- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 11, 2005

‘Carnivale’ bows out

HBO is leaving the carny circuit.

The network has decided not to renew “Carnivale,” its Dust Bowl battle between good and evil, for a third season, according to Reuters News Agency.

Prospects for a “Carnivale” renewal have appeared bleak since the sophomore season wrapped in March. Its viewership didn’t increase, and series creator and executive producer Daniel Knauf already has signed on to produce a series for cable rival Showtime.

“Carnivale” starred Nick Stahl as a carnival worker with secret powers headed for a great conflict with the wicked Brother Justin (Clancy Brown). The series never gathered enough critical or popular momentum to rise to the level of such original HBO series as “The Sopranos,” “Six Feet Under” or “Sex and the City.”

The plodding pace of “Carnivale” didn’t help either, possibly chasing away viewers who otherwise might have enjoyed its otherworldly themes.

‘Baby’ meets Bach

Parents can introduce their toddlers to classical music this weekend thanks to a new HBO special.

“Classical Baby,” debuting Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on HBO Family, is an animated half-hour special set to music by some of history’s greatest composers. Youngsters will hear the masterpieces of Johann Sebastian Bach, Claude Debussy and Giacomo Puccini, among others, while enjoying a soothing kaleidoscope of paintings and dance.

The program also will feature a pint-size conductor who leads an all-animal orchestra through a series of short musical sequences.

Lopez bounces back

After a life-threatening illness, George Lopez is mending nicely and has his wife to thank for a speedy recovery.

The star of the ABC sitcom that bears his name received a kidney donated by his wife, Ann, last month and will tell his story on the network’s “Primetime Live, airing at 10 tonight.

“It hasn’t even been a month, and I feel alive,” Mr. Lopez, 44, says in the interview. “I feel as good as I did bad. I mean, it’s unbelievable. Everything has changed. My personality has changed, my appetite has changed, my energy level has changed.”

Mr. Lopez had a genetic condition that caused kidney deterioration that eventually led to the transplant.

“I was operating on 18 percent kidney function in both kidneys, and at 50 percent, you go onto dialysis,” he told Associated Press. “It’s almost like, if you were buried alive and you were trying to dig yourself out.”

Yet he never considered halting his television show, no matter his discomfort.

“I wasn’t going to quit,” Mr. Lopez says. “You know, this is what I was made to do, and I was going to do it, and I wasn’t going to stop until, you know, it stopped me.”

More Blitzer on CNN

CNN has shuffled its afternoon lineup to add an international component and more hours of Wolf Blitzer, AP reported yesterday.

Starting June 6, the cable news network will offer a simulcast of the CNN International newscast “Your World Today” at noon. The summary of world events is anchored in Atlanta by Jim Clancy and Zain Verjee.

“We cover international news better than anyone,” Jonathan Klein, president of CNN/US, said. “Why not give our U.S. viewers a real opportunity to see the type of stories they cannot see anywhere else?”

Mr. Blitzer, who anchors one-hour newscasts at noon and 5 p.m., will head a three-hour block of programming starting at 3 p.m. It will focus on politics, business, national security and world affairs.

Mr. Blitzer’s show replaces “Inside Politics,” whose host, Judy Woodruff, previously announced she was leaving CNN.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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