Jack Black's hit film School Of Rock is set for a small screen makeover. The 2003 movie, in which Black portrayed a struggling musician who becomes a supply teacher and helps his young students form a rock band, is being adapted for a new musical comedy series on America's Nickelodeon network next year (15).
The film's director, Richard Linklater, has signed on as an executive producer for the kid-centred show, and casting is expected to be announced soon.
The original movie, which also featured iCarly star Miranda Cosgrove, Sarah Silverman and Joan Cusack, is also being developed into a stage musical by theatre mogul Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Pilot Season: Welcome home, Felicity Huffman. The former Desperate Housewife has signed on to play another homemaker in the brand-new Fox drama pilot Boomerang — but this time, the character is anything but desperate. Huffman's Margie Hamilton spends her afternoons as a professional assassin before heading home to her family at night. ... Krysten Ritter is officially moving on from her recently cancelled ABC sitcom Don't Trust the B in Apt. 23 — the former B will headline NBC's new comedy Assistants as workaholic assistant Nora who's struggling with balancing her personal and professional lives. ... Former iCarly star Miranda Cosgrove has found her newest role — she'll play Christina Ricci's daughter in the NBC sitcom Girlfriend in a Coma, about a woman who wakes up 17 years after a car crash to discover she has a 17-year-old daughter. In real life, the actresses are only 14 years apart. [TVLine, Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter]
Kenneth Heads to The Middle: Jack McBrayer, better known as 30 Rock's Kenneth the Page, has booked his first role following the finale of his NBC sitcom. McBrayer will appear on at least one upcoming episode of ABC's The Middle as dentist Ted Goodwin, who hires Frankie as his new hygenist. [TVLine]
Too Spicy: Lifetime has decided not to move forward with Cinnamon Girl, its Renee Zellweger-produced drama. Set in the '60s, the show focused on four women in the Los Angeles music scene and was loosely based on Zellweger's own move to the City of Angels. [THR]
Besties Move to USA: Lovers of the short-lived but incredibly delightful NBC sitcom BFF, come here — this is a safe space. Comedians Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham are developing a new series for USA along the same lines of their fan favorite comedy, which was also based on their real-life friendship. This time, Lennon will play a single mom who enlists the help of her single, career-focused BFF to help raise her new baby. [Deadline]
[Photo Credit: Visual/Wenn]
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Ever since Arrested Development was so wrongly canceled in 2006, I gave up on television comedy. The drought lasted for years, despite some half-hearted attempts.
I tried (and failed) to connect with everything from 30 Rock to The New Girl to Parks & Recreation to Veep. I even tried re-runs of How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory.
Predictably, I'd end up changing the channel after a few minutes. My heart just wasn't into it. That's not to say there's anything wrong with those shows. Over time, I began to realize: It wasn't them. It was me.
If TV broke up with a show as great as Arrested Development, I simply wasn't ready to start a relationship with any other comedy.
I never gave up on comedies on the big screen. But my DVR was strictly packed with dramas, reality shows, science and car shows (my husband's).
And then came iCarly.
Yes, people of the interwebs, make fun of me all you want. I know it's terribly uncool to admit that you like a kids' show. After all, family programming has gotten a bad rap over the years. While there are some socially-acceptable animated shows (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, The Legend of Korra), live-action family shows are usually horribly, mind-numbingly cheesy.
I wasn't exactly looking for iCarly—my kids watch it, therefore, I was forced to watch. I started out absorbing it through osmosis a few years ago. Then, slowly, it became more than background noise.
And do you know what? As crazy as this may sound to anyone over the age of nine, it's a great show. Any parent can tell you that having to sit through most kids' shows can be torture—the bad child actors, cliché plots, the canned dialogue, all of the perpetual Taylor-Swift-surprised-faces.
But this one was refreshingly different. iCarly owes a lot to its casting director: the main actors, Miranda Cosgrove, Jerry Trainor and Jennette McCurdy, are all truly funny and totally commit to the silliness. Plus, the writing is smart (yes, smart) and original (there's a reason why Jack Black, Emma Stone and Michelle Obama have guest-starred). And ultimately, what I really appreciated was that the show makes no apologies for being exactly what it is: an old-school, family-friendly sitcom with zero edge.
I know, I know, we all want to judge others based on their TV likes and dislikes. But, this simple little Nickelodeon show helped me understand that we need to stop being so afraid to just admit when a good show is a good show.
On every level, it has nearly nothing in common with Arrested Development, but maybe that's exactly why I needed it. Like the Lost fan rejecting every Lost-like show that came after it, I resented all of the shaky single-camera docu-style comedies that came after Arrested's demise. Because, frankly, my favorite dead show did it better. I needed something completely different to break me out of my comedy funk and get me back on that horse. And it worked.
So, now, as iCarly airs its final episode on Friday after five seasons, I can honestly say that a kids' show helped me learn that it was OK for me to love another comedy on TV after my Arrested Development heartbreak. Now, excuse me, I have a date with Louie.
[Photo Credit: Fox; Lisa Rose/Nickelodeon]
More: It’s Arrested Development: A Gallery of Set Photos from the New Season Arrested Development: 20 Running Jokes We Hope Keep Running Michelle Obama Visits iCarly
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The funnyman played an aspiring rock star who becomes a substitute music teacher and forms a band with his students in the 2003 musical comedy, which featured iCarly star Miranda Cosgrove in her breakthrough role.
Now he hopes to bring the cast all back together in 2013 for a bash to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its release.
He tells New York Post gossip column Page Six, "We're all going to get together for a party."
Black also reveals he has tried to push studio bosses into making a sequel, but the plan hasn't come together.
He adds, "I wish (a sequel would happen). I tried really hard to get all the pieces together. I wouldn't want to do it without the original writer and director, and we never all got together and saw eye-to-eye on what the script would be. It was not meant to be, unfortunately. But never say never."
The cast of the Nickelodeon show will gather to shoot the finale this summer (12) before series star Miranda Cosgrove heads off to university in California.
Cosgrove and Jennette McCurdy, who play best friends and stars of a make-believe web show in the series, have been big hits among teenagers for the past five years.
The hit comedy, which also features Noah Munck, Nathan Kress and Jerry Trainor, debuted in 2007 and has featured guest spots from Cosgrove's School of Rock co-star Jack Black and U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama.
While Cosgrove concentrates on her education, her castmates have all landed new shows at Nickelodeon.
Announcing the news to end the series, creator Dan Schneider tells TV Guide magazine, "I hope iCarly's legacy will be that it's a truly funny TV show that made people of all ages laugh, smile, and feel good.
"To the iCarly fans, I'd say, 'Thank you' a million times, for the love, support and true passion they've shown for iCarly. It's the fans that made iCarly a huge hit, and invited us into their homes on a daily basis, to entertain them. How do you say thank you to millions and millions of people all around the world, for bringing you into their homes every single day? It's amazing. I'd love to take each and every iCarly fan out to dinner and give them a big ol' bear hug!"
In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
Funnyman JACK BLACK is reteaming with his SCHOOL OF ROCK co-star MIRANDA COSGROVE for the small screen. The actor will appear alongside the teen star in an episode of her U.S. TV series iCARLY, which is scheduled to broadcast next month (Nov10).