'DALLAS' HEADING FOR THE BIG SCREEN
Plans are under way in Hollywood for a movie version of "Dallas," one of the most successful series in TV history.
According to a report in Daily Variety, Dave Jacobs -- who created the long-running prime-time soap opera -- will produce the project, along with Michael Costigan, former Sony Pictures Entertainment executive vice president.
Jacobs told the paper he plans to recruit a new cast for the movie.
"We've got a new take on it," he said. "It's a much bigger canvas today and it belongs up on the big screen. Before people would have been interested in who is screwing each other. Now it's the national crimes that are affecting everyone."
Costigan -- who oversaw production of the 2000 movie version of the TV classic "Charlie's Angels" -- called "Dallas" the jewel in the crown of TV titles that could succeed as a stand-alone movie.
"Dallas" (CBS, 1978-92) finished first or second in the ratings for five consecutive seasons, and entered the ratings record books with "Who Shot J.R.?" The November 1980 episode revealed the answer to a summer-long mystery, following the cliffhanger 1979-80 season finale in which the sleazy anti-hero J.R. Ewing was shot.
CONNERY SUES PRODUCERS
Sean Connery has filed suit against Mandalay Pictures and the company's co-founder and chairman Peter Guber, accusing them of going back on a commitment to make "End Game," a spy thriller that Connery had committed to produce and star in.
The suit alleges that Connery and Mandalay had a screenplay ready to go -- and were close to deciding on a director -- when Guber and company abruptly backed away from the project and stopped returning Connery's calls. The suit, demanding more than $17 million, alleges intentional and negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment and breach of oral contract.
In the complaint, Connery's lawyers said Mandalay was "a house of cards" that was incapable of financing a movie -- but strung Connery along for two years "in an attempt to hold themselves out to the entertainment industry as a viable production company."
The suit contends that in the process of keeping up its image, Mandalay caused Connery to "expend considerable time and effort in developing the project and to pass on other film opportunities" while he focused on "End Game."
GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS AT ABC
ABC's Tuesday lineup is solid for the rest of the 2002-03 season, now that the network has ordered a full-season of "Less than Perfect," the freshman comedy about the cutthroat world of TV news starring Sarah Rue and Eric Roberts.
The network made similar decisions last week for its other new Tuesday comedies -- "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter" and "Life With Bonnie."
On the downside, the network is calling in the dogs on two dramas that have been delivering anemic ratings -- "Push, Nevada" and "That Was Then."
"Push, Nevada" -- produced by a team that included Ben Affleck -- has been telling a story about Internal Revenue Service agents investigating a missing $1 million in a small town. Plans had called for the show to give viewers a chance to follow clues and find the money first.
According to the Los Angeles Times, ABC is obligated to give away the prize -- so the network has to play the show at least one more time to insert a "master clue." That would give viewers enough information to solve the puzzle and claim the prize.
VIACOM, KAISER IN AIDS PARTNERSHIP
Viacom Inc. -- the parent company of CBS, UPN, MTV and Nickelodeon -- has announced an alliance with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation that the media conglomerate said will result in the biggest public service campaign in history.
Plans call for a massive campaign to fight AIDS that will also involve Viacom's other cable channels, all of its Infinity radio stations and its Blockbuster video stores.
In a press release announcing the campaign, Viacom said it will present $120 million worth of spots in 2003. In addition, the company will meet with producers of prime time shows to try to incorporate the message into episodes of such shows as "The District," "Enterprise" and "Frasier."
Viacom also owns syndicated shows including "Entertainment Tonight," "Dr. Phil," "Jeopardy!" and "Oprah."
'SEX' PRODUCER TO REMAKE SELLERS PICTURE
According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Sex and the City" creator-producer Darren Star is working on a remake of "The Party," a 1968 Peter Sellers comedy.
Star reportedly would make his feature-directing debut on the project, with Priscilla Presley starring. The original, written and directed by Blake Edwards, featured Sellers as a movie extra who is so inept he is fired from a picture -- but because of a clerical error winds up being invited to an exclusive Hollywood party.