Leo Doesn't Fear the Reaper: New Regency
has picked up the rights to Josh Bazell's novel Beat the Reaper and is eyeing it as a star vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio. The book focuses on a New York ER doctor living in the federal witness protection program who's recognized by a mobster from his former life as a hit man. The book is being published by Little Brown, which acquired the title after an eight-house auction in 2007. Bazell was still working as a medical intern on the night shift as the publishing companies fought a seven-figure battle for his first novel. But please don't let this give you hope. No one wants to buy your novel. Sorry. [Variety]
Oy!: Weeds creator Jenji Kohan is back at Showtime, co-writing and exec-producing a comedy project called Ronna and Beverly. The show is based on a comedy sketch that Jessica Chaffin and Jamie Denbo have honed in clubs over the past few years. They play two middle-aged Boston women who self-publish and aggressively promote a dating guide for Jewish singles. The Office producer Paul Feig is set to direct the project, which, and we're only guessing here, will feature lots of kvetching and schlepping. [Variety]
Nat Geo Gets Locked Up: Turns out MSNBC isn't the only network that embeds documentary producers in prisons. National Geographic's Hard Time takes place inside a Georgia prison and revolves around the lives of inmates and COs in the prison. Awesomely, while producers were there, two inmates staged an escape and one of them actually got away. We're not say that Nat Geo helped a prisoner escape as a ratings ploy, but, well, yes, that's exactly what we're saying. [HR]
Magic Nerd Finds Love: Teresa Palmer has joined Disney's The Sorcerer's Apprentice alongside Nic Cage and Jay Baruchel. Inspired by Fantasia, the pic centers on an apprentice (Baruchel) who is left to watch over a magic workshop when his master (Cage) leaves it in his hands. But when a broom develops a mind of its own, things start to get really interesting. Palmer plays Baruchel's love interest, which is actually the most unrealistic part of this movie. Everyone knows that magic nerds never find love.
Order Up: TNT has ordered ten episodes of two drama series. Time Heals centers on a tough but loving nursing home director (Jada Pinkett Smith) in a North Carolina hospital. The Line, from the great mind of Jerry Bruckheimer, stars Dylan McDermott as the head of a squad of undercover LAPD officers who walk the line between remaining true to their job and the allure of easy money. TNT has already had lots of success with tough-lady shows (The Closer, Saving Grace), but we're just not sure this whole cop drama is actually going to work. [HR]