The success of NBC’s “Will & Grace” may be opening the door to more gay-themed primetime development.
CBS has just greenlit production on a small-screen version of the indie pic “Kiss Me, Guido,” which told the story of a macho Italian who gets a gay roommate. Marc Cherry (“The 5 Mrs. Buchanans”) and Tony Vitale wrote the pilot, which will be produced through Axelrod/Widdoes and Paramount Network Television.
Warner Bros. Television and “Friends” star Jennifer Aniston meanwhile, are developing a spec script based on Gary Goldstein’s play “Parental Discretion,” about an outspoken father who moves in with his gay adult son. CAA-repped Aniston will serve as an exec producer, while her father, John (“Days of Our Lives”), is attached to star in the project if it goes to pilot.
Goldstein, who is writing and will produce the pilot, is managed by Matt Luber of Evolution Entertainment. Attorney Eric Feig brokered the deal.
CBS is also producing a pilot with Ellen DeGeneres, but it’s not yet clear if the skein will involve an on-air gay character.
– Josef Adalian
Fox focuses on JonBenet
Fox is expected to trump CBS by airing its rush-job take on the JonBenet Ramsey murder during February sweeps before the Eye network gets a crack at the topic.
CBS’ four-hour miniseries “Perfect Murder, Perfect Town” airs Feb. 27 and March 1; Fox hopes to sked its one-hour JonBenet Ramsey project before then on a Wednesday at 9 p.m. (following ‘”Beverly Hills, 90210″), according to Mike Darnell, Fox’s executive vice president of alternative series and specials.
Fox’s JonBenet Ramsey piece, based on a Vanity Fair article, is the first of what Darnell hopes will be a series of “mini-movies” geared toward female viewers.
— Michael Schneider
Eye blinks Cable consent issue in desert bloom
As station groups such as ABC, LIN and Hearst-Argyle continue to negotiate new retransmission consent deals with MSOs (or in some cases, remain off cable systems), attendees at this week’s National Association of Broadcasters board meeting at the La Quinta resort were haunted by the hot-button issue every time they turned on their TV sets.
That’s because Palm Springs/Palm Desert cabler Time Warner failed to strike a deal with Chris-Craft’s Los Angeles outlet, KCOP-TV. Instead, a message on the cable system’s Channel 13 said KCOP would no longer be seen in the market. The UPN affiliate went black on Time Warner’s desert area systems Jan. 1.
UPN is close to a deal with Mirage Media to sign up low-power KPSE-TV as a new market affiliate. KPSE is expected to launch on cable channel 13 and over the air on channel 50 in March.
Meanwhile, ABC has granted Time Warner Cable an additional two-week extension to keep ABC-owned stations on the cabler’s systems as negotiations continue. A previous one-month extension was set to expire Jan. 15.
— Michael Schneider