Hollywood Notes

Sep 30, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Driver on road to NBC series
NBC has signed an exclusive series development deal with Oscar nominee Minnie Driver (“Good Will Hunting,” “Return to Me”) to headline a new comedy or drama series for launch in the 2003-04 season. “NBC is excited to be in business with Minnie Driver, whose star qualities translate in any medium,” Jeff Zucker, president of NBC Entertainment, said in a statement. “Her crossover appeal, marquee value and winning personality make her a natural to star in her own NBC series.” Representing Ms. Driver in the deal was International Creative Management talent agency.
Court expands original programming
Court TV is moving to all-original prime-time programming Monday through Saturday for the first time, beginning Sept. 30. On weeknights, “I-Zone,” original documentaries focusing on the process of investigation, will lead off at 8 p.m. “Forensic Files,” Court TV’s signature series, will follow with back-to-back half-hour episodes at 9 p.m., except on Wednesdays, when “I Detective,” Court’s interactive sleuthing series, will be telecast at 9:30 p.m. “The Investigators,” another documentary series, will air at 10 p.m. “NYPD Blue,” an off-network staple for Court TV, will move from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. On Saturdays, actress and former CNN Headline News anchor Andrea Thompson will host “Saturday Night Solution,” another block of original investigative prime-time programming. “Investigative, forensic and detective subjects [have] clearly struck a chord” with the Court audience, said Art Bell, Court TV’s executive VP of programming, who called “consistent scheduling in prime time” an important element in growing the network’s audiences. “Over the next year, as we continue to build upon the popularity of our investigative brand, we plan to launch several new original series focused on this subject matter.”
USA renews `Monk’
“Monk” has been renewed for a second 13-episode season by basic cable’s USA Network. The series from Disney’s Touchstone Television made history recently when Disney broadcaster ABC picked it up in a unique cable-to-broadcasting repurposing deal. The quirky series stars Tony Shalhoub as an obsessive-compulsive detective.
NBC picks up more `Forensic Files’
NBC is staying on the case, picking up eight additional half-hour episodes of Court TV’s “Forensic Files.” The half-hour episodes will begin airing on the network back-to-back Saturday, Oct. 12, in a one-hour block beginning at 8 p.m. Another one-hour block will air the following Saturday in the same hour. Airdates for the additional episodes will be announced later. The experiment in what Court TV CEO Henry Schleiff called “reverse repurposing” began on NBC this summer with a successful eight-episode Sunday night “Forensic” run.
`Justice’ wins among syndie rookies
The early race among syndicators gave Warner Bros. some “Justice” as the rookie strip “Celebrity Justice” took first place among nationally ranked first-run rookies with a 1.2 average, despite pre-emptions affecting a number of series due to Sept. 11 anniversary coverage, according to Nielsen Media Research for the week ending Sept. 13. NBC Enterprises’ “The John Walsh Show” took second place with a 1.1 rating, edging Telepictures’ “Caroline Rhea Show, which in week 2 slipped to a 1.0 score. Paramount’s “Life Moments” earned a 0.8 rating to round up the cast. Next week’s report will include ratings for a number of highly anticipated series, including “Dr. Phil,” Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and “Pyramid.”
Molund joins Gurin Co.
Gunilla Molund has been named managing director of The Gurin Co. She will be based at Gurin’s headquarters in Studio City, Calif., and will be responsible for developing new reality- and drama-based projects based on European formats. Ms. Molund was previously head of international affairs and business development at Sweden-based Jarowskij Sverige AB.