EW Staff
February 20, 2009 AT 05:00 AM EST

Lost has titillated and challenged fans this season with a heady time-travel story line. But when Fox announced that American Idol‘s Wednesday results show will move to 9 p.m. starting March 11 — putting it head-to-head with ABC’s trippy tropical drama — one had to wonder: Would Lost end up relocating to a time slot that’s safer? The drama got roughed up by TV’s top-rated show in season 2, and ABC made sure that Lost never had to face off against Idol during seasons 3 and 4. This time, the network plans to leave Lost where it is, though that decision could hasten the show’s recent audience erosion. ABC is betting/hoping that any viewers tempted to check out Idol‘s top 12 will still watch Lost through alternate means (DVR, Internet). Could it help that the acclaimed series is starting to dole out answers to long-running riddles as it winds to a conclusion next season? Only time (travel) will tell. + Fans of Damages experienced the double take of their lives when Darrell Hammond suddenly popped up as a baddie nicknamed the Deacon this season. Seems the SNL vet — long lauded for his spot-on mimicry of everyone from Bill Clinton to Donald Trump — impressed co-creator Glenn Kessler, who saw him in a summer ’08 production of Beyond Therapy at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and decided to bring him on board in season 2. ”He played this twisted psychiatrist with such menace and humor,” says Kessler. ”You really didn’t know what he was up to.” The same can be said for Damages viewers, who’ve scratched their heads as Hammond slithers mysteriously through his scenes. And that’s exactly how Kessler wanted it: ”He seems capable of great violence, though there’s nothing outstanding about the way he looks or dresses. There are no actions you can point to, either. But you get the danger around him.” — Dan Snierson and Lynette Rice

Who’s up for crumpets and a spot of exploded guts? Elton John‘s Rocket Pictures plans to make Pride and Predator, a traditional costume-drama retelling of Jane Austen’s beloved novel that will morph into a horror film when an alien starts butchering the veddy proper cast of characters. The plot sounds oddly similar to Quirk Books’ June release Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a literary mash-up that will feature Mr. Darcy and friends tangling with the undead. ”We were all excited about the book [and] then Sir Elton swoops in!” cheerfully bemoans coauthor Seth Grahame-Smith, who still thinks both projects can drum up enough bloody interest. ”For every Step Up, there’s a Stomp the Yard. The more mangling of literary classics, the merrier!” — Clark Collis

James L. Brooks is zeroing in on Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd to star opposite Reese Witherspoon in his first directorial effort in five years. Both actors are in talks, but neither has yet signed a deal. The Academy Award-winning director is keeping the plotline for the untitled Sony Pictures romantic comedy — which he also wrote — closely guarded, but sources tell EW that the film revolves around a love triangle that involves Witherspoon’s character and two men who are vying for her attention. Rudd would play a cerebral executive type, while Wilson would tackle the role of a baseball player. Brooks — who in the past few years has worked on the Adam Sandler vehicle Spanglish and The Simpsons Movie — is producing the film along with Paula Weinstein and Laurence Mark. Production is set to begin early this summer. — Nicole Sperling

You May Like