Grammer, Heaton in talks for sitcom
Plus: Jamie Foxx gets a Sirius channel, things heat up at Sundance, and more...
Grammer, Heaton looking at new sitcom
Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond) are in talks to star in Action News, a new half-hour comedy for 20th Century Fox based on the re-teaming of two local anchors. The show is produced by Christopher Lloyd, who also produced Frasier, and Steve Levitan, producer of Just Shoot Me. Fox will begin shopping the show to networks once lead roles are finalized. (Variety)
Forum created at Sundance in response to film’s rape scene
After Monday’s Sundance premiere of Hounddog, the movie’s producers replaced the usual Q&A session with a panel that included the movie’s stars, Dakota Fanning and Robin Wright Penn, director Deborah Kempmeier, and a representative from RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. In the movie, an older boy rapes Fanning’s 12-year-old character. The rape scene has made the film a subject of considerable controversy at the festival. Catholic League president William Donohue put out a press release last week asking the Department of Justice to investigate and wrote Laura Bush asking for her to intervene as well. Asked if she had any reservations about taking the part, Fanning recently told The New York Times, ”The bottom line was, I couldn’t not do it. It’s all I could think about.” (Variety)
Jamie Foxx launching his own Sirius radio channel
The Oscar winner is getting a channel on the satellite radio provider: The Foxxhole. It will be a blend of comedic sketches, talk, music, and what Sirius executives are describing as ”a new approach to radio theater.” Foxx will executive produce, host, and contribute daily dispatches to the channel when it launches this spring. Co-executive producing will be Marcus King, producer of The Jamie Foxx Show. (Variety)
Acquisitions take off at Sundance
Fox Searchlight took worldwide rights to Waitress, the film from murdered actress/writer/director Adrienne Shelly, for slightly less than $4 million, and to George Ratliff’s Joshua for $3.7 million. Warner Independent Pictures paid $4 million for rights to Cherie Nowlan’s Australian romance Clubland. ThinkFilm acquired all North American rights, except for TV, to David Sington’s Apollo space mission documentary In The Shadow of the Moon for around $2 million, while Sony Pictures Classics picked up worldwide rights to the art world docu-mystery My Kid Could Paint That for $1.85 million. (Hollywood Reporter)
Fox launching post-Katrina cop drama
Fox has greenlit K-Ville, an hour-long, New Orleans-based cop show that focuses on officers who decide to stay in the city after the devastating hurricane and the schisms between them and the officers who abandoned their posts. Jonathan Lisco wrote the pilot and will executive produce. K-Ville is the only one of four Katrina drama scripts ordered this season that will actually materialize as a pilot this spring. (Variety)
Salma Hayek to do Spanish-language movie
The actress will work on her first Spanish-language project in more than a decade when she stars in and produces the romantic comedy La Banda. Hayek will play a formerly wealthy housewife who has fallen on hard times and secretly takes a job as a singer in a wedding band. The independently financed project will start shooting in Mexico this summer. Rick Schwartz (co-producer on The Departed) and Pepe Tamez are also producing. Issa Lopez, who recently directed her first feature in Mexico for Warner Bros., will write and direct. (Hollywood Reporter)
MPAA urges filmmakers to embrace NC-17
MPAA chairman-CEO Dan Glickman met with indie filmmakers at Sundance and urged them to produce edgier movies under the NC-17 rating and help to remove the negative stigma attached. The discussion was another step in the MPAA’s efforts to remove the mystery surrounding the ratings process. (Variety)
Keith Urban shares rehab story with fans
The country singer has posted on his Web site a video message to fans in which he talks about his three-month stay at the Betty Ford Center for alcohol abuse. The 39-year-old describes it as ”one of the most impactful times of my whole life.” (Reuters)
Bono to receive NAACP award
The NAACP is giving the U2 singer and human rights activist its Chairman’s Award for his humanitarian efforts. Last year, Bono launched Product, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS in Africa. (Variety)
Monk, Psych give USA a strong Friday night
USA Network’s Monk and Psych started the second halves of their seasons with strong ratings. Monk averaged 5.2 million total viewers from on Friday, slightly higher than the Season 5 premiere’s 5.1 million in July. It was the most-watched basic cable program in primetime on Friday among total viewers, adults 18-49, and adults 25-54. Psych averaged 3.8 million total viewers. (Hollywood Reporter)
Promoters sue Lil Wayne for missed concert
The rapper is being sued by Nunoise Entertainment and Jahfari Promotions for allegedly missing a contracted show at a Tampa nightclub last October. The artist returned a $15,000 deposit, but the suit claims he still owes $45,000 for canceling. (Hollywood Reporter)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Page Six: In her guest appearance on Dirt, Jennifer Aniston will play a lesbian and will kiss series star Courteney Cox.
Liz Smith: Mike Nichols, director of Broadway’s Spamalot, and wife Diane Sawyer went to see Nichols’ friend Christine Baranski in Paul Rudnick’s comedy Regrets Only .
New York Daily News: A judge tells Christie Brinkley and soon-to-be-ex-husband Peter Cook to keep their children away from their ugly divorce dispute.