Per Variety, Close to Home's Kimberly Elise has scored the female lead opposite Terrence Howard in the inner-city sports drama P.D.R.... A big-screen adaptation of the video game Cold Fear is in the works.... Dane Cook is developing and will star in Dad Knap, about a man who abducts his dad in order to get some quality father-son time.... Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick are neighbors at war over holiday decorations in the comedy All Lit Up.... Per Reuters, George Lopez and Maggie Q have joined Balls of Fury, a comedy set in the world of clandestine Ping-Pong tournaments.
Joan of Arcadia's Amber Tamblyn is in final talks to star in Normal Adolescent Behavior, a darkly comic look at sexual relations among precocious and privileged teens.... Chris Evans (Fantastic Four) has been cast as Scarlett Johansson's love interest in The Nanny Diaries, while Paul Giamatti will play her charges' father, Mr. X.... Tim Allen and George Lopez will play mismatched in-laws in Amigos.... Warner Bros. is at work on a remake of Burt Reynolds' Sharky's Machine.
Kevin James, The King of Queens
This week the networks began meeting with ad-agency execs to talk about what's in development for the 2006-07 season. That means it's time for producers of current shows with less-than-robust ratings to start worrying about getting picked up for next season. Here's what industry insiders are telling the Biz.
ABC: The network's comedies are having a tough year in the ratings, but you can't cancel all of them. Rodney, Hope & Faith, Crumbs and Less than Perfect aren't likely to make the cut. According to Jim, George Lopez and Freddie have a chance of returning. Since ABC has two more hours to program in the fall now that football has moved to NBC, shows that would otherwise be doomed have a chance. We're talking Invasion and Commander in Chief. Their survival depends on the strength of the network's new-program development.
CBS: Another season of The King of Queens depends on whether the n
Question: I've been watching a lot of reruns of Roseanne on Nick at Nite lately and I wonder if there can ever be another show to match it. It was brilliant, especially in its early years. I would love to watch another family comedy on the same level as Roseanne.
Answer: So would we all. Those first seasons of Roseanne were so raw, so honest, so true to the star's vision, and, of course, so hilarious. One of the saddest observations I can make about today's TV comedy scene is to look at ABC and to realize that the network that once showcased Roseanne, Brett Butler and Tim Allen is now the network of Jim Belushi, Freddie Prinze Jr., George Lopez and Hope & Faith. It's enough to make you cry. (But then, ABC's Sons & Daughters, premiering Tuesday, may give you hope. Just pray someone actually watches. ...
Starting Feb. 14, ABC's Tuesday-night schedule will be exactly one-third Jim Belushi. According to Jim will air at 8 and 9 pm ET, with Rodney in between at 8:30 pm, and George Lopez and Boston Legal bringing up the rear at 9:30 and 10 pm, respectively. To kick off this new lineup, the network is preempting its 8 pm Jim on the 14th and replacing it with A Charlie Brown Valentine. Yes, that ought to really clear things up in viewers' minds.
Question: I was annoyed when ABC scheduled Emily's Reasons Why Not opposite Two and a Half Men (which is uneven but sometimes very funny). I needn't have worried. ABC couldn't produce a funny sitcom if it tried. The Watercooler review of Emily was glowing, but I think it tried too hard to be funny and the jokes were cliché. There is only one word to describe Emily: insipid. What did you think of the premiere? P.S.: Although many of your readers (and you) would disagree, I think there is only one truly funny show out there: South Park.
Answer: I would agree that South Park is one-of-a-kind funny, and if that's your standard, then everything else is bound to come up short, because no one (especially on network TV) is going to have the freedom to be that outrageous, crude and topical. But that gives way too short shrift to great comedies like Earl, Scrubs, even Two and a Half Men. As for Emily: I'm glad ABC is trying to broaden the tone of its comedies beyond the Jim-Rodney-George Lopez-
Question: Thanks for the great columns every week! I wanted to comment and get your opinion on ABC's comedy lineup. ABC has a fairly strong drama lineup, but the majority of its comedies lack creativity and humor. With a crop of new comedies slated for mid-season, what do you think ABC should do with the ones remaining? I vote for shipping According to Jim and Rodney to Fridays. I don't know about George Lopez and Freddie, and to be honest with ya, I think Hot Properties is the funniest thing ABC has! I am hopeful for its mid-season shows and think ABC has a real shot at being competitive this season, especially in the 18-to-49 demos. What do you think?
Answer: If ABC could launch even one or two comedies that are nearly as compelling and entertaining as its dramas, the network would be golden. But I've gotta say, agreeing with you that Hot Properties may be ABC's funniest current half-hour show is probably the saddest sentence I've typed all month. A few of ABC's mid-season properties
My Name Is Earl
The state of returning comedies has not been pretty in the new TV season. Consider the year-to-year decline in these shows:
— ABC's According to Jim, which moved from 9 pm to 8 pm on Tuesdays, is off 26 percent compared to the first three weeks of last year. Its 8:30 companion, Rodney, has dropped 22 percent.
— CBS' Two and a Half Men has had an uphill battle trying to the big shoes of Everybody Loves Raymond. The network is down 20 percent in the time period from a year ago.
— As for NBC's much-maligned Joey? Ugh. It's off 46 percent compared to last year and has taken the Must-See TV network to new lows on Thursday nights.
But before this turns into another "Is the sitcom dead?" column, let's look at the bright side: Last week N
With an average of 9.6 million viewers, Wednesday's double-episode season premiere of ABC's George Lopez won the 8 o'clock hour, handily beating new time-slot rival E-Ring (with 8.3 million) and the So You Think You Can Dance finale (8 million), while Season 3 of One Tree Hill bowed with 3.8 mil. At 9, Lost and its 22 million fans beat the living Alvar Hanso out of the competish, including Criminal Minds (11.7 million) and the relocated Apprentice: Martha Stewart, which was up a hair with 6.5 mil. (If you're Jennifer Esposito's mom, know that WB's Related debuted with 3.2 mil, barely edging out Veronica Mars.) The 10-to-11 pm ratings race was the night's tightest, with CSI: NY digging up 14.2 million, Law & Order collaring 12.2 million and Invasion beaming up 12 mil.
Versatility defines Stacy Keach. Though perhaps best known for his two TV-series portrayals of private eye Mike Hammer (a DVD box set of 1997's syndicated Mike Hammer, Private Eye comes out in July), Keach has played memorable roles on stage, screen and TV since the '60s, from Richard III to Ernest Hemingway to crazy Ken Titus. Next, he'll star in the upcoming Fox show Prison Break. But before that, the actor does two TV guest spots tonight: First, he's on ABC's George Lopez Show at 8:30 pm/ET. An hour later, he pops up on NBC's Will & Grace. Here, TVGuide.com catches up with him via telephone in... Poland?TVGuide.com: Why are you in Poland?Stacy Keach: My wife is Polish, my kids are half Polish and we have a little house right outside of Warsaw in a place called Magdalenka, which is right on the edge of the oldest forest in Eastern Europe. My kids are going to the American School over here. I've got