Jimmy Smits Glad His CBS 'Cane' Getting Star Treatment
Jimmy Smits is working hard -- and riding high -- preparing for the launch of his fourth series, which, as he puts it, "is thankfully one of the darlings of CBS at the moment," "Cane," which will have the nice-guy star playing the head of an upscale South Florida family in the sugar industry, is considered such a leader in the fall TV sweepstakes that, he says:
"We're having daily meetings with the network as to how to platform the show. Let me tell you, with the Internet now so important it's a different world today when it comes to launching a series. We're even going to create a rum label that will be sold online."
Smits, who's serving as co-producer as well as "Cane" star, has been working non-stop since he started the big-screen "The Jane Austen Book Club" -- which opens Sept. 21 -- then went immediately into production of the "Cane" pilot. He's also preparing a pilot for FX and has a development deal with ABC Studios, for which he's preparing a miniseries with an immigration theme.
After a TV and movie career marked by ups and some downs he comes into "Cane" having learned to enjoy success and accept rejection, and to understand that "One has to realize that there will be dark periods, and one just has to learn from the experience. It's not like other fields, where one might change jobs two or three times in a lifetime. In my field you're constantly putting yourself out there -- and if you don't allow yourself to dwell in rejection, you can add a new chapter to your career. That's what I'm trying to do now."
Referring to the titans who created his hit "L.A. Law," and "N.Y.P.D. Blue" and "The West Wing," Smits notes that with "Cane," "There's no Steven Bochco, David Milch, Aaron Sorkin or John Wells -- whose continued success came from constantly raising the bar." But there's an exciting new group (Jonathan Prince, Jimmy Lovine, Polly Anthony and Cynthia Cidre) ready to take the reins. I'm very excited."
BACK FROM THE DEAD: Viewer demand isn't the only thing responsible for resuscitating CBS's once-canceled, now-returning "Jericho." You've got to know the restless spirits of fans who never got over the demise of Showtime's "Dead Like Me" three years ago had everything to do with MGM planning a "Dead Like Me" direct-to-DVD movie -- which, it turns out, is due to begin production next week. Ellen Muth is back, along with Callum Blue, Jasmine Guy, Cynthia Stevenson and Britt McKillip -- but not Mandy Patinkin. In fact, the storyline for this movie launches when his character is replaced as the leader of the reapers (those who bring the souls of deceased folks to the other side) by a slick business type who doesn't care about helping the dead.
CELEBRITY CIRCUIT: Brad Garrett turned up at the Troubadour nightclub in L.A. Sunday night to catch a show by his fellow "Ratatouille" voice stars Patton Oswalt and Janeane Garofalo. Oswalt and Garofalo are currently on a comedy tour together, in case you didn't know. Garrett sat upstairs in the VIP section with a mystery brunette, and after the show was seen outside signing autographs for fans. Their fun Pixar animated pic by Brad Bird ("The Incredibles"), about a rat who wants to be a chef, opens Friday (6/29).
Barbra Streisand is selling big time in Europe, picking up on the Continent where she left off in her hugely successful tour of the United States and Canada. In her first performance in Europe other than in London, she broke the house record at Zurich's Hallenstadion. Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, Dublin, Manchester and a three-show return to London are next in line.
DOING HER OWN THING: Former "The O.C." actress-cum-producer Kelly Rowan says she'll stay behind the scenes on her next project. "I'm producing a film for Lifetime with my partner Graham Ludlow called 'Blithe in Virginia,'" says Rowan. "It's a two-hander between these two women who have a sisterly relationship. One is suffering and finds out she's quite ill, and when she comes home they come to terms with their estrangement."
"Blithe in Virginia" will be the third project she's done for Lifetime. "They're very supportive of female stories," says Rowan, who produced and starred in the recent Lifetime telepic "In God's Country." "That's not the only thing my partner and I are working on, but what I was finding as an actress was there were always these women complaining about how there were no roles. I said, 'Well, it's not that I necessarily have to be in everything I'm doing, but I wanted to be a part of solving the problem instead of complaining about it.' Men are going to tell the stories they want to tell, and women are going to tell the stories they want to tell, so maybe we need a few more females out there kind of pushing things."
(With reports by Stephanie DuBois and Emily Feimster)
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