Hollywood Notes

Jul 23, 2001  •  Post A Comment

`Hispanics Today’ names hosts
Trans World International and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce now have faces for the upcoming weekly series “Hispanics Today.” Manuel Teodoro and Maria Arita will host the half-hour program that showcases the contributions of Hispanic leaders in the worlds of business, entertainment, politics, culture and sports along with issues impacting the Latino community. Mr. Teodoro is an Emmy Award-winning journalist with nearly 20 years of experience in TV news. The Colombian-born journalist began his career at CBS News in Miami and went on to work at Univision, CNN-Telemundo and CNN en EspaÑol. Ms. Arita has hosted series such as “Haven,” with Joy Philbin, “On the Beam” and “Straight from the Heart.”
Peter Rodgers adding to library
Indie program distributor The Peter Rodgers Organization is marking its 25th anniversary with the closing of several deals designed to increase the size of its library. The company signed a production and representation deal with Liberty International Entertainment to freshen its library with more than 75 new feature titles and to introduce first-run series and specials. In addition, the company will launch “Scope,” a weekly first-run half-hour, this fall with hosts Joe Penny and Alexandria Cousteau signed as talent for the science series. Dean Stockwell will host “Phenomenon: The Lost Archives” this season in a series of 14 one-hour specials exploring recently declassified government secrets. The series premieres on PBS this month.
Studios USA signs `Just Shoot Me’ duo
Studios USA has signed the writing and producing team of Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah to a multiyear development deal. As part of the deal, Mr. Sachs and Mr. Judah will be developing comedy, drama and reality series. Mr. Sachs and Mr. Judah, who have been a writing team since 1998, most recently served as consulting producers on the upcoming fall 2001 Fox sitcom “Undeclared.” Last season, they served as co-executive producers on the NBC comedy series “Just Shoot Me.”
`Big Brother 2′ advertisers under fire
The Parents Television Council, a nonprofit family TV watchdog group, is condemning a handful of advertisers that are members of the Family Friendly Programming Forum for sponsoring a “particularly vulgar and sexually explicit” episode of CBS’s “Big Brother 2” during the so-called “family hour,” 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., ET/PT. The PTC, headed by founder L. Brent Bozell III, cited the July 12 episode of “BB2,” in which New Jersey bartender Justin was expelled from the house after holding a kitchen knife near the throat of female housemate Krista. The PTC listed the six advertisers who placed commercial spots in the episode as Procter & Gamble, Sprint, General Motors, Kentucky Fried Chicken-Tricon Global, Combe and Unilever -all of which are Forum members. A spokeswoman for the Association of National Advertisers said all the Forum advertisers “issue broad guidelines” regarding what sort of 8 p.m. family shows to buy into. She added that it was more of a question for agencies and advertisers to address in terms of specific placement in “Big Brother 2.”
De Bont to develop Viacom series
Viacom Productions has signed filmmaker Jan de Bont and his Blue Tulip Productions to a development deal to executive produce and direct series television for the studio. Steve Gordon, executive vice president of creative affairs for Viacom Productions, made the announcement on Friday, saying, “We are thrilled for the opportunity to work with an A-list filmmaker like Jan. He has a tremendous reputation for infusing each
project he’s produced and directed with amazing energy and creativity.” Mr. de Bont directed hit movies such as “Speed” and “Twister” and he was cinematographer for “Basic Instinct,” “Die Hard,” and “The Hunt for Red October.” After he established Blue Tulip in 1997 he went on to produce “Speed 2: Cruise Control” and “The Haunting.” Blue Tulip has a feature film deal with 20th Century Fox, but the agreement with Viacom marks the first time the company has made a deal in the television arena.