'Nip/Tuck' Creator's New Series Tackles Transsexualism

By Lisa de Moraes
Thursday, August 23, 2007

"Nip/Tuck" creator Ryan Murphy has sold a pilot to FX network for a series called "4 Oz.," about the metamorphosis of a married sportswriter with children who comes to the realization he is a transsexual.

Only it's now about a married-dad gynecologist practicing with his father who undergoes a sex-change operation. FX insists the change wasn't made because the new series read too much like "Christine Daniels: The L.A. Times Sportswriter Formerly Known as Mike Penner Story."

In fact, an FX rep says the change from sportswriter to gynecologist was made before Daniels penned her famous Los Angeles Times piece in April, formally announcing her new sex and name, though as recently as last month, news reports about the show in development called it a series about a sportswriter.

Also gone is the working title "4 Oz.," the FX rep told The TV Column, but other reporters continued to call it "4 Oz."

In interviews, Murphy used to say the 4 ounces was a reference to the weight of a human penis, which, he quipped, is "remarkably light given the amount of havoc it creates for men."

Actually, according to Harold M. Reed, a doctor who runs a sexual reassignment surgery center in Bay Harbor, Fla., and who has focused on genital reconstruction surgery for 20 years -- you may have seen him on the "Today" show -- it's too heavy. The 4 ounces, that is.

Reed tells The Post's Meg Smith that, as best he can figure, the Little Colonel when he's resting weighs about half that.

But somehow you just know the working title "2 Oz." is not going to fly in this totally guy-centric TV industry, which explains why, instead, the series-in-progress is now officially being called "The Untitled Ryan Murphy Project," the FX rep told The TV Column. If my editor was running things over at FX, he says he'd call it "Snip/Tuck."

Murphy started talking up this project about a year ago, saying the first season will deal with the revelation of the man's "secret." Only we already know his "secret," so hopefully they'll just jump ahead to the plans for the second season, in which the gynecologist starts dressing like a woman.

The following season, as Murphy has described it, will cover the surgery, and in the fourth season the doctor will begin living as a woman and looking for love.

Murphy and Brad Falchuk, who is a writer-producer on "Nip/Tuck," wrote the pilot episode. Murphy will direct the pilot, the trade papers reported.

And, here's a fun factoid, Brad Pitt will be listed among the executive producers on the new series -- his first TV series. Maybe he will run into Jennifer Aniston when she next guests on FX's "Dirt" and they can talk about old times.

Pitt and Dede Gardner are producing partners with Murphy. They made the '06 feature film "Running With Scissors," which Murphy also wrote and directed.

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One week after a treacly musical about high schoolers during summer break became the biggest thing in the history of cable TV, a talent competition won by a ventriloquist who does impressions of singers with puppets became NBC's best performer in the time slot since November 2005.

Viewers are being very loud about what they want to see on television in the summer. Hope TV suits are listening.

"America's Got Talent" clocked nearly 14 million viewers Tuesday. It will be this week's most watched broadcast TV show.

The finale, in which viewers voted to award the million-buck prize to ventriloquist Terry Fator, snagged about 7 million more viewers than its closest competitor. That's NBC's biggest audience on a Tuesday since November '05 (excluding Olympics coverage) and the biggest audience on broadcast TV overall since the season finale of "House" in May.

* * *

Wayne Newton looks to be the next guy to take on the role of older man with a sense of humor about himself on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."

Previous OMWASOHAHs have included John O'Hurley, George Hamilton, Jerry Springer and John Ratzenberger, who stepped in to the dancing competition's fourth edition when Vincent Pastore -- Tony Soprano's hit man Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero on the HBO mob drama "The Sopranos" -- bowed out after one week because it was too hard.

ABC won't confirm Newton, whose "Dancing" gig was first reported by Entertainment Weekly's Web site. ABC plans to unveil the next lineup of celeb-competitors on its infotainment show "Good Morning America" next Wednesday.

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