- - Thursday, March 22, 2012

Talk about office politics.

NBC is searching for a new show-runner to replace Paul Lieberstein on its top-rated comedy “The Office.”

Mr. Lieberstein — who currently heads the writing staff, produces and co-stars as Toby — is looking to shift his focus from the network’s Thursday staple to “The Farm,” the rumored Dwight Schrute spinoff the network currently is developing.

The potential spinoff would take “Office” star Rainn Wilson out of Scranton and onto the Schrute family farm with Mr. Lieberstein attached as a co-creator. The comedy concept is expected to get a test later this season on an episode of “The Office.”

Should the farm-focused project move forward, Mr. Lieberstein would serve as show-runner while still participating on “The Office” in a reduced capacity, with Mr. Wilson departing the flagship series altogether.

The shake-up for NBC’s No. 1-rated comedy comes two months after Fox picked up a comedy pilot from “Office” co-star Mindy Kaling. If ordered to series, Miss Kaling — whose Universal Television deal expires in June — would depart the NBC series and focus on the Fox gig.

In addition, head writer Daniel Chun inked an overall deal with rival ABC Studios in late February and is also considering his future with the series.

For their part, “Office” stars Ed Helms, John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer are in talks to return for a ninth season, sources told the Hollywood Reporter late last month, though none has a deal in place. Mr. Helms, meanwhile, has booked a guest turn in Miss Kaling’s untitled Fox pilot.

“Well I think obviously Steve [Carell] left last year and it just opened up all kinds of possibilities and opportunities not just for myself but the whole cast,” Mr. Helms told the Hollywood Reporter earlier this month. “I think any time the boat is rocked, it’s a good thing and an exciting thing and an opportunity.”

‘The Situation’ gets treatment for prescription drug use

The party is on hold for “the Situation.” “Jersey Shore” cast member Mike Sorrentino is getting treatment for prescription medication use.

Sorrentino said he is voluntarily seeking to “take control” of medication he was taking to deal with exhaustion.

The 29-year-old reality star known for his steel abs made the acknowledgment on Facebook and his personal website after gossip sites reported he was in rehab.

Sorrentino said he has “spent the past several weeks getting treatment for this problem and recuperating from my work and appearance schedule.” He didn’t specify the medication.

An email from MTV said the network has no comment but is “looking forward” to the entire cast returning for a sixth season of the hit reality show.

Ex-wives of Eddie Murphy, Prince, R. Kelly, get show

Hollywood ex-wives surely have stories to tell, and now five of them will have their own TV series.

VH1 said Wednesday that it is making “Hollywood Exes,” a one-hour series that will air this summer. Featured players are the ex-wives of Eddie Murphy, Prince, R. Kelly, Will Smith and Jose Canseco.

The network said that Nicole Murphy, Jessica Canseco, Andrea Kelly, Sheree Fletcher (Mr. Smith’s ex) and Mayte Garcia (Prince’s ex) “want to show the world that they are more than just a trophy wife with a pretty face.”

The 10-episode series will follow the women as they establish their own lives apart from their famous ex-husbands.

MTV expands programming with four new series, special

MTV has added four new series to its programming slate and a special centering on an up-and-coming musician.

The cable network has picked up “The Heights,” a docudrama that follows a group of friends who live, work and play in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City.

The half-hour panel show “Epic Fail” focuses on embarrassing moments of viewers’ lives. The series will feature re-enactments, text messages, status updates and photos submitted by viewers.

Hidden-camera game show “Totally Clueless” gives people the opportunity to win cash for figuring out whether they are on television.

The half-hour series “MTV’s This Is How I Made It” acts as an advice show, giving first-person lessons from celebrities on how to succeed.

The special, “Dev,” centers on 22-year-old Dev, the female voice on Far East Movement’s chart-topping single “Like a G6,” who is pregnant.

Premiere dates will be announced later.

• Compiled from Web and wire service reports.



Click to Read More

Click to Hide