Here are the entertainment news items for this week:
Lena Horne, the legendary singer, actress and civil rights activist, passed away this week at the age of 92. Condolences to her family, friends and fans.
Tim McGraw and his wife Faith Hill are organizing an all-star benefit concert in Nashville on June 22 to help benefit all those who have been affected by the flooding. Tickets go on sale today (May 14). The line-up includes: Jason Aldean, Brooks & Dunn, Luke Bryan, Miley Cyrus, Amy Grant, Miranda Lambert, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Martina McBride, LeAnn Rimes, Michael W. Smith, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.
NBC has developed “Fan It,” an unprecedented custom-built network wide affinity program that provides exclusive incentives and rewards for fans in return for promoting, interacting with and discussing all of the network’s new and returning 2010-11 programs. The program, which utilizes social media platforms including NBC’s own myNBC as well as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and FourSquare, will launch on May 17 and will be an ongoing program at www.nbc.com/fanit. Fans can sign up for the ongoing incentive program by going to www.NBC.com/fanit and log in with their existing MyNBC, Facebook, Twitter or MySpace accounts. Fans earn points by doing simple activities such as watching videos of “The Office” on NBC.com, chatting about “Undercovers” on Twitter, or Liking “Community” on Facebook — and by getting their friends and followers to click on NBC-related links. As users earn points they will be able to redeem them for a variety of rewards including: exclusive access to early previews of new and returning shows, NBC merchandise, discounts at the NBC store, show-themed virtual goods and badges and entry into a sweepstakes to win huge show-related prizes.
UPFRONT PRESENTATION NEWS
NBC has canceled Law & Order, after 20 years of being on the air, making it nearly the longest-running drama on television. The network has also given the “heave-ho” to their medical dramas Mercy and Trauma as well as their once-powerhouse series Heroes. Chuck has been renewed for a fourth season and is expected to have a 13 episode order for next fall.
NBC will also announce their new fall line-up this Sunday, a day ahead of their upfront presentation, which is set for May 17 in New York City. In the meantime, the network has picked up the following new shows: Chase, The Cape, Outlaw and Harry’s Law.
Meanwhile, over at ABC, the network has picked up the new series V for a second season. The show is expected to receive a 13 episode order. And, the network has picked up the following new shows: 187 Detroit, Generation Y, The Whole Truth and No Ordinary Family.
FOX has picked up two drama pilots to series for next season. They include the police drama RideAlong, the Texas-set drama Midland, which is now likely going to be called Lone Star.
FOX has renewed “bubble shows” Lie To Me and Human Target.
CBS has order the comedy pilot Mike & Molly to series. The show stars Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy (Gilmore Girls) as a couple who meet at Overeaters Anonymous.
TBS has ordered eight episodes of the hour-long dramedy Glory Daze, which follows four incoming freshman in the 1980s – Joel (Kelly Blatz), Jason (Drew Seeley), Eli (Matt Bush) and Brian (Hartley Sawyer) – who pledge a fraternity at a Wisconsin college.
TNT has picked up Franklin and Bash, a drama that follows two streetwise lawyers (Breckin Meyer and Mark-Paul Gosselaar) who join a high-profile firm.
A spin-off of the Lifetime series Army Wives is being developed by the network and is expected to revolve around Pamela (Brigid Brannagh). The series is to be about a former police officer whose husband was a Delta Force soldier, who is now divorced and back in her old job as a Charleston, S.C., cop. The potential new series will follow Pamela back to Charleston.
The classic detective drama Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) is getting a remake on Syfy. The series revolves around a pair of mismatched detectives, one of whom is a ghost who was killed in the line of duty.
Sir Derek Jacobi will appear in multiple episodes of the upcoming Showtime period drama The Borgias, where he will play Cardinal Orsini, a nemesis to Pope Alexander (Jeremy Irons).
A new series about the excesses of the 1980s music business called Blackrock is being developed by Starz.
Richard Griffiths (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will star in the upcoming Showtime comedy Episodes, which is about a British couple (Stephen Mangan, Tamsin Greig) whose hit UK show is turned into a dumbed-down American sitcom starring Matt LeBlanc (as himself).
FX has picked up the comedy pilot Wilfred about a couple named Sarah and Adam and her dog, Wilfred. The twist of the show then is while Sarah sees Wilfred as a scruffy dog, Adam sees him as a real person dressed in a dog costume with whom he quickly develops a grudge.
BOX OFFICE NEWS
Robert De Niro has joined the cast of the action-thriller The Killer Elite based on the Ranulph Fiennes novel ‘The Feather Man’. Clive Owen, Jason Statham, Dominic Purcell (Prison Break) and Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck) also star.
Michelle Monaghan and Michael Shannon have joined the cast of the Gerard Butler-led movie Machine Gun Preacher, which is set in Africa and is based on the true story of Sam Childers (Butler), a former drug-dealing biker who found God and became a crusader for hundreds of Sudanese children who were kidnapped and pressed into duty as soldiers in the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Actor turned director Jason Priestley is set to direct the romantic comedy Mud Puppy based on a true story from British Columbia about a playboy wine-lover battling a female environmentalist for control of a frog-plagued wine vineyard. No casting has been confirmed.
Doug Liman is directed the next new adaptation of the Three Musketeers and the cast will include Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson) as D’Artagnan, Ray Stevenson (Rome) as Porthos, Luke Evans (Robin Hood) as Athos and Matthew Macfadyen (Pride & Prejudice) as Aramis. Other actors who are part of the cast include Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) as Cardinal Richelieu, Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale) as Rochefort and Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil) as Athos’ former flame Milady de Winter. Orlando Bloom MAY play the Duke of Buckingham.
Kevin Spacey and Zachary Quinto have joined the thriller Margin Call, which follows eight people working at a large investment bank when the financial crisis hit the US. Over the course of a day they try to hang onto their careers as fortunes are lost all around them.
Jason O’Mara (Life on Mars) will star alongside Katherine Heigl and Daniel Sunjata in the crime thriller One for the Money, the first adaptation of the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich.
Dave Annable (Brothers & Sisters) will replace Matt Bomer (White Collar) in the Anna Faris romantic comedy What’s Your Number?
Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt and Kristin Scott Thomas have joined the romantic comedy Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, adapted from the novel by Paul Torday about a London fisheries scientist, who is consulted on a visionary sheik’s scheme to introduce salmon, and salmon-angling, to the country of Yemen.
Naomi Watts is set to play Marilyn Monroe in the movie Blonde about a specific time in the bombshells life.
Kirsten Dunst has joined the cast of the On the Road movie, which is an adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s acclaimed 1957 novel, starring Garrett Hedlund and Sam Riley as the lead characters.
Emma Roberts (Aquamarine) and William Moseley (The Chronicles of Narnia) have joined the drama A Great Education about a working class young man who gets into Harvard College and joins the singing group the Krockodiloes. Roberts plays a society girl whom he falls for. Ben Kingsley also stars.
Diane Kruger (National Treasure) has been tapped to star in the movie Special Forces, an Afghanistan-set drama about a kidnapping.
Patrick Dempsey (Grey’s Anatomy) will star in the indie action-comedy Flypaper, which is set around a bank that finds itself simultaneously besieged by two different sets of thieves.
David Tennant, Alice Eve and Kelly Macdonald have joined the British romantic comedy The Decoy Bride, which follows a female international movie star (Eve) who wants to marry her British boyfriend (Tennant) on the remote and sleepy Scottish Island of Hegg. She recruits a local girl (Macdonald) to serve as a decoy for a ruthless paparazzo, unfortunately chemistry soon flies between groom and said decoy.
Singer Mary J. Blige will play Nina Simone in a biopic of the legendary singer entitled Nina.
MADE FOR TV MOVIES NEWS
Alan Ball and Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Films will produce an HBO original made-for-TV movie based on the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, which is about a Baltimore mother of five children who died of cervical cancer at age 31 in 1951. However, the cancerous cells removed from her body led to major breakthroughs in medical research, including leading to the cure for polio and AIDS treatments.
Tim Robbins and James Gandolfini have joined the HBO movie Cinema Veritae, which is to be a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the groundbreaking 1973 PBS documentary series “An American Family.”
The Disney Channel movie 16 Wishes will air on June 25 at 8 PM and will star Debby Ryan (The Suite Life on Deck) as Abby Jensen, a teenager who can’t wait to grow up, and when she’s handed the chance to make all her wishes come true, she quickly learns the importance of being careful what you wish for. Jean-Luc Bilodeau (Kyle XY) co-stars.
Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who) and Mackenzie Crook (Pirates Of The Caribbean) will star in the BBC six-part drama Accused, which follows an individual man accused of a crime and lead to court to hear his fate.
Mary Lynn Rajskub (24) will guest star in an episode of the USA series Royal Pains, as the step-daugther of Newberg (Christine Ebersole). Her character practices yoga, but takes diet pills, which ends up not going so well.
British actress Lara Pulver (the BBC series Robin Hood) has joined the cast of True Blood, playing Claudine, Sookie’s fairy godmother. In other True Blood casting news, Michael Steger (90210) will guest star, playing Tony, a gay prostitute who gets picked up by King of Mississippi Russell Edgington (Denis O’Hare) because of his resemblance to his current steady, Talbot (Theo Alexander). He will appear in one episode of the upcoming third season and may return on a recurring basis in season 4.
Burt Reynolds will guest star on Burn Notice as a legendary operative, now retired and cast out of the CIA, who serves as somewhat of a cautionary tale for Michael (Jeffrey Donovan).
D. W. Moffett (Friday Night Lights) will guest star in an upcoming episode of The Closer, playing a talent agent of questionable repute who gets mixed up with Brenda (Kyra Sedgwick) during one of her murder investigations.
Jessica Biel and Luke Evans are in talks to join the period romance biopic Vivaldi that covers the alleged forbidden romance between composer and violin virtuoso Antonio Vivaldi and his protege singer Anna Tessieri Giro, a love which lead him to write his most famous work: The Four Seasons.
It looks like the folks behind the ABC comedy Cougar Town are seriously contemplating a name change for the series. Speculation is running wild right now but no news has been confirmed on a new name or if the name change will take place.
Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Wright are in talks to join the movie Moneyball based on the non-fiction bestseller by Michael Lewis that follows Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) who assembled a contending baseball club on a shoestring budget by employing a sophisticated computer-based analysis to draft players.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
The following specials will air this weekend as well as next week:
The 59th annual Miss USA Pageant will air on NBC on Sunday, May 16 starting at 7 PM.
A special preview of the new FOX summer series The Good Guys will air on Wednesday, May 19 at 8 PM. The series stars Colin Hanks and Bradley Whitford as an unlikely cop duo.
Here are the new episodes of the dramas (and a few others) that will be airing this coming week:
Saturday, May 15:
Doctor Who on BBC America at 9 PM
NOTE: Legend of the Seeker will air in syndication this weekend. Check your local listings for date, time and channel.
Sunday, May 16:
Desperate Housewives on ABC at 9 PM – FINALE
Brothers & Sisters on ABC at 10:01 PM – FINALE
Breaking Bad on AMC at 10 PM
The Pacific on HBO at 9 PM
Treme on HBO at 10 PM
Army Wives on Lifetime at 10 PM
The Tudors on Showtime at 9 PM
NOTE: Legend of the Seeker will air in syndication this weekend. Check your local listings for date, time and channel.
Monday, May 17:
Castle on ABC at 10 PM – FINALE
CSI: Miami on CBS at 10:01 PM
One Tree Hill on the CW at 8 PM – FINALE
Gossip Girl on the CW at 9 PM – FINALE
House on FOX at 8 PM – FINALE
24 on FOX at 9:01 PM
Chuck on NBC at 8 PM
Law & Order on NBC at 9 PM (Two Hours)
10 Things I Hate About You on ABC Family at 8 PM
Tuesday, May 18:
Lost on ABC at 9 PM
V on ABC at 10:02 PM – FINALE
NCIS on CBS at 8 PM
NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS at 9 PM
The Good Wife on CBS at 10 PM
Glee on FOX at 9 PM
90210 on the CW at 8 PM – FINALE
Parenthood on NBC at 10 PM
Justified on FX at 10 PM
Law & Order: Criminal Intent on USA at 10 PM
Wednesday, May 19:
Criminal Minds on CBS at 9 PM
CSI: NY on CBS at 10 PM
Mercy on NBC at 8 PM
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit on NBC at 10 PM – FINALE
In Plain Sight on USA at 10 PM
Thursday, May 20:
FlashForward on ABC at 8 PM – FINALE
Grey’s Anatomy on ABC at 9 PM – TWO HOUR FINALE
CSI on CBS at 9 PM – FINALE
The Mentalist on CBS at 10 PM – FINALE
Bones on FOX at 8 PM – FINALE
Fringe on FOX at 9 PM – FINALE
Friday, May 21:
Ghost Whisperer on CBS at 8 PM – FINALE
Medium on CBS at 9 PM – FINALE
Miami Medical on CBS at 10 PM – FINALE
Friday Night Lights on NBC at 8 PM
Stargate Universe on Syfy at 9 PM
Merlin on Syfy at 10 PM
NOTE: Please check your local listings for the correct air dates and times for all of the above.
Have a great weekend!
Please note that I will feature a weekly round-up of sci-fi based (and similar genres) news items at our sister site located at http://scifitvzone.com/. Please visit there as often as you can. Thanks!