TV's "Frasier" is talking big.
Or rather, Paramount Television Group, the producer of the titular hit NBC sitcom, is.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Paramount Television is asking the Peacock Network to pay $8 million per episode for Kelsey Grammer's series in contract renewal talks. But the problem is that NBC is standing firm on its existing pay rate, which amounts to about $5 million per show.
According to the report, if the stalemate persists, Paramount can shop the series to other networks after March 1, when its exclusive negotiating period with NBC ends.
NBC currently pays $6 million in license fees for "Friends," the highest ever for a half-hour comedy.
COL. KLINK DIES: Emmy-winning actor Werner Klemperer, perhaps best known for playing Nazi Col. Klink in the 1960s series "Hogan's Heroes," died of cancer Wednesday. He was 80.
Klemperer, winner of two Emmys for his role as the monocled Klink, constantly foiled by Allied soldiers in a German prison camp during World War II, had been suffering from cancer. He died at his home Wednesday.
His films include "The Goddess" (1958); "Operation Eichmann," in which he played the title role; "Judgment at Nuremberg", (1961); and "Ship of Fools" (1965). 'CRIMINAL' TALENT: Supercool actor Vincent D'Onofrio, who you might recognize as the freaky psycho in "The Cell" this year and as a bad alien in "Men in Black," is close to signing with CBS as the star of "Criminal Intent," the third "Law & Order" spinoff.
D'Onofrio would play a senior detective with training in psychology who's an expert at unraveling complex cases.
BYE BYE BYE TO RICHARDS, '$treet': The casualties mount. After dumping "Titans" on Wednesday, NBC announced Thursday that it will also can "The Michael Richards Show" starring the titular ex-"Seinfeld" guy, with the sitcom's last episode airing Jan. 2.
And since misery loves company, Michael Richards might like to know that Fox will ax its Wall Street series "The $treet" starring Jennifer Connelly, Tom Everett Scott and
Christian Campbell. Its last outing will be Wednesday.
Snoopy Dogg's in the movie house.
The Hollywood Reporter says that the gangsta rapper might join actors Omar Gooding and Taraji Henson and singer Tyrese in director John Singleton's new project "Baby Boy."
The film, written by Singleton, is about a young man (Tyrese) who fathers a child but refuses to accept the responsibility of adulthood. Gooding will play his older brother; Henson will play the character's girlfriend; and Snoop will play her ex-boyfriend.
GUY DOES 'TIME': The Reporter says that Guy Pearce, who you might or might not remember as a soldier in "Rules of Engagement," is in talks to star in the adaptation of H.G. Wells' classic "The Time Machine."
Pearce's previous film credits also include the Oscar-winning films "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and "L.A. Confidential."
CELESTIAL PROPHECY: Laura Linney's star is looking brighter. Fresh off her breakthrough role in the drama "You Can Count on Me," the actress is in discussions to co-star with Richard Gere in the supernatural tale "The Mothman Prophecies," Daily Variety reports.
'WORD' UP: Brittany Murphy, who played Tai in "Clueless" and one of the girls in "Girl, Interrupted," will move into the limelight to star alongside Michael Douglas in "Don't Say a Word," the Reporter says. The story is about a New York psychiatrist (Douglas) who is forced to treat a mental patient (Murphy) in order to save his kidnapped daughter.
We don't know what's stranger: Adam Sandler doing a P.T. Anderson-type movie, or P.T. Anderson doing an Adam Sandler-type film.
Either way, the synergy might just happen. Daily Variety says today that the "Little Nicky" supercomic is fielding opportunities for his next project, and one of them is a script which "Magnolia" helmer Anderson specifically wrote with Sandler and actress Emily Watson in mind.
But competing for Sandler's attention right now is another comedy penned by his writing partner, Tim Herlihy. And the funnyman's involvement with either project is likely contingent upon the anticipated actors and writers strike next summer.
But in the meantime, Sandler's latest comedy, "Little Nicky," opens this Friday.
BACK TO 'BASIC': Maybe he is just trying desperately to expand his oeuvre, but sci-fi director David Cronenberg, who has brought us head-scratching tales such as "Naked Lunch," "Videodrome" and "eXistenZ," is apparently eyeing to direct "Basic Instinct 2," Variety reports. Most known for the interrogation scene wherein actress Sharon Stone crosses her legs, the first "Basic Instinct" was directed by Paul Verhoeven in 1992. And as reported earlier in the year, Stone will reprise her role as ice pick killer Catherine Trammell in the sequel.
SIZING UP: Smells like high testosterone. The Hollywood Reporter says that Tom Sizemore might star in "Black Hawk Down" to be directed by Ridley Scott and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Variety says that the war flick is about a group of U.S. soldiers dispatched to Somalia for a mission.
MORE SIZEMORE: Variety also says that Sizemore is concurrently in talks to play gangster Al Capone in "The Road to Perdition" for Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes ("American Beauty").
PLAYING WITH THE BIG KIDS: "Roseanne" alum Johnny Galecki will join big guns Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz and Jason Lee in the thriller "Vanilla Sky," Variety says. The film will be helmer Cameron Crowe's follow-up to his critically fave "Almost Famous."
X MAN: Denzel Washington did it once for Spike Lee, and now Mario Van Peebles will do it again for Michael Mann. According to Variety, Van Peebles will come on board the "Ali" biopic as black leader Malcolm X.
Two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter and the last surviving member of the Hollywood Ten Ring Lardner Jr. died of cancer in his Manhattan home Tuesday. He was 85.
Lardner won an Oscar for his screenplay for "Woman of the Year" in 1943 and "M*A*S*H" in 1971. From 1947 to 1965, the screenwriter was blacklisted in Hollywood for being a member of the Communist Party and his refusal to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee.
Lardner and nine other writers, directors and producers who were imprisoned for their political beliefs after the HUAC hearings were known collectively as the Hollywood Ten.
LARRY RHINE DIES: "All in the Family" scribe Larry Rhine died Friday of natural causes at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 90.
Rhine’s other writing credits include "Bob Hope," "Mr. Ed," "The Odd Couple, "The Brady Bunch" and "Sanford and Son." Rhine won a Golden Globe award for "All in the Family."
Singer and Oscar-winning actress Liza Minnelli, who was hospitalized about three weeks ago for encephalitis, is expected to be released from the hospital today, her publicist said. In a statement released Sunday, publicist Michael Hartman said that Minnelli is ``still a little weak but feeling well enough to go home.''
``She will spend the next few months recovering from home with attendants,'' he added.
Minnelli, 54, was found unconscious in her Fort Lauderdale, Fla., home on Oct. 8. The actress was taken to Cleveland Clinic Hospital immediately after, where she was diagnosed with viral encephalitis, a potentially deadly inflammation of the brain.
He's a movie star, Broadway actor and multiple Tony Award winner. Now you can add one more title to Matthew Broderick's resume -- television's "The Music Man." Daily Variety reports today that the "Inspector Gadget" guy will star in the TV version of the Tony-winning Broadway musical "The Music Man."
In the telepic, Broderick is slated to play Professor Harold Hill, a con man trying to unload band instruments in a small Iowa town but instead falls in love with the town librarian. According to Variety, Broderick's wife, "Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica Parker, is being courted for the role of Marian the librarian.
Broderick won two Tony Awards for his roles in the revival of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" and the Neil Simon play "Brighton Beach Memoirs."
The three-hour "The Music Man" will air on ABC's "Wonderful World of Disney" some time next year.
ANNE AND 'ALLY': Anne Heche is switching sides again, but this time she's going from the silver screen to the boob tube. The Hollywood Reporter says that the actress has signed on to guest star in Fox's legal eagle dramedy "Ally McBeal." Heche, an Emmy winner during her days on the soap "Another World," will reportedly play a picky client in her three-episode deal. Her guest appearance will air during November sweeps.
'KISS ME,' DANNY: The Associated Press says that Danny Nucci ("Titanic," "Crimson Tide") has landed a starring role on a CBS comedy series. The show, called "Kiss Me, Guido," is about a guy (Nucci) who unknowingly ends up rooming with a gay man (Jason Bateman). The CBS series will debut in midseason, according to the report.
PEE-WEE'S BACK: Rejoice, Pee-Wee's back on TV! OK, not exactly, but it's close enough. Paul Reubens, the man who once brought to daytime kid TV the strange world of Pee-Wee Herman, will return to the tube as the host of ABC's long-delayed gameshow "You Don't Know Jack." In case you haven't heard, the show is based on a mega-popular CD-ROM game of the same name.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Set your VCR! AP tells us that PBS stations will turn over two and a half minutes of airtime for eight nights so that presidential candidates George W. Bush and Al Gore can deliver their campaign messages. The arrangement starts Wednesday after Jim Lehrer's "NewsHour".
Oscar-winning actress, singer and dancer Liza Minnelli was rushed back to a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., hospital Thursday for encephalitis, a potentially deadly disease of the brain, the New York Post reports. According to the tab, the performer's bodyguard and chauffeur first found the 54-year-old Minnelli suffering from what looked to be a stroke in her Fort Lauderdale residence on Oct. 8 and was allegedly released from the hospital on Oct. 16, only to be reportedly re-admitted to the hospital three days later.
LAUREN HUTTON INJURED: Model-actress Lauren Hutton was in serious condition Sunday after being hospitalized for injuries from a motorcycle crash, Reuters reports.
The 55-year-old Hutton suffered multiple leg fractures, cuts and bruises and remained in the trauma unit for treatment.
The accident occurred Saturday when Hutton's motorcycle ran off the road and crashed near Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada. She was cruising in a group ride with stars including Dennis Hopper and Jeremy Irons.
Looks like Kate Hudson won't settle for being just almost famous. The current It Girl, whose breakthrough was her part as the naïve groupie in Cameron Crowe's "Almost Famous," has signed on to the war drama "Four Feathers," Daily Variety reports.
Hudson will join the red hot cast including "The Patriot's" Heath Ledger and "American Beauty's" Wes Bentley.
The film, based on a novel by A.E. Mason, concerns a British officer in Sudan who seeks to disprove his cowardice by infiltrating enemy territory and rescuing his captured comrades.
'DINNER' IS SERVED: The Hollywood Reporter says that Greg Kinnear, who was last seen as the soap opera stud in "Nurse Betty," will possibly star in the HBO cable movie "Dinner With Friends." The film is an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name by Donald Margulies.
What’s the perk of directing a critically acclaimed, Oscar-winning movie? Answer: It guarantees you at least a couple more directing gigs thereafter.
Kimberly Peirce, who cowrote and helmed "Boys Don’t Cry," has inked a two-year production contract with New Line Cinema, trade papers said today.
The first film produced under the deal is said to be an untitled murder mystery based on a true story. It is to be directed by Peirce and cowritten with her "Boys Don’t Cry" writing partner Andy Bienen.
Actress Hilary Swank won this year's Best Actress Oscar for "Boys Don't Cry."
GOING ‘BLONDE’: Daily Variety reports that Matthew Davis of "Urban Legend: Final Cut" fame might star opposite Reese Witherspoon in the comedy "Legally Blonde." The film is about a stereotypical blonde (Witherspoon) and her social-climbing ambitions. Hmmm ... is this "Election 2"?
WHERE’S WINONA? The Hollywood Reporter says that Winona Ryder will make a cameo appearance in the upcoming Al Pacino flick "Simone."
REPORTING ON HECHE: Actress Anne Heche is in early talks to play reporter and TV celebrity Dorothy Kilgallen in a Showtime flick, the Reporter tells us.
THE 'SALVAGE' PROJECT: "The Blair Witch Project" co-director Dan Myrick will helm the post-apocalyptic flick "Salvage." He will team up with actor-writer J.D. Shapiro on the project.
Kevin Spacey knows what’s it like to be an actor. The two-time Oscar-winning thesp has reached deep into his pocket for a $100,000 donation to the striking commercial actors of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists.
"Let us not forget that 80 percent of Screen Actors Guild members earn less than $5,000 per year," the actor said in a statement. "If the public were not informed of this, it would be easy to assume that all actors make a decent living."
Spacey’s donation will be added to a $500,000 strike relief fund SAG set up last month. The two actor’s unions have been striking against the advertising industry since April.
Representatives from both sides are planning to return to the bargaining table in New York on Wednesday.