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Spike bites into ‘Shark’

Lee, Woods team for pilot

Spike Lee has signed on to direct James Woods in the CBS drama “Shark.”

Imagine TV and 20th Century Fox TV are behind the pilot, which stars Woods as an L.A. celebrity attorney who decides to become a prosecutor instead.

“Shark” reps the series debut of Woods, who has appeared in countless TV movies and won two Emmys.

Lee agreed to shoot the pilot having come straight off Imagine’s upcoming feature “Inside Man,” which he directed. “It’s the long arm of Imagine and Brian Grazer,” Lee said. “We had a very good experience on ‘Inside Man.’ ”

Grazer, David Nevins and Ian Biederman (who also wrote the pilot) are exec producing “Shark.”

“Working with James Woods and Spike Lee gives you an opportunity to elevate the material and make something great,” Biederman said.”Shark” would rep Lee’s first time directing a pilot, although he came close twice before — in 2000 with “Die Nasty” and in 1994 with “Slimm’s Table”; neither was ultimately shot. His past TV projects include directing the Showtime telepic “3 a.m.” as well as HBO special “John Leguizamo’s Freak” and Starz’s “A Huey P. Newton Story.”

Lee, whose recent credits include the features “She Hate Me,” “25th Hour” and “The Original Kings of Comedy,” also is exec producing the upcoming film “Dream Street.”

As for Woods, thesp recently lent his voice to the animated laffer “Family Guy” and appeared in “Celebrity Poker Showdown.” He also starred in USA’s “Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story.” Recent feature appearances include “Pretty Persuasion,” “Be Cool” and “The Virgin Suicides.”

In other pilot news:

  • The CW has picked up another pilot, the one-hour drama “Split Decision.” Project, from scribe Liz Tigelaar, takes a “Sliding Doors”-esque look at one teen girl’s first day at school — and how her life turns out if she decides to sit with the popular kids vs. what would happen if she chose the geeks.

Simon West is in talks to direct “Split Decision,” which was originally developed at UPN.

Project comes from CBS Paramount Network TV and Warner Bros. TV — which will now co-produce any project coming from either studio for the CW, per their arrangement.

Spelling TV is also aboard; Aaron Spelling and Todd Garner (through his Broken Road Prods. shingle) will exec produce.

  • Bradley Whitford will reunite with former “The West Wing” bosses Aaron Sorkin and Tommy Schlamme on NBC’s “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”

Whitford, who joins previously announced castmates including Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet and D.L. Hughley, will play producer-director Danny Tripp, a recovering cocaine addict who returns to run the show.

Also, Sarah Paulson (“The D.A.”) will play Christian fundamentalist Harriet Hayes on the Warner Bros. TV pilot.

And in a life-imitates-art move, Timothy Busfield not only will play Cal, the control room director, on the show, but also will serve as a producing director on “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”

  • William Baldwin will star opposite Joe Pantoliano in the CBS pilot “Waterfront.”

Baldwin is set to play Brennan, the district attorney, who regularly clashes with the Providence, R.I., mayor (Pantoliano).

Baldwin’s recent credits include the features “The Squid and the Whale” and “Virus.”

  • Sprague Grayden (“Over There”) is set to play Heather in CBS’ “Jericho,” while Kenneth Mitchell (“Miracle”) will play Peter in the pilot.

  • Deidrie Henry (“ER”) has been cast as Det. Snow in CBS’ “Edison.”

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