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In the Loop

Feel the Heat

Fox seems to plan more for June and July than some networks do for September's premiere season. It has already announced that The Jury and Mark Burnett's The Casino (below) will be in the summer. Now we hear about four other Fox pilots that all have shots at summer slots. 20th Century Fox's fictional Oahu, about the staff at an exclusive hotel, is shooting in Hawaii and stars Rob Estes of Melrose Place. Back East, the untitled Method Man and Redman Project, a comedy starring the two rappers living it up in a New Jersey mansion, is in the works. Also in production is the formerly titled One Big Happy, a teen drama about a dysfunctional blended family. Touchstone's Ricochet, from exec producers Rene Echevarria and Jeff Kline, a crime drama based on the Chicago PD, is ready to go.

Heavy-Metal Warriors

Does this sound like a recruitment poster to you? MTV2's second Headbangers Ball concert tour will feature Universal Records recording artist Hatebreed promoting their new album, The Rise of Brutality. Also on the bill: Elektra's Damage Plan, Wind-up Records' big act Drowning Pool (which is working on Desensitized, its latest CD) and Eulogy Recordings' Unearth. The first Headbangers Ball Tour—who could forget—featured Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, and God Forbid. The kicker? The Headbangers Ball Tour is sponsored by—you guessed it—the U.S. Army.

The Son Also Rises—Again And Again

All you had to do was watch the box-office grosses for Mel Gibson's controversial The Passion move north of $125 million to figure out why ABC scheduled long-delayed telepic Judas for March 8. Now CBS has religious fervor, too. Plans are under way to rerun the network's 2000 Jesus miniseries, starring Jeremy Sisto (below) as you know who. This will mark the third time the network has aired its spin on the greatest story ever told. Nothing definite yet, but talk inside CBS is that the two-part, four-hour Jesus will be trimmed down for a single-night run, Palm Sunday, April 4.

Cuomo Defends Stern

Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo is coming to the defense of broadcasters in general, and Howard Stern in particular. In an interview airing this week on WVOX(AM) and WRTN(FM) New Rochelle, N.Y., Cuomo says, "If they start censoring [Janet Jackson] on a TV show, because someone is tearing a patch off her breast, or [Howard Stern] on a radio show, because he is talking about things we regard as filth, that is bad and dangerous." Cuomo thinks the most effective guardian "is a parent."

Did GE Overdose on ER?

There's product placement—and product placement. On Feb. 26, General Electric checked into ER for an extended publicity stay. One scene required medics to use a machine made only by GE and wear special lead aprons —a GE exclusive. The GE logo was everywhere. The product placement wasn't intentional, says an NBC rep of its corporate parent, noting that the show is produced by Warner Bros. "GE equipment pops up from time to time in ER because it's cutting edge." Now, if it would do something about that hospital food.