Albert L. Ortega/
Mike Bruno
July 18, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Sackhoff signs 11th hour deal
Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica), who appears in the pilot for NBC’s Bionic Woman, signed a last-minute deal with NBC/Universal Media Studios to stay on the new series as a recurring character after nearly walking out of negotiations. In the pilot, Sackhoff played Sarah, a bionic woman nemesis to bionic protagonist Jamie Sommers (Michelle Ryan). Sackhoff was featured heavily on the network’s promotion for the series and touted as a recurring character, but didn’t have a deal to stay on beyond a couple of episodes. Sources say the actress and Universal started out far apart on terms, but the two sides finally signed a deal to keep her on the show on Tuesday (July 17). David Eick, who executives produces Battlestar and Bionic, was said to have been instrumental in getting Sackhoff on board. (Hollywood Reporter)

George Lopez lands two movies
George Lopez added roles in Henry Poole Is Here and Swing Vote to his increasingly busy post-sitcom life. First up is Poole, a dramedy from Mark Pellington about a man (Luke Wilson) who drops out of his life once he learns he has just six months to live but has his plans to live the rest of his life in seclusion thwarted by his neighbors. Lopez will play a priest. The comedian will next shoot Swing Vote, a Radar Pictures comedy directed by Joshua Michael Stern and starring Kevin Costner, who will also produce. Vote is about a single father who finds himself in the national limelight when a presidential election comes down to his single vote. Lopez will play a local TV station manager who has his town invaded by the political machinery of both candidates. The movie also features Dennis Hopper, Nathan Lane, Kelsey Grammer, and Stanley Tucci. Although Lopez’s self-titled sitcom has been cancelled, he’s been keeping very busy. He will lend his voice to the Walt Disney Pictures comedy South of the Border, and just saw his recent HBO stand-up special, America’s Mexican, released on DVD and debut at the top spot in stand-up comedy and comedy titles. He also signed a two-year, first-look deal with Warner Premiere to produce direct-to-DVD features, though no projects have been announced yet. Lopez will next be seen in the feature Balls of Fury, set to premiere Aug. 31. (Hollywood Reporter)

Leguizamo in Shyamalan’s Happening
John Leguizamo has been cast in M. Night Shyamalan’s next feature, The Happening, which stars Mark Wahlberg as a man who takes his family on the run to escape a natural disaster threatening the world. Leguizamo will play the man’s best friend. Shooting is scheduled to start on the movie next month for a June 13, 2008 release. Leguizamo will next be seen starring opposite Donnie Wahlberg in Spike TV’s The Kill Point, an eight-hour original miniseries that debuts Sunday. He will then appear in the screen adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel Love in the Time of Cholera, directed by Mike Newell, which debuts Nov. 16. He also stars as a struggling boxer in the Tribeca Festival favorite Where God Left His Shoes, which is written and directed by Salvatore Stabile, and recently wrapped production on two other indies: The Take, directed by Brad Furman, and The Babysitters, written and directed by David Ross. (Variety)

Mercury Prize nominees announced
Past U.K. Mercury Prize winners Arctic Monkeys and rapper Dizzee Rascal are among the artists on the shortlist of this year’s Nationwide Mercury Prize nominees, announced on Tuesday (July 17). The Monkeys won last year, and Dizzee Rascal won in 2003. The Monkeys’ Favorite Worst Nightmare and Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black are favored to win this year, and Dizzee’s new record, Maths and English, is also up for the award. The Mercury Prize is awarded to the best album of the year by a British or Irish act, voted on by a panel of music industry journalists and experts. Also nominated this year are: The View, Maps, Bat for Lashes, Klaxons, Jamie T, The Young Knives, Fionn Regan, Basquiat Strings with Seb Rochford, and New Young Pony Club. (Variety)

Weinstein taps Tolkin to pen Nine
The Weinstein Co. has hired Oscar-nominated screenwriter Michael Tolkin (The Player) to write their movie adaptation of the 1982 Broadway musical Nine. The musical was based on Fellini’s 8½. The story follows the life of famous film director Guido Contini as he reaches a creative and personal crisis and has to balance the numerous women in his life, including his wife, his mistress, his film-star muse, his agent, and his mother. Casting is underway. (Variety)

Glover recurring on Brothers and Sisters
Danny Glover will play a recurring character on ABC’s Brothers and Sisters next season. The actor will portray a love interest for Sally Field’s character. (Hollywood Reporter)

Posh special draws decent ratings
Although it took a bashing by critics, Victoria Beckham’s one-hour NBC special actually got decent ratings Monday night, averaging 4.9 million viewers and a 2.2 rating/7 share in adults 18-49. The special was an edited version of what was originally supposed to be a six-episode reality series. (Hollywood Reporter)

Underwood record set for October release
Carrie Underwood’s second record will release on Oct. 23. The as-yet untitled 19 Recordings/Arista album was produced by Mark Bright, who also produced seven tracks on Underwood’s hit 2005 debut, Some Hearts. The American Idol star promises that the new record falls firmly in the country genre. (Billboard)

DreamWorks bumps Monsters to avoid Avatar
DreamWorks Animation has moved up the release of Monsters vs. Aliens to May 15, 2009 to avoid debuting the same weekend as James Cameron’s epic Avatar, which releases on May 22, 2009. Monsters is a 3-D animated feature update of the classic 1950s movie. It’s being directed by Conrad Vernon (Shrek 2) and Rob Letterman (Shark Tale). (Variety)

Chappelle hospitalized for exhaustion
Dave Chappelle was hospitalized last weekend for exhaustion, according to his publicist. The 33-year-old comedian checked out a few hours later. (AP via Yahoo!)


Cindy Adams: At the premiere for Hairspray, director Adam Shankman dropped a few S- and F-bombs during his welcoming speech to the crowd of 1,650.

Ben Widdicombe: Talking presidential politics in the new issue of GQ, Matt Damon says no to Hillary Clinton and yes to an Al Gore run.

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