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Industry Roundup: Dan Brown to Write The Lost Symbol Script

Dan Brown to Adapt The Lost Symbol: Everyone's favorite conspiracy-loving novelist, Dan Brown, will take over screenwriting duties for the adaptation of The Lost Symbol. This marks the first time that Brown has attempted to write the adaptation of one of his books, as The Da Vinci Code was written by Akiva Goldsman and Angels & Demons by Goldsman and David Koepp. Unlike the previous two films, Ron Howard will not be directing The Lost Symbol, though he will be producing it with Brian Grazer. [HR]

Billy Baldwin to Reprise Gossip Girl Role: After appearing on Parenthood, Billy Baldwin will return to Gossip Girl to reprise his role as William van der Woodsen, Serena's father. He'll be hanging out for at least two episodes. [Deadline]

Simon Cowell Promises the World of X-Factor: In a completely unsurprising show of hubris, Simon Cowell claims that the U.S. version of X-Factor will uncover the next Bob Dylan or Bob Marley. Judging by the winners of the U.K. hit, we won't be holding our breath. [HR]

MGM Completes Restructure: MGM's restructuring plan has been approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The studio, which filed for bankruptcy back in November, will now be controlled by Spyglass Entertainment's Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber. $500 million of exit funding is now available to the new co-chairmen and chief executive officers of MGM. [Deadline]

Ira Steven Behr to Run Alphas: Ira Steven Behr, of Star Trek fame, will be the new executive producer/show-runner of the Syfy series Alphas. [Deadline]

Iranian Director Receives Six-Year Prison Sentence: Famed Iranian director Jafar Panahi has been sentenced to six years in prison and banned from making films for twenty years by the Iranian government. His sentence, along with that of another Iranian director, Muhammad Rasoulof, is seen as an attempt by Iran to silence dissident artists. Panahi won the Golden Lion at the 2000 Venice Film Festival for his film The Circles. [Deadline]

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