Jul 14, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Ashton Kutcher of Fox’s “That ’70s Show” has signed a deal with the series’ producer Carsey-Werner-Mandabach to stay on through the 2004-05 season. Under the new pact Mr. Kutcher’s per-episode salary is said to be bumped into the low six-figure range.
Holland Taylor has signed to join the cast of CBS sitcom “Two and a Half Men.” She replaces Blythe Danner in the part of Evelyn Harper, the controlling mother of Charlie Sheen’s and Jon Cryer’s characters. “Men” will air Monday nights at 9:30 to 10 p.m. (ET) this fall.
Juliette Lewis will star in the Court TV film “Political Asylum,” based on a true story about an American lawyer (Ms. Lewis) who fights to save an Afghan emigre from the Taliban regime.
Blair Underwood (“Full Frontal”) has signed to appear in four episodes of HBO’s “Sex and the City.” Tatum O’Neal (“Paper Moon”) has signed to guest star in the Aug. 17 episode as a photographer friend of Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker).
Edward James Olmos (“Stand and Deliver”) stars in Sci Fi’s new miniseries “Battlestar Galactica.” Mr. Olmos plays Commander Adama, and Katee Sackhoff (“The Education of Max Bickford”) plays Adama’s pilot Starbuck. They team together in a war to sustain the human race against a deadly breed of cyclones. Mary McDonnell (“ER”) and Jamie Bamber (“Band of Brothers”) also appear in the series.
Oliver Platt (“Queens Supreme”) and Justin Bartha (“Gigli”) have joined the cast of HBO’s “Strip Search.” The movie also stars Glenn Close, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Daniel Sauli.
Karen Cliche (“Adventure, Inc.”) signed to star in “Mutant X.” The series returns for its third season in national syndication in September.
Simon Cowell has signed a three-year deal with Fox Broadcasting. Mr. Cowell will return as a judge on “American Idol” and will launch his own production company, simcow ltd., which has a first-look deal with Fox that includes a series commitment. Mr. Cowell will be an executive producer on any project developed by simcow for Fox. “Idol” auditions start again later this summer, with the next edition of the show premiering January 2004. Mr. Cowell’s show “Cupid” premiered last week on CBS.
Hart Hanson (“Judging Amy”) has signed a two-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television and landed a put pilot commitment from CBS. Mr. Hanson will be responsible for the development of new projects and will work on existing 20th TV series.
Creative Artists Agency has signed “Judging Amy” executive producer Karen Hall. Ms Hall has worked on “Roseanne” and “Hill Street Blues.”
Universal Television has upped Laura Lancaster and hired Elisa Roth to run its drama programming department. Both will be VPs of drama programming and report to David Kissinger, president of Universal Television Productions.
Dawn Steinberg has been named senior VP of talent and casting at Sony Pictures Television. She comes from NBC Studios, where she was a casting consultant on such shows as “Boomtown.”
Ken Schwab was named senior VP of programming for Turner Network Television and TBS Superstation. Mr. Schwab was previously senior VP of programming, acquisitions and new media for TNT.
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