Ian McShane fit for "Kings" as NBC hones fall slate

Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:45pm EDT
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By James Hibberd

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - From an outlaw to royalty -- "Deadwood's" Ian McShane is returning to television as star of NBC's drama pilot "Kings."

Sources said NBC is planning to announce series pickups for "Kings," a remake of "Knight Rider," the Christian Slater drama "My Worst Enemy," and "The Philanthropist" during its "upfront" presentation to advertisers on Wednesday.

In line with programming chief Ben Silverman's affinity for commercial, easily promotable franchises, three of the shows are based on popular concepts. "Rider," which started as a highly-rated two-hour movie/backdoor pilot in February, is a spinoff from the 1980s series. "Enemy" is a take on "Jekyll & Hyde" with Slater starring as a suburban dad who learns that his alter ego is a spy.

And "Kings" is loosely based on the story of King David. Australian actor Christopher Egan stars as a pure-hearted young warrior who joins the court of the charismatic and authoritative King Silas (McShane).

Meanwhile, "Philanthropist" had been an early favorite of Silverman and his team, even though the project has failed to cast the lead yet. It revolves around a rebel billionaire who helps those in need.

The foursome would join recently renewed "Chuck," "Life," "Heroes," "The Biggest Loser," "Celebrity Apprentice" and "American Gladiators" on the schedule for the fall season. At its presentation Wednesday -- a full six weeks before its rivals unveil their fall schedules -- NBC also is expected to announce a deal with DirecTV to bring back the modestly rated "Friday Night Lights." Also shoo-ins to return are "The Office," "My Name Is Earl," "Law & Order," "ER" and "30 Rock."

Sources say a renewal of "Lipstick Jungle" looks unlikely and that the network is still mulling the future of the Patricia Arquette drama "Medium," which is in its fourth season.

Year-round programming and development will be a central theme at NBC's Wednesday presentation, and the unveiled 2008-09 schedule is expected to reflect that. Details about the lineup, which will be presented in a news conference format, are being kept under wraps.   Continued...

<p>Actor Ian McShane of the show "Deadwood" arrives at the HBO after-party following the 57th annual Emmy Awards at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, California September 18, 2005. Picture taken September 18, 2005. REUTERS/Max Morse</p>