Washington to guest on new series
Former Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington will appear on five episodes of the new NBC series Bionic Woman, which debuts this fall. Ben Silverman, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, made the announcement on Monday (July 16) at the network’s presentation at the Television Critics Association summer tour. The actor will play a member of the organization that created the bionics that turn Jaime Sommers (Michelle Ryan) into the ”Bionic Woman.” The character appears to have a hidden agenda as he helps Jaime handle her new abilities. Washington was not asked to return to Grey’s Anatomy next season after a turbulent year in which he was accused of calling co-star T.R. Knight a homophonic slur, which he then said publicly back stage at the Golden Globes in January. (Variety)
Showtime orders Spielberg pilot
Showtime announced that it has ordered a pilot for a new comedy series from Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks, The United States of Tara. The half-hour, single-camera show, based on an idea from Spielberg, is about a mother suffering from multiple personality syndrome. Showtime Networks president of entertainment Robert Greenblatt, who made the announcement over the weekend at Showtime’s presentation at the Television Critics Association summer tour, described the show as Weeds meets Sybil. The project, which has been in the works for the past several months, has yet to cast the female lead, who will portray the mother’s myriad personalities, which include an aggressive male biker, a promiscuous teenage girl, and a Martha Stewart-like homemaker. Production is scheduled to begin this fall. (Hollywood Reporter)
Second X-Files film moving ahead
David Duchovny says that he is supposed to see a script this week for the second X-Files movie, long rumored to be in the works. Creator Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz wrote the screenplay and Carter is set to direct, according to Duchovny, who added that both he and Gillian Anderson are on board for the sequel to the 1998 X-Files movie. The second film reportedly has been delayed by a now-settled lawsuit filed by Carter in 2005 against 20th Century Fox Television alleging breach of contract, contractual interference, and other claims over payments allegedly owed to him from the series, which ran on Fox from 1993-2002. Duchovny made the announcement over the weekend at the Television Critics Association summer press tour where he was promoting his upcoming comedy series Californication, which debuts on Showtime on Aug. 13. (Hollywood Reporter)
E! doing Snoop Dogg show
E! announced that it is doing a half-hour reality show that focuses on Snoop Dogg’s life as a father of three and hip-hop mogul. The as-yet untitled show will include appearances by Snoop’s daughter and two sons, his wife Shante, and a number of their family pets. It is set to debut by the end of the year. In addition to being a successful recording artist, Snoop also has a weekly radio show on XM radio, an indie film label (Snoopadelic Films), clothing and pet product lines, and numerous commercial endorsements. (Variety)
Seth Green joins Travolta/Williams in Old Dogs
Seth Green (Austin Powers) has joined the cast of Walt Disney’s Walt Becker-directed comedy Old Dogs, which stars John Travolta and Robin Williams as two best friends and business partners who suddenly find themselves taking care of 7-year-old twins. Green will play an executive at the marketing firm run by Travolta and Williams’ characters who is eager for a trip to Tokyo so he can show off his Harvard MBA and Japanese cultural skills. In addition to his acting credits, Green is also an executive producer, director, and writer on Robot Chicken, the stop-motion animation parody sketch series he and Matthew Senreich created for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. (Hollywood Reporter)
Evan Ross tapped for Linewatch
Evan Ross (Pride, ATL) will appear opposite Cuba Gooding Jr. in the drama Linewatch for director Kevin Bray (Walking Tall). Ross will play Little Boy, the nephew of border-patrol agent and ex-gang member Michael Dixon (Gooding). The two shared a strong bond before Dixon left town. Little Boy joined the gang and found a surrogate father in a psychotic gang member. A chance encounter leads the gang to Dixon, forcing him to take extreme measures to protect his family. Ross, son of Diana Ross, was also recently cast in Tony Kaye’s drama Black Water Transit. (Variety)
De Niro developing Mao movie
Universal and Tribeca partners Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal are developing a movie about the rise of former Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong. The movie will be based on the Roy Rowan memoir Chasing the Dragon: A Veteran Journalist’s Firsthand Account of the 1949 Chinese Revolution. Jon Marans and Yuri Sivo will write the screenplay and Rowan will be a consultant. Universal has optioned the book based on a pitch from the writers. The film will tell the story as an epic drama with a love story component. Rowan, one of the only Western journalists on the ground in China during its Communist Revolution, went to China as a worker for United Nations Relief but wound up a correspondent for the Shanghai bureau of Time and Life. He teamed with photographer Jack Birns and covered China’s civil war and the rise of Mao and his army. Along the way, Rowan fell for a Chinese interpreter who may have been a spy. (Variety)
Sissy Spacek starring in CBS movie
Sissy Spacek will star in Pictures of Hollis Woods, a Hallmark Hall of Fame telefilm set to air on CBS. The story is based on Patricia Reilly Giff’s book, Woods, about 12-year-old Hollis Woods (Jodelle Ferland) who, after being abandoned as a baby, bounces around the foster-care system until she meets a quirky retired art teacher Josie (Spacek) who gives her unconditional love. As Josie’s difficulty remembering things gets progressively worse, Hollis becomes her caregiver. Alfre Woodard will play the girl’s social worker, and James Tupper has been cast as a husband and father of Hollis’ previous foster family. Tony Bill (Flyboys) is directing the film, which is already in production. (Hollywood Reporter)
Springer, Maury get renewed
NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution has renewed The Jerry Springer Show and Maury through 2010. This fall, Springer begins its 17th season; Maury is set to start its 10th season. Springer had the highest percentage of adults 25-54 among syndicated talk shows this past season. It launched two new shows this year: VH1’s The Springer Hustle and the upcoming The Steve Wilkos Show, and Springer himself is hosting NBC’s America’s Got Talent this summer. (Hollywood Reporter)
People.com: Lindsay Lohan is out of rehab after spending 45 days at Malibu’s Promises center. She has reportedly opted to voluntarily wear an alcohol monitoring device so that she can be seen at events where alcohol is served and not be accused of indulging. She spent Saturday night at Pure Nightclub in Las Vegas, where she sipped an energy drink and hung out with about 10 friends.
Ben Widdicombe: Oil heir Brandon ”Firecrotch” Davis has been cut off by his parents and is now asking friends for money and a place to stay.
Hollywood Reporter: Star Jones says the explanation of how she got so thin will be revealed in a column in Glamour magazine.