New comedy for Travolta and ''Hogs'' director
Plus: Ratzenberger takes Pastore's place on ''Dancing,'' the CW picks up new animated Spider-Man series, and more...
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Travolta, Becker re-team for Old Dogs
John Travolta is set to do a second Disney comedy with Wild Hogs director Walt Becker: Old Dogs. Travolta reportedly wants the movie to also cast his wife Kelly Preston and daughter Ella Blue. The movie revolves around two buddies who have grown to be middle-aged fathers. Tapestry’s Andrew Panay, Peter Abrams, and Robert L. Levy are producing. That group also produced Becker’s directorial debut, 2002’s Van Wilder. Old Dogs is currently searching for a second male lead to star opposite Travolta. (Hollywood Reporter)
Ratzenberger steps in for Pastore on Dancing
John Ratzenberger, who played Cliff Claven on Cheers, will take the place of Vincent Pastore on Dancing with the Stars. Pastore, 60, left the show earlier this week saying the competition was too physically demanding. Ratzenberger, 59, turned down a previous offer to join the cast for the 10-week dance competition because of a scheduling conflict.Dancing With the Stars returns March 19. (Variety)
ABC working on Geico caveman series
ABC is developing a comedy pilot based on the caveman character featured in Geico car insurance TV commercials. Cavemen will revolve around three prehistoric men who battle prejudice as they attempt to live as normal 30-somethings in modern day Atlanta. The show is written by Joe Lawson, the advertising copywriter behind the Geico’s caveman commercials as well as the company’s ads featuring a talking lizard. Will Speck and Josh Gordon, who recently directed the Will Farrell feature Blades of Glory, will direct. (Variety)
New Spider-Man series headed to CW
CW’s Kids’ WB picked up a new Spider-Man animated series from Culver Entertainment, a division of Sony Pictures Television. The storyline will begin with a young, teenaged Peter Parker coping with his newfound powers as he enters his junior year in high school. Greg Weisman (The Batman) will serve as supervising producer, and Victor Cook (Hellboy: Blood and Iron) is producer/supervising director. The Amazing Spider-Man is scheduled to launch in early 2008 on CW’s Saturday morning Kids’ WB block. (Variety)
Lionsgate greenlights Halle Berry and Tulia
Lionsgate has given the green light to Tollins/Robbins Productions’ Tulia, starring Halle Berry. The story, based on Nate Blakeslee’s nonfiction book Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town, is about the1999 arrests of 46 black men in the impoverished Texas town of Tulia in a sting operation that turned up no drugs, money, or illegal weapons. Berry plays the lead attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which stepped in to help overturn wrongful convictions by debunking a crooked cop’s testimony. (Hollywood Reporter)
Bill Clinton to pitch TV Land lineup
TV Land has hired Bill Clinton to tout its upcoming programming at a March 23 event in New York. TV Land wouldn’t disclose exactly what Clinton would say, but a spokesman hinted that it will be about the economic and cultural and social influence of baby boomers. (Variety)
SoapNet moving on fourth I Wanna Be a Soap Star
SoapNet has ordered a fourth season of its reality show I Wanna be a Soap Star, hosted again by All My Children‘s Cameron Mathison. The winner of this season’s contest will be cast on NBC soap opera Days of Our Lives. Past winners appeared on ABC’s General Hospital, All My Children, and One Life to Live, but only AMC-winner Alec Musser remains on a show. This season will introduce viewer voting and a live finale. Shooting starts in May. (Variety)
Berg, Levy pair for biopic
Director Amy Berg (Deliver Us From Evil) is teaming with screenwriter Micky Levy to write her first narrative feature, the biopic This Is Not America, the story of a Yupi’k American Indian girl taken from her Alaskan family in the 1960s and sent to a series of foster care homes in a government-run ”Americanization” campaign. Berg received an Oscar nod for Evil, a documentary about pedophilia within the Catholic Church. (Hollywood Reporter)
Dreyfuss, Deschanel, Cumming doing Sci Fi Channel miniseries
Richard Dreyfuss, Zooey Deschanel, and Alan Cumming will star Sci Fi Channel’s upcoming six-hour miniseries Tin Man. The story, a take on The Wizard of Oz, is about a young woman (Deschanel) plucked from her humdrum life and thrust into the magical world known as the Outer Zone, aka the O.Z. Cumming plays a man missing half his brain who becomes one of a trio of companions who joins the young woman on her journey to see the wizard, played by Dreyfuss. (Hollywood Reporter)
White Stripes finished recording new record
Jack and Meg White announced that they have finished recording the new White Stripes record, Icky Thump. They spent three weeks recording at Nashville’s Blackbird Studio. No release date has been listed, but the duo said on their website that they plan to ”release the album as soon as corporately possible.” Icky Thump will be the Detroit rockers’ sixth full-length release. (Billboard)
Ferrara revisits Bad Lieutenant
Bronx-born director Abel Ferrara is doing an Italo noir movie set in Naples based on Italian novel Pericle il nero (Pericles the Black Man). The film is said to revisit Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant and will feature Italian and American actors. It will be shot in either English or Italian. (Variety)
Infinity moves on Invisible
Michael Ohoven’s Infinity Media (Capote) is taking on mystery/thriller Invisible, which is written by David Elliot (Four Brothers). Lance Larson will direct. The story is about a female cop’s obsessive pursuit of a mysterious and charismatic con man. (Variety)
Graff directing coming-of-age dramedy
Todd Graff (Camp) will direct Will, a movie about a high school outcast who bonds with a popular girl and enters a battle of the bands competition with her at their school. Graff is also handling the rewrite of the original screenplay by Josh Kagan. (Hollywood Reporter)
Tamblyn cast in CBS pilot
Amber Tamblyn (Joan of Arcadia) will star in CBS pilot Babylon Fields, a comedic drama about the dead being resurrected and trying to resume their former lives. Tamblyn will play a young woman who killed her father after he abused her, only to see him come back from the dead. (Hollywood Reporter)
Fox adapting Hale children’s book
20th Century Fox has acquired screenwriters Steve Bencich and Ron Friedman’s pitch The Devil You Know for mid-six figures against just under $1 million. Bencich and Friedman wrote Open Season, Chicken Little and Brother Bear. The Nathan Hale children’s book is about a family who has to deal with a little devil that has moved into their home. (Hollywood Reporter)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Page Six: Pamela Anderson is hooking up with Baywatch producers for a new fantasy-based drama series.
Cindy Adams: Jay Leno will shop a new show once NBC hands The Tonight Show to Conan O’Brien.
Liz Smith: Tatum O’Neal acknowledges Britney Spears’ mistakes but says the singer deserves a break.
Rush & Molloy: There seemed to be a hint of truth behind the joking and trash-talking between John Travolta and Tim Allen at the Wild Hogs premiere.
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