EXCLUSIVE: After one of the longest courtships in recent TV history, TNT is prepared to proceed with its Dallas reboot without original star Larry Hagman over salary issues. Hagman and fellow Dallas alums Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy were first approached by TNT and Warner Horizon TV about joining a potential updated Dallas series in late summer 2009 when the project was put in development. A year later, at the beginning of September this year, TNT ordered 3 pilots, including Dallas. The reboot, written and executive produced by Cane creator Cynthia Cidre, was described by the network as focusing “on the offspring of bitter rivals and brothers J.R. and Bobby Ewing, who clash over the future of the Ewing dynasty while the fate of Southfork itself weighs in the balance.” The subsequent breakdown for the pilot listed the characters of J.R.’s son, John Ross, and Bobby and Pam Ewing’s adopted son, Christopher, as the leads, while Duffy’s Bobby, Hagman’s J.R. and Gray’s Sue Ellen were down as supporting. TNT has since cast the other two pilots ordered at the same as Dallas, Perception and the untitled Allan Loeb project, as well as another one, Bird Dog, which it greenlighted almost 2 months later. But there has been virtually no movement on Dallas as TNT and Warner Horizon had been looking to lock in the original actors before casting the leads. While Gray and Duffy had agreed to join the pilot, the network and the studio have not been able to reach a deal with Hagman who has been holding out for more money. (Make that a lot of money.) With the situation at a stalemate more than 3 months in, I hear the project’s producers have come up with an alternative plan for the project that doesn’t include Hagman, with J.R. represented only through archive footage from the original series. And I hear that TNT brass really liked the revised script by Cidre that doesn’t feature present-day J.R., which is said to be as good as the original script. Negotiations with Hagman continue and there is still a good chance that he will ultimately sign on, but he doesn’t have a big leverage anymore as the producers and the network are moving to cast the other roles and shoot the pilot with or without him. Warners and TNT have already started seeing people for the leads on tape in New York. Meanwhile, Hagman just won $1.1 million in an arbitration ruling against Citigroup (plus $10 million in punitive damages he plans to give to charities), and he also recently signed on to guest star in an episode of Desperate Housewives.
That was quick: Eliza Dushku has pulled out of TNT’s drama pilot Bird Dog. I hear she exited the project over the weekend, several days after she closed a deal to star in the drama, a mystery fashioned around an unlikely partnership of a father-daughter cop duo.
Meanwhile, NYPD Blue and 24 alum Ricky Schroder has signed on to star opposite Molly Parker in the Lifetime pilot Meet Jane. The project, from Warner Horizon, centers on Jane Bilinski (Parker) whose stale life as an unhappily married mother of two daughters in the Washington, DC area is suddenly re-energized and empowered when the FBI enlists her to spy on her husband (Schroder), a computer technician the government suspects is selling top-secret information to Russia.
Some 36 hours after he closed a deal to direct TNT’s untitled Allan Loeb pilot, Gregory Hoblit has exited the cop drama starring Steven Weber and D.L Hughley over a clash with creator-executive producer Loeb. Emmy winner Hoblit, who has directed the …
EXCLUSIVE: Former Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip co-stars Steven Weber and D.L. Hughley are reuniting on TNT. Weber and Hughley have been tapped as the two leads of TNT’s untitled pilot from Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps writer Allan Loeb. In other TNT pilot casting, Arjay Smith has landed a lead role opposite Eric McCormack in the network’s drama Perception.
Based on Marshall Karp’s novel The Rabbit Factory, the Lionsgate TV-produced Allan Loeb project centers on recently widowed police Detective Mike Lomax (Weber) and his newly married partner, Terry Biggs (Hughley), who delve into a world of mystery, intrigue and occasional hijinks. Lomax, who continues to receive humorous and heartfelt weekly letters from his wife a year after her death, tries to navigate the singles world while also maintaining his pedigree as one of L.A.’s finest. Loeb wrote the pilot script and is executive producing with Steven Pearl. Ken Topolsky is co-executive producing. Weber, repped by UTA and Brillstein Entertainment, is already in business with TNT. He has a 3-episode arc on the network’s upcoming sci-fi series Fallen Skies. Hughley, who has an arc on TBS’ upcoming comedy series Glory Daze, is with ICM and 3 Arts.