- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 28, 2005

Lopez goes ‘Hollywood’

Former “Saved by the Bell” star Mario Lopez is all grown up and ready to co-host ESPN 2’s latest show.

Mr. Lopez will join co-host Thea Andrews in the new weekday show “ESPN Hollywood,” a program dedicated to the intersection between Hollywood and the sports world, Reuters news agency reports.

The L.A.-based show will air weekdays at 6 p.m. beginning Aug. 15.

“One of the things we liked about Mario is that he really knows sports and he’s passionate about what this show is going to be,” Bill Bonnell, co-executive producer of “ESPN Hollywood,” says.

Mr. Lopez is perhaps best known for his role as A.C. Slater in the teen sitcom “Saved by the Bell.” However, Mr. Bonnell noted he has a background in athletics as well as talk shows. The San Diego native was a high school wrestler and once co-hosted the NBC syndicated talk show “The Other Half” (with Dick Clark and Danny Bonaduce).

The new WB

It’s refreshing to see a network deciding to pursue older viewers, not just those who live and die by the latest pop trends.

For the WB, the shift to a more mature demographic is about business, not idealism. Of course, everything’s relative, and when we say older, we mean the full 25 to 34 age bracket.

The network discussed its shift with reporters at the recent Television Critics Association meetings, Reuters reports.

The network is coming off a rough 2004-05 season and wants to broaden its base by eradicating the perception it’s just for teen viewers.

WB Chairman Garth Ancier says his 10-year-old network’s new strategy will be helped by its plan to pull the Kids’ WB! weekday-afternoon programing block off its schedule in January.

“The fact is, the way children watch television today is different,” he says. “They gravitate to our sister network, Cartoon Network … and they gravitate to Nickelodeon. When they want to watch cartoon programing, they don’t gravitate to an adult station to do it.”

In one sign that WB is growing up, the network confirms that its original symbol, the Michigan J. Frog logo, is no more.

“That was a symbol that — especially in extensive testing that we did — perpetuated the young-teen feel of the network, and that is not the image we want to put out to our audience,” entertainment President David Janollari says.

The WB also reveals that its fall schedule will feature staggered premieres starting Sept. 13 with “Gilmore Girls” and the new series “Supernatural.”

Murder for ‘70s’ star

“That ‘70s Show” star Laura Prepon is about to make a killing in Montreal.

“Karla,” the actress’s serial killer film (also known as “Deadly”), will make its world premiere at the Montreal World Film Festival, running Aug. 26 to Sept. 5, reports Zap2it.com.

Based on the true story of Canada’s most notorious female serial killer, “Karla” stars Miss Prepon as Karla Homolka, a subservient woman dazzled by her dashing husband Paul Bernardo (Misha Collins), who had a history of sexual depravity and abuse.

In order to please Bernardo she helped him rape her younger sister, which resulted in the girl’s accidental death, and rape and murder at least two other schoolgirls. Homolka’s story became even more scandalous when it was discovered that the victims’ abuse — including her lesbian activities with them — was caught on videotape.

Homolka is currently free after serving 12 years in prison as part of a plea bargain in which she revealed all details of the crimes. Bernardo is still serving a life sentence.

Public outcry against the Joel Bender-directed film in Ontario, where the crimes took place, has pushed the release of the film from May to the fall.

Miss Prepon, 25, is best known as tomboy Donna on Fox’s “That ‘70s Show.” Her other film credits include “Slackers” and “Come Early Morning,” the upcoming film directed by Joey Lauren Adams.

U2 on HBO

Look for Bono and the guys on Sunday’s “Entourage” when the Irish rockers appear in a guest spot on the HBO hit.

This week on the Emmy-nominated series: Vince (Adrian Grenier) hits it off at a convention with his new co-star, Ari (Jeremy Piven) gives Drama (Kevin Dillon) a “rockin’ ” birthday gift, and Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) sends a pair of professionals to the rescue when Eric (Kevin Connolley) and Shauna (Debi Mazar) fail to appease a bitter journalist.

“Entourage,” now in its second season, airs Sunday evening at 10.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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