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Apr 21, 2003  •  Post A Comment

MTV to Make Bronte Musical

Forget Catherine (Merle Oberon) and Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier) and that gloomy, stormy landscape with the manor house in the English moors. MTV is giving Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights the musical telefilm treatment.

This time around, Wuthering Heights will tell the story of two siblings living with their countercultural father in a lighthouse who encounter a reclusive, but musically talented homeless boy named Heath.

The update will star Erika Christensen (Traffic), Mike Vogel (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Chris Masterson (Malcolm in the Middle) Katherine Heigl (Roswell) and Johnny Whitworth (The Rainmaker).

The movie is set to go into production in Puerto Rico in May 2003 and is scheduled to air in the third quarter.

‘Classmates’ to Debut in June: As had been expected, Twentieth Television confirmed that the distributor was joining with Classmates.com for upcoming strip Classmates (EM 2/17). The series will debut on June 30 on select Fox owned-and-operated stations.

“Classmates.com has more than 35 million members, and our show, Classmates will give real people the chance to reunite with old flames, long-lost friends and even rivals,” said Bob Cook, president and chief operating officer of Twentieth. “Since one of the people being reunited won’t know who is trying to contact them, the nervous tension leading up to the reunion and the results afterward are sure to keep viewers interested and engaged.”

The series will be a half-hour strip, where people will get to surprise their former friends, lovers, schoolmates or colleagues and get the reunion they’ve longed for. David Armour will serve as executive producer and showrunner in concert with executive producers Matt Papish and Glen Freyer. Classmates will be produced by Classmates Online and Small Cages Productions in association with FoxLab and Twentieth Television.

MSNBC Sets Postwar Programming: MSBNC has taken another step in its transition to postwar programming. The cable network declared that stand-alone shows hosted by legal correspondent Dan Abrams and editor-in-chief Jerry Nachman don’t “make sense going forward.”

In an internal e-mail, MSNBC President Erik Sorenson said both men would remain on-air contributors — Mr. Abrams as a daytime anchor and correspondent on crime and legal stories and Mr. Nachman “as a kind of Eric Sevareid/Jeff Greenfield voice on media, politics and law enforcement stories and issues.” Mr. Sorenson said the staffs of both shows are being redeployed to other shifts and shows.

The average weekday programming lineup is now divided between live news coverage produced by MSNBC’s Newsforce team until 3 p.m., when the more opinionated hosts rule over programming that will bookend a total of four hours of newscasts anchored by Lester Holt.

The weekday lineup starting this week: From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Buchanan & Press, followed by Lester Holt Live (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.), a second hour of Buchanan & Press (6 p.m. to 7 p.m.), Hardball With Chris Matthews (7 p.m. to 8 p.m.), Countdown With Keith Olbermann (8 p.m. to 9 p.m.), Lester Holt (9 p.m. to 10 p.m.), Scarborough Country With Joe Scarborough (10 p.m. to 11 p.m.) and Lester Holt (11 p.m. to midnight).