'Scrubs,' 'Letterman' writers get OK for pilots

February 02, 2005|by

NBC has given the thumbs-up to two comedy pilots from writers who have worked on "Scrubs" and "The Late Show with David Letterman."

"Confessions of a Dog," from "Scrubs" writer-producer Eric Weinberg, is about three long-time friends. The "Dog" of the title is one of them, a guy who's never been in a long-term relationship. The other show, "Early Bird," comes from ex-"Late Show" head writer Rodney Rothman and follows a twentysomething guy who lives in a retirement community.

Weinberg worked on "Politically Incorrect" and the short-lived FOX series "Too Something" before joining "Scrubs." In addition to writing the pilot, he'll executive produce with "Scrubs" creator Bill Lawrence, whose company, Doozer Productions, is producing with NBC Universal TV, the showbiz trades report.

Lawrence's company also has another comedy project in development with NBC and one at The WB.

Rothman's project is based on a book, also called "Early Bird," that he wrote about his experience living among retirees in Florida. The "Undeclared" and "Committed" scribe is executive producing the NBC Universal TV/3 Arts Entertainment project with David Miner and Howard Klein.

'Raymond's' Heaton signs deal with ABC

Patricia Heaton won't have to go looking for work now that "Everybody Loves Raymond" has wrapped.

The Emmy-winning actress has signed a lucrative development deal with ABC and its sister studio, Touchstone TV, to produce both series and long-form projects through Four Boys Films, the company run by Heaton and her husband, David Hunt.

In addition to serving as an executive producer on any projects Four Boys develops, Heaton and ABC will also look for projects in which she can star. She'd be a co-exec producer on any show in which she acts.

"Patricia is a true television star, and we're thrilled to be in business with her," says Stephen McPherson, president of ABC Entertainment. "While we look forward to finding the right project for her considerable acting skills, we are equally as excited to see what comes out of the development part of the deal."

Heaton has won two Emmys for playing Debra Barone on CBS' "Everybody Loves Raymond." The series taped its final episode last week and will conclude its nine-season run in May. She's also up for three Screen Actors Guild awards this weekend - for her "Raymond" role, as part of the show's cast and for TNT's production of "The Goodbye Girl" last year.

'Alias' villains to reappear for sweeps

A pair of Sydney Bristow's past nemeses will return to complicate her life on "Alias" during February sweeps.

David Anders, who's played the oily, villainous Mr. Sark on the series since midway through its first season, and Gina Torres, who had a recurring role in season one, will be back for two episodes each in sweeps, ABC says - and based on what the network is saying about the episodes, their characters may be linked.

The two will first appear in the episode scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 23, which finds Nadia's (Mia Maestro) life in jeopardy.

To save her, Sydney (Jennifer Garner) has to hunt down her former rival Anna Espinosa (Torres), who hasn't surfaced in several years.

Vaughn (Michael Vartan) tries to help Sydney save her half-sister, but to do so, he has to confront Sark, who both cuckolded him and ran his wife, Lauren, as a double agent last season.

Torres and Anders will also appear in the March 2 episode, which finds Sydney and Vaughn still on the hunt for Anna. Sark agrees to help find her, but only for a stiff price.

Anders was a regular on "Alias" the past two seasons but was dropped from the cast this year. Creator J.J. Abrams has said that with the structure of this season's story arc, there wouldn't be a plausible way to feature Sark in every episode.

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