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Friday, May 24, 2002

WITCHBLADE TV UPDATE

Joe Butler, father of Witchblade star Yancy Butler, will play an ex-cop in the season premiere of TNT's Witchblade, which airs on Sunday, June 16 at 8 p.m.

In the two-hour season premiere, Joe Butler portrays Arnold Buck, an ex-cop whose runaway teenage daughter, Debbie, has become a stripper on an adult web site. After Debbie's boss is murdered live on the Internet, Arnold is fingered as a suspect. New York detective Sara Pezzini pays Arnold a visit to investigate.

"It was actually presented to me by Ralph Hemecker, our exec producer, as a surprise," Yancy Butler told The Continuum in an interview last month. "And he only told me prior to the day. And he said, 'Is it OK? Is it going to be weird?' I said, 'No, it's great.'

"And what's really wonderful - and somebody just pointed it out to me - is that my father is playing a retired a cop. And his father in real life, my grandfather, was a cop. So everything really is connected. It's really quite special, and he did a fantastic job. He really is quite wonderful."

Joe Butler has a couple of scenes in the "Emergence" and appears very briefly in the second episode.

Yancy Butler said her father had some trepidation about acting.

"He's calling me to this day. He keeps saying, 'Did I do OK?'" Butler said. "It's a funny story because up to me in between when they were turning the camera around for my close-up, he was so nervous that I was literally feeling like I was going to projectile vomit for him. He said, 'You know, when I finish a song, people come up and applaud.' And I said, 'Dad, they definitely don't do that here.' And they don't come up to me after every take and say, 'You know, you were absolutely fantastic.' And to this day, he's still thinking he did really bad, but he's going to be pleasantly surprised."

The son of a 26-year veteran of the police force, Joe Butler is an original member of The Lovin' Spoonful. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 6, 2000 - along with James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, The Moonglows and Earth, Wind and Fire - The Lovin' Spoonful counts among its classic hits "Do You Believe in Magic?", "Summer in the City" and "You Didn't Have To Be So Nice." The group also created the soundtracks for the debut films of Woody Allen (What's Up, Tiger Lily?, 1966) and Francis Ford Coppola (You're A Big Boy Now, 1967).

Onstage, Butler starred on Broadway in Mahogany and in the original cast of Hair. His feature film work includes Born to Win, with George Segal, and One Trick Pony, with Paul Simon. Originally the drummer for The Lovin' Spoonful, Joe now tours with the group as the lead singer.

The role of Arnold Buck marks Joe Butler's television acting debut.

In other Witchblade TV news:

* No word yet from TNT if the second season will extend beyond six episodes. That's where production was halted as Yancy Butler voluntarily admitted herself to a rehabilitation center for alcohol treatment.

Using unnamed "insiders close to the show," Variety reported that the producers intend to go back into production in the next few weeks, upon a hopefully successful completion of Butler's treatment. While those same insiders said the producers and network plan to stick with Butler if at all possible, they have put feelers out for a replacement.

* TNT has released more promotional images from the second season, including eight of Butler and three of Will Yun Lee, who plays Danny Woo.

GIVE'EM A CLICK

GIVE'EM A CLICK

* WildTangent has provided The Continuum with a first look at Witchblade: The Game. For Witchblade: The Game, Turner Broadcasting's sales organization secured top advertisers Subaru, MCI's 1-800-Collect and Gateway for cross-media sponsorship packages; combining on-air spots with in-game placements. TNT is expanding the show's footprint and its business model into the interactive space.

GIVE'EM A CLICK

Witchblade: The Game goes live in June at www.tnt.tv with additional distribution on AOL properties, including AOL Games and Winamp.

"Witchblade's huge online fan base gives us opportunities to break new ground by creating new content and providing an extension to advertisers," said Scot Safon, senior vice president of marketing for TNT. "TNT is extremely pleased with WildTangent's suspenseful and entertaining game - it stays faithful to the show's original vision and delivers a great game experience."

"The game is a wonderful marketing tool for the show, as well as a powerful way for Turner to close larger, more meaningful deals with some of its best advertisers," said Dave Madden, executive vice president of sales and marketing for WildTangent. "By taking advantage of WildTangent's Web Driver technology, TNT was provided with a compelling, high quality game developed in under six months."

Witchblade: The Game takes its user through a hunt for villains, the discovery of puzzling clues and the rescue of Sara's partner. To help Sara overcome challenges at each level, the Witchblade provides her with clairvoyant flashes, a gauntlet for defense moves and a blade for combat.

DAREDEVIL MOVIE MOVED

20th Century Fox has moved the premiere of the Daredevil movie from Jan. 17 to Feb 14, which is President's Day weekend.

"Audiences have demonstrated a tremendous appetite for comic superheroes in the last couple of years," 20th Century Fox vice chairman Bob Harper told Variety. "We are very excited about unveiling the next big Marvel superhero on the first big holiday of the year."

Marvel's Avi Arad, a producer on the movie, was also in favor of the change.

"The summer is starting earlier and earlier," Arad told Variety.

In other Daredevil news:

* Daredevil star Ben Affleck appeared on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Thursday, mentioning the movie to explain the red tint to his hair.

* Sources told The Continuum that Jennifer Garner's Elektra costume will likely be revealed soon.

IMAGE COMICS FIRST LOOKS

For covers and four-page previews of Image Comics titles arriving in stores on Thursday, CLICK HERE.

Titles include Black Tide #4, Dawn Convention Sketchbook 2002 #1 and Fathom Volume 1 Trade Paperback.

CROSSGEN COMICS FIRST LOOKS

For covers and three-page previews of CrossGen Comics titles arriving in stores on Thursday, CLICK HERE.

Titles include Scion #24 and Crux #14.

TANGLED WEB PREVIEW

Marvel Comics on Thursday released a preview of Spider-Man's Tangled Web #15, which is written and drawn by Paul Pope.

Here's how Marvel describes the issue:

"Thirteen-year-old Heather has a severe crush on a certain web-spinning super hero that's got her father climbing the walls - literally. Seems Heather's old man has a few exoskeletons in his closet that he'd just as soon put to use squashing his archrival -- and what time is better than the present?"

The issue will arrive in stores on June 26.

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BRIEFLY

  • During Marvel's press conference, COO Bill Jemas said the company will not be raising prices.

    "Read my lips, we will not raise prices", Jemas said, responding to higher prices on some DC titles in August.

  • HBO has announced air dates for the X-Men movie in June. They include: Tuesday, June 4 at 2:30 a.m. on HBO Family; Wednesday, June 5 at 6 p.m. on HBO2; Sunday, June 9 at 8 p.m. on HBO2; Friday, June 14 at 12:40 a.m. on HBO Family; Monday, June 17 at 10:15 a.m. on HBO2; Saturday, June 22 at 2:30 a.m. on HBO Family; Saturday, June 22 at 10:30 a.m. on HBO2; Thursday, June 27 at noon on HBO2; and Saturday, June 29 at 8:30 p.m. on HBO Family.

  • Coming Saturday: Marvel news - and much more!!!
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