The Insider

Oct 21, 2002  •  Post A Comment

A court show you can’t refuse
Going to court is always traumatic, but how would you feel if the real-life version of Vito Corleone or Tony Soprano was serving as judge, jury and executioner? Pretty scary, huh? Well, that’s what a pair of Los Angeles-based producers-John Surowy and Mike Stevens-pitched for a new courtroom strip in development titled, appropriately enough, “Godfather Court.”
Mr. Stevens, an associate producer, said the intention is to cast ex-convicts or actors who have played mobsters to serve as judges for “everyday” litigants and lawyers, who are encouraged to lie while pleading petty civil cases. But Mr. Stevens made it known there are some strict guidelines for fielding the panel of judges for the prospective network or syndicated show.
“As far as the judges are concerned, they should have completed serving [prison] time and be on parole,” Mr. Stevens said. “They cannot have committed any major crimes like murder, rape, molestation or kidnapping.”
Otherwise, interested “made” guys can apply for the show at www.godfathercourt.com.
Friends in high places
Telltale signs of emerging hit TV series, such as USA Network’s new, offbeat drama “Monk,” typically are celebrity guest shots or cameos. But in the case of “Monk,” it also helps that noted filmmaker and series producer David Hoberman has his connections.
Such was the case when filmmaking buddy Garry Marshall did a tour de force guest shot as an extension cord salesman who is stuck seated next to the obsessive-compulsive detective Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub) in the show’s season finale that aired last Friday.
As it turns out, Mr. Hoberman is currently in pre-production on a new motion picture, “Raising Helen” (starring Kate Hudson), which has Mr. Marshall attached as director.
“Garry and I were in a [pre-production] meeting when all of the sudden he says, ‘”Monk” is my wife’s favorite show,'” related Mr. Hoberman. “He then said, ‘Whenever you have a part, I’d love to do it.’ To have Garry Marshall seated in an airplane next to Tony when he’s going through his germophobic fits and fear of flying was just too hysterical to describe while we were in production.”
At one point in the episode, a flight attendant played by Mr. Shalhoub’s wife, actress Brooke Adams, angrily chastises the “defective detective” for lighting a lighter in violation of federal aviation regulations. “I think it was just a case where Tony had been in Toronto for so long shooting the show, he missed his wife and asked for a part so he could see her,” Mr. Hoberman said with a laugh.
On the previous episode, Mr. Hoberman turned to his agent, Jim Wiatt of William Morris Agency, to get fellow client and country singer Willie Nelson to play himself as potential murder suspect. Of course, Mr. Nelson ended up being acquitted by the unflappable Monk.
GOP Senate would doom Adelstein
Word on the street in Washington is that the long-pending nomination of Jonathan Adelstein for a Democratic seat at the Federal Communications Commission could be doomed if Republicans take control of the Senate in next month’s elections. Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., has already been blocking a Senate vote on Mr. Adelstein-an aide to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.-for months, in apparent retaliation for the refusal of Democrats to clear several Bush administration nominees to the federal appeals court. If Democrats retain their control of the Senate, Mr. Adelstein is expected to get the nod eventually, assuming his heart is still in it and Sen. Daschle continues fighting for him.
Growing the ’60 Minutes’ franchise
Synergy, much maligned of late, is alive and well at Viacom, where the venerable “60 Minutes” clock is about to begin ticking on Viacom’s TV Land too. But that’s not all.
“60 Minutes” correspondent Ed Bradley, who will host “TV Land Legends: The 60 Minutes Interviews,” which repurposes celebrity interviews that first aired under the aegis of the famous Sunday night CBS clock, may get his own jazz-oriented show on Viacom’s Black Entertainment Television.
Mr. Bradley, an aficionado of America’s home-grown musical idiom, already hosts a radio show on jazz, and BET includes jazz in its digital tier, along with gospel, hip-hop and R&B, so the move to jazz on cable would seem to be a natural one.
Conversations have been held about a jazz show and other BET possibilities, the dapper Mr. Bradley told The Insider, though he demurred when The Insider referred to “discussions,” preferring to characterize the BET talks as just throwing around ideas.
Mr. Bradley’s 13-episode TV Land series, which debuts Nov. 3, includes profiles and updates, outtakes and material left on the “60 Minutes” cutting-room floor.