- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 25, 2005

‘Charmed’ again

Actor Julian McMahon is on the cusp of stardom thanks to his multifaceted work on “Nip/Tuck” and a starring role in this summer’s “Fantastic Four.”

But the Australian actor isn’t forgetting his roots. Mr. McMahon will return to the WB’s “Charmed,” where he once played the half-devil husband of Alyssa Milano’s Phoebe, for the show’s 150th episode, to air in April. “Charmed” airs Sundays at 8 p.m.

Mr. McMahon’s character was vanquished in the 100th episode, but now his spirit will run into Piper’s (Holly Marie Combs) in what the network terms “the cosmic space between life and death.”

Whoa.

Mr. McMahon previously starred in two Australian series before finding steady work in the now defunct daytime soap “Another World.”

The game of ‘Life’

We’d have to be simpletons to believe Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie can anonymously interact with the public for their Fox reality show “The Simple Life.”

Yet here they are, crossing America once more to stage the kind of orchestrated mayhem that leaves reality-show skeptics shaking their heads. By this point, the show’s ardent fans are likely to remain intact, but even they may see the new season for the superficial affair it sadly is.

This round of “Life,” beginning its third season at 8:30 tonight on Fox, isn’t much different from the past two installments. It’s all fish-out-of-water moments with two women who are so stinking rich they don’t fit in anywhere except the jewelry counters on the famed Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

The opener finds the girls hanging with a sweet New Jersey family (“Is New Jersey a state or a city?” Nicole asks in one of many lame attempts at Jessica Simpson humor) while they intern with a local gas station. They spill oil, crash cars and lob lazy come-ons to the customers.

To paraphrase Miss Hilton, that’s not hot.

Teen depression

District sociologist Donna Holland Barnes visits “The Jane Pauley Show” today to discuss teens and depression from a personal perspective.

The program, titled “A Silent Cry: Battling Teen Depression,” features Miss Holland Barnes recalling the loss of her son, Marc, to suicide and her work as president of the National Organization for People of Color Against Suicide. She emphasizes how important it is that parents allow their children to discuss their feelings before it’s too late.

Today’s program also features another local connection, the Care family of Severna Park, Md. The clan nearly lost daughter Brandi when she jumped off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in 1998. The young woman will discuss her experiences as well her recovery.

“The Jane Pauley Show” airs weekdays at 10 a.m. on WJLA-7.

Ageless love

“The Nanny’s” Fran Drescher knew where to look for inspiration on playing an older woman dating a much younger man — in the mirror.

The actress dated a man 16 years her junior for four years, perfect research for her new WB comedy, “Living With Fran.”

The show features the 47-year-old actress playing a woman who dates a man in his 20s, Associated Press reports.

Think Mrs. Robinson but with a nasal New York accent.

One episode echoes a true moment when Miss Drescher’s then-boyfriend’s father and stepmother came for a visit and the stepmom was two years younger than Miss Drescher — who rifled through her closet in search of something to make her look younger.

In another show, Miss Drescher learns that the live-in boyfriend is secretly hanging on to his old apartment, just in case something goes wrong.

“In the series, eventually he gives up the apartment by the end of the episode because our love is true,” Miss Drescher told reporters. “In real life, he kept the apartment, and now he’s back in it.”

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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