Hollywood Notes

Apr 23, 2001  •  Post A Comment

`West Wing’s’ Sorkin held on drug charges
Aaron Sorkin, the creator and executive producer of NBC’s “The West Wing,” was arrested on drug possession charges April 15 while attempting to catch a Southwest Airlines flight from Burbank, Calif., to Las Vegas.
As first reported by EMonline.com (April 16), Mr. Sorkin was arrested on suspicion of possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms after airport screening personnel allegedly found the controlled substance in his baggage during a routine preflight weapons check, according to Burbank Airport Police Sgt. Tom Davenport.
Mr. Sorkin, 39, was booked by Burbank police. The multiple Emmy winner was released after a $10,000 bail bond was posted. It was not disclosed who posted the bond on Mr. Sorkin’s behalf.
He is scheduled to be arraigned April 30. Production on “The West Wing” is unaffected, with the show having gone on summer hiatus after Mr. Sorkin finished writing the last episode two weeks ago. He has either written or co-written every episode of the show for each of its first two seasons.
“I am glad to be surrounded by such a supportive group of people and am prepared to proceed as directed by my attorney and in the best interest of my family,” Mr. Sorkin said in a statement. “I appreciate your respect for my family’s privacy during this period.”
In 1995, Mr. Sorkin entered a rehabilitation program at the Hazeldon Institute for treatment of a publicly announced cocaine addiction.
Celebrity `Link’ uses `Survivor’ cast
Billing itself as NBC’s answer to ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and CBS’s “Survivor,” The Peacock Network’s new “Weakest Link” is already borrowing pages from each show’s playbook for the upcoming May sweeps. “Weakest Link” has announced that it is going to offer a “celebrity edition” of the show featuring a half-dozen of the original “Survivor” cast members appearing as quiz contestants in a special half-hour airing at 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. (ET) Thursday, May 10.
Leading the “Survivor” castaways is million-dollar champion Richard Hatch, who will be joined by Susan Hawk, Dr. Sean Kenniff, Ramona Gray, Gretchen Cordy and Joel Klug as contestants and verbal fodder for snide “Weakest Link” host Anne Robinson.
Studios USA inks deal with Holliday
Studios USA Programming has signed a multiyear comedy development deal with writer-producer Cheryl Holliday, it was announced by Marcy Ross, senior vice president of comedy programming for Studios USA. Ms. Holliday is co-executive producer of the ABC comedy “Norm,” starring Norm Macdonald, and will continue with the show pending its pickup for fall to run concurrent with her new deal at Studios USA. Ms. Holliday, a former stand-up comic, previously served as co-executive producer of Fox’s animated hit “King of the Hill” for three seasons. She also created the Fox sitcom “Costello.”
McEntire to carry `Gun’ for CBS
Reba McEntire has been signed by CBS to star in a movie-of-the-week revival of Irving Berlin’s “Annie Get Your Gun,” based on the acclaimed Broadway musical in which she plays famous sharpshooter Annie Oakley.
The movie, now in development for broadcast on CBS for the 2001-02 season, will be produced by CBS Productions, Jaffe-Braunstein Films, Starstruck Entertainment and Barry and Fran Weissler. The Weisslers are the producers of the current Broadway hit. Executive producers are Michael Jaffe, Howard Braunstein and McEntire; Narvel Blackstock and Shelley Browning of Starstruck Entertainment; and the Weisslers.
`Justice’ expands to nine markets
The slow rollout of Twentieth Television’s fledgling court-show strip “Texas Justice” will continue in upcoming weeks with expansions toward both the East and West coasts to give the series nine markets, all on Fox owned-and-operated stations. The series has been added at 11 a.m. on WTVT-TV, Tampa, Fla., and at 10 a.m. on KSAZ-TV, Phoenix.