the industry

J.J. Abrams: The Best Medicine?

Abrams Yuks It Up: J.J. Abrams will exec-produce a half-hour medical comedy for Fox, to be written by Becker alumnus Mike Markowitz. Those are all the details we get for now. We know that despite Abrams’s previous successes, the recipe for this particular project might not sound so promising. But just wait for the inevitable time-travel–fueled romantic misunderstandings, and you will be hooked. [HR]

Sweetness: Fresh off the critical drubbing and box-office underperformance of Jennifer’s Body, Diablo Cody has signed on for a truly bulletproof project: She’ll be adapting young-adult series Sweet Valley High for Universal. The books — centered on two twins living in fictional Sweet Valley, California, the conniving Jessica and the practical Elizabeth — had also inspired a TV show that lasted for four seasons. So this is getting made, and yet another day goes by with no one optioning the reboot rights to Sister, Sister. [HR]

Power Team: Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury will co-star in A Little Night Music, coming to the Walter Kerr Theater in December. In her Broadway debut, Zeta-Jones will play Desiree, an actress in end-of-the-century Sweden (the musical is based on Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night, of course), while Lansbury plays her mother, who is raising her daughter. There are also former lovers and counts and countesses involved. Anyway — officially the second-hottest Broadway couple after Jackman and Craig? [Variety]

Behind the Scenes: Steven Spielberg is developing a scripted program for Showtime that will depict the development of a Broadway musical, from writing songs to recruiting investors, and focus on the personal lives of some of the characters. Then, after the series is over, the musical-within-a-show will hit the Broadway stage for real. Okay, that sounds pretty cool. [Variety]

It’s Already Been Broughten: Even more exciting theater news! Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tom Kitt, Amanda Green, and Jeff Whitty will write the music, lyrics, and book, respectively, for Bring It On: The Musical, slotted for a 2011 premiere. The musical will veer away from the plot of the flick but will stay in the world of competitive cheerleading, much like the movie’s four direct-to-DVD sequels. In other news, four direct-to-DVD sequels?! [Variety]

Souled Out: Twilight author Stephanie Meyer’s The Host, her first adult novel, has been purchased by producers Nick Wechsler and Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz, who apparently put up their own money; Andrew Niccol (The Truman Show, Gattaca) will write the screenplay. The book is set in the near future, where benevolent alien parasites called Souls roam the earth. One of the Souls, named the Wanderer, is connected to a dying human named Melanie Stryder in an attempt to find the last pack of surviving humans on Earth (?). Sounds good to us, as Robert Pattinson should make for one sexy parasite. [Variety]

J.J. Abrams: The Best Medicine?