Nathan Fillion will hit San Diego, and Robert Downey Jr. might join Sam Raimi's ''Wizard of Oz'' prequel

June 18, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

Unexpected TV shows will court fans at this year’s Comic-Con
Shows like FX’s Sons of Anarchy and USA’s White Collar may have zero roots in the comic-book industry, but that’s not stopping TV producers from presenting them at the annual Comic-Con convention July 22-25 in San Diego. Up to 40 broadcast and cable series that vary in scope from ABC’s comedy-drama Castle starring Nathan Fillion to CBS’ Hawaii Five-O reboot and FX’s sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia are hoping to attract new followers among the 125,000 people expected to converge on the city’s convention center. ”It’s an incredible promotion and marketing machine where you are able to speak directly to the most hardcore fans,” says 20th Century Fox TV chairman Dana Walden, who plans to send Glee and animated comedies like The Cleveland Show and American Dad, along with the new time-traveling drama Terra Nova that will bow next year on Fox. ”They become a buzz factory. They blog about the shows and build them into the fabric of their lives.” Though the convention’s emphasis remains on the comic-book industry — it attracts a record number of publishers each year — Comic-Con has always made room for the ”popular arts” during its 40-year history, says spokesman David Glanzer. Frank Capra was a guest at an early convention, and Orson Welles’ decidedly ungeeky Othello was once screened. ”There may be programs that film and TV fans will enjoy, but our hope is that they’ll also take part in some of the comics stuff,” Glanzer says. ”If we can get someone in for Glee and they discover something else, then we have fulfilled our mission.”

Are Robert Downey Jr. and Sam Raimi headed to Oz?
Director Sam Raimi is in early negotiations to helm a Wizard of Oz prequel, Oz the Great and Powerful. The director — who saw his Spider-Man duties end earlier this year when Sony Pictures nixed a fourth film — met with Walt Disney Studios and was offered the job last week. Raimi will meet with Robert Downey Jr. about playing a circus huckster named Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkle Emmanuel Ambroise Diggs (or ”Oz” for short), who’s whisked to the land of Oz by a tornado. When he arrives, the townspeople all believe he is the Wizard they’ve been waiting for. And a Raimi and Downey combo could be the pairing we’ve all been waiting for.

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