Hollywood Notes

Nov 26, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Studios USA cancels `Invisible Man’
Studios USA is making “Invisible Man” disappear once and for all. The Sci-Fi cable and syndicated series has had its plug pulled by the distributor due to steep production costs. The series’ budget often climbed above $1 million per episode-expensive for an original basic-cable series. The network will run off the last five unaired episodes in January and February. “Invisible” premiered in syndication three months after its Sci-Fi debut. Those TV stations will be able to keep running it through August.
Gameworks to give `Blind Date’ promo
Universal Television has partnered with Gameworks to promote the third season of syndicated strip “Blind Date.” Local Gameworks venues are set to host viewing parties in conjunction with its “Ladies Play Free” Thursday night promotions. The venues will host singles parties featuring their own version of blind dating, partnering with a local radio show in their markets to give away games, food and other prizes, and there will be a sweepstakes drawing for a Valentine’s Day promotion. Among the markets participating are Los Angeles, Dallas, Phoenix, Miami, Chicago and Seattle.
Green developing pilot for The WB
Tom Green has reportedly signed with The WB to develop a half-hour skateboarding-themed variety series with the netlet, to be produced by Regency Television. Mr. Green will serve as the show’s executive producer and will have some on-camera roles.
Showtime renews two, cancels two
As expected, Showtime, Viacom’s premium cable network, has renewed “Soul Food” and “Resurrection Blvd.,” two critically praised original dramas, and picked up “Street Time,” a gritty drama set in the world of parole officers and ex-convicts. The “Soul” and “Resurrection” renewals are for 40 episodes and 15 episodes, respectively. “Street Time,” starring Rob Morrow (“Northern Exposure”) as a former drug smuggler on parole after serving five years in prison, has a 20-episode first-season order. Cancellation notices also went out to “Going to California” and “Leap Years,” two first-year series that didn’t make the renewal cut. “Street Time” is from Columbia TriStar Domestic Television. “Soul Food” is an Edmonds Entertainment and State Street Pictures production in association with Paramount Network Television. “Resurrection Blvd.” is produced by Viacom Productions.
`Samurai Jack’ headed for big screen
The latest sword-and-sorcery project to get the big-screen green light comes not from literature but from cable TV. “Samurai Jack,” Cartoon Network’s new animated series, is heading to the big screen. Brett Ratner (“Rush Hour”) is attached to direct a live-action version of the stylish cult hit for New Line Cinema. The script for the live-action “Jack” is being written by Genny Tartakovsky, creator of the animated “Samurai Jack” and “Dexter’s Laboratory.” The film version of “Jack” is due in theaters in 2003. Both Cartoon Network and New Line are part of AOL Time Warner.
Panel to examine Hollywood and war
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Activities Committee is presenting a major panel session, “Hollywood Goes to War?- Politics, Showbiz and the War on Terrorism,” a wide-ranging discussion of the entertainment industry’s role in America’s current war on terrorism. An outgrowth of two recent meetings between the White House and Hollywood leaders, the panel session will take place Wednesday, Dec. 5, at ATAS headquarters in North Hollywood, Calif.
The panel session, which will be moderated by ATAS Chairman Bryce Zabel, will be headlined by Jeff Zucker, president of NBC Entertainment; Aaron Sorkin, creator and executive producer of NBC’s hit drama “The West Wing”; and Mark McKinnon, a senior adviser to the White House and the Bush administration. Other panelists include Paris Barclay, a director, author and composer; Mort Rosenblum, a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press; Alice West, co-executive producer of Fox’s “Ally McBeal” drama; actress-producer Sheryl Lee Ralph; and Craig Haffner, president and CEO of Greystone Communications.