Smoke This--NBC is mulling over the idea of turning the hit satire Thank You For Smoking into a TV series. The story started as a novel by Christopher Buckley and was made into a movie starring Aaron Eckhart. Now former “Six Feet Under” and “West Wing” scribe Rick Cleveland is writing a pilot script for the proposed NBC series. According to Variety, the show would be a half-hour comedy about spin doctor Nick Naylor as he sets up his own PR firm. Although the film concentrated on the smoking industry, the series would apparently involve Nick going to bat for a variety of unpopular clients.
Return to Oz Once Again--The Sci-Fi Channel is readying a 6-hour, modern-day updating of L. Frank Baum’s classic tale The Wizard of Oz. Tentatively titled Tin Man, the miniseries would be a “psychedelic, sci-fi reimagining” of the much-read fantasy. In this updated epic tale, a young woman named DG somehow gets snatched up and thrust into the fantastical realm known as The Outer Zone (aka The O.Z.), which is currently being oppressed by forces of dark magic. Along the way, she befriends the half-brained man Glitch, the wolverine-like Raw (who seeks courage) and the emotionally scarred Cain, who was once part of the police force known as Tin Men in the O.Z. DG is journeying along the Old Road to seek the Mystic Man, but in the end, has a showdown with the wicked Azkeadellia, who has curiously close ties to DG herself. Casting is underway. The film will be produced by miniseries kings Robert Halmi Sr. and Jr. (The Ten Commandments, Merlin, Dinotopia, Jason and the Argonauts, the 10th Kingdom, The Odyssey, Gulliver’s Travels and about a hundred more).
Big Break--Fans of FOX’s “Prison Break” can start rejoicing. The show had its “fall season finale” on Nov. 28 and was expected to be off the air until March 20. But with only two new FOX shows getting additional episode reorders, the ratings-challenged network has decided taking hit shows off the air right now isn’t such a good idea. Now, “Prison Break” will be rushed back onto the air on Monday, Jan. 22. That night, the show will air a one-hour clip show, recounting the first 13 episodes of the second season. The following Monday, the series will be back with an original episode and will air without repeats until the end of the season.
New Development--If you’re like me and you’re still crying over the death of “Arrested Development,” you might be happy to hear some of the people behind that show are developing a new sitcom. Richard Day, a writer and producer on the show, and series creator Mitch Hurwitz are collaborating on an American adaptation of the BBC series “The Thick of It.” The original series dealt with a harried government minister and his inept staff. Naturally, the American version will transfer the setting to Congress. (Perfect!) No word on casting, but here’s hoping the producers steal a few “Arrested” refugees.