By Zap2it.com

SHOWTIME THINKS “REEFER MADNESS’ IS DOPE

The off-Broadway musical “Reefer Madness” is coming to television, thanks to the hopped-up folks at Showtime.

The comedic adaptation of the unintentionally hilarious, 1930s drug-scare movie won a number of awards following its initial run in Los Angeles in the 1999. It moved to New York in 2001, where it received strong reviews.

Production on the movie is scheduled to begin in April; an airdate hasn’t been set.

The creative team behind the musical, writers Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney and director Andy Fickman, will preside over the adaptation.

“We are very excited about this musical, which I would describe as a cross between “Grease’ and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,”‘ says Robert Greenblatt, Showtime’s president of entertainment. “It’s ideal for premium cable because you will see nothing like this anywhere else on television. And the cleverness of the musical satire makes it both highly entertaining and sophisticated at the same time.”

The movie “Reefer Madness” was essentially a propaganda piece, wildly overstating the dangers of marijuana as it chronicled clean-cut young kids who became depraved, homicidal lunatics after just a toke or two of the demon weed. The wildly over-the-top nature of the film has made it something of a cult classic, and the musical heightens the absurdity as it parodies anti-drug hysteria.

“Madness” is the first movie to get the go-ahead from current Showtime Entertainment head Robert Greenblatt, who joined the network last summer. Casting hasn’t been finalized.

“TOP MODEL’ WILL KEEP STRUTTING AT UPN

In retrospect, it seems obvious: Of course a show about attractive young women competing for a modeling job would do well.

It has, and UPN isn’t about to let “America’s Next Top Model” go. The network has picked up two more cycles of the unscripted show, in which would-be models learn the business under the wing of supermodel Tyra Banks.

“Top Model” is developing into a breakout hit for UPN, the Viacom-owned network that seems to be perpetually stuck in sixth place in the Nielsen ratings. Tuesday’s episode drew more than 7 million viewers, the second-best performance in its time period in network history (behind only the two-hour UPN premiere of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in 2001).

Ratings the network’s target audience of adults 18-34 are also, as Banks might say, “fierce.” Tuesday’s episode ranked second among all networks in the hour behind Fox’s “24,” which benefited from an “American Idol” lead-in, and finished first among women 18-34.

Scheduling details for the third and fourth cycles of the show haven’t been worked out yet. Picking up two editions of the series could give UPN the option of scheduling a full season’s worth of “Top Model,” similar to what CBS does with “Survivor.”

Applications for the third edition of the show will be available soon at UPN.com.

RENEWAL IS THE “WORD’ FOR SHOWTIME

Showtime has given the fastest renewal in its history to its new drama “The L Word,” and it shows no sign of regretting its quick decision the morning after.

Although the series has aired but twice, “The L Word,” about a group of women – some lesbian, some straight – dealing with life and love in Los Angeles has done well enough to earn a second season, says Showtime’s president of entertainment, Robert Greenblatt.

“This groundbreaking series has quickly and successfully captivated the attention of viewers (and) critics … creating the kind of incessant buzz that signals a hit,” Greenblatt says. “The decision to renew “The L Word’ was a no-brainer.”

It also helped that Showtime executives have seen the entire first season and like where the series is going creatively.

Mia Kirshner (“24”), Jennifer Beals (“Flashdance,” “Devil in a Blue Dress”), Laurel Holloman (“Angel”), Erin Daniels (“Action”) and Eric Mabius (“Resident Evil”) star in the series, which is executive produced by Ilene Chaiken.

Showtime says “The L Word” has averaged four times the viewers it normally draws in primetime. That translates to around 900,000 per episode.

CBS SOAP THINKS LAMAS IS HOT

To put it in language the former “Are You Hot?” judge would understand, CBS has a burrito cooking down south for Lorenzo Lamas and it’s ready.

The former “Falcon Crest” star is set to join the cast of CBS’ “The Bold and the Beautiful” as a regular, starting on Feb. 18.

Lamas will play Hector Ramirez, a Los Angeles firefighter. Ramirez is the father to Forrester Creations’ new intern Caitlyn Ross (Kayla Ewell), but his connections to other cast members will be revealed in the months to come.

In addition to his lengthy stint as Lance Cumson on “Falcon Crest” (a role he played for the show’s entire run), Lamas starred in the long-running syndicated series “Renegade.” His feature credits include “Grease” as well as dozens of telefilms and straight-to-video offerings including “Gladiator Cop,” “Viper” and “Latin Dragon.”

Last year, Lamas gained some notoriety for his innuendo-filled commentaries on ABC’s reality failure “Are You Hot?”

Lorenzo Lamas, our laser pointer is aimed squarely at you.



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