Stars turned into `Mutants’

Jun 4, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Some mutants set to hit the TV screen this fall have finally shown their faces.
Tribune Entertainment signed a former supervillain to become the moral center of the drama “Mutant X.” The syndicator has cast John Shea, who played Lex Luthor on the ABC series “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” as lead character Adam, the strategist and tactician of “Mutant X,” which follows the exploits of human mutants who are the products of a genetic experiment gone wrong.
Fleshing out the cast will be former “All My Children” actor Forbes March, Victoria Pratt (formerly of “Cleopatra 2525” and “Xena: Warrior Princess”), “Get Carter’s” Lauren Lee Smith and Victor Webster from “Days of Our Lives.”
“This cast represents a unique collection of actors who will provide `Mutant X’ with the specific skills and presence required to portray these five diverse characters,” said Philip Segal, senior vice president, scripted programming and development, at Tribune Entertainment. “We strongly feel that John, Forbes, Victoria, Lauren and Victor will embody the spirit of `Mutant X,’ which will showcase their talents with the exciting story arcs we have developed for the program.”
The production has also tapped producer Jamie Paul Rock (“La Femme Nikita,” “TekWar”), production designer Rocco Matteo (“La Femme Nikita”) and head writer Howard Chaykin (“The Flash,” “Viper” and the comic books “Son of Superman,” “American Flagg,” “Black Kiss” and “The Secret Society of Superheroes”).
Fireworks Entertainment will start producing the series this month in Toronto in association with Tribune Entertainment and Marvel Studios. To date, Tribune Entertainment has cleared the weekly action hour in 146 U.S. markets, including 95 of the top 100 markets, representing 93 percent of the country. Fireworks Entertainment represents the program internationally.
Also last week, Tribune entered into a distribution alliance with Hearst Entertainment under which Tribune will manage administrative and operation functions for Hearst’s domestic first-run television programming. The multiyear agreement, covering series ranging from weekly half-hour “Ron Hazelton’s HouseCalls” to the upcoming firefighting hour “The Bravest,” will include contract administration and research as well as cooperation in distribution and marketing strategies.
The entire Hearst library was part of the alliance, with more than 1,000 hours of programming in the mix. Tribune already had a barter sales agreement with Hearst that was extended earlier this year.
In addition, Tribune Entertainment opted to shift “City Guys” from a 2002 launch to this fall. The syndicator had already declared the off-network young-adult comedy strip a “firm go” for the new season with an 80 percent clearance, including sales to the Tribune stations and Sinclair Broadcast Group, Emmis Broadcasting, Acme Communications and Granite Broadcasting stations. Tribune’s WPIX-TV, New York, and KTLA-TV, Los Angeles, will carry the series in the top two markets.
Tribune Entertainment has also acquired distribution rights to 26 episodes of half-hour animated children’s program “Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century” from The WB.