The latest news from Hollywood
+ Last week, CBS and NBC seemed to prepare for the possibility of a long strike by releasing new winter schedules chock-full of reality TV. But one scripted series producer got some very good news. Dick Wolf — who just 18 months ago made an 11th-hour deal that spared his 18-year-old legal drama Law & Order and its 7-year-old sibling Law & Order: Criminal Intent — is ”absolutely delighted” to see his flagship series return to its old Wednesdays-at-10 time slot on Jan. 2. (Reruns of Intent, which debuted on USA earlier this fall, will join the Wednesday lineup on Jan. 9.) NBC had previously announced it would slate the show on Sundays this winter. But now that Life has gone dark and NBC needs original scripted fare, Wolf has an ideal slot to introduce new cast members like Jeremy Sisto (Six Feet Under) as Det. Cyrus Lupo. ”We’ll be on against a lot of reruns,” Wolf says. ”I don’t think [the strike] will hurt it.” He adds that the two shows have remained in production during the work stoppage, though he won’t say how many episodes have been completed.
+ You had it coming, Meredith! Newcomer Lauren Stamile, who joined Grey’s Anatomy on Nov. 15 as feisty nurse Rose, will stick around for at least four more episodes to play McDreamy’s love interest (they exchanged their first kiss on Dec. 6). And she was over the moon about the possibility of acting with Patrick Dempsey — not to mention slightly shocked: ”It was like, are you kidding me? I’m kind of geeky. I hope people aren’t disappointed.” — Lynette Rice
+ Josh Brolin and Emile Hirsch are aligning themselves with yet another prestige project. The duo, who are currently earning Oscar buzz for their roles in No Country for Old Men and Into the Wild, respectively, are in negotiations for Milk, the Gus Van Sant biopic starring Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, the late San Francisco city supervisor and gay-rights activist. Brolin is in talks to play Dan White, the elected official who assassinated Milk in 1978, while Hirsch is eyeing the role of street hustler-turned-Milk aide Cleve Jones. James Franco (In the Valley of Elah), meanwhile, is gearing up to play Milk’s longtime lover, Scott Smith. Milk — which is scheduled to begin shooting Jan. 21 in San Francisco — is being made by Groundswell Productions and will be released by Focus Features. — Nicole Sperling
+ Is a ”Black Monday” or ”Black Friday” in store for the music biz this week? Layoffs are on the way at Sony BMG, home to Rick Rubin’s Columbia Records (Bruce Springsteen, Beyoncé). Massive restructuring also looks likely for Interscope/Geffen/A&M, which could affect everything from marketing to radio promotion for marquee artists like Fergie and Mary J. Blige, whose new album arrives Dec. 18. And Island Def Jam (The Killers, Kanye West) just saw key execs depart in a cost-cutting move. At least two labels can rest easy (for now): Jive and J Records, which is boasting a hit album from Alicia Keys. Both are run by BMG chairman Clive Davis. — Shirley Halperin
Law & Order: Criminal Intent