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CBS Develops Witch, Dr. Shows

Oct 26, 2008  •  Post A Comment

CBS is planning to jump into the variety show sweepstakes and is working with “Hairspray” producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron on a new project about suburban witches.
In addition, filmmaker Curtis Hanson (“L.A. Confidential”) and “Jericho” executive producer Carol Barbee are looking to put a new spin on the medical drama format for CBS. And while the odds are good that there will be more of “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race” next year, the status of Mark Burnett’s “Jingles” is still uncertain.
Those are some of the news nuggets gleaned last week from conversations with members of the CBS management team, who talked to TelevisionWeek about the network’s strong performance during the first weeks of the new season.
And now, the news:
—Mr. Zadan and Mr. Meron are executive producing “Hex Wives,” an hourlong series about four suburban women who realize they have magical powers.
—Also new on the CBS development slate: “Magic City,” a 1960s period drama set inside an iconic Miami Beach hotel. Mitch Glazer (“The Recruit”) is the executive producer.
—CBS is actively looking to find a new medical franchise, with Mr. Hanson and Ms. Barbee working on one idea. The network declined to provide storyline details.
All three projects, which hail from CBS Paramount Network Television, represent what CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler labeled “outside-the-box” development in the works at the network.
—With NBC and Fox getting ready to launch variety shows starring Rosie O’Donnell and the Osbournes, respectively, CBS is getting ready to jump into the fray. “We have a couple of pieces we’re in negotiations on,” Ms. Tassler said, referring to possible hosts. “If you can find the right chemistry and the right talent, it seems the time is right for it.”
—When asked if “Survivor” would return for more cycles beyond the one currently in production, CBS Corp. President-CEO Leslie Moonves indicated it would. “I think it’s a pretty safe bet,” he said. “I’m also very pleased with the numbers for ‘The Amazing Race.’”
As for the long-in-the-works “Jingles,” Mr. Moonves and Ms. Tellem both declined to say when, or if, the series would finally premiere. “They haven’t shown it to me yet,” Mr. Moonves said.
—Mr. Moonves predicted CBS will “have less new shows on next year than we did this year,” a reflection of how well the network’s newcomers are performing. CBS debuted five shows this fall.

40 Comments

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