Plus: Bono receives Liberty Medal, ''South Park'' creators Stone, Parker bringing Canada's ''Kenny vs. Spenny'' to U.S., burglars steal Francis Ford Coppola scripts, and more...
Warner greenlights Hunt talkshow
Warner Bros.’ syndication division has approved a new daytime talkshow hosted by actress/comedian Bonnie Hunt and has made it the first show announced for TV’s Fall 2008 season. The show will air on NBC/Universal Television Stations as part of a two-year deal and target women in the 18-49 and 25-54 demographics. Producers say it will feature a mix of celebrities and non-celebs as guests and suggest that it may draw on her past profession, as an oncology nurse, to provide information on health and medical issues. The show will likely originate in Los Angeles or in Hunt’s hometown of Chicago. Word of Hunt’s foray into talkshows first emerged last June when it was reported that she recorded a talkshow pilot. In the past, she has guest-hosted CBS’ Late Show With David Letterman and Disney-ABC’s syndicated Live With Regis and Kelly. (Hollywood Reporter)
Bono receives Liberty Medal
Bono and the organization he co-founded, Debt AIDS Trade Africa, received the Liberty Medal award for humanitarian work in Africa. Former Liberty Medal recipient President George H.W. Bush presented the award on Thursday (Sept. 27) at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. ”When you are trapped by poverty, you are not free. When trade laws prevent you from selling the food you grew, you are not free,” the Irish singer/activist said at the acceptance. ”When you are a monk in Burma this very week, barred from entering a temple because of your gospel of peace … well, then none of us are truly free.” The award comes with a $100,000 prize, which Bono said will be donated to the organization. Bono co-founded DATA in 2002 to work with religious groups on global disease and hunger issues. The Liberty Medal was established in 1988 to honor individuals or organizations said to represent the founding principles of the United States. Former presidents Bush and Bill Clinton won the medal last year for helping to raise more than $1 billion for disaster relief after Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia. Other previous winners include Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Former President Jimmy Carter, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Six recipients have gone on to win Nobel Peace Prizes. (AP via Yahoo!)
Stone, Parker bringing Canada’s Kenny vs. Spenny to U.S.
South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker are partnering with the team behind Canadian comedy-reality series Kenny vs. Spenny to produce new episodes for Comedy Central. The show, now in its fourth season, features childhood friends and series co-creators Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice battling each other in outrageous competitions. Comedy Central has licensed 10 new episodes and acquired another 10 episodes from the show’s library. It is set to premiere Nov. 14, likely in a late-night spot. Censored versions of episodes that already aired in Canada have aired in the U.S. on GSN. The new Comedy Central episodes will feature such competitions as who can eat more meat in a week, who can blow the biggest fart, and who can hold out longer without getting an erection. (Hollywood Reporter)
Francis Ford Coppola scripts stolen
Five armed burglars broke into the Buenos Aries, Argentina headquarters of director Francis Ford Coppola and stole a computer containing a script for his next production. The director was not present during the break-in. A Coppola spokeswoman said a reward would be offered for the return of the script and ”a lot of the creative work” on the computer. Coppola is preparing to shoot the Argentine family saga Tetro early next year with Matt Dillon starring. The story is about an artistic immigrant family marred by rivalries handed down through the generations. Coppola’s next film, Youth Without Youth, is set to release Dec. 14. (Variety)
Bionic Woman scores big ratings for NBC
The series premiere of Bionic Woman scored NBC its best Wednesday night premiere numbers in eight years. According to ”live plus same-day” DVR-viewing estimates by Nielsen, Bionic Woman averaged a 5.7 rating/14 share in adults 18-49 and 13.91 million viewers overall. That is NBC’s highest-rated Wednesday series premiere in 18-49 since The West Wing in 1999, and the Peacock’s highest-rated regularly scheduled program in Wednesday’s 9 o’clock hour since an October 2003 episode of Wing. (Variety)
Goyer directing Baltimore
David Goyer (Blade 2, The Invisible) will direct New Regency’s film adaptation of Baltimore, or The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire, a graphic novel by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden, who have signed on to write the screenplay. The book is about Lord Henry Baltimore, who is bitten by a demonic vampire bat on a WWI battlefield and creates a team to hunt and fight the Red King, the embodiment of all evil. Mignola created the comicbook character and series Hellboy and was a conceptual artist on Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Blade 2. Golden has written novels including The Myth Hunters and Wildwood Road, three of which are being developed into movies. (Variety)
Three freshman shows cast new recurring roles
Law & Order alum Elisabeth Rohm and Ryan Devlin have been cast in ABC’s Big Shots, Jordan Bridges (Conviction) is doing NBC’s Bionic Woman, and Brando Eaton (Zoey 101) has been added to NBC’s Journeyman. Rohm will play Big Shots‘ Alex Mason, a TV stock analyst and love interest to James Walker (Michael Vartan). Devlin will play Zack Wells, a new intern at Reveal Cosmetics who sparks the interest of Cameron Collinsworth (Peyton List). On Bionic, Bridges will play Tom, an unassuming teacher’s assistant at a prestigious university who also works for the CIA and is a potential love interest for Jamie Sommers (Michelle Ryan). Eaton will play the younger version of Journeyman‘s time-traveling lead character Dan Vassar (Kevin McKidd). (Hollywood Reporter)
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio cast in CBS movie
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Jennifer Ehle (Before the Rains), Tim DeKay (Tell Me You Love Me), and Henry Czerny (The Tudors) have been cast opposite Amber Tamblyn in The Russell Girl, Hallmark Hall of Fame’s movie for CBS. The story is about Sarah Russell (Tamblyn), a 23-year-old aspiring medical school student who visits her small hometown to share some important news with her family but instead finds herself attempting to confront her past. Mastrantonio and DeKay will play her parents; Ehle and Czerny will play a couple who live across the street from her family. Already cast are Daniel Clark as Russell’s brother, Paul Wesley as an ex-boyfriend, and Ben Lewis and Max Morrow, who will play the sons of the couple across the street. (Hollywood Reporter)
People: On Friday’s (Sept. 28) Ellen DeGeneres Show, Ben Stiller says his friend and frequent costar Owen Wilson is ”doing really well.”
Forbes.com: Oprah Winfrey topped Forbes’ top TV earners list, having made $260 million between June 2006 and June 2007. That includes revenue from her daytime show, satellite radio program, women’s service magazine, and the Broadway show The Color Purple, which she produced. She also has stakes in syndicated shows hosted by Dr. Phil McGraw and Rachael Ray. Jerry Seinfeld came in second with a $60 million payday between June 2006 and June 2007.