Oliver Platt is heading to NBC to star in a series being developed by Dick Wolf. In the show, being eyed for the 2000-01 TV season, Platt would play a New York City journalist who investigates crime. Like Wolf's new NBC drama, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," it would be shot on location in New York.
Platt, now being seen in the horror flick "Lake Placid," has signed a seven-figure deal with Studios USA, where Wolf has an overhead deal.
If the project gets the green light, Wolf will be a very busy guy. In addition to "Law & Order" and "L&O: Special Victims Unit," he is starting production on "D.C.," his midseason Washington interns drama for the WB network.
Platt, who starred opposite Warren Beatty in 1998's "Bulworth," has been courted unsuccessfully by TV producers for years. He was an early pick of David E. Kelley's to lead ABC's "The Practice" before Dylan McDermott came on the scene.
Studios USA executive David Kissinger--Dr. Henry's offspring--is said to have been instrumental in landing Platt.
In addition to "Lake Placid," Platt's credits include parts in "Dr. Dolittle," "A Time to Kill," "Indecent Proposal," "Postcards From the Edge," "Working Girl" and "Flatliners."
Meanwhile, NBC also is developing a sitcom for "In Living Color" alum David Alan Grier for the 2000-01 season. Nothing's been set, but the network has locked in his services with a holding deal. Grier was recently seen on NBC's hit miniseries "The '60s." But in series TV, he's been a regular Fox guy. In addition to "In Living Color," on which Grier was a regular in the early '90s, he starred in two short-lived Fox sitcoms, "The Preston Episodes" and "Damon."
About the same time that the ink was drying on Forrest Sawyer's new six-figure deal with NBC News, Bob Odenkirk was crossing the T's on a seven-figure production deal over at HBO. So why is Odenkirk considered to be worth at least twice as much as Sawyer? Well, just compare their accomplishments:
* Ten-year veteran of ABC News.
* Co-anchored "World News This Morning."
* Anchored "World News Sunday."
* Frequent contributor and substitute anchor on "Nightline."
* Co-anchor of ABC's prime-time newsmagazines "Day One" and "Turning Point."
* Co-creator and co-star of HBO's "Mr. Show," which the network has canceled.
* Feature film in the works called "The Ronnie Dobbs Movie," based on a sketch from the canceled "Mr. Show," but no studio has bought the movie yet, so it may never see the light of day.
* Executive producer of the very short-lived--three episodes--HBO comedy series "Tenacious D," a music industry spoof.
* Played sleazy lawyer on "The Larry Sanders Show."
Spanish-language network Univision reports it has taken in $425 million in "upfront" sales for the 1999-2000 TV season. That's more than 40 percent more than its take last year in the upfront market, in which advertisers commit ahead of time to buying in to time slots on networks' schedules. The results put Univision on par with the WB broadcast network in terms of upfront take, and ahead of UPN's estimated $140 million, though nowhere near NBC's marketplace- leading $2 billion haul.
Univision President Henry Cisneros said in a statement that the results show Madison Avenue is catching on to the notion that targeting the Hispanic population through Spanish-language television makes financial sense.
Bob McKinnon has been named the director of ABC News's "Good Morning America," effective immediately. His first task is working on "GMA's" transition to its new studio in Times Square, where the program will relocate beginning Monday, Sept. 13.
McKinnon worked on NBC's "Today" show from '94 to '97, and his first assignment there was coordinating its move to its storefront studio at Rockefeller Center. He directed the news program for its first three years in that studio.
For the past seven seasons, McKinnon has been the director of "The Ricki Lake Show," which is syndicated by Columbia/TriStar Television. Before that, he worked for Warner Bros. Television, launching "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" and "In Person With Maureen O'Boyle." He has also been a director for "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" since 1985.
This is McKinnon's second stint at "GMA"; he worked on the program from 1988 to '94.
Tribune Broadcasting, Warner Bros.' partner in the fledging WB television network, has purchased the local WB station, WBDC. Tribune had been managing the station for several years.
Tribune is buying the station for an undisclosed price from Jasas Corp. The station had been caught up in a tax evasion investigation of Nolanda Hill, who was president of Corridor Broadcasting Corp., a now-defunct Texas company that once owned the station, then known as WFTY-TV. Hill recently was sentenced to four months in jail and two months of home detention and was fined $10,000.
Michael Nurse, WBDC's general manager, is in negotiations to stay. But that's not to say there won't be some big changes at the station.
Expect Tribune to push to get a news operation up and running within the next few years and to become much more aggressive about buying syndicated programming. For instance, Tribune bought off-network rights to "Everybody Loves Raymond" in many markets where it owns a station, as well as "Friends," neither of which airs on WBDC.
Of course, it can be argued that it was in Tribune's best interest that WBDC not become too successful while it was contemplating its purchase.
One thing you won't see at WBDC is Howard Stern's Saturday late-night show. Tribune was part of the decision to buy the program for the station and also part of the decision not to renew it at the end of its one-year pact.
This weekend, "The Howard Stern Radio Show," as the TV show is called, begins its second season on the 12 CBS-owned TV stations as well as other stations across the country. But not in the Washington market, where the show took a dive after an early ratings boost, which only added to WBDC's difficulties getting advertisers for the controversial program. Back in October '98, Stern's show averaged 73,000 viewers on the Washington station; by May '99, it was pulling in 17,000 in a later time slot.
What you'll be missing this weekend are interviews with Dennis Rodman and Tori Spelling; a new edition of "Homeless Jeopardy," in which homeless New York City contestants vie for a $10,000 cash prize; and one of Stern's hangers-on in drag interviewing unsuspecting celebrities.
CAPTION: In a new NBC series, Oliver Platt plays an investigative journalist in New York.