MGM announced Thursday it has pushed back its target release date for the 21st James Bond installment from November 2005 until sometime in 2006. A spokesman for the studio told Reuters yesterday failure to line up a director for the film was the reason behind the almost yearlong delay. The announcement comes as a surprise since MGM said in July that a script was finished and the next film was on track to arrive in theaters in November 2005. But for the film to be released in November as planned, production would have to begin early next year, something producers thought was unlikely without a director on board by summer's end. MGM's impending sale to a group of companies led by Sony Corp. is also a factor in the delay, as is the possible casting of a new James Bond, since Irish-born actor Pierce Brosnan told Entertainment Weekly magazine this summer he was through with the franchise. The 51-year-old actor, who has portrayed agent 007 in four films starting with GoldenEye in 1995, has fulfilled his MGM contract but has not been ruled out for a fifth picture. Reuters reports casting decisions will be put off until a director comes on board. Paul McGuigan, who directed Wicker Park and Matthew Vaughn, Guy Ritchie's producing partner for Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels are among the filmmakers being discussed for the job.
NBC picks up Joey for full season
NBC said Thursday it has greenlighted the production at least nine more episodes of Matt LeBlanc's Friends spin-off Joey, Reuters reports. The comedy, which co-stars Emmy-wining actress Drea de Matteo, is the first new primetime sitcom to receive a full-season order. Joey has averaged 16.4 million viewers overall in its first three episodes and is the top-rated new comedy on U.S. television so far this season among NBC's target audience of adults aged 18 to 49. The show, which follows LeBlanc's character Joey Tribbiani trying to make it as an actor in Hollywood, debuted in the coveted Thursday night time slot previously inhabited by Friends--just four months the skein ended its decade-long run.
University cancels Michael Moore talk
George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., canceled plans Thursday to have director Michael Moore speak on campus Oct. 28--five days before the presidential election. The Associated Press reports the decision came after a Republican state legislator wrote a letter to the university president protesting the school's plans to pay the Fahrenheit 9/11 helmer $35,000 for his speaking engagement. Moore, however, told The Washington Post he plans to come and speak anyway. "I'm going to show up in support of free speech and free expression," he said. But a spokesman for the school said university officials hadn't discussed with Moore whether they would allow him to speak if he waived his fee.
MTV renews Punk'd for three more seasons
MTV, meanwhile, has renewed Ashton Kutcher's prankster series Punk'd for three more seasons, the AP reports. The first of the hidden-camera prankster show's 24 new episodes will premiere sometime next year. The announcement is a change for the normally guarded host, who in the past has been secretive about the show's plans. In January, Kutcher announced he was shelving the series after only two seasons. "Let's put it this way. I'm getting ready to start shooting two movies, I'm still working on That '70s Show, I'm producing two other shows for MTV and creating a one-hour drama pilot for Fox," Kutcher told the AP at the time. "I don't have the time." But Punk'd returned to MTV three months later.
Shatner pulls prank on Iowan town
William Shatner, aka Capt. James T. Kirk from the '60s series Star Trek, pulled a prank of his own recently. Shatner had been Riverside, Iowa, shooting scenes for what he said was a low-budget sci-fi film. Riverside considers itself the "future birthplace" of Capt. Kirk and holds an annual TrekFest, which includes a parade and public screenings of Star Trek episodes. But when Shatner invited town residents to view scenes he had been directing around town, he instead revealed the filming was for a new reality show on Spike TV about a small town hosting a Hollywood film shoot. The show is set to debut next year. Shatner also announced that he and his co-producers were donating $100,000 to the city to be used for community projects.
Lohan's father ordered to attend anger management classes
Lindsay Lohan's father pleaded guilty Thursday to assault charges and was ordered by a Manhattan Criminal Court judge to attend anger-management classes, Reuters reports. Michael Lohan was accused of beating up a city sanitation worker in December during an argument between the two men on a New York street. According to the criminal complaint, Lohan struck the man "several times about the face with closed fists." Judge Richard Weinberg told Lohan the conviction would be removed from his record when he returns to court Dec. 9 if he completed the anger-management classes successfully. Lohan has also been charged with assault in a separate case stemming from a fight with Lindsay's uncle, Matt Sullivan, on Long Island in May.