TV briefs

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Schwartz moves from ‘The O.C’ to NYC

Josh Schwartz can afford to be philosophical about the passing of “The O.C.” He already had something else lined up.

The writer/producer had his pilot “Gossip Girl” picked up by the CW. It’s his second pilot pickup in as many days, after NBC announced that they’d greenlight Chris Fedak and Schwartz’s drama pilot “Chuck.” Both mark the beginning of Warner Bros. TV’s three-year, seven-figure deal with the showrunner.

According to the trades, Schwartz and fellow “O.C.” writer/producer Stephanie Savage’s “Gossip Girl” will be an hourlong teen drama based on Cecily von Ziegesar’s popular books of the same name.

“Gossip Girl” centers on the titular anonymous blogger who gives the scoop about the rich and spoiled teenagers living in New York’s Upper East Side. Her focus shifts among the many teens who live only for drugs, alcohol, glamour, partying, backstabbing and lots of sex.

Von Ziegesar’s 10 books in the series have sold more than 2 million copies. Another installment is in the works.

Schwartz and Savage will executive produce “Gossip Girl” along with Alloy’s Bob Levy and Leslie Morgenstein.

‘Cider House’ director rules Fox drama

Three-time Oscar nominee Lasse Hallstrom is looking to the small screen with the Fox drama pilot “New Amsterdam.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hallstrom will direct and executive produce the Regency TV-set pilot, which was written by Allan Loeb and Christian Taylor.

The pilot focuses on – stop us if you’ve seen this one before – a New York City cop cursed with immortality.

Hallstrom directed extensively for Swedish television both before and after earning a pair of Oscar nominations for writing and directing “My Life as a Dog.” He earned another Academy nod for helming “The Cider House Rules.” His more recent films include “An Unfinished Life” and “Casanova,” as well as the upcoming Richard Gere drama “The Hoax.”

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Lopez dances to Miss America gig

He hoofed his way to within an inch of the mirror-ball trophy on “Dancing with the Stars” this fall. And while he didn’t win, Mario Lopez has picked himself up a nice consolation prize.

Lopez has been tapped to host the 2007 Miss America pageant on CMT. The former “Saved by the Bell” star takes over the gig from James Denton (“Desperate Housewives”), who hosted CMT’s first broadcast of the competition last year.

“Mario Lopez is a fantastic choice to host the 2007 Miss America pageant,” executive producer Sarah Brock says. “With his soaring popularity, his former hosting experience and his undeniable charm, he will certainly excel as this year’s host.”

Miss America moved to CMT last year after its long-time broadcast home, ABC, decided not to renew its contract in the face of steadily declining ratings. The move to cable predictably brought an even smaller audience; however, the 3.1 million people who watched last year’s initial broadcast were the most ever for CMT.

This year’s pageant will air live (or tape-delayed, if you live out West) from Las Vegas on Jan. 29. It will be preceded by “Pageant School,” a two-hour special airing Jan. 26 that will follow the contestants through a series of contests designed to help them home their pageant-specific skills.

In addition to his run on “Dancing,” where he finished second to Emmitt Smith, Lopez has hosted “Weekend Extra” and was one of several hosts of the syndicated show “The Other Half.” His credits also include a guest spot on “Nip/Tuck” earlier this season, USA’s “Pacific Blue” and the “SBTB” follow-up subtitled “The College Years.”

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