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Hollywood Notes

Aug 27, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Me Tarzan, you Superman
Young Superman in The WB’s fall 2001 premiere “Smallville” may soon find that he has company from a young Tarzan. The WB has made a “put” pilot commitment with sister studio Warner Bros. Television for a modernized take on the classic Edgar Rice Burroughs tale, “Tarzan, Lord Greystroke.” The pilot, which is being developed for the 2002-03 season, will be executive-produced by Laura Ziskin and written by veteran film scribes Mike Werb and Michael Colleary. In the updated take, the 17-year-old Tarzan is shipped off to New York to live with his aunt after being injured by poachers in Africa. The network also has a fall 2002 small screen adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz,” also from Warner Bros. Television and tentatively titled “Tales of Oz,” in development. The adaptation is based on a contemporary series of novels penned by David Hayter revolving around a 20-year-old woman who lands in Oz, is unable to escape and leads a revolt against the Emerald City.
WB’s `Lost in the USA’ bites the dust
The WB Network canceled fall show “Lost in the USA,” which was being co-produced by Michael Ovitz’s soon-to-be defunct Artists Television Group. To make up for the void in its Sunday schedule, The WB hastily filled the 7 p.m.-to-8 p.m. (ET) slot with reality series “Ripley’s Believe It or Not,” which currently has a run on the AOL Time Warner-owned TBS cable network. A spokesman for The WB confirmed that the network has ordered 12 episodes of “Believe It or Not” from series producer Columbia TriStar Television Distribution to debut Sept. 30. According to sources, financing for the series fell through when ATG allegedly decided to pull out of “Lost in the USA” and co-production partner Bunim/Murray Productions could not line up another partner and decided to scrap the show. With ATG most likely going out of business, CBS is said by sources to be picking up production and financing from ATG’s half-interest in “The Ellen Show,” starring Ellen DeGeneres. An ATG spokeswoman said the TV unit is still in the “process of talks” with other suitors on taking over production of The WB midseason sitcoms “Cedric the Coach” and “No Ordinary Girl,” but there was no immediate word from reps if sister studio Warner Bros. Television is interested in assuming their production.
`Baywatch Blast’ coming to Fox
They’re going to don the bikinis and one-piece bathing suits one more time on “Baywatch” in a two-hour special movie to air next season on Fox. The kitschy 12-year-old lifeguard series, known in its final incarnation as “Baywatch Hawaii” until it was canceled in February, is being resuscitated as “Baywatch Blast” to air as a one-time-only special, potentially for Fox’s February 2002 sweeps schedule. Many of “Baywatch’s” former cast members, including David Hasselhoff, Alexandra Paul, Gena Lee Nolin, Nicole Eggert, Yasmine Bleeth, Traci Bingham and Carmen Electra, are said by sources to have committed to appear in the made-for-TV film. With Lions Gate Television said to be set to produce the telefilm, shooting is expected to begin in October in Oahu, Hawaii, followed by filming in Los Angeles.
Fox is also set to shoot “Beverly Hills 90210: The New Years,” a two-hour telefilm that is also being considered as a back-door pilot for a potential series. Set to air late this season or in fall 2002, the Aaron Spelling Television-produced telefilm will feature a new generation of Beverly Hills students, based on the long-running “Beverly Hills 90210” that aired on Fox from 1989 to 2000.
Short takes
Paramount Domestic Television has signed up Jonathan Goodson Productions to develop reality series for syndication. Goodson Productions will partner with Scandinavia’s Strix Television to find the best formats for these reality projects. … Trans World International, the network TV production and distribution arm of Mark McCormack’s International Management Group, has bought the U.S. television rights to “Who Killed the Pageant Queen?” a British-made documentary that explores new evidence in the JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation. TWI represents the producers and is shopping the one-hour program to the U.S. broadcast and cable networks.“