- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Big names land at NBC

NBC has tapped two critically acclaimed filmmakers to help pull the network out of fourth place.

The Peacock has entered into pilot pacts with Oscar nominees Frank Darabont and Paul Haggis, Zap2it.com reports.

Mr. Haggis, a two-time Emmy winner who penned the screenplays for “Crash” and the Oscar-winning “Million Dollar Baby,” will write, direct and executive produce a pilot for a drama tentatively titled “The Black Donnellys,” which could be available to NBC as a midseason offering. The pilot will focus on four Irish brothers and their involvement with organized crime in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.

Mr. Darabont is best-known for directing the Oscar-nominated films “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile.” No specifics on plot or timetable were given for either of his projects.

Lynch eyes spy show

“Roadhouse” beauty Kelly Lynch is joining cable’s Lifetime with a new pilot about a family of spies, Reuters News Agency reports.

“The Hunters,” featuring Miss Lynch in the lead role, follows a former CIA operative who is the matriarch of a family of spies who take on spillover cases from the CIA. The pilot began shooting Sunday in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The assignment isn’t Miss Lynch’s first project for Lifetime.

The actress recently starred in the network’s “Cyber Seduction: His Secret Life” and its “Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story.”

Earlier this year, Miss Lynch was seen on the big screen in “The Jacket,” which starred Oscar-winner Adrien Brody.

War right now

Television’s first war drama to tackle a conflict that’s still red hot debuts tonight on FX.

“Over There,” an hourlong drama airing at 10 p.m., follows a group of soldiers battling insurgents in Iraq. Southern California doubles for the war-torn nation in the 13-episode series created by Chris Gerolmo and Steven Bochco (“Hill Street Blues,” “NYPD Blue”).

The initial episode confirms that the series doesn’t have a political ax to grind, so partisans on both sides should be content.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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