CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest telefilm news, culled from recent wire reports:
10.5 (NBC, New!) - The Peacock has greenlighted a four-hour mini-series which revolves around a female seismologist who warns of a serious global catastrophe when a series of earthquakes increase in magnitude. The special effects heavy project, from Jaffe-Braunstein Films and Pearl Pictures, will be directed by John Lafia ("The Dead Zone"). Lafia wrote the script with Christopher Canaan ("Walker, Texas Ranger") and Ronnie Christensen ("Monster!"), while Gary Pearl, Howard Braunstein and Michael Jaffe will executive produce. Production is set to begin in Vancouver in June for a 2004 air date.
1776 (ABC, New!) - Craig Zadan and Neil Meron ("The Music Man") are set to bring the 1969 Broadway musical (and 1972 feature film) "1776" to the small screen under ABC's "The Wonderful World of Disney" banner. The musical tells the story of the days leading up to the July 4 signing of the Declaration of Independence. The duo, whose Storyline Entertainment is behind the project, have said the death of "1776" writer Peter Stone recently has added to their fervor about getting the project done in his memory.
FALLEN ANGEL (CBS) - Production has been completed on the Hallmark Hall of Fame telefilm starring Gary Sinise and Joely Richardson. The project is set to air during the 2003-04 season.
THE PETE ROSE STORY (ESPN, New!) - Christian Darren has signed on to write the cable channel's fourth original telefilm which will deal with baseball legend Peter Rose. As no doubt expected, Rose's gambling addiction, which got him permanently barred from baseball, will be highlighted. Orly Adelson ("The Junction Boys," "Ice Bowl") will produce the project which will air sometime during 2004.
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (ABC) - Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron hope to get their remake of the classic film on track now that the global climate has cooled. ABC and the duo's Storyline Entertainment had postponed production on the project early this year due to war concerns.
THE HUNCHBACK OF NORTE DAME (ABC) - Storyline Entertainment is getting close to a greenlight for the live-action telefilm, based on the hit Disney animated feature. The company got the okay to prepare a budget and production timetable for the project after a successful staged reading last month for various ABC executives.
PLAINSONG (CBS, New!) - Rachel Griffiths ("Six Feet Under"), Aidan Quinn and America Ferrera ("Real Women Have Curves") will topline the Eye's latest Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation. The project, based on the novel of the same name by Kent Haruf, stars Griffiths as a teacher in the Colorado Rockies whose actions bring together three troubled souls. Richard Pearce ("South Pacific") will direct the project which is set to begin production in mid-May in Utah.
SALEM'S LOT (TNT) - Donald Sutherland has joined the cast of the cable channel's mini-series as Richard Straker, a mysterious antique store owner and right-hand man to the head vampire. Other cast members include Rob Lowe, Andre Braugher, Rutger Hauer, James Cromwell and Samantha Mathis. Production on the project is underway in Austrailia.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters