Plus: ''Borat'' director returns to his TV roots, ''Premiere'' magazine folds, return of original ''Housewives'' wins Sunday night, and more...

By Mike Bruno
Updated March 07, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST
Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images; Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images

Wahlberg, Scorsese launching Boardwalk Empire
The Departed‘s Mark Wahlberg and Martin Scorsese are re-teaming to create a new drama series for HBO based on Atlantic City’s growth from sleepy seaside town to entertainment and gambling mecca. Scorsese will executive produce with Wahlberg and Leverage Management’s Stephen Levinson (Wahlberg and Levinson already executive produce Entourage and the upcoming drama In Treatment). The project is being developed in conjunction with the Nelson Johnson book Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City, which HBO has optioned. Scorsese previously visited Atlantic City in his 1986 movie The Color of Money. (Hollywood Reporter)

Borat‘s Charles gets ABC deal
Larry Charles, director of Borat, has signed a two-and-a-half year, seven-figure deal to write and direct a variety of new projects for ABC. The network landed Charles after competing in a bidding war with 20th Century Fox TV. Charles has worked on a number of high-profile TV projects in the past. He directed and wrote numerous episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm and was executive producer on the first season of the Entourage. He was also an Emmy winning writer-producer on Seinfeld, a writer-executive producer for Mad About You, and executive producer on The Tick and Dilbert. In addition to Borat, Charles also directed the 2003 Bob Dylan feature Masked & Anonymous. (Variety)

Premiere magazine folds
Hachette Filipacchi announced on Monday that it is ceasing publication of Premiere, but will continue to publish it online. The 20-year-old magazine saw its ad pages decline 25 percent in 2006. The April issue, with Will Ferrell on the cover for Blades of Glory, will be the last. Details on migrating staff to the online version were not revealed. Premiere becomes the latest magazine to go under for Hachette, which recently pulled the plug on Elle Girl and startup Shock. (Variety)

Fresh Housewives wins Sunday for ABC
A return to first-run Desperate Housewives allowed ABC to win the four-hour primetime Sunday night slot. Housewives‘ 18.3 million, 7.4 rating/17 share in adults 18-49 was the night’s top show in the key demographics at 9 p.m., beating CBS’ Cold Case (13.2 million, 3.3/8) NBC’s Deal or No Deal (11 million, 3.3/7) plus Family Guy (8.5 million, 4.4/10), and the second episode of the night of The Winner (6.1 million, 3.1/7) on Fox. The overall Sunday night average numbers had ABC on top with 13.6 million, 5.1/13, followed by CBS (12.9 million, 3.3/8); NBC (7.5 million, 2.4/6); Fox (6.5 million, 3.1/8); and The CW (2.3 million, 0.9/2). (Variety)

Zucker brings BermanBraun to NBC
Jeff Zucker has signed former rivals Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun and their BermanBraun production company to a three-year, first-look deal with NBC Universal Television. Under its terms, all NBC’s TV platforms (including Sci Fi, Bravo and USA) get first rights to BermanBraun’s TV projects. Anything NBC passes on can be shopped to other networks. It is not expected that BermanBraun, which launched in January, will have any projects ready in time for the fall season. (Variety)

Star Jones, Ludacris to appear on SVU finale
Former The View co-host Star Jones and hip-hop artist Ludacris will appear on the May 22 season finale of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Jones previously had a guest-starring spot on Less Than Perfect in 2005 and a role on Lifetime’s Strong Medicine in 2001. Ludacris’ had roles in Hustle and Flow and Best Picture Oscar winner Crash. (CBS)

Broadcasters to pay indies in payola settlement
The four major radio broadcasters and the Federal Communications Commission are finalizing a payola settlement that will have Clear Channel Communications, CBS Radio, Entercom Communications, and Citadel Broadcasting paying a $12.5 million fine and guaranteeing 8,400 half-hour segments of free airtime for indie record labels and local artists. The settlement defines ”indie” labels as those not owned or controlled by Sony BMG, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, or EMI Group. The broadcasters are not acknowledging guilt in the case, which followed an ongoing federal investigation into payola practices and other settlements, totaling more than $36 million. (Hollywood Reporter)

Muccino to direct Man and Wife
Gabriele Muccino (The Pursuit of Happyness) will direct Man and Wife, a Lorene Scafaria-scripted love story, for Universal Pictures. The Brooklyn-set movie will start shooting this summer. (Hollywood Reporter)

Dimension acquires comedy from Hogs‘ Becker
Wild Hogs director Walt Becker has sold his comedy pitch Runt to Dimension Films. Becker will direct and executive produce the project, about clashing twin brothers who are complete opposites. (Variety)

DirecTV working out exclusive deal with MLB
Satellite TV provider DirecTV is nearing completion of a $700 million deal that would give it exclusive broadcast rights to Major League Baseball’s out-of-market package games for the next seven years. The deal would also guarantee distribution for the TV network MLB plans to start in 2009. (Variety)

HBO launching political satire series
HBO will launch political satire series The Gaggle to coincide with the run-up to the 2008 presidential election. The show will cast snarky, young political journalists in a political opinion show with a strong comedic element. Ana Marie Cox, the former Wonkette blogger and author of political novel Dog Days, appears in the first pilot along with standup comedian Marc Maron and Republican operative Mike Murphy, who managed campaigns for Arnold Schwarzenegger and 2008 presidential aspirant Mitt Romney. (Variety)

Fabian survives car crash and fall
Fabian, 64, his daughter and manager were involved in a car crash in Palm Desert on Friday. Fabian and his daughter, Julia Forte, were taken to the hospital, examined, and released. Fabian’s manager, Oscar Arslanian, was taken to a hospital for scalp lacerations and blood loss and was expected to make a full recovery. Then, on Saturday, Fabian fell off the stage while performing at the Spotlight Casino with Frankie Avalon and Lou Christie, and suffered a scrape to his chin. (Variety)

George Strait lands eight ACM nominations
George Strait’s eight nominations leads all nominees for the Academy of Country Music Awards. His nods include entertainer of the year and top male vocalist. Strait’s last ACM win came in 1997, when he picked up three awards. Brooks & Dunn earned seven nominations, including entertainer and album of the year. Rascal Flats follow with six and Carrie Underwood grabbed five. (Hollywood Reporter)

Rogue hires Williams to write Lottery Ticket
Abdul Williams (Welfare Queen) will write the script of urban comedy Lottery Ticket as part of a low- to mid-six figure deal with Rogue. The story is about an 18-year-old living in the projects who must keep his winning lottery ticket a secret over a three-day weekend. Music video director Erik White will direct. (Variety)


Page Six: Gay slur is an issue in Isaiah Washington’s contract negotiations with Grey’s Anatomy.

Rush & Molloy: The Casting Society of America has launched an e-mail campaign for an Academy Award for casting.