US TV

William Petersen takes a break

William PetersenEveryone’s favourite insect fan, Gil Grissom from CSI, is going to take a leave of absence for a couple of episodes this season after reaching some kind of “emotional high”. Turns out William Petersen is off to do some theatre for a bit, which is something he’s been threatening to do for some time, so the producers are going to write around his absence.

It’s been promised that a ‘big name’ is going to fill the gap left by Petersen, which is an interesting fact indeed. Consider that this coming season is going to be the seventh for CSI, which is the traditional end point for most shows after which all contracts have to be renegotiated. Petersen has been extremely vocal about his desire to head back to the theatre just as soon as contract expires.

However, CSI is still such a ratings champion, it seems unlikely that CBS will simply end the show. That means they’ll either need a new Grissom or will promote from within, given they have such a large cast. Will this ‘big name’ be a test run for Grissom’s season eight replacement?

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Aquaman on iTunes

Remember Aquaman? No? Not surprising really. Almost no one’s seen it until today, because it was a failed pilot for new network The CW. But in a move that echoes Nobody’s Watching‘s emergence on YouTube, NBC is selling it on iTunes in the US.

Could this be the way of the future? Networks making money from pilots they never even turned into series?

I hope not. When you consider some of the shows that do become series, you have to wonder how bad some of those failed pilots have to be to avoid being turned into series. And then be asked to pay to for them? No thank you.

Babylon 5 fun

It’s been gone for a while now, and its lustre is starting to dull, but Babylon 5 is still one of the most popular sci-fi shows of the 90s.

So some no-doubt crowd-pleasing news is that creator J Michael Straczynski reveals that he’s going to be making some direct-to-DVD anthology shows featuring Babylon 5 characters at Warner Brothers’ request. Production starts in September, with the release of the first DVD in Q2 2007.