Plus: Hoffman, Thompson doing indie comedy, release date set for Rogen/Apatow's ''Pineapple Express,'' Lifetime's ''Army Wives'' premiere sets network ratings record, and more...

Credit: Robert Voets
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Jericho will return for midseason
CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler announced on a network-hosted fan site for the recently canceled Jericho that the network, responding to fan outcry, will order seven more episodes of the Skeet Ulrich drama, to air in midseason. ”Over the past few weeks you have put forth an impressive and probably unprecedented display of passion in support of a prime time television series,” Tassler wrote. ”You got our attention; your emails and collective voice have been heard.” Still, Tassler hinted that the show will need to pick up in the ratings to get more episodes: ”We will count on you to rally around the show, to recruit new viewers with the same grass-roots energy, intensity and volume you have displayed in recent weeks.” The network also plans to help boost awareness of the show in various ways, Tassler wrote, including re-airing the first season over the summer. (

Hoffman, Thompson star for Overture
Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson will star together in Overture Films’ indie romantic comedy Last Chance Harvey, which Joel Hopkins (Jump Tomorrow) will direct from his own script. The story is about a man who is down on his luck when he finds a female companion while in London attending his daughter’s wedding. Hopkins had Hoffman and Thompson in mind for the characters when wrote the screenplay. Shooting is scheduled to start in September in London. Hoffman and Thompson previously appeared together in Stranger Than Fiction. Hoffman will next be seen in the upcoming Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, and Thompson will be seen in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. (Variety)

Date set for Rogen/Apatow’s Pineapple
Sony will release Pineapple Express — the stoner comedy written by and starring Seth Rogen and produced by Judd Apatow — on Aug. 8, 2008. Also scheduled for release that weekend are Universal’s Hellboy 2 and New Line’s Journey 3-D, which stars Brendan Frasier. The Rogen/Apatow comedy Knocked Up opened last weekend at No. 2 (behind Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End) by taking in more than $30.6 million. Pineapple‘s story, which Rogen wrote with Evan Goldberg, is about a delinquent duo on the run from gangsters after one witnesses a drug-related murder. The movie also stars James Franco (Spider-Man 3, Freaks and Geeks), Danny McBride (All the Real Girls), Gary Cole (Talladega Nights, Office Space), and Rosie Perez. David Gordon Green (All the Real Girls) directed. (Variety)

Lifetime’s Army Wives debut sets network ratings record
The premiere of Lifetime Television’s new drama series Army Wives on Sunday (June 2) night attracted 3.5 million total viewers (1.2 million and a 2.1 rating in adults 18-49), making it the most-watched series premiere in the network’s 23-year history and its biggest total-viewer delivery in the 10 p.m. time slot since December. In women 18-34, Wives scored Lifetime’s biggest rating (1.8, 502,000) in the 10 p.m. time period in five years. The series is an ensemble drama starring Kim Delaney and Catherine Bell. (Hollywood Reporter)

Dennis Miller hosting gameshow for GSN
Dennis Miller will host his first gameshow on Grand Slam, Game Show Network’s eight-episode series featuring 16 previous winners from other gameshows in a tournament for a $100,000 grand prize. Contestants (which include Brad Rutter, who won $3.2 million on Jeopardy, Ken Jennings, Jeopardy‘s biggest winner ever, and two Millionaire victors, Kevin Olmstead and John Carpenter) will be tested on general knowledge, math and logic, verbal dexterity, and current events. GSN will premiere Grand Slam on Aug. 7. (Variety)

Warner acquires Shannara book series
Warner Bros. has acquired movie rights to Terry Brooks’ best-selling fantasy book series The Shannara. Brooks is the second biggest-selling living fantasy book author, behind J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter). Warner is eyeing a franchise for the series, which is set 1,000 years in the future in a post-apocalyptic Earth populated by elves, trolls, gnomes, and dwarves. The Shannaras are a half-elf, half-man family with magical abilities and warrior skills who must save the world. (Variety)

Magician Criss Angel pulls stunt to promote A&E show
Criss Angel appeared to escape from a clear box suspended above Times Square moments before it came crashing to the ground before a crowd to promote the third season of his show Mindfreak. Angel was inside the box, suspended some 40 feet above ground, for 24 hours when he finally began his escape attempt. He was seen struggling to kick out the walls as a clock ticked down to zero, at which point the box plummeted to the ground. With organizers calling paramedics before the stunned crowd, Angel suddenly appeared on nearby scaffolding, waving to fans. The third season of Mindfreak begins airing on A&E next Tuesday night (June 12). Angel said the first episode would reveal how he escaped. ”I was in [the box] when I fell — that’s the truth,” Angel told Reuters. (Hollywood Reporter)

TV ad spending down three percent in first quarter
TV ad spending during the first quarter dropped to $15.6 billion, down three percent compared to first quarter 2006, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Network TV dropped 7 percent to $6 billion, while spot TV fell 4 percent to $3.7 billion, and national syndicated TV dropped 6 percent to $986.8 million. Only cable TV, which was up 6 percent to $3.8 billion, and Spanish-language TV, up 4 percent to $985 million, were up. Internet ad spending saw a large increase, however, with TNS reporting a jump of 17 percent to $2.7 billion, ahead of radio at $2.3 billion. (Hollywood Reporter)

IN THE GOSSIPS Jessica Simpson and John Mayer have split up… again.

Page Six: In an interview for Playboy, Bruce Willis thanks Will Smith for helping him cope with ex-wife Demi Moore’s relationship with Ashton Kutcher.

Ben Widdicombe: An Us Weekly reporter claims to have overheard Paris Hilton in the green room at the MTV Movie Awards, after Sarah Silverman made a joke at her expense, calling the event’s host a ”f—ing bitch.? I hate her.”

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