Photo of the Day – The Dying Lioness

British Museum, London, England
April 2005

Bored one night in 2001, I opened my art book and began searching for something to sketch. I stumbled across an Assyrian stone relief of a lioness who had been shot with arrows. I was amazed by the relief; the lioness fighting to stay up on her front paws, her body riddled with arrows, her hind legs dragging behind her. I spent about an hour copying the image then closed my sketch book and all but forgot about it. Four years later, deep in the heart of the British Museum I was shocked to discover the actual stone relief. I took this photo and placed it along with the drawing in my sketchbook.

Most Detailed Global Study Of Genetic Variation Completed


University of Michigan scientists and their colleagues at the National Institute on Aging have produced the largest and most detailed worldwide study of human genetic variation, a treasure trove offering new insights into early migrations out of Africa and across the globe.
The new study, led by Rosenberg and National Institute on Aging colleague Andrew Singleton, produced genetic data nearly 100 times more detailed than previous worldwide assessments of human populations. It shows that:

• A recently discovered type of human genetic variation, known as a copy-number variant or CNV, is a reliable addition to the toolkit of population geneticists and should speed the discovery of disease-related genes. Rosenberg and his colleagues discovered 507 previously unknown CNVs, which are large chunks of DNA—up to 1,000,000 consecutive “letters” of the genetic alphabet—that are either repeated or deleted entirely from a person’s genome. Various diseases can be triggered by an abnormal gain or loss in the number of gene copies.

• It’s sometimes possible to trace a person’s ancestry to an individual population within a geographic region. While previous studies have found that broad-scale geographic ancestry could be successfully traced, the new results indicate “it’s becoming increasingly possible to use genomics to refine the geographic position of an individual’s ancestors with more and more precision,” Rosenberg said.

• Human genetic diversity decreases as distance from Africa—the cradle of humanity—increases. People of African descent are more genetically diverse than Middle Easterners, who are more diverse than Asians and Europeans. Native Americans possess the least-diverse genomes. As a result, searching for disease-causing genes should require the fewest number of genetic markers among Native Americans and the greatest number of markers among Africans.

View the entire article here.

An end to the violence in Kenya?


At a ceremony in Nairobi, the two men put their signatures to a power-sharing deal brokered by ex-UN head Kofi Annan.

A coalition government comprising members of the current ruling party and opposition will now be formed.

Some 1,500 people died in political violence after Mr Odinga said he was robbed of victory in December’s polls.

International observers agreed the count was flawed.

Violence has mostly receded, but tensions are still running extremely high.

Negotiations between the government and Mr Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) lasted more than a month, stalling several times.

Discussions centred on the creation of the post of prime minister, which will be taken by Mr Odinga.

Speaking after the deal was signed, Mr Annan said the division of posts in the new government – including the new position of prime minister and two deputy prime ministers – would reflect the political parties’ strengths in parliament.

Under the agreement, the new prime minister will have “authority to co-ordinate and supervise the execution of government functions”.

Mr Annan urged all Kenyans to support the agreement, saying: “Compromise was necessary for the survival of this country.”

Mr Kibaki said: “My government will fully support implementation of the agreement reached… until we achieve the result that we all want.”

Mr Odinga said: “With the signing of this agreement, we have opened a new chapter in our country’s history… we on our side are completely committed [to] this agreement.”

Both men thanked those who had stood by Kenya in what Mr Odinga called its “hour of need”, including Mr Annan, the African Union, the European Union, the United States and the UN.

They also urged Kenyans to move forward together without ethnic divisions.

The post-election violence saw thousands of people targeted because they belonged to ethnic groups seen as either pro-government or pro-opposition.

About 600,000 people have fled their homes and some have been forced back to their ancestral homelands.

Arctic seed vault opens doors for 100 million seeds


The Svalbard Global Seed Vault opened today on a remote island in the Arctic Circle, receiving inaugural shipments of 100 million seeds that originated in over 100 countries. With the deposits ranging from unique varieties of major African and Asian food staples such as maize, rice, wheat, cowpea, and sorghum to European and South American varieties of eggplant, lettuce, barley, and potato, the first deposits into the seed vault represent the most comprehensive and diverse collection of food crop seeds being held anywhere in the world.

At the opening ceremony, the Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg, unlocked the vault and, together with the African Nobel Peace Prize-winning environmentalist Wangari Maathai, he placed the first seeds in the vault. The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and a host of dignitaries and agriculture experts from around the globe deposited seeds during the ceremony. A variety of Norwegian musicians and choirs also performed in the opening ceremony held 130 metres deep inside the frozen mountain.

Built near the village of Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen, the vault at its inception contains 268,000 distinct samples of seeds—each one originating from a different farm or field in the world. Each sample may contain hundreds of seeds or more. In all, the shipments of seeds secured in the vault today weighed approximately 10 tonnes, filling 676 boxes.

The opening of the seed vault is part of an unprecedented effort to protect the planet’s rapidly diminishing biodiversity. The diversity of our crops is essential for food production, yet it is being lost. This “fail-safe” facility, dug deep into the frozen rock of an Arctic mountain, will secure for centuries, or longer, hundreds of millions of seeds representing every important crop variety available in the world today. As well as protecting against the daily loss of diversity, the vault could also prove indispensable for restarting agricultural production at the regional or global level in the wake of a natural or man-made disaster. Contingencies for climate change have been worked into the plan. Even in the worst-case scenarios of global warming, the vault rooms will remain naturally frozen for up to 200 years.

“With climate change and other forces threatening the diversity of life that sustains our planet, Norway is proud to be playing a central role in creating a facility capable of protecting what are not just seeds, but the fundamental building blocks of human civilization,” said Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

“Crop diversity will soon prove to be our most potent and indispensable resource for addressing climate change, water and energy supply constraints, and for meeting the food needs of a growing population,” said Cary Fowler, Executive Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is funded and established by Norway as a service to the world. The Global Crop Diversity Trust is providing support for the ongoing operations of the seed vault, as well as organizing and funding the preparation and shipment of seeds from developing countries to the facility. NordGen will manage the facility and maintain a public on-line database of samples stored in the seed vault, which has the capacity to house 4.5 million samples—some 2 billion seeds.

Prime Minister Stoltenberg and Wangari Maathai, founder of the African Green Belt Movement and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, delivered together the first box of seeds to the vault. It contained rice seeds specially prepared with varieties originating from 104 countries. The box was opened during the ceremony, and then resealed before being placed in the vault.

“The significant public interest in the seed vault project indicates that collectively we are changing the way we think about environmental conservation. We now understand that along with international movements to save endangered species and the rainforests of the world, it is just as important for us to conserve the diversity of the world’s crops for future generations,” Maathai said.

“The opening of the seed vault marks a historic turning point in safeguarding the world’s crop diversity,’’ said Fowler. “But about 50 percent of the unique diversity stored in seed banks still is endangered. We are in the midst of trying to rescue these varieties. Our success means we will guarantee the conservation and availability of these wildly diverse crops. Forever.”

Unique Building

The building of the vault itself has attracted much outside interest due to its location and its unusual engineering, security, and aesthetic features. Its engineering allows it to stay cool with only a single 10-kilowatt compressor, which is powered by locally generated electricity.

The vault consists of three highly secure rooms sitting at the end of a 125-metre tunnel blasted out of a mountain on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago. The seeds will be stored at minus 18 degrees Celsius (minus 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and sealed in specially-designed four-ply foil packages. The packages are sealed inside boxes and stored on shelves inside the vault.

Each vault is surrounded by frozen arctic permafrost, ensuring the continued viability of the seeds should the electricity supply fail. The low temperature and moisture level inside the vaults will ensure low metabolic activity, keeping the seeds viable. If properly stored and maintained at minus 20 degrees Celsius (about minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit), some seeds in the vault will be viable for a millennium or more. For example, barley can last 2000 years, wheat 1700 years, and sorghum almost 20,000 years.

Anyone seeking access to the seeds themselves will have to pass through four locked doors: the heavy steel entrance doors, a second door approximately 115 metres down the tunnel and finally the two keyed air-locked doors. Keys are coded to allow access to different levels of the facility. Not all keys will unlock all doors. Motion detectors are set up around the site. Boxes of seeds inside the rooms are scanned before entering the seed vault.

A work of art also will make the vault visible for miles around. Artist Dyveke Sanne and KORO, the Norwegian agency overseeing art in public spaces, have worked together to fill the roof and vault entrance with highly reflective steel, mirrors, and prisms. The installation acts as a beacon, reflecting polar light in the summer months, while in the winter, a network of 200 fibre-optic cables will give the piece a muted greenish-turquoise and white light.

Update on the crisis in Kenya

Here is an update on one of the internally displaced people at Kaptembwo in Nakuru at Afraha stadium. We will be helping with food supplements this week and I have asked the Government to assist with sanitation and we are going to use Sodis to help others displaced. We will appeal for more help this week.


Static – 7494 Adult
Arrivals – 7494 Adult
Departure – 4460 Adult
Not returning – 2450
Patient identified – 102
Remainder – 3004 Adult as per now.
Distribution of tents – 6 (one per family)
Total tents erected – 196

Distribution per Age

Infant – 7 – 21.5% (1460)
8 – 14 – 24.7% (2580)
15 – 18 – 19.5 % (842)
Adult male – 14. 4% (1082)
Adult female – 19.9% (1530)



We have managed to secure tents for all our patients who are camping at Afraha Stadium.

Some of our patients traveling up country have no referral cards.

Congestion at the camps could trigger new TB infection. Most patients who were on TB and ARV drugs are at a risk of defaulting TB and ARVs drugs are lacking in the camps.

Infants lack proper diet and HIV/AIDS mother are opting to breastfeed their babies. Some clients have lost their CCC cards making it hard to trace which medication they were taking.

School going children need to go back to schools which are far away from the camps and many have had their books and uniforms burned. Several child headed families are residing in the camps heightening the risk of child abuse in camps.

IDPs lack money to purchase prescribed drugs. There is lack of sanitary towels. Planning to have a mobile CCC in the camps if all goes well.

Out of 102 patients from Kaptembwa who are IDPs in the camps only 60 are left the rest have traveled up country promising to come back once things are calm.

We have 12 patients who have had their houses burned down. We always host our support group once a week at the camps.

The numbers of IDPs in the camps as of now is 3,004 adult both male and female, children are 3,500 we also have so many IDPs who are coming from other smaller camping sites.

We are still tracing our patient who have left the community we urgently need food, clothes, and O.I. drugs.


Photo of the Day – Hall of Science

London, England
March 2005

“Both the interiors and exteriors of the Waterhouse building make extensive use of terracotta tiles to resist the sooty climate of Victorian London. The tiles and bricks feature many relief sculptures of flora and fauna, with living and extinct species featured within the west and east wings respectively. This explicit separation was at the request of Owen, and has been seen as a statement of his contemporary rebuttal of Darwin’s attempt to link present species with past through the theory of natural selection.”

Coming soon to a theater near you…

From the Hollywood Reporter:

Universal to make films based on Hasbro toys
By Gail Schiller
Feb 21, 2008

Universal Pictures and Hasbro announced Wednesday that they have formed a six-year strategic partnership to produce at least four feature films based on some of Hasbro’s best-known toy brands including Monopoly, Candy Land, Clue, Ouija, Battleship, Magic, the Gathering and Stretch Armstrong.

Under the terms of the deal, Hasbro will partner exclusively with Universal Pictures for feature films, with the exception of “Transformers” and “GI Joe,” which are at Paramount.

The first film emerging from the deal will be released 2010 or 2011, and Universal will release at least one film a year after that. There are no stars, directors or producers yet attached to any of the film projects.

“Hasbro’s portfolio of products has tremendous emotional resonance with children and adults,” said Universal Pictures co-chairmen Marc Shmuger and David Linde. “They offer an exciting opportunity for us to develop tentpole movies with built-in global brand awareness, which is a key component of our slate strategy.”

“Universal’s creativity and worldwide marketing and distribution strength make them the perfect partner,” said Hasbro COO Brian Goldner. “Today’s Hasbro is so much more than a traditional toy and game company, and this partnership is a powerful example of how we are offering our consumers new ways to enjoy unique and immersive experiences with our brands.

The deal was brokered by William Morris on behalf of Hasbro. William Morris is also shopping a Trivial Pursuit TV game show to the networks or possibly syndication.

Financial terms of the Universal-Hasbro deal were not disclosed.

Masterpiece by Kurt Hunt

That’s right folks, in the very near future you could be witness to Michael Bay’s newest CGI bad boy, Jenga: The Movie! One man. one Brick. One chance… to screw Rick over in the next round!

The summer of 2009 is the summer of Chutes and Ladders, starring Jason Statham as a guy being chased down… chutes and ladders.

And let’s not forget Pictionary – Matt Damon stars as a man who communicates with pictures in this romantic comedy starring Rachel McAdams!

The Artifact

I was lying in bed this morning, a dream of the angelic Isabel Lucas and I on a tropical beach still lingering in my head.  Eventually my train of thought hopped a different track and I found myself thinking about archaeology.  Priorities, you know?  Anyway, I thought to myself… I need an obsession.  Not a crazy stalker obsession, but an archaeological obsession. Every great archaeologist has that one thing they want to discover, which despite their vast knowledge of the artifact, they never acquire until the baddie decides to go dig it up.  Look at Indiana Jones, Lara Croft and Howard Carter for examples.  Okay, yes the first two are fictional characters, but stipulations aside, they’ve all had something they were determined to find.

So what was my obsession going to be?   First, I had to establish some criteria.  My obsession couldn’t be something common.  The Holy Grail is way overdone.  The Ark of the Covenant, too.  Second, it must have slight potential for being discovered.  That means items that are likely fictional in nature are completely off limits.  So long Lost City of Atlantis.  Third, my obsession must carry the romanticism associated with lost historical relics.  Iroquois pot shards just don’t get girls.  Finally, anything sought by the two above fictional characters is completely off limits.   Originality is the spice of life, or a spice in the rack of life.  Whatever.  I can’t be chasing after that thing in the second movie, too cliche.  Once I’d established my boundaries, it was time to start dropping ideas.  How about the golden plates of the Mormons?  Gold is cool.  The Spear of Destiny?  Isn’t that in a museum in Vienna?  The missing link?  Year after year in Africa would be nice.  The WMDs of Iraq?   Okay, that was a joke.  What about something local?  Northern New York has got to have its own MacGuffin.  Alas where to begin?

And thus began the search for my archaeological obsession.  Keep you posted on how that goes.

Impact on HIV and AIDS in aftermath of violence in Kenya

The UN has issued an urgent press release. UNAIDS is concerned about effects of violence in Kenya on people living with HIV and potential risk of new HIV infections. Recent violence in Kenya could pose setbacks to AIDS response. ICROSS is reaching thousands of AIDS patients and hundreds of TB patients in desperate need.

“Immediate concerns are for people following antiretroviral treatment regimens, particularly those who have been displaced by the violence or who have not been able to access treatment. There are also concerns that the displacement and violence (including sexual and gender-based violence) has made people more vulnerable to the risk of HIV infection.” ICROSS teams are reaching many people burnt out, with help from Rotary Karen, Consolata Fathers, Colleagues in Italy and India we are sending relief into crisis areas. Emergency assistance has also come from support groups in London and from Kenyans.

However, “Although concerted efforts have been made by the Kenyan authorities and partners to minimize disruption in people accessing antiretroviral treatment and other essential HIV services, we are still very concerned,” said Dr Erasmus Morah, UNAIDS Country Coordinator in Kenya.

The UNAIDS statement said, “One of the main concerns over prolonged disruption to antiretroviral treatment and anti-TB treatment is the potential development of resistance to the drugs. There is an urgent need to assess the extent of treatment disruption and adequacy of the current response” ICROSS is launching a needs analysis in all its HIV AIDS operational areas in response to this statement.

UNAIDS also said, “There are also reports of high levels of sexual and gender-based violence, and that disruption to social and family networks has forced some women and children to engage in commercial and transactional sex in exchange for shelter, food or protection.” Our teams have reported widespread abuse and injury and with thousands of homes destroyed there is urgent need of immediate response.

WGA Strike Ends!

To Our Fellow Members:

On Tuesday, members of the Writers Guilds East and West voted by a 92.5% margin to lift the restraining order that was invoked on November 5th. The strike is over.

Writing can resume immediately. If you were employed when the strike began, you should plan to report to work on Wednesday. If you’re not employed at an office or other work site, call or e-mail your employer that you are resuming work. If you have been told not to report to work or resume your services, we recommend that you still notify your employer in writing of your availability to do so. Questions concerning return-to-work issues should be directed to the WGAE’s assistant executive director Ann Toback at 212-767-7823 or the WGAW legal department at 323-782-4521.

The decision to begin this strike was not taken lightly and was only made after no other reasonable alternative was possible. We are profoundly aware of the economic loss these fourteen weeks have created not only for our members but so many other colleagues who work in the television and motion picture industries. Nonetheless, with the establishment of the WGA jurisdiction over new media and residual formulas based on distributor’s gross revenue (among other gains) we are confident that the results are a significant achievement not only for ourselves but the entire creative community, now and in the future.

We hope to build upon the extraordinary energy, ingenuity, and solidarity that were generated by your hard work during the strike.

Over the next weeks and months, we will be in touch with you to discuss and develop ways we can use our unprecedented unity to make our two guilds stronger and more effective than ever.

Now that the strike has ended, there remains the vote to ratify the new contract. Ballots and information on the new deal, both pro and con, will be mailed to you shortly. You will be able to return those ballots via mail or at a membership meeting to be held Monday, February 25th, 2008, at times and locations to be determined.

Thank you for making it possible. As ever, we are all in this together.

Michael Winship
Writers Guild of America, East

Another step in the scary world of virtual stalking…

‘Friend locator’ could become next craze for social networkers

Users of social network sites like Facebook will soon be sharing their exact whereabouts with their friends in real-time, owing to new technology that uses the mobile phone as a tracking device, experts say.

Sure it’s cool to think we have the technology to pinpoint our location to friends around the world, but is it necessary?  Is anyone considering the serious safety issues this could pose?  Especially with pedophiles, pre-teens, and psychopathic ex-lovers.


Photo of the Day – Lake Magadi

Lake Magadi, Kenya
June 2007

Deep in the heart of Southern Kenya’s Maasai land is the unearthly Lake Magadi.  Lake Magadi is a saline, alkaline lake which during its dry season can be 75-80% percent covered by soda. The lake is home to a single species of fish but also serves as a nesting area for thousands of flamingos. At one time this lake and neighboring Lake Natron (Tanzania) formed a single body of water known as Lake Oloronga.

Rumbles about the 2008-2009 television season

With rumors that the writer’s strike may be over relatively soon, its time to stop and consider where we are in the realm of entertainment. Variety has the scoop on where the big four networks stand. I’ve taken the liberty of italicizing the projects I’ll be eyeballing:

Fewer pilots prepare for takeoff

Marquee projects have advantage at networks

By Cynthia Littleton

For months, network and studio execs have been scrambling to work around the disruptions caused by the writers strike and keep their operations functioning as normally as possible under the circumstances.

Now that things are expected to actually get back to business as usual in Hollywood, with scribes poised to lay down their picket signs and dust off their laptops this week, nets and studios are doing a different kind of scramble. The biggest post-strike challenge Big Four networks face is deciding how to jumpstart development projects for the 2008-09 season that have been in a deep-freeze for the past three months.

The only certainty is that pilot season ’08 will be nothing like the traditional breakneck process of casting, prepping, lensing and round-the-clock post-production work broadcast networks and major studios endure in the late winter and spring. They simply don’t have the time, and they don’t have the usual volume of material (20 to 25 pilots for ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC) ready to roll.

Top brass, most notably NBC Universal honcho Jeff Zucker, have made a point of proclaiming this production interruptus as a watershed moment for the biz, offering the chance for broadcasters to finally end the inefficient madness of pilot season.

That may come to pass — or not — but the more immediate concern for webheads is what development bets to place in this discombobulated season that has been on pause since the strike began Nov. 5.

In anticipation of the labor strife, the major nets did make a concerted effort to accelerate pilot orders last summer and in early fall in the hopes of getting some hot prospects in the can before the Writers Guild of America contract expired Oct. 31. But those early birds still amount to a small portion of the development smorgasbord net execs are accustomed to.

“Most people were just turning in their (pilot) scripts when they went out,” says a veteran studio exec. “If something didn’t come in just right, there’s no time to develop it or polish it.”

Of all the nets, NBC appears to have the highest volume of development in advanced stages, reflecting the urgency at the Peacock for new scripted tentpoles and the fact the network and Universal Media Studio arm underwent a massive regime change last year. Peacock is even dipping back into its Brandon Tartikoff glory days with hopes for a revival of the kitschy talking-car actioner “Knight Rider.”

Net execs are also making a lot of noise these days about breaking with tradition by developing shows throughout the year and launching them when they’re ripe, rather than in the traditional fall and midseason premiere frames. But there’s still an urgency to have some new material ready to show off to the advertising community by mid-May when media buyers book their advance advertising commitments for the upcoming season.

The Big Four webs have already done a significant amount of winnowing their choices by releasing scripts and force-majeuring overall term deals of creative talent that under normal circumstances would have been engaged in pilot development.

In the past few weeks, CBS and NBC have also turned to their neighbor to the north to solve the problem of getting fresh material for their reality- and rerun-laden primetime lineups. CBS cut a joint licensing deal with Canada’s CTV for 13 segs of the new drama “Flashpoint”; the Peacock did the same with CTV drama “The Listener” (see story, page 28).

As always, the development greenlights given by the Big Four during the next few weeks will hinge on each network’s particular needs.

Given the time constraints, industry insiders predict that some nets will opt to order more presentation reels, or a collection of scenes that give the flavor of a project, rather than full-blown pilots. With fewer swings at the bat this year, there will also be even greater emphasis than usual on projects with A-list talent on board, insiders predict.

ABC has more than its share of successful hourlong skeins these days — including three promising freshman from this season of discontent: the “Grey’s Anatomy” spinoff “Private Practice”; the Golden Globe-winning “Pushing Daisies” and “Dirty Sexy Money.” So it’s no surprise that two projects that have retained some heat at the Alphabet are half-hour laffers.

“Literary Superstar” is a comedy from Sony Pictures TV and producer Darren Star, with Jenna Elfman attached to play a book publicist who is fiercely loyal to her clients. It sounds like a potential companion for ABC’s other freshman success story of the season, Christina Applegate starrer “Samantha Who.”

ABC and ABC Studios got a bit of a head start last fall in shooting some parts of a domestic comedy starring Cedric the Entertainer as a man who struggles to adapt when his wife suddenly becomes the owner of a multimillion dollar business.

CBS is believed to have its eye on moving swiftly on a pair of drama pilots and a pair of comedies that were targeted for early development last year.

“Eleventh Hour” is a drama from the Jerry Bruckheimer shop that’s billed as “The X-Files” meets “An Inconvenient Truth,” or what happens when the government recruits a college professor to investigate mysterious events involving science, from cloning to global warming. Warner Bros. TV project, penned by Mick Jackson, is based on a British thriller.

“Meant-to-Bes” has been a high priority project for Glenn Gordon Caron and CBS Paramount Network TV ever since the producer reupped his overall deal with the studio last fall. They’ve been stingy with details other than to call it a drama with a romance angle.

CBS last summer gave an early greenlight to drama pilot “Kingdom,” from Chad Hodge and Barry Sonnenfeld. At present, the Eye is not expected to scurry to get that ambitious project on its feet, though it remains a high-profile piece for the network.

Comedy-wise, CBS is said to like “My Best Friend’s Girl,” from Sony Pictures TV and scribe Mike Sikowitz (“Friends”). The laughs revolve around how a friendship between two guys changes when one begins dating the other’s ex-wife.

“Worst Week Ever” is another British adaptation, this time handled by Matt Tarses (“Scrubs”). The Universal Media Studios production follows a young couple as they try to navigate the politics of their in-laws.

Fox is on a supernatural high with two reality-bending dramas virtually in the can. Twentieth Century Fox TV’s “The Oaks,” from scribe David Schulner and exec producer Shawn Ryan, follows three couples who lived in the same house in different eras: 1967, 1987 and 2007. It was shot right as the strike began in early November.

“Fringe,” J.J. Abrams’ highly anticipated new TV endeavor, is lensing now. The Warner Bros. TV project, co-written by Abrams and his frequent collaborators Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, revolves around a femme FBI agent who confronts paranormal activity and tries to stop the spread of unexplained phenomena.

Net is also high on drama “The FBI,” the Imagine TV project that’s being produced with the full cooperation of the governmental agency.

Two other dramas likely to get priority treatment from Fox, if the scripts can be wrangled in the next few weeks, are “Queen Bee,” from 20th and “Nip/Tuck” creator Ryan Murphy; and thereunion of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s” Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku in “Dollhouse,” also for 20th.

NBC, the most vocal of the nets about upending its traditional development cycle, has a fair amount of product already in play.

Last week, the Peacock made good on NBC U chief Zucker’s vow to sidestep the pilot process altogether on some projects by giving a six-seg order to the Universal Media Studios comedy “Kath and Kim.” Laffer, starring Molly Shannon and Selma Blair, is based on an Australian series about a forty-ish mother and her self-absorbed daughter.

Peacock has a handful of half-hours from Universal Media Studios that are on the priority list for quickly getting into shooting shape. Some may get the straight-to-series treatment under the new development doctrine at NBC U. “Man of Your Dreams” hails from Conan O’Brien’s Conaco shingle and has director Sonnenfeld onboard. “Zip” has thesp Steven Weber attached, while actor John Michael Higgins has been cast in another Brit remake, “Father Ted.”

Peacock gave a 13-episode order to Lionsgate last fall for horror anthology series “Fear Itself.” And Universal Media Studios pacted with British production shingle Power on the overseas production of drama “Robinson Crusoe.

Twentieth Century Fox TV’s “Blue Blood,” an ensemble drama about a rookie NYPD officer has already been shot. The project from scribe Neil Tolkin and Brett Ratner began its life at Fox in 2006.

“The Philanthropist,” a drama about a rebel billionaire from Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson, earned a series greenlight five weeks before the strike began.

Also for NBC is legal thriller “All Rise” from scribe Luke Reiter and helmer Sonnenfeld, which was shot prior to the strike.

In addition to accelerating the script-to-series process, NBC is said to be leaning toward backdoor pilots on the drama side that can run as telepics, if nothing else. NBC U programming and production execs are known to be scouring the Universal pic and TV vault for properties with revival potential, a la “Bionic Woman” and the upcoming “Knight Rider.”

Jamie Sommers didn’t kick much Nielsen butt in her return to primetime last fall, but a chatty automotive superhero may be just the tonic for NBC in these gadget- and gizmo-obsessed times.

Hey, it worked for Tartikoff.