The latest news from the TV beat

‘Buffy’ Revamps

No more downer days in Sunnydale. Look for creator Joss Whedon to inject a little Prozac into the UPN drama when it returns for season 7 this fall. ”Last season was about getting everyone so depressed they wanted to kill themselves, and next season’s about bringing [the show] back to life,” says Whedon. ”I want to get back to where we started and to the theme, which is girl power.” The action resumes at Sunnydale High with Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) becoming a freshman and Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) starting…a new job! (Whedon won’t divulge her profession, but wouldn’t it be fitting if she replaced Anthony Stewart Head’s Giles as the librarian?) Whedon says a new villain, ”everybody’s worst nightmare,” will wreak havoc in town while witchy Willow (Alyson Hannigan) will be off for a spell with Giles in England. ”I’m shooting scenes with Alyson and Tony in his [real-life English estate] for the Buffy premiere that involve Willow trying to deal with the magic in her that she can’t get rid of.” Oh, that old black magic.

‘Med’ Check

It’s bad enough that CBS and ABC developed more hospital shows for fall. But would you believe they both take place in San Francisco and have very similar names? The Eye is launching Presidio Med starring Dana Delany, while the Alphabet picked up Meds with William Fichtner (The Perfect Storm). If that’s not enough, each pilot features a small role played by veteran TV actress Vernee Watson- Johnson. Network sources insist they’re birds of a different feather: Meds is a testosterone-charged dramedy from Legally Blonde producer Marc Platt, while Presidio is a more serious, female-skewed show from ER exec producers John Wells and Lydia Woodward. In fact, Meds is so ”distinctive” that Platt is planning to change its name. ”We want a title that conjures up the doctors in the hospital, that ironic wit,” says Platt. Nothing like open-heart surgery to have ’em rolling in the aisles.

AND SO ON… They may be turning heads on their Heavyweight Champs of Rock and Roll tour, but will longtime rivals Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth give the people what they really want and don gloves for Celebrity Boxing? Sadly, no. The ex-Van Halen singers have KO’d Fox’s offer of $35,000 each to face off. ”We all liked seeing Vanilla Ice get his ass kicked, but can you imagine what it did to that guy’s brain?” says Hagar. Adds Roth: ”I think it would be a battle of wits — and I never try to enter into one of those with an unarmed man.”… When The Sopranos returns to HBO this fall, look for A.J. Soprano (Robert Iler) to become a moll rat. Says Iler, ”He’s really growing up. He gets a girlfriend — and she’s very pretty!” Like father, like son.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
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