- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Grammar, Heaton back

After a much-anticipated bidding war, Fox has snagged next fall’s highest-profile comedy project: “Action News,” starring Kelsey Grammar and Patricia Heaton as broadcast journalists who reunite at a local TV station.

Fox made a 13-episode commitment to the multicam sitcom, from Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd, who teamed up at 20th Century Fox in July, MediaWeek.com reports.

Before their partnership, both Mr. Levitan and Mr. Lloyd were prolific comedy producers. Mr. Levitan, producer of NBC’s “Just Shoot Me,” also produced Fox’s “Stacked,” “Oliver Beene” and “Greg the Bunny.” Mr. Lloyd, who oversaw NBC’s “Frasier,” in which Mr. Grammar starred, was executive producer on CBS’ “Out of Practice” last season.

In other prime-time casting news:

m Louise Lombard (of CBS’ “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”) has landed the title role in ABC’s drama pilot “Judy’s Got a Gun,” the Hollywood Reporter notes. Produced by Touchstone TV, the series centers on Judy (Miss Lombard), a suburban woman who balances being a single mother with being a detective investigating bizarre suburban crimes.

• Sarah Clarke (best known for her role as Nina Myers on Fox’s “24”) has been cast in NBC’s untitled David Shore-Peter Blake drama pilot. The project, from NBC Universal TV Studio, is a light ensemble drama that centers on a policewoman (Famke Janssen). Miss Clarke will play her younger sister and best friend, who sometimes gives her advice about cases.

m Lucy Lawless (“Xena: Warrior Princess”) has been tapped for one of the leads in ABC’s drama pilot “Football Wives,” based on the British soap about the partners of professional soccer players.

m Indie queen Parker Posey is making her first appearance on series television with “The Return of Jezebel James,” Reuters news agency reports. The Fox comedy pilot from “Gilmore Girls” creator Amy Sherman-Palladino will star Miss Posey as a newly single children’s book editor who asks her estranged younger sister to carry a baby for her. Miss Posey, who recently starred in “For Your Consideration,” has turned down every other pilot she has been offered in the past.

More blue-collar TV

TBS seems to be happy with the success of its first original comedies (“My Boys” and “10 Items or Less,” which premiered last year). The cable network has just greenlighted another.

“The Bill Engvall Show” will be a domestic comedy starring Blue Collar Comedy Tour star Bill Engvall and actress Nancy Travis, who previously starred on CBS’ “Becker.” TBS has ordered eight episodes of the series, which will be shot in front of a studio audience and premiere this summer.

Set in a Denver suburb, the show features Mr. Engvall as a family counselor whose own family could use some help. Miss Travis plays his wife and the mother of his three children.

Mr. Engvall created the show along with Michael Leeson (who penned the script for the 1989 feature film “The War of the Roses”). The two will serve as executive producers along with J.P. Williams (“Blue Collar TV”). James Widdoes of the popular CBS comedy “Two and a Half Men” directed the pilot.

Compiled by Kelly Jane Torrance and Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wirereports.

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