Around the World


Rough week

Time ran out for "Die Hard" helmer John McTiernan this week. A federal judge rejected the one-time action guru's attempt to withdraw his guilty plea in the Anthony Pellicano case, sentencing him to four months in federal prison. McTiernan originally admitted to lying to an FBI agent about his dealings with Pellicano and later copped to hiring him to wiretap producer Charles Roven.

The Phil Spector case ended with the equivalent of a record scratch Wednesday as the presiding judge declared a mistrial, with 10 of 12 jurors in favor of convicting the legendary music producer (right) in the killing of actress Lana Clarkson. The D.A.'s office indicated it would pursue a retrial.

Kiefer Sutherland didn't miss any time on the "24" set after his second DUI bust in five years, but the show's crew is probably sweating a little. The actor's arrest early Tuesday morning was a violation of his five-year probation and could potentially land him in jail for up to a year.

Ready to roll

Leslie Moonves' CBS Films experiment took a major step forward this week as longtime Columbia production exec Amy Baer was tapped to run the fledgling theaterical unit. As president and CEO, Baer is expected to jump-start development and production at the 6-month-old shingle, ultimately producing four to six films a year.

Don't call it a stockpile

With the clock ticking on a potential writers strike, ABC and NBC both gave out series orders this week, months in advance of pilot season. ABC ordered six episodes of sci-fi drama "Section 8" from Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun, while NBC signed off on Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson's "The Philanthropist." The shows join "Fear Itself" (NBC), "Eleventh Hour" (CBS) and "Queen B" (Fox) — all series pickups within the past week.

With hits like "Grey's Anatomy" and "Criminal Minds" under his belt, it's easy to forget it was just three years ago that feature producer Mark Gordon first dipped his toe in the TV arena. Now ABC Studios has tied him up through 2011, extending their exclusive deal by four years with a new eight-figure pact. Other Gordon shows on-air this fall are "Army Wives," "Reaper" and "Private Practice."

Bear-ing all

A chastened "Man vs. Wild" returned to Discovery this week, re-edited and featuring voice-overs that clarify which elements of the show aren't particularly wild. The popular series got egg on its face in July when it was revealed that star Bear Grylls — purportedly surviving solely on his wilderness skills — was receiving aid from crew members and spending the occasional night in a motel room.

Politically speaking

Kevin Spacey and HBO Films are tallying the 2000 presidential election results one more time. The Oscar winner, making his first TV appearance in 13 years, will play former Al Gore chief of staff Ron Klain in the project that covers the events from the election through the final Supreme Court ruling.

The feature adaptation of Richard A. Clarke's "Against All Enemies" got back on track this week as Robert Redford was attached to direct. Originally put into turnaround by Columbia, the project, which details the Bush administration's handling of the al-Qaida threat, is being financed by Capitol Films.

End credits

Sarah Paulson will help Eva Mendez and Scarlett Johansson steam up Frank Miller's film noir "Will Eisner's The Spirit" ... Fresh off her Emmy win, Sally Field is attached to play Mary Todd Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's Honest Abe biopic ... and Kevin James is walking the beat in Columbia's "Mall Cop."

Edited by Chad Williams