- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Remember Fantasia

“American Idol” winner Fantasia Barrino doesn’t want to be lost in the shuffle when the new season beckons.

Miss Barrino, who won the show’s third season competition, promises to keep a high profile to ensure that doesn’t happen.

“I’m not going to let people forget me. I’m going to be on cereal boxes, milk cartons and ice cream trucks,” Miss Barrino tells Associateed Press.

For starters, she says, she prefers simply to be called by her first name.

“I don’t want everybody to see me as the ‘American Idol.’ I want them to see me as Fantasia,” she told reporters in Singapore, where she and other former “Idol” contestants were scheduled to perform last night.

“I think it’s just about pushing past ‘American Idol’ and going on with your career,” says the singer from High Point, N.C.

As in the United States, “American Idol” is popular in Singapore, the tour’s only stop outside the states. LAMC Productions, a promoter in the wealthy Southeast Asian city-state, said it the won rights to host the event after an intense bidding war.

Ladies first

“Saturday Night Live” is letting the ladies take over the news desk.

The show, notorious for giving its female cast members short shrift, introduced its new “Weekend Update” format last weekend, featuring new anchorwoman Amy Poehler, AP notes.

Miss Poehler joins Tina Fey on the franchise’s first all-female news team in its 30-year history.

The new newswoman replaces Jimmy Fallon, who left last year to pursue a movie career.

Miss Poehler joined the show in 2001 as a regular cast member; Miss Fey has served as head writer for the past five years.

“Weekend Update,” long a trademark segment of “SNL,” has a storied history of anchors, including Chevy Chase, Dennis Miller and Kevin Nealon.

“S NL,” now in its 30th season, airs Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. on NBC. This week’s show will be hosted by Queen Latifah, who will do double duty as musical guest.

Laura on Leno

First lady Laura Bush drops by “The Tonight Show” this evening in an effort to support her husband’s re-election bid.

The visit on the NBC talk show marks Mrs. Bush’s third appearance with host Jay Leno since President Bush took office in 2001.

“The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” airs weeknights at 11:35.

Cosby’s wit and wisdom

Bill Cosby is proving to be more than just a funnyman.

The veteran stand-up has been speaking out about social issues in recent months, and his latest book — which offers advice for new college graduates — is coming to television.

Fox Broadcasting has given a script commitment to a comedy-series project to be adapted from Mr. Cosby’s recent best-seller, “Congratulations! Now What? A Book for Graduates,” Reuters News Agency reports.

Mr. Cosby has teamed with comedy writer Chris Case to serve as an executive producer on the project. The series will focus on a father’s struggle with his college-graduate son, who decides to move back in with his parents.

Mr. Cosby’s most recent TV project was as a producer for “Fatherhood,” an animated series on Nickelodeon based on the 1987 best seller of the same name.

“Congratulations” would be his first prime-time network series since his CBS sitcom “Cosby” left the air in 2000.

Trump Tower TV

Donald Trump isn’t satisfied with ruling merely reality television. The real estate tycoon is setting his sights on scripted TV, too.

Sources tell Reuters that “The Apprentice” star and executive producer is in talks with NBC for a prime-time drama series that would be set, at least in part, at the Trump Tower, Mr. Trump’s posh Big Apple skyscraper that also hosts his “Apprentice” contestants.

Writer-producer Gay Walch (the WB’s “Summerland”) is being eyed to pen the project, tentatively titled “The Towers.” The Donald is expected to serve as an executive producer.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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