''Sopranos''' Ramirez joins ''Heroes''
Plus: ''Poor Things'' producers adjust shooting to accommodate Lohan, Denise Richards starring in indie drama, Nielsen blames DVR for declining TV ratings, and more...
Ramirez joins Heroes cast
Dania Ramirez, who has a recurring role on Sopranos as A.J.’s (Robert Iler) former fiancee Blanca, has been added as a regular to the second season of NBC’s Heroes, which will air this fall. Ramirez will play a new hero, Maya. Her powers are being kept under wraps. Maya is one of four or five new characters expected to be added to the series’ second season. The other characters include a boyfriend for Claire (Hayden Panettiere), a 28-year-old mother, a surrogate for Niki’s (Ali Larter) son, and an Irish mobster. Unlike Ramirez’s Maya, those characters will likely only appear on a recurring basis. In addition to her role on Sopranos, Ramirez also played Callisto in Fox’s X-Men: The Last Stand. (Hollywood Reporter)
Poor Things accommodating Lohan
The producers of the indie comedy Poor Things have offered to adjust the film’s shooting schedule to accommodate Lindsay Lohan’s latest stint in rehab. ”In the spirit of helping Lindsay Lohan and her rehabilitation,” producers Shirley MacLaine and Rob Hickman said in a joint statement, ”we have been asked by Lindsay to comply with her wishes to continue working on Poor Things. We are trying to rearrange the shooting schedule to facilitate her working at the end of the shoot to coincide with the completion of her rehabilitation. We wish her love and the blending of mind, body, and spirit.” Rosario Dawson and Channing Tatum have also joined the cast of the dark comedy, which stars MacLaine and Olympia Dukakis as a pair of con artists. Ash Baron Cohen will direct. Lohan entered rehab for the second time this year after being arrested last weekend on suspicion of driving under the influence. Police reported finding cocaine at the scene of the arrest. (Variety)
Denise Richards starring in indie drama
Denise Richards will star as an exotic dancer in A Beautiful Life, an indie drama being directed by Argentina’s Alejandro Chomski (Reggaeton). She will appear alongside male lead Jesse Garcia (Quinceanera), Dana Delany, Debi Mazar, and Michael Madsen. The movie will be Richards’ first indie; Life is budgeted at less than $5 million. Shooting starts this summer. Richards will next appear with Pamela Anderson in the upcoming Blonde and Blonder. (Variety)
Jeremy Sisto heads to Law & Order
Jeremy Sisto (Six Feet Under, Kidnapped) has been cast as a detective on NBC’s veteran series Law & Order, which will return this fall for an 18th season. Sisto recently appeared in the show’s 17th-season finale, playing a defense attorney. He will return as a brand-new character, expected to replace Detective Nina Cassady (Milena Govich). Sisto is currently on the big screen as a co-star in Adrienne Shelly’s indie romantic comedy Waitress. (Hollywood Reporter)
Nielsen blames DVR for plummeting TV ratings
Nielsen Media Research said the increased use of DVR devices is the biggest reason for the steep decline in TV ratings last year. Nielsen announced ahead of this year’s upfronts that in addition to providing numbers on program viewership, it would begin offering average commercial minute ratings, which measure the audience for commercials during a given program and take into account DVR viewing. (Hollywood Reporter)
Next season of Battlestar will be the last
The upcoming 22-episode fourth season of Sci Fi Channel series Battlestar Galactica will be the last. It will kick off in November with ”Razor,” an extended two-hour episode, with the rest of the season slated to run beginning in early 2008.(Hollywood Reporter)
HBO completes principal casting for Generation Kill
HBO has set Alexander Skarsgard (Exit), James Ransone (The Wire), Stark Sands (Flags of Our Fathers), Jon Huertas (Right at Your Door), and Lee Tergesen (Oz, Desperate Housewives) to lead the ensemble cast of Generation Kill, a seven-part miniseries from The Wire creators David Simon and Ed Burns. The mini is about the first month of the American-led 2003 Iraq invasion as seen through the eyes of a young Marine who was part of the initial military assault on Baghdad. Also co-starring in the mini are David Barrera (Evan Almighty), Nabil Elouahabi (The Path to 9/11), Neal Jones (Rescue Me), Chance Kelly (The Departed), Michael Kelly (The Sopranos), Eric Ladin (Surface), Jonah Lotan (24), Billy Lush (The Black Donnellys), Kellan Lutz (Accepted), Marc Menchaca (The Alamo), Eric Nenninger (Malcolm in the Middle), Pawel Szajda (Under the Tuscan Sun), Rey Valentin (One Tree Hill), Brian Patrick Wade (The Guardian), and Owain Yeoman (The Nine). (Hollywood Reporter)
NBC gets rights to air Live Earth concerts
The NBC family has acquired rights to air the Live Earth concerts, which will take place around the world on July 7, with most of the coverage airing on Bravo, Universal HD, and Sundance Channel. Sundance Channel and Universal HD will air the entire 22-hour event from 4 a.m. on July 7 until 2 a.m. July 8; Bravo will air a mix of live and taped coverage for 18 hours, starting at 8 a.m.; CNBC will feature seven hours of concert coverage starting at 7 p.m.; and MSNBC will offer news coverage throughout the day, with live reports from New York and London. Ann Curry and Carson Daly will also co-host a three-hour prime-time special on NBC, featuring highlights from the daylong concerts and live performances from the U.S. concert. Among the artists scheduled to perform at Al Gore’s event — aimed at raising environmental consciousness — are the Police, Kelly Clarkson, Madonna, Kanye West, Black Eyed Peas, and Bon Jovi. (Variety)
MTV bringing back Unplugged
This summer, MTV will revive its long-running Unplugged series, which features artists performing acoustic sets, on a variety of channels and platforms, including sister channels and the MTV.com website. New episodes will feature the Police, Bon Jovi, Kenny Chesney, Mary J. Blige, and John Mayer. The return will kick off on MTV with Bon Jovi on June 22, with VH1 and CMT following the next two nights with versions of Unplugged specifically tailored to those channels’ audiences. (Billboard)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Rush & Molloy: Paris Hilton is hard at work turning her trip to prison into a publicity event.
Page Six: John Travolta, 53, and Kelly Preston, 44, announced that they’re ready to try for a third kid, while they have fallen under increased pressure to acknowledge that their 15-year-old son Jett is autistic.