Dailies: James Franco Takes A Break From Class To Direct

  • James Franco will begin filming Herbert White, a short film he wrote and will direct in Virginia today. (Production Weekly)
  • Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes have signed on to play opposite each other in the epicĀ  Clash of the Titans. This is Neeson’s first motion picture deal since the death of his wife, actress Natasha Richardson, in March. (THR)
  • NBC is threatening to replace Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni on Law & Order: SVU if the actors continue demanding more money for their work on the show. The pair just began contract renegotiations and are asking for back-end profits, a perk rarely granted to Law & Order cast members. Currently, they each make roughly $350,000 an episode. (EW)
  • ABC Family has already grabbed the TV rights to two of parent company Disney’s feature films before they hit theatres: Jerry Bruckheimer’s guinea pig action flick G-Force, and Robert Zemeckis’ 3-D CGI version of A Christmas Carol, starring Jim Carrey. (Variety)
  • HBO has renewed its hit comedy, Eastbound & Down, for a second season. The show, executive produced by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Jody Hill and Danny McBride, follows a star pitcher who was kicked out of the major leagues, returned home to teach gym at his former middle school, but got another shot at the big league. (THR)
  • Brittany Murphy and Dexter’s David Zayas have joined the cast of Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables. Murphy will play Mickey Rourke’s character’s girlfriend and Zayas will play a dictator. (THR)
  • Race to Witch Mountain director Andy Fickman will next helm the comedy You Again for Disney. (Variety)
  • ABC has announced its summer programming schedule, including a new season of The Bachelorette and a new reality show, Dating in the Dark, in which couples date without seeing each other. (THR)
  • Actors Steve Buscemi and Stanley Tucci sealed a first-look TV deal with Lionsgate for their new project, Olive Prods. (Variety)
  • David O. Russell will helm the romantic comedy Aaron and Sarah for Fox 2000, with Milk producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen attached to produce. (Variety)
  • Rescue Me’s fifth season premiere on FX drew 2.3 million viewers, 1.5 million of which were in the coveted 18-49 demographic, down slightly from previous seasons but good considering the show’s 18-month hiatus. The premiere’s ratings were in line with the previous season’s average for FX’s hit Nip/Tuck. (TV by the Numbers)
  • TNT is incorporating Facebook and Twitter into its “40 Games in 40 Nights” campaign to promote its coverage of the NBA playoffs, which begin April 19. On-air talent will tweet and update the Facebook page throughout the game with analysis and action behind the scenes. (THR)

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