A collection of rare, archival films has been snagged by Turner Classic Movies, Variety reports. The films will air during November sweeps in primetime on four separate Sunday evenings. National Film Preservation Foundation Director Annette Melville said the films "represent a cross-section of American filmmaking that flourished across the U.S. ever since the invention of the film camera. In addition to the November screenings, July will see the 1925 version of The Lost World, written by Sherlock Holmes inventor Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and starring Wallace Beery. October will feature the U.S. debut of famed Italian writer-director Gilberto Pontecorvo's The Wide Blue Road, the first film Gillo wrote. Other rare prints include Orson Welles' stage production of Voodoo "Macbeth"; a 1916 Western called Hell's Hinges; and a World War II propaganda documentary The Battle of San Pietro from John Huston.
As the TV "upfront" continues in New York City, ABC has announced its fall schedule, adding three new dramas, two new sitcoms and cutting back Who Wants to be a Millionaire to two nights a week.
CBS also has its schedule falling into place, with the network making its official announcement Wednesday. Fox Television will reveal its schedule on Thursday.
Here's a look at ABC's lineup:
The Wonderful World of Disney will stay put on Sundays in the 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. slot. Alias, about a college student (Dude, Where's My Car?'s Jennifer Garner) who moonlights as a secret agent, will replace Millionaire at 9 p.m. Rounding out the evening, the top-rated Emmy-winning drama The Practice will remain in the 10 p.m. spot.
Mondays will still lead with Millionaire, followed by Monday Night Football.
Tuesdays will begin with Dharma & Greg, followed by the midseason hit What About Joan?, starring Joan Cusack. Jason Alexander's new sitcom, Bob Patterson, about a motivational speaker, will most likely end up in the 9 p.m. spot, doing battle against NBC's Frasier. Spin City or ABC's other midseason hit, The Job, starring Denis Leary, will follow at 9:30 p.m. Whichever sitcom is not on the Tuesday night 9:30 p.m. slot will be take the 9:30 p.m. slot on Wednesdays. Tuesdays will end with the new Steven Bochco legal drama, Philly, starring NYPD Blue alum Kim Delaney.
Wednesdays will begin as family night with Damon Wayans' sitcom My Wife and Kids, followed by the new Jim Belushi sitcom, The Dad, from Touchstone/Brad Grey Television. The Drew Carey Show will stay put in the 9 p.m. slot, with the 9:30 p.m. slot to be taken by either Spin City or The Job. Bochco's NYPD Blue will return in November to take the 10 p.m. Wednesday spot, replacing 20/20. The Barbara Walters-hosted newsmagazine will return midseason.
Thursdays will start with Whose Line Is It Anyway?, followed by a new sketch series from popular Whose Line … player Wayne Brady. The second installment of Millionaire takes the 9 p.m. slot, with the Primetime Live newsmagazine ending the evening.
On Friday, ABC will dump its comedy lineup. The night will kick off with the second installment of the reality show The Mole, followed by the new Warner Bros. drama Thieves, starring John Stamos. Emmy-winning drama Once and Again will take the 10 p.m. slot.
Saturdays will remain a movie night for ABC.
Midseason orders include a new Sally Field drama, The Court, and possibly two new comedies from Peter Tolan, The Web and HMO. Also planned is another reality show, The Runner, produced by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The show revolves around one person's race around a country, looking for prizes and trying not to get caught.
Saying goodbye is The Geena Davis Show and the medical drama Gideon's Crossing.
CBS also is shaping up its fall schedule with a planned five new dramas and two new sitcoms. One of the more anticipated new shows is the Lou Diamond Phillips-headlined Wolf Lake, a spooky X-Files-esque drama about investigators who look at the mysterious doings of wolves in the Pacific Northwest.
Also included on the drama list is: The Agency, delving into the CIA; a Richard Dreyfuss vehicle, The Education of Max Bickford; and The Guardian, about an attorney who works for child advocacy. On the new sitcom list is another Ellen DeGeneres starrer, Ellen, Again, and a Daniel Stern comedy, Community Center. Stern stars as a newly separated father who runs a community center.
Fox is looking at a few new dramas, including 24, Pasadena and Emma Brody, with new comedies being Bernie Mac, Andy Richter Controls the Universe and Greg the Bunny.
News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox Film Corp. and Marvel Enterprises Inc. have filed competing lawsuits over the use of the superheroes The X-Men.
Marvel created The X-Men in 1963, when the comic book series of the same name was initially published. The X-Men are humans whose mutated genes give them super powers.
20th Century Fox is seeking damages from Marvel, which is planning to start filming a live-action TV series called Mutant X on June 4. 20th Century Fox claims that the series will cheapen the value of Fox's The X-Men movie and ignores contracts that Marvel signed with Fox.
"Although we value our good relationship with Marvel and hope for a quick resolution of this matter, we must take all appropriate action to protect our valuable X-Men rights," Flo Grace, vice president of communications for Fox, said Thursday.
Grace refused to comment further on the legal action being taken by 20th Century Fox or the Marvel counter-suit.
Marvel alleges that the television series differs entirely from the movie, and that the series has different character names, different character personalities and a different underlying premise. Marvel's chief creative officer asserted in a press release by the company that modern science makes it logical to have genetically-altered superheroes.
A Marvel spokesperson did not return calls for comment.
Marvel's complaint was filed just minutes after the Fox complaint, according to The Associated Press. In its lawsuit, Marvel asked for a declaratory judgment from the court, contending that it can't possibly infringe on its own trademarks, and thus hasn't done anything wrong.
Marvel's production company has recently finalized the filming schedule, with many resources committed to the project. The filming is scheduled to begin June 4, and the series debut is tentatively set for the fall. It will pose a definite financial hardship to Marvel to cancel production at this juncture.
This isn't the first time a legal battle has occurred over the rights to a superhero.
A decade-long battle over the feature film rights to the Marvel Comics character Spiderman is one of Hollywood's costliest and most convoluted legal spectacle. At one point there were five lawsuits pending before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Valerie Baker, with as many as 18 separate written agreements at issue.
Howard Weg, an attorney who represented the liquidating trust of Carolco Pictures at the time - which claimed to have acquired the movie rights in 1989 but went bankrupt in 1995 - told reporters: "All the entities involved have elected not to make a movie, but litigation."
The matter was ultimately settled after 11 years of litigation, with Columbia Pictures finally capturing the rights to make a Spiderman movie. James Cameron has written a treatment. David Koepp is the credited screenwriter. The movie is scheduled a summer 2002 release, 13 years after the movie rights were acquired.
Pop star Elton John will auction off 20 of his private stash of luxury and sports cars at Christie's on June 5, the auction house announced Wednesday.
The cars include John's Rolls Royce Silver Cloud named "Daisy" and an Aston Martin called "The Beast," according Christie's. Passengers of the cars, other than the ostentatious singer, include Sting, Hugh Grant, Gianni Versace and George Michael. Christie's estimates the cars will bring in approximately $1.4 million.
This is just the latest in a quite lengthy string of celebrity auctions to hit the block. A selection of Madonna memorabilia is currently up for sale online through Leland's auction house. Leland's is more noted for its sports collectibles, but has recently gained more exposure and credibility with the entertainment industry.
Leland's auction, only online, also includes Jimi Hendrix's personal stash box, Jim Morrison's humidor, Elton John's Elvis-like jumpsuit and a saxophone signed by former president Bill Clinton and band members of Fleetwood Mac. Sotheby's, not to be outdone, last week sold a bed and underwear belonging to British pop star Robbie Williams, with proceeds going to his charity, Give It Sum. Williams' undies may have been purchased for a cool $3,200, but Madonna's bra-and-panties set is already priced above $8,000 on Leland's Web site.
"Celebrity auctions are very popular," said Christie's spokesperson Patricia Clark, "especially Elton John, who's incredibly popular here in England.
"There is generally more interest in celebrity auctions. People love the idea of owning a bit of a star, a piece of history. It makes their lives a little more interesting."
Marty Appel, spokesperson for Leland's, agrees.
"Buying the items is a connection to someone they appreciate, someone whose performances they've enjoyed," Appel said. "The entertainment items draw a lot of press and attention to the auctions, which contain many, many lots other than those select items."
Sometimes, celebrity castoffs are bought as an investment, Appel said.
" People think they'll be even more valuable in 30 to 40 years," he said. "Madonna figures to be a 'forever' icon. Anything associated with her has value for a long time, as she's become a legitimate Hollywood icon."
Clark and Appel cited increased international interest in entertainment industry items over interest in more mundane pieces. Leland's claims that its "online only" strategy to auctions makes it even easier for the international buyer to bid and purchase an item, by leveling the auction playing field for everyone.
Christie's has held numerous auctions for Hollywood and the entertainment industry, including a James Bond-theme auction - Ursula Andress' famous bikini from Dr. No was sold - and Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana auctions.
John recently lost a court battle with his former manager and accountant. Christie's, however, insisted that The Rocket Man is selling his cars because he doesn't get a chance to enjoy them anymore because of his travel and other time commitments.
John also put his vast record collection on the market last year through Christie's.
Is Tom Cruise looking for his own "Private Ryan"?
The megastar, currently courting Oscar talk with a supporting turn in "Magnolia," is reportedly mulling a starring role in "Fertig," a battle flick based on the true-life experiences of a World War II hero named, um, Wendell Fertig.
According to today's Daily Variety, the "Fertig" script by William Nicholson ("Nell") caught Cruise's eye several weeks ago. While the actor personally has never engaged in armed combat, he did make an Oliver Stone movie ("Born on the Fourth of July"), which is kinda the same thing. Fertig, meanwhile, is no stranger to the spotlight himself. He was the subject of the 1963 nonfiction book "They Fought Alone" by John Keats.
CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION: Columbia Pictures execs are hoping John Travolta will agree to star in "Travel Agent," a newly scripted movie about a man who travels in time to thwart an assassination. Travolta is in arrears to Columbia: He owes the studio a movie for backing out of Roman Polanski's never-completed "The Double" in 1996. According to Variety, director Andy Davis ("The Fugitive") is interested in making "Travel Agent," and a screenplay has already been completed by Gregory Hansen ("Heart and Souls").
Travolta had planned to fulfill his debt by starring in a film called "The Shipping News" with wife Kelly Preston, but he dropped out of that project, too (as did Preston).
OH NO, ANOTHER MOB MOVIE: Count Mel Gibson as the latest Hollywood type to succumb to the (onscreen) allure of the mob. Gibson and partner Bruce Davey, of the star's Icon Pictures, have snapped up the screen rights to a new Mafia novel by two former NYPD cops, Variety says. "Lady Gold" tells the story of an undercover female cop who is assigned to guard a mobster turned police informant.
Gibson, who recently finished starring in "The Patriot" for director Roland Emmerich ("Godzilla"), is said to interested in directing the mob-cop flick.
Nora (Olympia Dukakis) is bonkers enough to jackhammer tunnels beneath her suburban home while her three adults daughters (Deborah Hedwall Catherine Corpeny and Wendy Hoopes) are only marginally more stable. Then patriarch Tom (Roy Scheider) shows up after a 15-year absence with wild ideas about fortifying the homestead against attacks from the world's unfortunate. Who will triumph in the resulting battle for family domination?
Dukakis ("Moonstruck") is always a joy to see digging into a role as idiosyncratic as this one but even she starts to look a little foolish as the storyline grows increasingly ridiculous in the second half. The other members of the ensemble suffer more grievously from the uneven script though Hedwell (NBCs "Law and Order") gets in some good licks as a hard-bitten public defender prone to shouting her opinions. Veteran character actor Edward Herrmann ("Richie Rich") gives delightful deadpan as Nora's morose priest brother.
Adapted from George F. Walker's stage play Max Mayer's well-meaning debut feature generates some amusingly unpredictable moments early on. But things go horribly wrong when Tom arrives with his scheme to remake the family as a disciplined home-defense unit. The idea of the characters building a barricade around their house isn't believable for a second - worse it isn't funny. Inhabiting an uncomfortable area between drama and black comedy the piece disintegrates into a series of embarrassingly ineffective episodes.