- The Washington Times - Monday, November 1, 2004

Lady ‘Queer Eye’

Perhaps no one told the folks at Bravo that their pop culture hurricane, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” has been downgraded to a tropical storm.

Despite falling ratings for their fey makeover show, the cable network will introduce “Queer Eye for the Straight Girl” in January.

The new weekly, hourlong show will introduce us to the Gal Pals — a team dedicated to bringing style and savoir faire to clueless straight women. The Pals will feature Robbie Laughlin, Danny Teeson, Damon Pease and a woman named Honey Labrador.

The episodes will center on such life-affirming events as marriage proposals, 30th birthdays and weddings.

Trio’s election ‘News’

The Trio network offers its own eclectic take on Election Day tonight with two new specials.

First up at 8 p.m. is “Gay Republicans,” a documentary focusing on the Log Cabin Republicans and their take on the 2004 presidential race. The group sided with President George W. Bush’s strong defense posture and economic policies, but spoke out against his support for a constitutional amendment banning same sex “marriages.”

“How’s Your News?: On the Campaign Trail,” following at 9 p.m., profiles a team of physically challenged news reporters covering the Democratic National Convention. The special, featuring interviews with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Al Franken, was co-produced by “South Park’s” Matt Stone and Trey Parker.

Trio wraps its election night coverage with “Parking Lot: The Political Conventions.” The series, which typically interviews fans gathering before rock concerts, follows the fan-like fervor at the recent Democratic, Republican and Libertarian national conventions.

Locals on ‘Pauley’

Jane Pauley, former “Today” show co-anchor-turned-neophyte talk show host, chats up a Silver Spring expert on eating disorders during today’s program.

“The Jane Pauley Show,” which airs locally at 10 a.m. each weekday on ABC, delves into midlife eating disorders with Dr. Andrea Pennington of the Pennington Institute of Health and Wellness.

Miss Pauley and Dr. Pennington will introduce us to a fellow Silver Spring resident, Kathleen Zaffina, who sought help for her binge eating.

The episode explains how women in their middle years often feel anxious and out of control, which can lead to eating issues. Doctors are charting a growing number of such disorders in this demographic, the show reveals.

Vive le vote

Cable viewers who want to see how another part of the world views our presidential election can surf over to TV5 USA for the French perspective.

The digital premium channel will provide complete coverage of Election 2004 in conjunction with Agence France-Presse beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Any similarities between its coverage and that of Fox News will surely be coincidental.

No laughing matter

When it comes to TV comedy, the programming heads of the six broadcast networks are finding little to laugh about these days.

“I think it’s dried up. It’s like a prune,” Gail Berman, president of entertainment at Fox Broadcasting Co., told Reuters News Agency late last week at the Hollywood Radio & Television Society’s annual Newsmaker luncheon at the Beverly Hilton.

“There’s nothing new going on,” Miss Berman said, citing her network’s “Arrested Development” as a rare exception.

Kevin Reilly, president of entertainment at NBC, laid the blame on the flood of creative directives inundating scriptwriters from network executives.

“I think the process of making sitcoms is smothering creativity,” Mr. Reilly said. “I think it’s a miracle anything gets through.”

Dawn Ostroff, president of entertainment at UPN, held up the originality of ABC’s new hit dramas as examples to emulate on the comedy side.

“We can’t be derivative,” she said. “Part of what makes ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘Lost’ is they all started with something that was not on the air.”

Just watch — six months from now the competing networks will have their own spins on “Lost” and “Housewives” prepping for fall 2005.

Improving comedy development, however, was but one of many issues addressed during the panel discussion, which was moderated by “Hollywood Squares” host Tom Bergeron.

Stephen McPherson, president of ABC Primetime Entertainment, defended the primacy of the broadcasters in the television landscape and downplayed the role of emerging broadband technology.

“You’re not going to have 28 million people watching a show on the Internet,” he said.

“His opening numbers would indicate people are coming back to broadcast television in a big way,” echoed Nina Tassler, president of CBS Entertainment, referring to ABC’s strong start this season.

David Janollari, president of entertainment at the WB Network, said the development experience that all current broadcast programing chiefs have is “exciting for the business.”

“We know how to talk to creative talent,” he said.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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