CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
60 MINUTES II (CBS) - Current "60 Minutes" executive editor Josh Howard will succeed Jeffrey Fager as showrunner of the newsmagazine spin-off in June, the network announced via press release this week. Fager is leaving the show to take over the reins of the parent series, also beginning in June.
ACTION (FOX) - Comedy Central's run of the short-lived FOX comedy has been rescheduled for Friday, November 21 from 3-5 p.m. eastern (episodes 100, 101, 102, 104) and Saturday, November 22 from 8-11 a.m. eastern (episodes 105, 106, 110, 107, 109, 111). An additional batch of episodes has also been scheduled for Tuesday, December 9 from 2-4 a.m. (100, 101, 102, 103).
AMBUSH MAKEOVER (Syndication) - 20th Century Fox Television is set to give the syndicated makeover series a national launch come September 2004. The series, which has been running on various FOX owned-and-operated stations across the country since July, has been a lightening rod its time period among women 18-34 (2.0/14) and women 18-49 (2.0/10) during the November sweeps period. "Ambush," which is co-produced with Banyan Productions ("Trading Spaces"), is a half-hour series which follows celebrity stylists as they surprise unsuspecting makeover candidates, who have been nominated by their friends. Still to be determined however is the fate of its sister 20th series "Classmates," which has also been airing on select FOX O&Os since July. The series rated a 1.4/4 in the first two weeks of sweeps, down 18% from stations' year-ago time period average.
THE BAD GIRL'S GUIDE TO GETTING WHAT YOU WANT (UPN, New!) - Cameron Tuttle's popular book series is being developed into a sitcom for the netlet by producer Tony Krantz and feature writers Jennifer Heath and Michelle Wolff. UPN has made a six-figure premium script commitment to the project which the trio will executive produce for Kranz's Warner Bros. Television-based Flame Television. The sitcom will reportedly revolve around the personal and professional lives of five central characters, including three women who run a Web site devoted to the dishing out the lifestyle advice of the "Bad Girl's" books.
BAND OF BROTHERS (HBO) - The pay channel has licensed the rights to the Emmy award-winning mini-series to the History Channel. HBO had been in talks with the network since late October (read the story) to find a second run home for the project. Financial details about the deal were not released however HBO had reportedly been looking to rake in $750,000 for each of its 10 parts. The History Channel will air the mini-series as part of its 60th anniversary of D-Day celebration in the second quarter of 2004. As part of the pact, HBO has also licensed the documentary "We Stand Alone Together" which aired in tandem with the mini-series.
THE COVEN (Lifetime, New!) - The cable channel is reportedly in final talks to pick up a new drama pilot from executive producers Charlie Craig ("Peacemakers") and Gale Anne Hurd ("Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines") about a group of monder-day witches. Lions Gate Television ("The Dead Zone") and Hurd's Valhalla Television are behind the project with David Wu ("1-800-Missing") on board to direct. Wendy Grean ("What Makes a Family") will also produce. Casting is under way on the pilot with shooting set to begin soon in Toronto.
GAL PALS (Syndication, New!) - NBC Enterprises and Scout Productions ("Queer Eye for the Straight Guy") are set to team for a new makeover series targeted for first-run syndication in fall 2004. The half-hour series plans to follow another team of five gay men with expertise in fitness, hair and clothing who help straight women spice up their image. While not an outright spin-off of "Queer Eye," NBCE is undoubtedly hoping for the connection to produce similar ratings results.
NOBODY'S PERFECT (Syndication, New!) - NBC Enterprises and producer Bob Kusbit ("TRL," "Made" and "Camp Jim") are developing a half-hour makeover series for a fall 2004 start date. The project hopes to go beyond simple changes like hair and makeup to help nominated subjects completely change their lives.
SKAVENGERS (New!) - Fashion label BCBG and Limelight Films are developing a new reality-competition series which pits two teams of four people against each other as they compete in a scavenger hunt-like mission while pulling pranks and outlandish stunts along the way. Peter Gibson, Josh Wade, Michael Azria are the executive producers of the project, which will not surprisingly prominiently feature BCBG apparel, along with Limelight's chairman Kiera Chaplin. Actresses Allie and Annie Sorrell will serve as the show's hosts of the series, which is set to begin shooting shortly. The producers will then begin pitching the broadcast and cable networks in addition to soliciting other consumer brands, including auto and electronics makers, as promotional partners.
STAR TREK: VOYAGER (UPN) - Paramount Home Entertainment will bring the third "Star Trek" spin-off to the DVD format in 2004 as the company announced yesterday "Star Trek: Voyager - The Complete First Season" will hit store shelves on February 24. The remaining six seasons will follow every month or so in a release pattern similar to "The Next Generation" and "Deep Space Nine." Among the bonus features slated for the five-disc, first season set are "Braving the Unknown: Season One," "Voyager Time Capsule: Kathryn Janeway," "The First Captain: Genevieve Bujold," "Cast Reflections: Season One," "On Location with the Kazons," "Red Alert: Visual Effects Season One," "Launching Voyager on the Web," "Real Science with Andre Bormanis" and "Lost Transmissions from the Delta Quadrant." A suggested retail price was not given however it's expected to come in under $100.
SURVIVOR (CBS) - The Eye has dropped its plans to telecast next month's "Survivor: Pearl Islands" reunion special (Sunday, December 14 at 10:00/9:00c) live from Panama. The decision was reportedly made after the Panama City landmark where the special was set to originate, the Arco Chato, collapsed unexpectedly. Instead, the special will now be telecast from CBS Television City in Los Angeles with Jeff Probst as host.
'TIL DEATH DO US PART: CARMEN & DAVE (MTV, New!) - The music channel announced via press release this week production is underway on a new documentary mini-series "chronicling the lives of Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro during the months, weeks and days prior to their wedding and culminating with the wedding ceremony itself." The project, scheduled to premiere in January 2004, will follow Carmen and Dave as they "juggle their professional lives while planning the most important day of their life." The series will also feature the nuptials themselves and conclude as the duo leave for their honeymoon. Lois Curren and Fernando J. Hernandez are the executive producers of the project with Rod Aissa and Heather Parry also serving as producers.
UNTITLED SMOTHERS BROTHERS PROJECT (New!) - Paul Reiser's NBC-based Nuance Productions is developing a two-hour hybrid biopic/mockumentary about the lives of Tom and Dick Smothers. The brothers will play themselves in the project which will be written by Roger Director ("Moonlighting") and directed by David Steinberg ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"). The untitled telefilm will track the Smothers Brothers as they act as advisers on a fictional Smothers Brothers biopic. Reiser, Ken Kragen and Rick Marcelli are the executive producers of the project with Nuance's Craig Knizek and Mitch Semel on board as producers. NBC has a first-look option on the telefilm after which the producers are free to shop it to other networks.
YOU BETTER BE READY (Syndication, New!) - Production has been completed in Burbank, California on a new half-hour pilot from NBC Enterprises for fall 2004 series consideration. QVC's Nick Chavez and Stacey Schieffelin host the makeover series, additional details of which were not available.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters