producer J.J. Abrams is now turning his attention to Fringe, his two-hour pilot for Fox that focuses on a trio of investigators who solve supernatural and sci-fi mysteries. Production on the project — which stars Mark Valley (Boston Legal) and Kirk Acevedo (The Black Donnellys) — is expected to start as early as Feb. 1 and could cost Fox up to $10 million for the pilot alone. Fringe, which earned a series commitment from Fox, is slated for a fall bow, though the 2008-09 season could be disrupted by the strike. Says a source close to the project, ”The best way to work with J.J. is to not put him in a position where he feels forced.” — Lynette Rice
+ Looks like we won’t get to see Radiohead and Eddie Vedder rub elbows at the Oscars. Shortly before the noms were announced, the Academy bumped the There Will Be Blood score, composed by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, from contention because director Paul Thomas Anderson also used about 15 minutes of a 2006 Greenwood composition and a number of existing classical pieces — and Oscar disqualifies scores ”diluted by…pre-existing music.” Vedder’s Into the Wild song ”Guaranteed,” meanwhile, may have suffered since, according to Academy rules, Paramount Vantage had to send music-branch voters a video clip of its use in the movie. Problem is, the song only plays in its entirety over the end credits — its use in the film consists of several instances of Vedder humming. Then again, what chance did even the non-mumbled version have against Enchanted‘s deliberately hokey ”Happy Working Song”? — Chris Willman
+ Colin Hanks is at work on a documentary ”about the fall of the music industry,” while Virginia Madsen did dozens of interviews for I Know a Woman Like That, a look at ”women living vibrantly when the world says ‘You should be old now.”’ These include her mother Elaine, 74, an Emmy-winning documentarian who was almost too busy to direct it. ”She said, ‘Well, I have to finish my book, I’m going to Europe…,’ and I was like, ‘See? You are this woman!”’ — Adam B. Vary, with additional reporting by Gregory Kirschling and Whitney Pastorek
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