CBS wants more 'MOONLIGHT' scripts

The Friday night vampire show has anemic ratings, but it's not dead yet.
CBS wants to help along some of its struggling series before cutting them loose. According to The Hollywood Reporter's KIMBERLY NORDYKE, the network has ordered four additional scripts for Moonlight, despite the freshman vampire drama's unenviable title as CBS' lowest-rated Friday show.

Moonlight originally was picked up based, not on a full pilot but, on a brief presentation, of which CBS kept only the premise and the leading man--Australian Alex O'Loughlin as Mick St. John, a vampire P.I. in L.A.

During the pilot process, CBS hired David Greenwalt, co-creator of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off, Angel, to restructure the concept originated by Ron Koslow (Beauty and the Beast) and Trevor Munson.

Greenwalt departed suddenly for health reasons (to be replaced by Chip Johannessen), but not before recasting just about every major role, bringing in new supporting players like Sophia Myles (Underworld).

Hollywood action legend Joel Silver (V for Vendetta), the executive producer of Moonlight, also was exec prod of The CW's Kristen Bell-starring series Veronica Mars, which featured Jason Dohring.

"[Joel] called out of the blue and said, 'There's a role, and I'm making it younger,'" recalled Dohring to Zap2it's KATE O'HARE in a September interview.

60-year-old Croatian-born Rade Serbedzija (Shooter) moved out, and 25-year-old American Dohring moved in.

And, although Dohring's the youngest member of the Moonlight cast, his character, 400-year-old vampire Josef, is the eldest, a self-centered veteran of the night used to getting his own way.

"I'm a big fan of Jason Dohring," wrote ANNA JOHNS of TV Squad, "but I found him horribly miscast as 'the oldest vampire in LA.'"

In fact, the only cast member who's enjoyed fairly positive reviews is Shannyn Sossamon (A Knight's Tale), who co-stars as Coraline, the sultry, evil vamp who 60 years earlier transformed Mick into an immortal.

Sossamon told SCI FI Wire's IAN SPELLING that she's right at home playing a bloodsucker. "I always wanted to play a vampire. It wasn't because I wanted the fangs, but just as a person, I love intensity and passion and darkness. So vampires are a natural little place for me."

While early episodes got the stake from critics, some fans profess that the show's quality is improving. Possibly as a result, Moonlight is picking up viewers, finishing well ahead of its NBC and CW competition. However, it's still bleeding audience from its popular lead-in, Jennifer Love Hewitt's Ghost Whisperer (Moonlight is followed by Numbers).

"We Squadders were having a little discussion on e-mail recently about Moonlight," posted Anna Johns, "and, while a handful of us do not like the series at all, there are a few people who do. It seems that the allure is Alex O'Loughlin. But, can one hot guy keep the series alive when the story and dialogue are seriously lacking? Only time will tell, but I'm not betting on Moonlight to stick around for much longer."

Moonlight airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

[Thanks to MICHAEL HINMAN at SyFy Portal for additional material.]
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