NEWS ROUNDUP

Showtime Launches 'Big Brother, After Dark'

Plus: Megan Mullally rounds out casting for Mel Brooks' Broadway production of ''Young Frankenstein,'' Tyler Perry's ''House of Payne'' sets sitcom record, Josh Gad to star opposite Rainn Wilson in ''The Rocker,'' and more...

JULIE CHEN
Image credit: John P. Filo
JULIE CHEN

Big Brother, After Dark launching on Showtime
Come July 5, rabid fans of CBS's Big Brother will have a new way to spy on the show's sequestered houseguests: the eye will start airing live feeds from the house on one of its sister Showtime channels. Dubbed Big Brother, After Dark, the live action in the house will air every night from 12 p.m. to 3 a.m. on SHOTOO, a Showtime channel that airs mostly theatricals and adult flicks and is available in over 14 million homes. This is the first time the network has aired live feeds on TV, though they have been available via the internet since BB launched seven years ago. Also new for fans this summer: episodes will be available on CBS.com. The eighth season of Brother will air Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. And yes — host Julie Chen will be back.

Tea Leoni joins Ghost Town
Tea Leoni will appear alongside Greg Kinnear and Ricky Gervais in the DreamWorks/Spyglass romantic comedy Ghost Town. The story is about a dentist who dies briefly and gains the ability to see dead people who ask him for help in contacting the living. Leoni will play a woman whose dead husband is trying to break up her impending marriage. David Koepp, who was a writer on Spider-Man, War of the Worlds and Panic Room, will direct from a script he wrote with John Kamps. Shooting is scheduled to begin in October. Leoni next appears in You Kill Me, opposite Ben Kingsley and Luke Wilson. (Hollywood Reporter)

Mullally, Bart head to Brooks' new Broadway show
Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) and Roger Bart (Hostel II) have completed the casting for Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein, his much-anticipated Broadway follow-up to The Producers. The show will open on Nov. 8 at the Hilton Theatre. The musical is based on Brooks' 1974 movie of the same name. Bart will play Frederick Frankenstein (played by Gene Wilder in the movie), a descendant of Mary Shelley's mad genius. Mullally will play Frankenstein's uptight fiancee Elizabeth (played by Madeline Kahn in the film). Sutton Foster (The Drowsy Chaperone) has been cast as lusty lab assistant Inga (Teri Garr), and Christopher Fitzgerald (Gutenberg! The Musical) as Igor (Marty Feldman). Shuler Hensley (Tarzan) plays the Monster; Peter Boyle handled those duties in the movie. The production reunites composer/lyricist/co-book writer Brooks with Producers collaborators Thomas Meehan (co-book writer) and Susan Stroman (director-choreographer). Producers alums also return for the Frankenstein design team. Tickets will go on sale July 15. The show will get a preview run at the Paramount Theater in Seattle from Aug. 7-Sept. 1, before kicking off previews at the Hilton on Oct. 11 for the Nov. 8 opening. (Variety)

House of Payne sets sitcom record
The Wednesday night debut of TBS sitcom Tyler Perry's House of Payne set a record for sitcom ratings on ad-supported cable. The first half-hour attracted 5.2 million viewers, and the second 30 minutes grabbed a record 5.8 million. The second half also earned ad-supported cable records in adults 18-34 (1.4 million), 18-49 (3.06 million), and 25-54 (2.985 million). It beat programming on NBC and CBS in 18-49. TBS has Payne exclusively until fall 2008, when it heads to TV stations throughout the country that have prebought the series and will play it at least five times a week. (Hollywood Reporter)

Gad lands spot with Wilson in The Rocker
Josh Gad will star alongside Rainn Wilson in the music-themed comedy The Rocker, which Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty) is directing for Fox Atomic. The story is about a failed, over-the-hill drummer (Wilson) who gets a second chance at fame with a new band. Gad plays Wilson's nephew and head of a high school rock band that Wilson ends up joining. Production is set to begin on June 18. This fall, Gad will star alongside Kelsey Grammer, Patricia Heaton, and Fred Willard in Fox's new comedy Back to You. He will also be seen in 21, a feature starring Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth, and in Wayne Kramer's immigration ensemble Crossing Over. Gad took over Dan Fogler's Tony Award-winning role as William Barfee in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee on Broadway in 2006. (Hollywood Reporter)

Lane joins Mamet's Broadway comedy
Nathan Lane will star in David Mamet's Broadway comedy November, which opens next January at a Shubert theater to be named later. Lane will play the lead role as President Charles Smith in the political comedy, about a day in the life of a beleaguered commander-in-chief. No other casting for the five-person ensemble has been named. November, produced by the Glengarry Glen Ross team of Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel and helmed by Glengarry director Joe Mantello, starts rehearsals Nov. 26 for a preview period that kicks off Dec. 21 for a Jan. 17 opening. (Variety)

Author sues Apatow over Knocked Up story
A Canadian author is suing NBC Universal and Judd Apatow over the movie Knocked Up, claiming that the story is stolen from her book of the same name. Calgary-based Rebecca Eckler details similarities between her book and the film in this month's Maclean's magazine. She claims that while pitching her book to Hollywood producers, she learned of Apatow's project and script, which she says used a picture of a martini glass with a pacifier around the stem — the same picture on the cover of her book. Apatow said in a statement that the film and the book are very different. (Hollywood Reporter)

Miner to direct Simpson in Major Movie Star
Steve Miner (Lake Placid, Halloween H2O) will direct Major Movie Star, starring Jessica Simpson as a Marine Corps enlistee. The story is about a pampered star who enlists in the Marines to win approval from producers who consider her unsuitable for an upcoming military-themed film. Once enlisted, she realizes she's made a mistake, but goes through with it anyway so she won't let her country down. Shooting starts next month. (Variety)

Another lawsuit for Borat
A New York man seen fleeing from Sasha Baron Cohen's character Borat in the hit movie Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan has filed suit against 20th Century Fox over a scene in which he is seen ''fleeing in apparent terror, screaming for Mr. Cohen to 'go away,''' court documents say. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and says film used the plaintiff's likeness without his consent, causing emotional damage that he continues to suffer. Borat has generated at least three lawsuits to date, including one brought by two college fraternity members shown in the movie guzzling alcohol and making racist remarks. A judge threw that suit out of court in February. (Hollywood Reporter)

IN THE GOSSIPS

People.com: Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora has checked into rehab; the nature of his problem was not disclosed.

Page Six: Adam Brody was seen getting cozy at a Hollywood hotspot with Hostel II actress Lauren German.

Originally posted Jun 08, 2007