Plus: Fox commits to J.J. Abrams' new paranormal drama series, George Clooney's football movie pushed back to April, Britney Spears plays dual role in upcoming ''Gimme More'' video, and more...

By Mike Bruno
Updated October 07, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: John Sciulli/

Showtime greenlights Robbins drama pilot
Showtime has ordered an hour-long drama pilot from Tim Robbins and Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas. The pilot for Possible Side Effects, which Robbins wrote and will direct, centers on a family that runs a pharmaceutical company and explores both the relationships of the dysfunctional family as well as the political, scientific, and bureaucratic machinery that makes up the pharmaceutical industry. The Robbins project joins another recently-ordered pilot at Showtime, Steven Spielberg’s The United States of Tara, which was picked up in July. The single-camera comedy, from Spielberg and DreamWorks Television, is about a mother with multiple-personality syndrome. Showtime Networks president of entertainment Robert Greenblatt is reportedly considering several other projects and is expected to order at least one more before year’s end. Robbins’ writing and directing credits include the features Cradle Will Rock, Dead Man Walking, and Bob Roberts. (Hollywood Reporter)

Fox lands Abrams’ new sci-fi show
Fox has granted a series commitment to new sci-fi show Fringe, from J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci (the trio behind Paramount’s upcoming Star Trek feature). The show is about a young female FBI agent who works with an institutionalized scientist to confront the spread of powerful and unexplained phenomena. It is described as containing mysteries and mythology related to the paranormal, as well as exploring the relationships between the agent, the scientist, and the scientist’s estranged son. ”The show is definitely a nod to Altered States and Scanners and that whole Michael Crichton/Robin Cook world of medicine and science,” Abrams said. The project, which the trio wrote on spec (marking the first TV writing duties for Abrams in more than three years, since ABC’s Lost), has had the industry buzzing all summer long. It finally got sent to networks on Monday (Oct. 1) night. Fox, former home of the iconic paranormal series The X-Files, will launch Fringe with a $10 million, two-hour pilot. Casting will begin shortly with production scheduled to wrap by year’s end. (Variety)

Clooney’s football film gets pushed back
Universal has pushed back the release of the George Clooney-directed Leatherheads to April 4. It was originally slated to release on Dec. 7. Clooney also co-wrote and stars in the movie. ”Due to [Clooney’s] publicity schedule on Warner Bros.’ Michael Clayton, his concurrent shooting schedule on Focus Features’ Burn After Reading, and his recent motorcycle injury, we have moved the release date of Leatherheads,” a Universal spokesperson said. Leatherheads is a romantic comedy about the owner of a professional football team who falls for the fiancee of one of his players. It is the seventh movie set to release on April 4, 2008, joining Fox’s Jodie Foster-Dakota Fanning fantasy Nim’s Island and New Line’s Harold & Kumar II, among others. (Hollywood Reporter)

Britney’s ”Gimme More” video premieres Monday
On Monday (Oct. 8), MTV will debut the video for Britney Spears’ single ”Gimme More,” from her upcoming album, due Nov. 13. People reports that the four-minute video features Spears playing dual roles: sexy brunette pole dancer and a curious blonde watching her. Fit-looking Bad Girl Britney sports a tattoo on her bicep and dresses in all black, with a leather vest, a studded belt, and skimpy panties over ripped fishnet stockings. Meanwhile, the blonde Good Britney watches from the bar, alternating between giggling and looking stunned. (People)

Second Bionic, Private Practice slip in ratings
ABC’s Wednesday (Oct. 3) night airing of Private Practice (average 12.3 million viewers, 4.5 rating/11 share) was down 13 percent in adults 18-49 from its premiere, and the second episode of Bionic Woman (10.9 million, 4.0/10) plummeted 30 percent in the demo. Private Practice was still Wednesday’s top show in 18-49, but CBS’s Criminal Minds (14.4 million, 3.7/9) enjoyed a 6 percent week-to-week increase in the demographic and reclaimed the top spot in overall viewership. Meanwhile, ABC’s critical favorite Pushing Daisies debuted strongly (12.8 million, 4.2 /12). (Hollywood Reporter)

Old School‘s Phillips directing Hangover
Warner Bros. has set director Todd Phillips to helm Hangover, a comedy spec from Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. The story is about three friends who go to a bachelor party in Las Vegas and the next morning are forced to retrace their inebriated steps from the night before when they realize they lost the groom just 48 hours before he is to be married. Phillips’ previous projects include Road Trip, Old School, and Starsky and Hutch. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stamile recurring on Grey’s Anatomy
Lauren Stamile (WB’s Off Center) has landed a major recurring role on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy as a character who will play opposite Patrick Dempsey. Producers will not say whether there are romantic implications. (Hollywood Reporter)

Warner adapting Shining City
Warner Bros. and producer Donald De Line are developing a movie adaptation of Seth Greenland’s upcoming second novel Shining City, about a milquetoast dad who unwittingly inherits a prostitution ring. Sony optioned The Bones, Greenland’s first novel, for John Calley to produce and David Mamet to direct. (Variety)

Indie Peace Arch acquires Toronto Fest’s Babysitters
Indie distributor Peace Arch Releasing and Peace Arch Intl. have paid more than $1 million for world rights to Toronto Film Festival film The Babysitters, which marks the directorial debut of writer David Ross (The Woods). The movie stars Katherine Waterston (Orchids, Michael Clayton) as a 16-year-old who turns her babysitting service into a call-girl ring for married men after she begins an affair with a customer. John Leguizamo and Cynthia Nixon also star. (Variety)

Isaac Hanson has surgery, doing better
Hanson guitarist Isaac Hanson, 26, underwent ”life-saving” surgery Thursday (Oct. 4) for a disease causing blood clots. He is expected to make a ”full and swift” recovery and could be back on stage performing as early as next week. He was hospitalized after a show in Dallas on Wednesday when he complained of severe chest pain. (


AP via Yahoo!: Owen Wilson emerged Thursday night, wearing a shaggy blond beard, at an appearance at the Los Angeles premiere of The Darjeeling Limited.

Page Six: Brett Michaels never actually hooked up with his Rock of Love ”girlfriend.” The pink-haired punk rocker called Michaels after the show wrapped to say that she had taken up with another guy upon returning home to Chicago. VH1 has renewed Rock of Love for a second season but has not announced if Michaels would be the star.