- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 3, 2004

Hip-hop history

VH1 begins a five-part series tonight recalling the rise and cultural domination of hip-hop music.

“And You Don’t Stop: 30 Years of Hip Hop,” beginning at 10 tonight and running through Friday at the same time, tracks the genre’s rise from the streets to mainstream America.

The series is executive produced by hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and features interviews with OutKast, Fab 5 Freddie, the Beastie Boys, Rick Rubin, Chuck D. and many other hip-hop heavyweights.

Shatner’s practical joke

Set your phasers on “gotcha.”

A small town in Iowa has been “punk’d” by the erstwhile Captain Kirk, William Shatner and Spike TV, Associated Press reports.

Riverside, Iowa, considers itself the “future birthplace” of Capt. Kirk, commander of the starship USS Enterprise in the iconic “Star Trek” universe. The town holds an annual TrekFest, which includes a parade with people dressed as “Star Trek” characters and public showings of classic “Trek” episodes.

Mr. Shatner — now starring on the new ABC drama, “Boston Legal” — had been shooting scenes in Riverside for what he said was a low-budget, sci-fi movie titled, “Invasion Iowa.”

Last week, he invited residents to view scenes that he’d been directing in and around town for a week.

Mr. Shatner thanked some 800 people who turned out for the gathering and then revealed the filming had been for a new reality show on Spike TV about a small town playing host to a Hollywood film shoot.

“Everything in front of and behind the cameras was faked,” Mr. Shatner told AP. “The only thing that was real is the love we have for Riverside.”

They should have suspected a prank when they learned Mr. Shatner was set to direct the feature. The former “T.J. Hooker” star hasn’t exactly forged a huge directorial career. The “Star Trek” feature he directed, “Star Trek: The Final Frontier,” is generally accepted as the worst of the first six “Trek” films.

The reality prank show is set to debut next year.

Spike TV said that a crew of producers, writers and actors had spent more than a year planning the “carefully crafted” hoax.

To soften the blow, Mr. Shatner announced that he and his co-producers were donating $100,000 to the city to be used for community projects. The cast and crew also passed the hat and collected $12,000 for the Riverside Elementary School Book Fund.

Mike Hanson, who had been hired as an extra, said he and his fellow actors had been suspicious about the project.

“It was too cheesy to be real,” Mr. Hanson said after Mr. Shatner’s announcement. “If it was really a movie, we’d be more scared of how bad it was.”

“It’s hard to imagine any undertaking more audacious, hair-raising and ultimately rewarding than what we just finished in Riverside,” producer Paul Wernick told AP.

It’s also been done before. Comedy Central broadcast “Windy City Heat” last year, a large-scale prank performed on a hack actor who thought an actual film was being made with him as the star.

Star’s new dish

Darren Star captured the New York dating scene with “Sex and the City.”

Now he hopes to do the same for the Big Apple’s posh eateries.

Mr. Star’s new project, “Kitchen Confidential,” has landed at Fox with a script commitment, Reuters News Agency reports.

The half-hour project is based on Anthony Bourdain’s book, “Kitchen Confidential, A Cook’s Tour,” which drew an honest, gritty picture of life behind the scenes in a restaurant kitchen.

New Line, which has the rights to the book, is onboard to produce “Kitchen” through New Line TV, along with Darren Star Prods. and 20th Century Fox Television.

A search is under way for a writer to adapt the book to the small screen. Mr. Star will supervise the writing of the pilot script. He also will direct and serve as executive producer of the series.

More ‘Jack & Bobby’

The WB’s ambitious new drama “Jack & Bobby” has earned a full season pickup from the network.

The show depicts a single mother (Christine Lahti) and her two boys, one of whom will grow up to be president in the year 2040.

The network reports the show is drawing solid ratings figures with upscale audiences in its 9 p.m. slot on Sunday — a fact that makes advertisers sit up and take notice.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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