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Meet Hollywood's New It Guy
TV Guide - Tuesday, April 1, 2003
by: Ben Katner 


Out of Harvard for just five years, playwright Samuel Baum already has two series in the works — and, just for good measure, a feature film, too. First up for the scribe — a handsome palooka who looks like he ought to be auditioning to play bashful hunks on Aaron Spelling soaps — is the WB's youthful MacGyver update, with Gilmore Girls sweetheart Jared Padalecki as Clay, the nephew of Richard Dean Anderson's character from ABC's 1985-92 hit, and original executive producer Henry Winkler on board once again. "It's been an excruciating writing process for me," Baum tells TV Guide with a laugh, "because I, of course, have to try all these [makeshift gadgets and] MacGyverisms out before I write them. I've actually blown off every finger on both hands rigging all the things that Clay uses." Also on Baum's drawing board is Hometown, an NBC/PAX dramedy about a young politician who is forced to share quarters with his incorrigible grandmother after she's kicked out of her retirement community for "gross misbehavior." "There aren't as many explosions in this show," its creator says, tongue in cheek, "but by Season Four, whoa — huge action!" All kidding aside, if Baum's wit alone doesn't put Hometown on the map, he could always call on old friends to provide guest-star power: The sometime actor has shared the stage with the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Ethan Hawke. For the moment, though, Baum's head is still spinning from the whirlwind of activity that followed the optioning of his first play, Breakfast All Day (think a modern-day Diner), by the suits behind the sexy indie sleeper Kissing Jessica Stein. "I moved out to L.A., and five months later," marvels the native New Yorker, "I was writing MacGyver and working with the Fonz!" Can a photo op with Michelle Pfeiffer be far behind?

 

Dushku, Padalecki to Star in Pilots
ZAP2IT.com - Tue, Feb 25, 2003 11:45 AM PDT Los Angeles

 
The good news for fans of Eliza Dushku and Jared Padalecki is that they might have regular roles on TV come fall. They just might not be on the shows where viewers are accustomed to seeing them. Dushku, who's played rogue vampire slayer Faith on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and its spinoff, "Angel," has agreed to star in an untitled drama pilot for FOX. Padalecki, Dean on "Gilmore Girls," has taken the title role in The WB's "MacGyver" pilot, according to The Hollywood Reporter. John Feldman, creator of the FOX pilot, says he had Dushku in mind when writing his lead character, a young woman who discovers she can go back in time and relive a day in order to save lives. "Onscreen and off, she is smart, strong, beautiful and embodies all the characteristics that are imperative to the character," Feldman says. Dushku will play Faith on three episodes of "Angel" beginning Wednesday, March 5, and is also slated to appear in several "Buffy" episodes later this season. There has been talk of a possible Faith spinoff for UPN, but it apparently has yet to advance past the talking stage. Padalecki, meanwhile, is staying in The WB fold with "MacGyver," an update of the 1980s series. He will play the nephew of the original MacGyver -- played by Richard Dean Anderson on the ABC show -- who's brought into his uncle's Phoenix Foundation, a think tank/crime-fighting organization.

 

Coming to the WB: 'Young MacGyver'
CNN.com - Thursday, October 17, 2002 9:17 am (EDT)
(Reuters)

 
The man who can short-circuit a nuclear missile with a paper clip and stop an acid leak with a candy bar is back -- but this time in the guise of "Young MacGyver." The WB has made a production commitment with producer Paramount Network Television to pick up a new version of the action drama "MacGyver." But the new version of the series will focus on MacGyver's nephew. The original series starred Richard Dean Anderson and ran from September 1985 to August 1992. The WB is a unit of AOL Time Warner, as is CNN. "Young MacGyver" will follow the twentysomething hero as he leaves school and winds up joining the Phoenix Foundation -- the good-guy organization his uncle belonged to -- on a lark. Once there, he discovers that he's incredibly adept at stepping into Uncle MacGyver's shoes. "Our MacGyver will be a little more irreverent than the original," said Carolyn Bernstein, senior VP of drama development at the WB. "It will have a lot in terms of the same elements of the original series, but with a brand-new cast of characters and updated for present day," WB and Paramount plan to start casting for the new "Young MacGyver" shortly. It is targeted for a 2003 bow. The original "MacGyver" was the last show to pop a solid number for ABC in the pre-"Monday Night Football" time slot. Indeed, Paramount first approached ABC about the "Young MacGyver" project, but the network passed. "Young MacGyver" comes on the heels of another franchise that the WB reinvented with a young slant -- the teenage Superman of "Smallville." "We would never look a gift horse in the mouth, if given a familiar, adored franchise that came our way and we could age down to make it appealing to our audience," Bernstein said.





    





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