- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Sweetheart’ deal

MTV is teaming up with Seventeen magazine to find “America’s Sweetheart,” Associated Press reports.

Young women nationwide will compete for the chance to prove they can be role models to their fellow teens in the new 10-episode reality series.

Although MTV and role models (usually) shouldn’t be written in the same sentence, we’ll reserve judgment until the show airs this fall.

The series will chronicle Seventeen’s search for its new sweetheart, who will receive a college scholarship, a paid internship at the magazine and her picture on the cover. Casting calls will take place this spring in cities across the country. Dates and locations have not been announced.

The “Sweetheart” concept of pitting young women against one another in the quest for fame is a familiar staple in reality TV. Hip-hop mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs is searching for female talent on his latest installment of MTV’s “Making the Band,” supermodel Tyra Banks is seeking the fourth “America’s Next Top Model” on UPN, and actresses Faye Dunaway and Vivica A. Fox hope to find Hollywood’s next big thing through “The Starlet” on the WB.

No. 3 for ‘Deadwood’

“Deadwood” is coming back.

HBO’s revisionist Western has earned a third season of its enigmatic morality plays that are often spiced with language too salty to print here.

The show, seen Sundays at 10 p.m., doesn’t draw the kind of fan devotion “The Sopranos” still merits, but critics adore the period piece, and it attracts enough viewers to earn its extension.

“Deadwood” stars Timothy Olyphant as Seth Bullock and Ian McShane as Al Swearengen, the nastiest villain on the tube, a role that won the British actor a Golden Globe award. New shows go into production later this year and will air sometime in 2006.

“Deadwood” was created by “NYPD Blue” producer David Milch.

A ‘Tru’ return

“Tru Calling,” Fox’s death-becomes-her drama, limped along in the ratings last year, earning just enough fans to merit its return — bringing a sigh of relief for its stars Eliza Dushku and Jason Priestley.

Season two begins tonight with a two-hour installment airing at 8.

Miss Dushku plays Tru Davies, a woman who discovers she has the ability to hear the voices of the newly deceased and relive the day they died. We learned last season that Tru’s mother, who died when Tru was 12, also possessed this supernatural gift — and that her father had something to do with that death.

Mr. Priestley, of “Beverly Hills 90210” fame, joined the show midseason last year and stuck around as a man who tries to thwart Tru’s talents.

Blue’ renewal

“Blue Collar TV,” the WB’s no-frills sketch show, will return this summer for a second season of hayseed high jinks.

The show, which stars Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy, milks Middle American humor in the grand tradition of “Hee Haw.”

“Blue’s” July debut drew 5.4 million viewers, making it the second-most-watched show in the WB’s history.

“I am in the hospital in shock,” Mr. Foxworthy joked after hearing news of “Blue’s” renewal. “I have never had a show on the same network two years in a row.”

“Blue,” seen Thursdays at 8 p.m., is a spinoff of the lucrative Blue Collar Comedy Tour, a traveling show that addressed issues near and dear to the so-called flyover states.

HBO’s ‘Left’ turn

It’s too soon to know whether the liberal Air America network will find a permanent home on the radio.

However, there’s little doubt about the discord surrounding its startup, as evidenced in HBO’s “Left of the Dial,” a documentary airing tonight at 8.

“Left” follows Air America’s precarious first year. Executives bounce checks, on-air talents work through their growing pains, and investors flee as the upstart network cautiously rises to meet the challenge of covering a contentious and highly partisan election year.

We watch host Randi Rhodes bark questions at Ralph Nader — only to have the consumer advocate hang up on her — and we hear co-host Janeane Garofalo wonder aloud about the best way to receive the news that she’s fired, should the ax fall.

“Left of the Dial” also tracks the generous media attention afforded to Air America’s signature talent, Al Franken and company — including a cover story in the New York Times Magazine and stories on broadcast outlets such as National Public Radio and CNN.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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