- The Washington Times - Monday, April 9, 2007

Ferrell project a go

Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, the duo responsible for “Talladega Nights” and “Anchorman,” are taking their comedy to the small screen, Zap2It.com reports.

HBO has given the green light to a pilot from Mr. Ferrell — an alumnus of NBC’s long-running “Saturday Night Live” — and Mr. McKay’s Gary Sanchez Productions. It’s the first TV project to be given the go-ahead for the relatively new company. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the two will serve as executive producers of the show.

Formerly known as “P.E.,” the currently untitled show will follow a washed-up ballplayer (played by Danny McBride) who returns to his hometown and takes the only job he can get: substitute gym teacher. HBO reportedly paid a substantial price for the project, which was the subject of a bidding war among several networks when the production company shopped it last fall.

Mr. McBride also co-wrote the pilot with Ben Best and Jody Hill; the latter will direct it. The three are also behind the feature film “The Foot Fist Way,” which Gary Sanchez Productions bought as part of its deal with distributor Paramount Vantage.

Mr. Ferrell and Mr. McKay also had a pilot project at Fox, a comedy called “Church of Steve,” earlier this development season, but it didn’t go forward. The two will next team for a feature called “Step Brothers” that is slated for release in June 2008.

Chan’s ‘Disciple’

Jackie Chan is behind a new Chinese television show that will attempt to find his movie successor, the Internet Movie Database reports.

More than 100,000 fans have apparently signed up to try out for “The Disciple,” a reality show that promises to crown the next action movie star. “A lot of actors are good at fighting but (they’re) not beautiful (to watch). If you can incorporate dance with an ability to perform kung fu, that would be better,” said Mr. Chan, who turned 53 on Friday.

“The Disciple” will run from March to October next year with the 10 winners landing roles in a new movie, which Mr. Chan will produce.

Lopez goes to CW

Mario Lopez, fresh off his stint on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” will co-star with R&B; singer Christina Milian in the CW comedy pilot “Eight Days a Week,” Reuters news agency reports.

The project revolves around four twentysomethings who work under the top movers and shakers in New York City. Mr. Lopez will play one of the bosses, an impeccably dressed workaholic with a cell phone attached to his ear. Miss Milian will play one of the assistants — a former attorney who left her law career to start over as a receptionist-gofer at an art gallery.

Yeah, right.

Johnny Lewis (“The O.C.”) will play another assistant, a struggling rock musician who works for a big-name rock publicist. Robert Ri’chard (“One on One”) will play Mr. Lopez’s character’s assistant, a BlackBerry-wielding go-getter.

Mr. Lopez recently joined entertainment newsmagazine “Extra” as co-host/correspondent, and also hosted the 2007 Miss America Pageant. Miss Milian has appeared in such features as “Torque,” “Man of the House” and “Be Cool.”

On tap tonight

“The Unit” (9 p.m. on CBS), the military drama created by playwright-director David Mamet, comes close to home when the special forces team must rescue the students of an elite international private school in the Washington suburbs who have been taken hostage — though no one knows who the kidnappers are. Terrorists, perhaps?

Compiled by Kelly Jane Torrance from staff, wire and Web reports.

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