News Roundup: Rosie leaving ''The View''
Plus: Rainn Wilson starring in DreamWorks comedy, Robin Williams joins John Travolta in ''Old Dogs,'' Val Kilmer, Wilmer Valderrama tapped for ''Columbus Day,'' and more...
Rosie leaving The View
Rosie O’Donnell could not come to terms on a contract with ABC and will be leaving The View this June. ”My needs for the future just didn’t dovetail with what ABC was able to offer me,” O’Donnell said in a statement. The outspoken co-host helped raise ratings since she joined the talkshow last fall, but she’s also brought along a share of controversy with things like her nasty feud with Donald Trump. (AP via Yahoo!)
Wilson to star in Girlfriend Experience
Rainn Wilson will star in the DreamWorks comedy Girlfriend Experience, which is being produced by Montecito partners Ivan Reitman and Tom Pollock. The story, which Wilson came up with himself, is about a lonely geek who hires a prostitute to pretend to be his girlfriend. Cousins Mark and Brian Gunn will write the screenplay. Wilson approached the writers after reading Juvie, a Universal script they wrote for the actor’s Office co-star Steve Carell, about a grown man sentenced to a prison for juveniles. Wilson just finished acting in the Jason Reitman-directed Juno and is now writing another script for him to direct. (Variety)
Williams joins Travolta in Old Dogs
Robin Williams will star alongside John Travolta in the Walt Disney comedy Old Dogs, which is being directed by Walt Becker (Wild Hogs). Williams and Travolta will play two buddies and business partners whose lives are turned upside down when they are left to take care of seven-year-old twins. Travolta’s wife, Kelly Preston, and daughter, Ella Travolta, will also appear in the movie. David Diamond and David Weissman, who wrote the screenplay, sold the project to Disney last summer in a seven-figure deal. Williams will next be seen alongside John Krasinski and Mandy Moore in Warner Bros. Pictures’ License to Wed. (Hollywood Reporter)
Val Kilmer, Wilmer Valderrama tapped for Columbus Day
Val Kilmer, Wilmer Valderrama, and Marg Helgenberger (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) will star in the crime drama Columbus Day for Kevin Spacey’s Trigger Street Prods. and director Charles Burmeister (The King of Sixth Street). The movie is about a thief (Kilmer) who has just one morning to fix what went wrong in the biggest heist of his life while attempting to repair his relationship with his ex-wife (Helgenberger). Valderrama will play an associate of the thief who helps plan the crime despite grave concerns. Kilmer will next appear in Warner Bros.’ A West Texas Story; Valderrama, creator, producer, and host of the MTV series Yo Momma, will star in Warners’ big-screen adaptation of CHiPs; and Helgenberger will next be seen opposite Kevin Costner in MGM’s Mr. Brooks. (Hollywood Reporter)
Spielberg, Burnett attach four big names to new reality show
Carrie Fisher, Garry Marshall, director Brett Ratner (X-Men: The Last Stand), and director Jon Avnet (88 Minutes), will serve as judges on the first round of Steven Spielberg and Mark Burnett’s new reality show On the Lot, which premieres on Fox on May 22 after American Idol. The show sends 50 applicants to ”Hollywood Bootcamp” where they will pitch their project, show and edit a short film within 24 hours, and then shoot a one-page scene within an hour. Judges will narrow the field to the top 18 finalists, who will go on to the first ”film premiere” episode May 28. DreamWorks will give the winner a $1 million development deal. (Variety)
Spinal Tap reuniting for Live Earth concert
Spinal Tap will reunite to play a show at the London leg of Al Gore’s Live Earth concert this summer. The Tap is scheduled to perform at Wembley Stadium on July 7 with all three original band members from the 1984 mockumentary This is Spinal Tap: guitarist Nigel Tufnel (played by Christopher Guest), singer David Hubbins (Michael McKean), and bassist Derek Small (Harry Shearer). The movie’s fake documentarian, Marty DeBergi (Rob Reiner), will be in attendance as well. Reiner also directed a new 15-minute film on the band’s reunion, which will play at the opening night of the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on April 25. (AP via Yahoo!)
Picturehouse, New Line pick up Vaughn movie
Picturehouse and New Line acquired world rights to Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights — Hollywood to the Heartland. The Weinstein Co. originally picked up the movie at the Toronto Film Festival last September for just under $3 million but put the project up for grabs, citing a difference of opinion with Vaughn over marketing and distribution strategy. The Weinsteins are coming off a disappointing awards season and poor box office numbers for Grindhouse. Comedy Show features Vaughn selecting four up-and-coming comics and then leading them on a tour of 30 cities in 30 days. Footage from the 30 performances, featuring Bret Ernst, Ahmed Ahmed, Sebastian Maniscalco, and John Caparulo, is mixed with behind-the-scenes material. A domestic release is planned for early 2008. Vaughn will next appear with Paul Giamatti, Miranda Richardson, and Kevin Spacey in the David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) directed comedy Fred Claus. (Variety)
HBO greenlights Spielberg and Hanks’ WWII miniseries
HBO Films is partnering with Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks on their 10-hour miniseries The Pacific, a follow-up to their Emmy-winning 2001 HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. Hanks and Spielberg will executive produce Pacific with Hanks’ partner at Playtone, Gary Goetzman, who served as a co-executive producer on Brothers. The miniseries tracks three U.S. Marines — Robert Leckie, John Basilone, and Eugene Sledge — across the Pacific, from the first clash with the Japanese in the jungles of Guadalcanal to their triumphant return home after V-J Day. Filming is set to begin this summer in Melbourne, Australia, where U.S. troops camped in 1943, and Far North Queensland. (Hollywood Reporter)
Lucas on board for Robot Chicken Star Wars special
Lucasfilm has attached itself to Robot Chicken creators Seth Green and Matthew Senreich’s Adult Swim special Robot Chicken: Star Wars. The 30-minute stop-motion animation special will spoof key scenes and characters from Star Wars, including George Lucas, who will voice the animated version of himself. Also on board are Mark Hamill as the voice of Luke Skywalker, Conan O’Brien, Seth MacFarlane, Robert Smigel, Malcolm McDowell, Hulk Hogan, James Van Der Beek, Donald Faison, Abraham Benrubi, Breckin Meyer, and Joey Fatone. It will premiere on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim at 10 p.m. June 1, kicking off a best-of Robot Chicken marathon. Robot Chicken has done three Star Wars skits in the past, including the popular ”Emperor’s Phone Call,” which featured Darth Vader calling Emperor Palpatine to tell him that the Death Star has been blown up. (Hollywood Reporter)
Burnett launching MySpace reality show
Reality TV maven Mark Burnett has partnered with MySpace for a new reality series Independent. The show will feature people interested in becoming America’s ”next great politician” and provide them a platform to promote their candidacy via MySpace Video and receive feedback from the viewing public through their MySpace profiles. Viewers will vote for their favorite candidates and offer advice on which issues they should focus on, and the winner is awarded $1 million to donate to their favorite political cause or fund their own future political campaign. The series will launch on MySpace in early 2008 to coincide with the presidential primary elections. Burnett and MySpace are looking for a TV network to carry weekly episodes as well. (Hollywood Reporter)
Raconteurs recording second album
The Raconteurs are recording a second album in Nashville for a planned 2008 release. The group features Jack White, of the White Stripes, Brendon Benson, and Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler of The Greenhornes. White says they already have 12 songs written. The band hopes to get most of the songs recorded before White goes on tour to support the White Stripes’ upcoming album Icky Thump. (Billboard)
Several big shows suffer series-low ratings
A number of big shows suffered their lowest ratings ever in adults 18-49 this past week: ABC’s Ugly Betty, NBC’s My Name is Earl, and Fox’s The War at Home, King of the Hill, and The Simpsons. Hitting a season low this past week were CBS’ CSI: Miami, Fox’s 24 and Tuesday’s edition of Fox’s American Idol. (Hollywood Reporter)
Alec Baldwin parts with CAA
Alec Baldwin has left his agent, CAA, ”for personal reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with the great work by Alec’s talented agent,” a rep for the actor said. Baldwin has not yet signed with a new agency. Last week, he was in the headlines after TMZ.com leaked an angry voicemail he left for his daughter. (Variety)
Passions to continue on DirecTV
Original episodes of NBC soap opera Passions will continue to air on DirecTV after it ends its eight-year run on the network this fall. NBC is finalizing a deal to provide the content for the satellite television provider with an announcement expected by the end of this week. The show would air four times a week on a smaller budget. DirecTV has been moving toward original content, airing other first-run shows on its channel ”101.” (Variety)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Page Six: Tribeca Film Festival creator Robert Di Niro is said to be angry at David Bowie for launching the upstart High Line Festival (touted as younger, hipper, and edgier than Tribeca) just three days after Tribeca ends.
Rush & Molloy: Jessica and Ashlee Simpsons’s father, Joe, is considering managing Britney Spears.
Ben Widdicombe: It took Fergie 18 takes to get her taped American Idol performance segment right.