Highlander-NYPD Blue hybrid gets the LoHud seal of approval

Among the things that bode well for “New Amsterdam”:

• It gets to debut tonight after “American Idol,” just about the cushiest timeslot in all of television.

fox_37-cloisters-ent33a305.jpg• The pilot was directed by Bedford’s Lasse Hallstrom — he of “Hoax,” “Cider House Rules,” and “Chocolat” fame.

• It has a half-decent premise: The protagonist, John Amsterdam, was a Dutch soldier who, in 1694, was blessed by a Native American with the gift of immortality. Or rather, immortality until he finds his one true love. With undertones of “Groundhog Day,” “NYPD Blue” (Amsterdam is now an NYPD cop in present day), and “Highlander,” I really should like this show, but …

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Class-Action Continuance: ‘Damages’ to come back for a second season on FX


After the first season of “Damages” finished on October 23, it seemed likely that the should would be one and done. Sure, the cable-TV thriller was a gripping, original take on the pre-trial machinations of a devious class action lawyer, played by none other than Bedford’s Glenn Close. But a series average of 5.1 million viewers isn’t exactly impressive. If this had been a network show, it would have been canceled faster than you can say “New Amsterdam.” Luckily, though, the show is on FX — not NewCorp’s more fickle, myopic network counterpart, Fox.

But “Damages” didn’t just get reupped — according to the Hollywood Reporter, it got a green light for two more seasons! 26 episodes in all.

Season one’s stars, including Close, Rose Byrne, and Tate Donovan, are all set to return. No word yet on whether Ted Danson will survive that gunshot in the finale (me thinks not), but I sure would love for him to get a spinoff role as the new head bartender at Paddy’s Pub in “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Sam Malone goes to Philly!

(AP Photo/FX, Larry Riley)

Gordon Ramsay is Lasse Hallstrom’s worst ‘Nightmare’

gordon_tilesingle1.jpg“New Amsterdam” has become the lastest casualty in the increasingly fickle world of Fox television programming. Helmed (in part) by Bedford director Lasse Hallstrom and Mamaroneck’s Leslie Holleran, the show is about a cop cursed with the gift of immortality (think “Highlander” meets “NYPD Blue”) and it was slated to be a mid-season replacement. But Variety reports today that this plan has been shelved due to the popularity of Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares.”

And while this may sound like bad news for the Hudson Valley, there actually is a silver lining in Ramsay’s conquest of the Fox network. Tonight on the show he’ll be going to town on Tuckahoe’s Olde Stone Mill. In case you missed the promo on last week’s episode, it looks to be one of his testiest restaurant makeovers so far.

In other words, bad news for Hallstrom and Co. means good news for Westchester diners.

“Fox gives ‘Kitchen’ another order” [Variety]

New ‘New Amsterdam’ theory: Show could be a ripoff of a Pete Hamill novel

forever.jpgAdd one more bullet to that list of possible explanations for Fox’s decision to shelve the “New Amsterdam” pilot (which was directed by Bedford’s Lasse Hallstrom’s).

Turns out that fans of the the Pete Hamill novel “Forever” (right) say that the nut of the series — about an NYC cop cursed with the gift of immortality — is essentially stolen from the book. While Hamill doesn’t want to sue, TV Squad points out that there are a number of similarities between the show’s protagonist and his character, Cormac O’Connor:

• Each character has prominent scars
• They both use their eternity on earth to teach themselves piano
• The must both find soul mates in order to come to terms with their condition

Wait, wait, do those last two points remind you of another possible piece of source material? Of course! “Groundhog Day”!

Uh, wait, come to think of it, doesn’t just about every time-traveling storyline feature a character searching for their soul mate and/or learning to play a musical instrument?

At any rate, perhaps the show’s delayed start (it’s being scheduled to start mid-season) will give the network time enough to smooth things over with Hamill (and/or Bill Murray) and maybe even dole out a little honorary credit.

(Thanks to F.O.S. Amy Vernon for the tip!)

Why is FOX shelving ‘New Amsterdam’?

newamsterdam.jpegAround the same time earlier this month that I was trumpeting the coming fall debut of “New Amsterdam,” the new TV series co-produced by the dynamic LoHud duo of Lasse Hallstrom and  Leslie Holleran (of Bedford and Larchmont, respectively), other more well informed publications like Variety were announcing that, in fact, FOX was going to shelve the series until mid-season.

It was a bizarre schedule shakeup, especially given that the “New Amsterdam” trailer was phenomenal. And my colleagues at the The Journal News who have seen the pilot say that the show — about an NYC homicide detective cursed with immortality — is one of the best new series they’ve seen.

So, what gives? A few conspiracy theories are after the break:

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Lasse Hallstrom quadruple-play


If you’ve been watching FOX lately (which, during the summer, boils down to: if you’ve been watching “Hell’s Kitchen” or “Don’t Forget the Lyrics”) you’ve probably seen trailers for the new fall series, “New Amsterdam,” about a NYC homicide cop who somehow gained immortal powers back during the Dutch-settler era. (If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the trailer on YouTube.) It’s a trippy premise and more than a little intriguing. And with two of the Lower Hudson Valley’s best filmmakers behind it, how can it disappoint?


Those two would be producer Leslie Holleran, of Larchmont, and director Lasse Hallstrom, of Bedford (above). Both have collaborated on nearly every project they’ve done (from “Cider House Rules” to “Chocolat” to “The Hoax”) and both are listed as exec producers. But lest it seem like the two have gone all Aaron Sorkin — forgoing steady film work for more risky TV projects — Hallstrom in fact has three, count em three, films in the works.

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