- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 3, 2008

‘Days’ stays for now

Talk of the demise of NBC’s long-running soap “Days of Our Lives” may be premature, Entertainment Weekly says.

Although Jeff Zucker, president and chief executive of NBC Universal, reportedly said last year that the show was unlikely to continue past 2009, when its licensing agreement expires, network insiders have confirmed a report in Soap Opera Digest that the Peacock may be closing in on a new deal to keep the 43-year-old soap opera a while longer.

That would be good news for the drama’s 2.8 million fans - and the entire daytime drama genre, which already has seen the demise of “Passions,” “Port Charles” and “Another World” in the past decade.

The 100-day writers strike also had the industry racked with fears that the massive work stoppage would irreparably damage the struggling soap genre. As a result, many scribes risked the wrath of the Writers Guild of America by crossing the picket lines to pen original soaps episodes. The union vilified those writers after the strike was over, but many remain in the writers rooms, EW notes.

‘Skin’s‘ in for Kim

Kim Cattrall, a co-star of the nation’s No. 1 film, “Sex and the City: The Movie,” is back at HBO with another sex-themed comedy set in New York, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Miss Cattrall, 51, has signed to star in and executive produce an American adaptation of the British comedy “Sensitive Skin.” She’ll play a middle-aged wife and mother who rediscovers her sexuality and begins to question her place in the world and the choices she has made in life.

The original “Skin,” which aired on BBC Two for two seasons, starred Joanna Lumley (star of “Absolutely Fabulous”) as a well-to-do ex-model working at an art gallery in London.

“Sensitive Skin” is the latest British series to make its way to HBO’s development slate, following the dark comedy “Suburban Shootout” and the prison drama “Bad Girls.”

A year after “Sex and the City” ended its HBO run in 2004, Miss Cattrall partnered with the network on the documentary “Kim Cattrall: Sexual Intelligence,” which she executive produced and in which she starred. She reprised her role as Samantha Jones in the feature version of “Sex and the City: The Movie,” which currently rules the North American box office after surprisingly strong opening-weekend sales of $56.8 million. Miss Cattrall’s “Sex and the City” character, Samantha Jones, celebrates her 50th birthday in the film.

Casting calls

*Keke Palmer has been cast as the lead in Nickelodeon’s live-action pilot “True Fashion,” the Hollywood Reporter notes. The tentatively titled project, described as “Big” meets “The Devil Wears Prada,” centers on a 15-year-old (Miss Palmer) tapped to head the teen division of a major fashion label. Miss Palmer won an NAACP Image Award for her role in “Akeelah and the Bee.” The singer-actress, who also was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for her role in the TNT movie “The Wool Cap,” released her debut album, “So Uncool,” last year.

*Just last week, Harold Perrineau was wondering why his character was killed off on “Lost,” wishing the producers hadn’t blown up Michael with the freighter. He wasn’t out of work for long, though. According to TVSquad.com, Mr. Perrineau has just been cast in the new ABC dramedy “The Unusuals.” The pilot, which could be a midseason replacement on the network, is set in a New York City police precinct. Mr. Perrineau will play Detective Leo Banks, an agitated cop who’s so afraid of being shot or attacked that he’s never without his Kevlar bulletproof vest.

*Two ABC pilots, the Damon Wayans comedy “Never Better” and Rob Thomas’ drama “Good Behavior,” have added to their casts. Former “Soul Food” star Nicole Ari Parker has signed on to “Never Better,” on which she’ll play the wife of Mr. Wayans’ character, Zap2it.com reports.

“Never Better” stars Mr. Wayans as Keith, a recovering alcoholic who’s trying to be a better husband and father. The pilot also has Matt Winston (“John From Cincinnati”) as the leader of the Alcoholics Anonymous group Keith attends.

Elsewhere, “Good Behavior,” an adaptation of the New Zealand series “Outrageous Fortune” from “Veronica Mars” creator Rob Thomas, is about a woman’s (Catherine O’Hara) efforts to get her criminal family to go straight after her husband is sent to prison. Keith Robinson (“Dreamgirls”), who’s coming off Fox’s “Canterbury’s Law,” will play a police officer who’s friendly with Miss O’Hara’s character, the Hollywood Reporter says.

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