- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 9, 2006

Classic rock twofer

They say the heart of rock ‘n’ roll is in Cleveland, but not if VH1 has anything to say about it.

The music network has announced it will debut “VH1 Rock Honors” next month to pay homage to the gods of hard rock, Associated Press reports.

The inaugural honorees are Kiss, Queen, Def Leppard and Judas Priest.

The ceremony, to take place May 25 in Las Vegas, will pay tribute to hard-rock legends much as Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame does, with “spoken tributes, filmed packages and performances by some of today’s hottest rock acts as well as the legends themselves.”

VH1 has aired the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies the past few years.

“VH1 Rock Honors” will air May 31.

It’s not the first genre to get the tribute treatment from the network; last week VH1 announced plans for its third annual “Hip-Hop Honors,” which will air in October.

Spielberg’s new reality

If Steven Spielberg is ready to embrace reality television, maybe the genre’s critics should reconsider their opposition.

The director of “Schindler’s List” and “Jaws” is teaming up with Mark Burnett of “Survivor” for a new reality series aimed at finding the next great filmmaker, Reuters news agency reports.

“On the Lot,” to air on Fox, will put a group of aspiring filmmakers in competition for a Hollywood development deal on the lot of DreamWorks, the studio Mr. Spielberg co-founded.

The series is slated to air sometime in the 2006-07 broadcast season,

DreamWorks was sold recently to Paramount Pictures, a division of Viacom Inc.

Fox reality programming chief Mike Darnell told Reuters that Mr. Spielberg would appear on the show but that the nature or extent of his role on the series had yet to be decided.

“All through my career I’ve done what I can to discover new talent and give them a start,” Mr. Spielberg said. “This opportunity … allows all of us to reach out directly to open a much wider door.”

Details about the show’s format were being worked out, but Mr. Darnell said “Lot” would be structured as a contest of elimination similar to the Fox hit “American Idol,” with home viewers voting on which competitors should advance to the next round each week.

Like “Idol,” the new series will air twice weekly, with an hourlong “film premiere” episode in which short-subject works produced by the contestants are screened, followed the next night by a half-hour “box office” results show that decides who makes the cut to the next round.

The series also will feature a panel of judges, consisting of a high-ranking studio executive, a prominent film critic and other experts who will comment on the finished films in front of a live audience.

Rabbi’s ‘Home’ invasion

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has a knack for drawing headlines, from writing books such as “Kosher Sex” to hanging around with King of Pop Michael Jackson.

Now the rabbi is taking his act into the homes of troubled families as part of a new TLC series bowing tonight, Reuters news agency reports.

“Shalom in the Home,” airing at 10 p.m., finds the rabbi trying to bring peace, or “shalom,” to strangers.

In the first episode, he enters the home of Beatriz Romero and her four children, whose behavior has deteriorated since their parents divorced because father Luis had an affair.

Rabbi Boteach first observes, then counsels family members before offering advice through an earpiece as they go about trying to fix their problems, from 16-year-old Janice’s abusive boyfriend to Luis’ efforts to prove he can be trusted again.

He may be a rabbi, but his opinions are blunt. He takes a page out of the Dr. Phil handbook by scolding Luis for his infidelity and makes comments to the camera such as, “He’s got to get over this ‘Poor me, victim’ crap.”

The 39-year-old father of eight says that just as “Kosher Sex” appealed to non-Jews, the themes in “Shalom in the Home” are universal, and the families he meets are diverse.

“They didn’t think I was going to superimpose my views on them,” he says, adding, “Wait ‘til you see a white Jewish rabbi working with a black Baptist family.”

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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