'INDY' RIDES AGAIN
Daily Variety reported Friday that Frank Darabont has been offered the job of writing the fourth "Indiana Jones" movie and insiders at Paramount expect the picture will be in theaters for a holiday weekend opening in July 2005.
Darabont, who was nominated for screenplay Oscars for "The Shawshank Redemption" (1995) and "The Green Mile" (2000), is expected to write the screenplay based on a story from Lucas that has already been approved by Spielberg and Ford.
He has written "Indiana Jones" material before -- contributing several episodes of the 1992-93 TV series "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles," and several screenplays for "The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones," starring Sean Patrick Flanery.
AT LAST -- MORE GRAMMY CATEGORIES
The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences has added four new Grammy Award categories and a separate field for dance music.
The new categories are in rap and R&B. Academy officials have decided to split the rap solo vocal performance award into male and female divisions, and to award separate Grammys for contemporary R&B album and urban/alternative performances.
The Grammy for best dance recording has been moved out of pop and into the new field of dance music.
The new changes bring the total number of Grammys awarded each year to 104 -- not counting the Latin Grammys, which are awarded at separate ceremonies.
'FAMILY FRIENDLY' SHOWS COMING THIS FALL
The Family Friendly Programming Forum, or FFPF -- a group of more than 40 members of the Association of National Advertisers -- is touting three new series coming to the primetime schedule this fall that were developed through the organization's Script Development Initiative.
The program's best-known success story to date is "Gilmore Girls" -- a popular and critically acclaimed family drama on the WB network. The new series developed with funding from the FFPF are "Family Affair" (WB), "American Dreams" (NBC) and "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teen Age Daughter" (ABC).
"Family Affair," a half-hour comedy, is a contemporary take on the Brian Keith comedy that ran on CBS from 1966-71. It stars Gary Cole as a New York bachelor and Tim Curry as his English butler -- Mr. French -- who become surrogate parents to three children.
"American Dreams," an hour-long drama set in 1960s Philadelphia, depicts an America knee-deep in rock 'n' roll, the civil rights movement and the widening war in Vietnam -- as experienced by one family. It stars Tom Verica ("Providence") and Gail O'Grady ("NYPD Blue").
"8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teen Age Daughter" is a half-hour comedy starring John Ritter ("Three's Company") and Katey Sagal ("Married ... With Children") as a couple who have their hands full trying to raise two teen-age daughters. It's based on Bruce Cameron's best-selling book "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, and Other Tips from a Beleaguered Father (Not That Any of Them Work)."
FFPF -- formed by major advertisers to promote TV programming "that the whole family can enjoy watching together" -- gives seed money to ABC, CBS, NBC and The WB to underwrite the development of new scripts. If a script gets picked up, the network reimburses the FFPF, which uses the money to develop more projects.
HONORS FOR NEWTON-JOHN, PRESTON
The Children's Health Environmental Coalition, CHEC, paid tribute to board members Olivia Newton-John ("Grease," "Xanadu") and Kelly Preston ("Jerry Maguire," "Jack Frost") at a ceremony in Beverly Hills, Calif. Thursday night.
CHEC is a national non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public -- parents and caregivers, specifically -- about environmental toxins that affect children's health, and to inform the public about preventable health and development problems caused by exposures to toxic substances.
Newton-John helped launch CHEC in 1992 with Nancy Chuda, after Chuda's 5-year-old daughter died from a non-hereditary childhood cancer in 1991. Newton-John -- who was the child's godmother -- continues to serve as national spokeswoman.
She and Preston starred in CHEC's 2001 video "Not Under My Roof: Protecting Your Baby from Toxins at Home." Preston was in New York recently to help CHEC launch an interactive Web site (checnet.org/healthehouse) for people who want to know more about harmful chemicals found in the home.
WILL TUCKER BUMBLE?
Sources tell FilmStew.com that Chris Tucker met recently with director Ivan Reitman ("Ghostbusters," "Stripes") about a remake of the "The Pink Panther."
Several actors have starred as the bumbling yet effective Inspector Jacques Clouseau, but Peter Sellers was the best known among them -- playing Clouseau five times all told. Tucker, who became a superstar in the "Rush Hour" movies with Jackie Chan, also starred in "The Fifth Element" and "Jackie Brown."