Hollywood Notes

Apr 30, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Downey loses `Ally’ job after latest arrest
As a result of his latest brush with the law on drug charges, Robert Downey Jr. is losing the role on “Ally McBeal” that earned him a Golden Globe this year.
The actor, who made a much-heralded comeback as Calista Flockhart’s love interest on Fox’s “Ally,” was fired from the show Tuesday, just hours after being arrested in Culver City, Calif., for investigation of being under the influence of drugs.
David E. Kelley Productions, the co-producer of “Ally” (along with 20th Century Fox Television), made it clear in a statement that it plans to write Mr. Downey out of several episodes in which the actor was scheduled to appear.
The actor was walking in Culver City early Tuesday morning when officers saw him showing symptoms of being on drugs, police Lt. Dave Tankenson said.
Mr. Downey, 36, of Malibu, Calif., was detained a few hours, issued a misdemeanor citation and released to his parole agent. He was ordered to appear in court May 4. Parole officers pushed to have Mr. Downey admitted under 72-hour watch at a local drug rehabilitation center instead of being jailed, and he reportedly checked himself into rehab.
It was the second drug-related arrest in five months for Mr. Downey, who was already on parole from yet another drug charge.
NBC lets `Link’ slink over to Pax
Looking to further strengthen its link to the Pax TV network, NBC has licensed its new game show hit “Weakest Link” for a delayed second run on Pax at 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. (ET) Fridays, effective June 1. The announcement, made Wednesday by Pax TV President and CEO Jeff Sagansky, comes on the heels of NBC renewing the series for an additional 13 episodes (26 episodes total through this summer). NBC owns a one-third stake equity interest in Paxson Communications.
To make room for “Link,” Pax TV is moving “Encounters With the Unexplained,” hosted by Jerry Orbach, to the 9 p.m. Friday slot starting June 1. Since the April 16 premiere of “Link,” hosted by Anne Robinson, the show has averaged a 6.7 rating/18 share in adults 18 to 49 on NBC, according to Nielsen Media Research national data. Phil Gurin (“Twenty One”) and Stuart Krasnow (“Ricki Lake,” “Martin Short”) are executive producers of the NBC Studios and BBC Worldwide production of “Weakest Link.”
`Survivor’ keeps torch lit for extra week
A week after “Survivor: The Australian Outback” airs its big two-hour spring finale and hour-long reunion show on May 3, CBS is ready to feed viewers an extra serving with “Survivor: Back From the Outback” as an update special from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. (ET) May 10.
The hour-long, sweeps-driven special promises to give viewers a personal glimpse of the 16 contestants as they returned from Australia last December. “Back From the Outback” will also feature interviews with members of the first “Survivor” series commenting about the performance of their successors. Mark Burnett and Hal Gessner are executive producers for CBS Eye Too Productions, a unit of CBS News Productions.
`Heart’ changes location to New York
Facing a plethora of relationship-series competition this fall, Telepictures Distribution’s strip “Change of Heart” will move from Los Angeles to New York City for its fourth season, making it the only dating show to tape in the Big Apple. Production will begin in July, with the New York episodes debuting in September.
Bakula may beam aboard `Enterprise’
Former “Quantum Leap” star Scott Bakula has been cast to replace Burt Reynolds as one of the leads in the CBS sitcom pilot “Late Boomers.” But Mr. Bakula is keeping his options open, signing to appear in a guest role in the initial episode of “Late Boomers” while remaining in talks to take the skipper role in Paramount’s “Star Trek: Enterprise” spinoff that is in development. (Presumably, the latter is destined for UPN next season.)
Mr. Bakula fills the slot in “Late Boomers” following Mr. Reynolds’ much-publicized walkout from the show over creative differences with the pilot’s director and executive producer, Andrew Weyman.