News Roundup: Oct. 1


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Twentieth Century Fox Television has signed a deal with xXx director Rob Cohen valued in the mid-six-figure range. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the deal calls for Cohen to develop, executive produce, direct and possibly co-write a drama series targeted for fall 2003. Cohen is no stranger to TV, having directed Miami Vice, the 1980s action series about two undercover Miami police detectives. Twentieth TV president Dana Walden said of Cohen, “If you look at the work he’s done on the feature side over the past five years, he is…an FBC (FOX Broadcasting Company) ‘wish list’ kind of director.”


Liza Minnelli and husband David Gest, who recently adopted a three-year-old girl named Serena, plan to adopt three more children, reports. The couple will reveal their plans on tonight’s edition of Liquid News on BBC Choice–from the dining room of their New York home. Minnelli and Gest will co-star in their own reality series titled Liza and David, set to air later this year on the VH1 music channel.


Hugh Grant will play adventurer Phileas Fogg with Jackie Chan as his eccentric butler in Twentieth Century Fox’s remake of the 1956 adaptation of Around the World in 80 Days. According to the UK’s The Sun, filming on the project is set to begin in January. The original starred David Niven.

The giant-screen release of Apollo 13 took in $183,090 in ticket sales from 18 IMAX venues across the United States and Canada from Friday through Sunday, Variety reports. With just a nine percent drop since its Sept. 20 opening weekend grosses, the film has already exceeded Universal Pictures’ expectations for the IMAX format, which costs the studio about $2-3 million per film.

Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami, who was to have introduced his film Ten at the New York Film Festival Sunday, was forced to cancel his participation when he failed to obtain a visa. According to The Associated Press, the State Department said Iranians are subject to an extensive security review due to heightened security following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Kiarostami, whose film Taste of Cherry won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997, has been to the New York Film Festival twice and was the subject of a retrospective in 1996.


It’s Big Brother, with celebs. The WB network is working on a new reality series titled The Surreal Life, in which TV cameras will follow the lives of has-been and never-quite-were celebrities living together under one roof. According to Variety, cast members include rapper turned preacher M.C. “U Can’t Touch This” Hammer, Webster star Emmanuel Lewis, The Facts of Life‘s Mindy Cohn and Motley Crue’s Vince Neil. The series, originally set to air this month, was pushed back to midseason so producers could cast it.

Freddie Prinze Jr., a nanny? That’s right. Prinze will make an appearance on the NBC comedy Friends this season as a male nanny hired by Ross and Rachel for their new baby. The episode will most likely air during one of the “sweeps” months, which include November, February, May and July.