Hollywood Notes

Jul 9, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Next heat of `The Amazing Race’
There is a counting-your-chickens-before-they-hatch issue brewing at CBS. Even before “The Amazing Race” premieres this fall, CBS is initiating a nationwide casting call for contestants to take part in “The Amazing Race 2,” which is still in the early development stages.
The inaugural edition of “Amazing Race” does not premiere on CBS (9 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET Wednesdays) until September, though its CBS.com Web site had briefly billed it as a “hit” series last week when seeking candidates to complete online applications for the second edition.
A spokesman for CBS said the network has yet to formally place a series order for “Amazing Race 2,” but wanted to get a jump on the time-consuming casting process involved in prepping a second series. While CBS has not set a broadcast date, questions remain as to whether production could be ramped up in time for a February or May 2002 sweeps run.
New deal for `Gilmore’s’ top girl
Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator and executive producer of the critically acclaimed “Gilmore Girls” dramedy on The WB, has signed an exclusive three-year production and development deal with Warner Bros. Television.
A spokeswoman for the studio would not disclose terms. The new deal locks Ms. Sherman-Palladino in to executive-produce “Gilmore Girls” for the next three seasons.
“No, I didn’t get a Porsche,” joked Ms. Sherman-Palladino, referring to the “Friends” cast’s getting the pricey sports cars as gifts from WBTV for re-signing with the show a few years back. “Actually, I’m thrilled they finally gave me an office with a window,” she added with a laugh.
More clearances for `Texas Justice’
Twentieth Television continues to rack up clearances for upcoming court show “Texas Justice” as the strip prepares for its Jan. 7 national launch.
The strip, which made its debut earlier this year as a regional rollout in the Southeast, has now cleared 73 percent of the country. Recent clearances include Miami’s WPLG-TV, Pittsburgh’s WNPA-TV, San Diego’s KUSI-TV, Raleigh, N.C.’s WRAL-TV, Nashville, Tenn.’s WZTV and Fort Myers, Fla.’s WTVK-TV.
In addition, the series has made a deal with the WB 100+ Station Group. The strip previously cleared all the Fox owned-and-operated stations for the launch.
Son of Synditel to emerge at TCA
Following sharp criticism last year, what was known as Synditel returns with a makeover Monday as the syndicated programming portion of the Television Critics Association Tour. Participating studios will schedule appearances by talent from a number of series instead of just from debuting shows, according to Jeff Pryor of the showcase steering committee.
As for the rookies, five series will make their presence felt with sessions and one-on-one interviews: Pearson Television’s “Card Sharks,” King World Productions’ “Ananda Lewis Show,” NBC Enterprises’ “The Other Half,” Universal Television’s “The Fifth Wheel” and Telepictures Distribution’s “Elimidate.”
Gullane buys Guinness World Records
Gullane Entertainment, the family-fare studio whose properties include Nickelodeon’s former “Thomas the Tank Engine” kids series, has acquired London-based Guinness World Records in a $65 million deal. Guinness is a widely recognized international brand that includes the annual “Guinness Book of World Records.”
Gullane, a public company based in the United Kingdom, intends to mine global television sales, licensing and merchandising, live events and new media content revenue. Guinness television programs, which aired domestically on Fox in the past, are currently being broadcast worldwide. For the year ended June 30, 2000, GWR generated total sales of $33 million and had net assets of $5 million.