Ron Howard won’t complete the Dan Brown trilogy, reports Deadline. Howard directed and produced the first two film versions of Dan Brown’s bestsellers, 2006’s The Da Vinci Code and sequel Angels & Demons in 2009, which both starred Tom Hanks as symbologist/sleuth Robert Langdon. Since 2001’s A Beautiful Mind, which hit the sweet spot by winning four Oscars including best picture, these films have been Howard’s most popular–if not critically hailed.
Sony reports that Howard would rather produce than direct this one, even though The Lost Symbol would be a likely commercial win. Howard suffered a recent disappointment when Universal passed on his ambitious adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, and his last film, the badly reviewed Vince Vaughn comedy The Dilemma, topped out at $69 million worldwide. Before that, Oscar-nominated Frost/Nixon was strictly a success d’estime. Howard is now prepping Dustin Lance Black’s adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven for Warner Bros.
-James Franco returns to General Hospital in his popular role as an aloof and enigmatic artist. The episode, which will air September 20th, will be one of Franco’s many cameos on the ABC soap since first appearing in 2009.
-Craig Ferguson, the late-night host, has secretly taped the first episode of a hush-hush game show produced by Courteney Cox for CBS, reports The NY Post. The show, Identity Crisis, is based on a popular board game of the same title. Pending a green light, it could premiere this winter.