Signing on to the project are 'Sex and the City' star Cynthia Nixon, along with Oscar nominees Miranda Richardson ('Rubicon') and Peter Firth ('MI-5'), according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The eight-hour drama will begin shooting soon on location in Hungary, Slovakia and Austria.
In other TV news ...
"The other teacher is George Takei, Mr. Sulu, and between the two of them, we flipped a coin to see, where will the romance begin?" said Hanks. "We're talking to a whole different mass audience, I'm telling you right now. Timely, without a doubt. But a different audience."
Lauer also asked Hanks about the press tour for the movie, which included an appearance on the Spanish-language 'Despierta America' where he danced with weather woman Chiqui Delgado while delivering the forecast. "I think our press junket is getting damn good reviews," he said.
Matt Lauer read an excerpt from the book in which Linda Hogan described her former husband's episodes of violent rage. "To this day he's never apologized for any of his actions," Hogan said. "But that is something that scared me. I did not want to be a statistic like Nicole Simpson."
After remarking on the attractive crowd Mars attracts, Lauer asked, "Now, though, that you're the guy with the Grammy and the front-man, are you going to keep writing for other people?" Mars, decked out in shades and a dark suit that matched the rest of the band, deadpanned, "Absolutely not. I'm done." He laughed and quickly retracted that, saying "of course" he would.
He and the band then played a raucous version of 'Runaway Baby' from Mars' album 'Doo-Wops & Hooligans.' Later Mars got off on the right foot with an impressive impression of James Brown's dancing, while his band did an amazing impression of James Brown's band.
It's been at least a month since La Toya Jackson became the only contestant on the 'Celebrity Apprentice' to be fired, re-hired and then promptly re-fired. Anxious to return to the spotlight, Jackson sat down with Matt Lauer Monday on 'Today' (7 AM ET, weekdays on NBC) for a bizarre interview filled with confusing statements and contradictions that gave off more smoke than fire.
Jackson was there to talk about her recent book 'Starting Over,' in which she claims to investigate Michael's death and identify his true killer. In the book, she posits that Michael's death was a conspiracy and that Dr. Conrad Murray is merely a fall guy. But when Matt Lauer pressed her on why the book doesn't name anyone or offer any evidence about that, Jackson could only respond with a hollow, "If you read the book you'll understand."
If you're 'Today' (weekdays, 7AM on NBC) veteran and consummate professional Matt Lauer, you get on that horse and ride (straight-faced, while finishing your line). That's actually what happened Thursday morning when Jim Carrey appeared on the show to promote his new film, 'Mr. Popper's Penguins.'
As Lauer was introducing the interview, Carrey came out a little early with horse routine (it kills with the under-5 set). Lauer didn't even bat an eye -- or stop his introduction -- as he mounted Carrey. "Come on, little Matty! Who's a cowboy?" Carrey encouraged as the two made their way across the studio floor.
"In the comic, she turns into a villain at one point, so that would be the best," said Lively. "It was great because normally these women are the damsels in distress, but she's a strong woman and she's always challenging him and they're always going head-to-head."
She even had the Green Lantern's Oath down and corrected Matt Lauer, who traded lines with her when he challenged her to recite it, ending in a big geek high-five.
Everyone wore a T-shirt with their first name, then a symbol, and then "Meredith" emblazoned on the front. Vieira was led through the studio and eventually out into the street by Ann Curry, Al Roker, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb at different points. Jimmy Fallon showed up to mime the guitar solo on a Fender Stratocaster while leading the parade.
It all ended with a large group of people in the street singing to Vieira as Vigoda embraced her. It was obviously a surprise for Vieira, who cried and laughed the whole way through. And Vigoda looked pretty nimble, too.
When David Letterman asked how long Lauer had been there, Vieira responded, "Too long, really. Too long. Talk about the 'deal' is dried up, you know?"
She may not have realized how disparaging she was being, though. Earlier in the night, Letterman had used the term "deal" in reference to Rep. Anthony Wiener's crotch.
"Matt's great," she tried to cover. "I adore Matt."
"I heard his 'deal' dried up," Letterman laughed. Vieira wasn't going to get out of this one too easily.
Lauer assessed his blend by comparing it to Vieira. "It's open, it's generous, slightly past its prime, but with a hint of mischief," said Lauer. Then he saved himself, adding, "and very satisfying."
Back in the studio, Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb, and food author Gary Vaynerchuk gave their own opinions on the anchor's creations. Vaynerchuk wouldn't buy the blends. Gifford and Kotb, not surprisingly, found a couple of them to their liking.
The most persistent rumor has linked her with ABC and that network's plans to fill the Oprah-sized hole in their daytime lineup. Now, it seems as though Couric will indeed be getting her own daytime talk show.
Even though she signed off from 'Evening News' last night, Couric's still under contract with CBS until June 6, so no official announcement about her future is expected for another few days. However, 'The Los Angeles Times' says she's close to signing a deal to launch a new ABC syndicated talk show in the fall of 2012. And, that it may reunite Couric with her former 'Today' colleague, Matt Lauer.
The 'Times' says that while much of the deal has been has been hammered out, there are still outstanding "issues" surrounding compensation. Couric landed a record-breaking $15-million payday when she signed with CBS.
Roker simply needed to direct viewers to The Weather Channel homepage for updates. But, instead, he uttered a string of nonsense syllables and something that sounded suspiciously like "crappy." Afterward, Roker roared with laughter.
"It's a difficult day for me," said Vieira, her voice thick with emotion. "I'm going to try to hold myself together here. But, after months of personal reflection and personal conversations between my family, my friends, I've decided to leave 'Today' in June."
"After months of personal reflection and private conversations between my family and my friends, I've decided to leave 'Today,' in June," she said, sitting next to Matt Lauer and Al Roker.
Vieira, who has co-hosted the show with Lauer for the past five years, said she has decided to spend more time with her husband, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, and their three children.
Ann Curry will take over Vieira's chair, and NBC correspondent Natalie Morales will take over Curry's news desk position.
Van Dyke ran through the entire song without so much as a stumble, easily recalling the lyrics which were written by co-star Morey Amsterdam, but were never actually used on the show.
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