- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Pam too risque for NBC

NBC’s standards and practices department took some of the sizzle out of Monday’s telecast of an Elton John concert in Las Vegas.

Pamela Anderson’s pole-dancing segment was cut from the Caesars Palace special before airtime because NBC felt it didn’t mesh with the 8 p.m. time slot, Associated Press reports.

The network’s “Elton John: The Red Piano” was to include Miss Anderson’s segment as part of the singer’s performance of “The Bitch Is Back.”

In the clip, the former “Baywatch” beauty moved suggestively around a dance pole. The footage was included in preview copies sent to critics, but the network’s internal censors drew the line before showtime.

“We believed the content was not appropriate for 8 p.m./7 Central time and decided to pull the song from the special,” the network said.

A call from AP seeking comment from Miss Anderson, star of the Fox sitcom “Stacked,” was not immediately returned on Tuesday.

Other segments of the special were spared the same fate. Left intact were several of Mr. John’s classic hits, including “Daniel” and “Rocket Man,” as well as another big-screen video that featured Justin Timberlake as a young Elton.

By coincidence, Mr. Timberlake is no stranger to salacious TV moments. The pop star was part of Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction” during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, in which her breast was exposed briefly when Mr. Timberlake yanked on her costume.

Tolstoy revisited

Production has begun on an epic miniseries based on Leo Tolstoy’s classic drama “War and Peace,” Reuters news agency reports.

“Monster” producer Mark Damon is developing the eight-hour project, which is budgeted for $60 million to $70 million.

Pre-production has begun at Russia’s government-owned Mosfilm Studios, which also produced filmmaker Sergei Bondarchuk’s Oscar-winning 1968 big-screen adaptation of the acclaimed novel. Props, weapons and costumes from the film will be dusted off for the new miniseries.

Mr. Damon tells Reuters that creating a new “War and Peace” has been a dream of his for 40 years.

“If we succeed in capturing Tolstoy’s essence, which I don’t think has been accomplished to date, then we will make his 19th-century characters resonate with 21st-century viewers all over the world,” he said.

“War and Peace,” published between 1865 and 1869, is a sprawling family drama/love story set against the backdrop of Napoleon’s 1812 invasion of Russia.

In writing the script for the miniseries, Ron Hutchinson (USA Network’s “Traffic”) studied a number of English translations of Tolstoy’s masterpiece in an effort to remain faithful to the tone of the book.

Casting of the miniseries’ more than 100 speaking parts is expected to begin early next year. Producers estimate that the project will take 24 weeks to shoot and that the shoot will begin next summer in Russia. However, the project has not yet been shopped around to American television networks.

New ‘Development’

The end of “Arrested Development” on Fox could spark the beginning of a beautiful friendship with Showtime.

According to Reuters, the cable network is in talks with Fox to pick up the ratings-challenged Emmy-winning sitcom.

Reuters, citing unnamed sources, reports that the talks are still exploratory and that it would be a big financial commitment on Showtime’s part to pick up the show given its large cast. “Development” stars Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, Portia de Rossi, Jessica Walter and Will Arnett as members of the bickering Bluth family.

“Arrested” became an instant hit with critics after its Fox debut in late 2003, but audiences never embraced the show with the same fervor. Even its 2004 Emmy win as best comedy couldn’t persuade viewers to tune in.

Fox threw in the towel last month, cutting its episode order for “Arrested’s” third season from its initial 22 episodes to just 13.

Representatives for Showtime and the series’ producers — 20th Century Fox TV and Imagine TV — declined comment.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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