OUT BOX OF THE
The latest television news from Kylie Miller and Darren Devlyn
Benson gets her man
AFTER nine seasons as a singleton driven by her work, Law & Order: SVU producers have finally given their leading lady, Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay, right), a man. Bill Pullman joins the cast next month as Kurt Moss, editor of fictional New York newspaper The Ledger. He will be seen on Channel 10 from June. CHANNEL 9 has it flagged as coming soon, so the network will be disappointed with the international response to its British drama Rock Rivals, which bombed when it was launched on ITV. From the producers of Footballers Wives and Bad Girls, Rock Rivals stars Michelle Collins (above) and Sean Gallagher as Karina and Mal Faith, talent show judges whose disintegrating marriage is played out through on-screen bickering, bitchiness and revenge. According to reviews, it draws much of its inspiration from the reality show The X Factor but is not as good. Channel 7 doesn’t fare much better— it picked up ITV’s other big 2008 drama The Palace, now considered one of the biggest flops of the year.
Rivals response rocks Nine
IT HASN’T set the ratings on fire in Australia, but that hasn’t stopped American network NBC from picking
US goes Chopping
up The Chopping Block— though the US version will differ from the Aussie one. Borrowing from Seven’s format My Restaurant Rules, the US version of The Chopping Block runs as an eight-episode elimination series with eight couples split into two teams opening two neighbouring restaurants in central Manhattan. Teams will be given tasks such as designing the space and generating buzz before judges and a food critic evaluate their efforts. A couple is eliminated from the losing team each week. Series creator Julian Cress says NBC loved the name and were fans of the Australian show. ‘‘But for America they wanted a much bigger show, a competition that could be staged over months rather than days with a single winner. So we went back to the drawing-board and created a brand new format where couples will be forced to work together in teams and compete to run restaurants right next door to each other.’’ British chef Marco Pierre White is hosting.
Bowler’s many hats
TONI Collette is the latest Australian star to land a role in a US pilot, starring opposite Sex THOUGH the HBO series starring Aussie actor Grant Bowler has been dropped before going to air, we hear Bowler has scored more episodes in the hit US series Lost. Bowler, who starred opposite Lily Tomlin in 12 Miles of Bad Road before production was stopped by the writers’ strike, is in New Zealand filming a new series of Outrageous Fortune. Bowler also stars in the new Channel 9 drama Canal Road. and the City’s John Corbett in United States of Tara. Collette plays a woman with multiple personality disorder with Corbett (Carrie Bradshaw’s hunky boyfriend, Aidan) as her long-suffering husband.
ACTING veteran Bud Tingwell (left) plays Winston Churchill to Matthew King’s Robert Menzies in the dramatised documentary Menzies and the Fate of Australia, coming this year to ABC1. One of several docos being made this year as part of Film Australia’s Making History initiative, Menzies is directed by Steve Jodrell and uses the former prime minister’s diaries, letters and broadcasts, along with the analysis of scholars, to show how modern Australia was forged in the fires of the London Blitz. It is being produced by Melbourne’s 360 Degree Films.
The good guy
FROM Sherwood Forest to the jungles of M15, Richard Armitage is joining Spooks as agent Lucas North. Armitage, who has a continuing role as the dastardly Guy of Gisborne in the ABC’s Robin Hood, is thrilled to have the chance to play a good guy. ‘‘Lucas North is certainly a nicer piece of work than Guy of Gisborne, though he does have a dark side too,’’ he says.
BUFFY the Vampire Slayer’s Michelle Trachtenberg will appear in Gossip Girl, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Trachtenberg will play Georgina Sparks, a character conceived in the Cecily von Ziegesar books on which the series is based.