NEWS ROUNDUP

Spike Lee Doing TV

Plus: Harvey Keitel signs on for NYPD thriller, mechanical failure ruled out in Brandy accident, and more...

Spike Lee
Image credit: Spike Lee: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Spike Lee doing NBC pilot
Lee will direct the NBC pilot M.O.N.Y., from writer-producers Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson. It focuses on an everyman who becomes the mayor of New York, and is set and to be filmed in New York. The project stems from a development deal Lee made with NBC earlier this year. Lee joins other notable movie directors who have recently signed on to do TV pilots: Gabriele Muccino (The Pursuit of Happyness) will direct and executive produce Viva Laughlin, the musical drama Hugh Jackman is executive producing for CBS; Gary Winick, (13 Going on 30 and Charlotte's Web) is directing NBC Universal TV Studio's Lipstick; and P.J. Hogan (My Best Friend's Wedding) will direct and executive produce the Barry Josephson-produced comedic nurses pilot Philadelphia for Fox. (Hollywood Reporter)

Harvey Keitel to join NYPD thriller
The actor is in final negotiations to play a New York cop in the Franc. Reyes-penned and directed crime thriller The Ministers. The story is about a female NYPD detective (played by newcomer Florence Lozano) who becomes romantically involved with a member of a group, known as the Ministers, that killed her father years ago. Keitel will play a good cop who has an unfortunate incident change the course of his life. The movie also features John Leguizamo and Diane Venora. Shooting is already underway in New York. (Hollywood Reporter)

Police rule out mechanical defect in Brandy accident
Police investigating a Dec. 30, four-car accident involving singer/actress Brandy have ruled out mechanical failure as a cause of the crash. The California Highway Patrol said that the driver who started the accident was definitely Brandy, but they have not yet determined whether she will be found primarily at fault or criminally negligent. Awatef Aboudihaj, 38, a married mother of one, was killed when Brandy's Land Rover rear-ended her vehicle. (Reuters)

Producers working on reality show for NFL stars
Feature producers Randall Emmett and George Furla are preparing to pitch a new reality show in which NFL stars are put in situations where they have to confront their fears on camera. Emmett/Furla Films is working on the show with former Playboy Playmate Stephanie Heinrich and Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor. They hope to start pitching in the next few weeks. (Variety)

ABC renews three reality shows
The network greenlit new seasons of Wife Swap, Supernanny and America's Funniest Home Videos. They will join the certain-to-be-renewed Dancing With the Stars as well as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and The Bachelor on ABC's reality-heavy 2007-08 lineup. (Variety)

Will Smith to produce new Columbia project
Columbia Pictures has picked up the thriller Le Voyeur for Smith and James Lassiter to produce through Sony-based Overbrook Entertainment. The Massy Tadjedin-penned story centers on a man who returns to the Caribbean island of his youth and becomes a suspect in a murder committed two days after his arrival. It is based on a 1955 French novel by Alain Robbe-Grillet. (Hollywood Reporter)

Idol still booming in ratings
Wednesday's two-hour American Idol telecast peaked at 36.9 million viewers, beating all competition with a 13.9 rating, down only 10 percent from its premiere-week performance last Wednesday and outperforming its comparable airing last year by 7 percent. (TV Week)

Braugher, Holden joining Stephen King adaptation
Andre Braugher (FX's Thief) and Laurie Holden (Silent Hill) are joining Thomas Jane in The Mist, Dimension Films' adaptation of the Stephen King story. It is being directed and produced by Frank Darabony, who also wrote the script. The story is set in a Maine town after a strange storm blows through and citizens are attacked by deadly creatures. Shooting is scheduled to start by late February. (Hollywood Reporter)

FX launches drama for Izzard, Driver
The new drama Rides, starring Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver as grifters who assume the life of a wealthy family, will premiere on March 12 on FX. A Weinstein Co. and Dimension Films sponsorship will allow for minimal commercial interruption during the debut. (Variety)

Universal options New York-based novel
Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment have optioned Claire Messud's The Emperor's Children, which was nominated for the Man Booker prize in 2006. The story, set in New York, is based on three upper-crust Brown University grads who long to do something meaningful as they turn 30. The feature will be produced by Imagine's Brian Grazer, and Ron Howard is reportedly considering it as a directing project. (Variety)

Gold Circle acquires John Connolly adaptation
Gold Circle Films has acquired the John Travis-penned horror adaptation of a John Connolly short story. The New Daughter is about a single father who moves his two kids to rural Illinois and learns that a nearby burial mound may be causing his daughter to act strangely. The story is from Connolly's recent collection, Nocturnes. (Variety)

Google Video steps aside for YouTube
Now that Google has purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion, the company is altering its Google Video site to focus on video searches, allowing YouTube to take the lead in hosting video content. The change will enable users to search the entire Web for video using Google, not just the Google Video offerings, as was its previous function. (Hollywood Reporter)

B.B. King hospitalized
The 81-year-old blues legend was hospitalized at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston for undisclosed reasons, but is reportedly in good condition as of early Friday. King was not in the intensive care unit. A hospital administrator said the artist could be released later today or on Saturday. (CNN)

IN THE GOSSIPS

Page Six: Producer Kevin Blatt is shopping a reality show in which 10 young men compete for the chance to lose their virginity to a celebrity.

Cindy Adams: Despite her sugar-and-spice public persona, Christie Brinkley has been a ruthless shark in her divorce proceedings.

Rush & Molloy: At 84, Norman Mailer still has the spunk left to lash out at critics.

Originally posted Jan 26, 2007