9 items from 2007
Strike Zone: Latest news and updates
Three days in, the writers strike is hitting television hard as schedules are being juggled, overall deals suspended, production on series shut down and layoffs kick in.
20th TV also began notifying writers assistants Wednesday that they are being laid off effective immediately, but the studio will pay their health benefits through the end of the year, sources said.
Faced with the possibility of a partial Season 7 of "24," Fox has opted not to air the real-time drama at all this season.
"It's not a decision we wanted to make, but it's one based on how we feel the viewers expect us to schedule the show," said Preston Beckman, Fox's scheduling chief.
The decision to act quickly so early in the strike also was prompted by the large amounts of marketing money associated with the premieres of new series and the annual launch of "24." The network began airing promos for the upcoming season of "24" during the World Series and on a big screen in Times Square.
"Had we delayed executing and implementing of a strike schedule, it could've cost us a lot of money," Beckman said.
(For now, ABC is still sticking to its plan to air heavily serialized "Lost" in midseason, running the eight produced episodes, 10 short of the 18-episode order.)
Meanwhile, Fox's hit animated comedy "Family Guy" might go into repeats much sooner than scheduled if creator-exec producer Seth MacFarlane follows up on his threat not to authorize the completion of future episodes beyond the one airing Sunday.
Fox's high-profile new drama "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," originally slated to run in tandem with "24," will now premiere Sunday, Jan. »
A publishing company that owns the rights to "When You Wish Upon a Star" filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday in New York against Fox and the producers and creator of "Family Guy" over an episode they claim infringes on the rights of the classic tune.
The lawsuit filed by Bourne claims that the ditty, "I Need a Jew" -- sung by the show's patriarch, Peter Griffin, in the episode "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" -- is a "thinly veiled copy" of the song made famous in Disney's 1940 classic "Pinocchio".
Griffin sings the song in a elaborate musical production after deciding he needs to hire a Jew to handle his money.
The episode was set to air in 2000 but wasn't broadcast until 2003, when it was shown on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. The defendants include creator Seth MacFarlane, the show's composer Walter Murphy, Fuzzy Door Prods. and Cartoon Network.
"If you listen to the structure of the lyrics, the song, the name of the episode and how (Peter's) singing out the window to the stars, there's no question they were using the song," Bourne's attorney Paul Fakler said. »
NEW YORK -- Rosie O'Donnell will open this year's fourth annual New York Comedy Festival, organizers said Thursday.
She will perform on the festival's opening night -- Tuesday, Nov. 6 -- at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall and welcome a number of special guests.
The performance will benefit O'Donnell's organization Rosie's Broadway Kids, which is dedicated to enriching the lives of children through the arts.
"I am honored to open this year's New York Comedy Festival," O'Donnell said. "There is no better city in the world, and I am looking forward to taking the stage for a great cause."
At the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane discussed the possibility of a Family Guy movie. He said that, though there are no story ideas as yet and Fox hasn't given the greenlight, it's a project he'd like to do. MacFarlane said, "We have been trying to figure out how to do [a movie] and the series at the same time without the series suffering."
One source of help may be Ricky Blitt, a former writer on Family Guy. Blitt also created The Winner sitcom which ran on Fox last season to low ratings. MacFarlane says he may ask Blitt to start on a Family Guy movie script but also said there may be some life left in Winner. MacFarlane offered, "It is looking like there could be a future life for The Winner. I hope it pans out." MacFarlane didn't offer any further details but »
JFL wrap-up: Comics bank their laughs at fest
MONTREAL -- The team behind Fox's hit animated show "Family Guy" has been looking at possibly working on a "Family Guy" movie down the line, creator Seth MacFarlane told The Hollywood Reporter here Saturday. He also said Fox comedy "The Winner", on which he serves as an executive producer, may not be dead yet after new developments in recent weeks.
"It is looking like there could be a future life for 'The Winner.' I hope it pans out," MacFarlane said, without providing specifics. "We have been trying to figure out how to do that and the series at the same time without the series suffering," he said about a potential "Family Guy" feature, adding that this is a challenge that also caused the "Simpsons" film to come about so late.
One possible solution, according to MacFarlane, is to have Ricky Blitt, the creator of "Winner" and a longtime ex-writer for "Family Guy" who has since moved on to other work, start on the movie script. »
Under the seven-figure pact, which has an option for a third year, Wiener and Schwartz will continue on "Dad!" as exec producers alongside Seth MacFarlane, Mike Barker, Matt Weitzman and David Zuckerman.
"It is incredibly satisfying for them to return to the fold not only to work on a key show for us but also to get a chance to develop," 20th TV president Gary Newman said. "They really impressed us all with their work on 'American Dad!' and we decided that we wanted to make a deal with them."
Wiener and Schwartz have been on "Dad!" since the animated series' launch in 2005.
"We love the people on 'American Dad!' we love the show and we love the studio, so it was a logical place for us to stay," Schwartz said. »
"American Dad!" is staying in the Fox animated family for another year. The network has picked up the series for a fourth season with a 22-episode order. Since its 2005 launch, the show has become an integral part of Fox's Sunday animated block alongside stalwarts "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy". "Dad" was created by "Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane, Mike Barker and Matt Weitzman. The three are executive producing the animated series with David Zuckerman, Rick Wiener and Kenny Schwartz. »
Actor-comedian Rob Corddry will host The Hollywood Reporter's 36th annual Key Art Awards on June 15 at the Beverly Hilton.
The Key Art Awards is the only competition in which working professionals honor their peers for designing and creating movie marketing materials. The awards cover 29 categories, including posters, trailers, TV spots and standees as well as print, outdoor, Internet, home entertainment and co-branded advertising. Nominations will be announced Wednesday.
Corddry, on the big screen with Will Ferrell and Jon Heder in Blades of Glory, appears in the upcoming comedies The Pleasure of Your Company, starring Jason Biggs and Isla Fisher; The Seven Day Itch, with Ben Stiller; and The Ten, with Jessica Alba, Famke Janssen and Amanda Peet. Corddry recently starred in his own Fox series The Winner from writers-producers Seth MacFarlane and Ricky Blitt. He also was a senior correspondent for four years on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.
"Rob Corddry's unique personality and creative comedic style makes him the perfect host for this year's Key Art Awards," THR publisher John Kilcullen said. »
The 30-minute stop-motion animation special, directed by Green, spoofs key scenes and favorite characters from the "Star Wars" universe, including the sci-fi saga's creator, George Lucas. It was done in collaboration with Lucasfilm, and Lucas is on board to voice the animated version of himself.
Additionally, "Robot Chicken: Star Wars" will feature Mark Hamill as the voice of Luke Skywalker in one sketch and a voice cast that includes Conan O'Brien, Seth MacFarlane, Robert Smigel, Malcolm McDowell, Hulk Hogan, James Van Der Beek, Donald Faison, Abraham Benrubi, Breckin Meyer and Joey Fatone.
The special, from Green and Senreich's Stoopid Monkey Prods. and Alex Bulkley and Corey Campodonico's ShadowMachine Films, will premiere at 10 p.m. June 17 on Adult Swim, kicking off a best-of "Robot Chicken" marathon that will feature reruns of the "Star Wars" special at the top of every hour.
The special stems from three "Star Wars" skits on "Robot Chicken", including the popular "Emperor's Phone Call", featuring Darth Vader calling Emperor Palpatine to tell him that the Death Star has been blown up. »
9 items from 2007
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