All the Right Movies?
Finally, something good to report about NBC’s ailing movie department: Wave goodbye to fantasy flops like The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns and The 10th Kingdom. Instead, look for the net to churn out fewer flicks (eight, down from 35 two years ago), most of which not-so-coincidentally resemble the successful fare on CBS and ABC (such as Surviving Gilligan’s Island and The Facts of Life Reunion, respectively). So brace yourself for reunions of L.A. Law (with the show’s debut cast, including Harry Hamlin and Susan Dey) and The Cosby Show, both airing on NBC this spring. Also in the works: a remake of Stephen King’s prom-queen horror tale Carrie. ”It’s the timeless story of an underdog getting revenge,” says exec VP of movies Jeff Gaspin, who’s also given the thumbs-up to an update of TV’s Lost in Space. ”At the moment, we’re looking for familiar pop- culture titles,” says Gaspin. ”And don’t be surprised if you see guilty pleasures on NBC.” We can see it now—Fear Factor: The Movie.
Sex and the Slayer
UPN should consider slapping a TV-MA rating on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and quickly. First, Willow (Alyson Hannigan) got a not-so-subtle rise out of her lesbian lover, Tara (Amber Benson), in the musical episode, and a recent sex scene between Spike (James Marsters) and Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) was so hot, the net was forced to insert computerized images over the nudity. What’s with the explicitness? ”Maybe there’s some small psychological factor, like ‘let’s see what the new dad will say,”’ says exec producer Marti Noxon of UPN. ”Truthfully, the characters are getting a little older and we’re now doing things that were not as permissible when they were teens. The whole premise is that many of us in our 20s had relationships where we couldn’t figure out what we liked about them except that the sex was so amazing.” Although the show is surprising the hellmouth out of fans with lurid sex scenes, ratings have yet to surge. After a ratings spike upon the show’s UPN debut, Buffy settled back into its WB averages (an anemic 9 share in viewers 12-34). ”We could do an all-naked Buffy and still get a 7 share,” admits Noxon. ”It’s so elaborate in its mythology, I just don’t know how easy it would be for new viewers to catch up.” Well, partially nude shots of Gellar and Marsters won’t hurt.
AND SO ON… Happy Days’ creator Garry Marshall is in talks with Paramount, which produced the ABC sitcom (1974-84), about doing a two-hour flick representing ”the next generation of Happy Days” (in the ’70s or ’80s). ”I was just with Henry Winkler and he wants to know what Paramount has in mind,” says Marshall. Ron Howard also wouldn’t rule out a trip back in time. ”Nothing’s out of the question,” Howard says. ”After all, I did Return to Mayberry” (the Andy Griffith Show reunion). Meanwhile, Marshall is workshopping a Days musical with ER’s Erik Palladino as the Fonz.