- The Washington Times - Monday, August 20, 2007

New view for Star

Star Jones is returning to television with a cause.

She’s dropped a few pounds, her last name (“Reynolds”) and “The View.” Now, she’s heading back to daytime TV with “The Star Jones Show,” a live talk show premiering at 3 today on Court TV.

Before that, though, you can catch her this morning at 9 on “The Morning Show With Mike and Juliet,” (Fox5-WTTG) where she’ll discuss her new job.

“We need to go back to asking the viewer, ‘What is it that they care about?’ ” Miss Jones told Scripps Howard News Service.

The former co-host of “The View” — who left the ABC chat fest in 2006 — says she wants to create “provocative television that’s entertaining and relevant, not for insult or embarrassment purposes, but for inspirational and entertainment purposes.”

Her hourlong show will include many interactive features — live phone calls from viewers and a Web aspect for funneling questions and comments.

Sure, “Star Jones” will have the celebrity interview of the day as well as talk of the day’s hot news headlines. But she vows that, somehow, it will be different under her watch.

“You have a celebrity guest, a person who is typically on the daytime circuit plugging a movie. You won’t see that person sitting there saying, ‘Well, this is what my movie is about.’ We’re looking to do a story beyond the story,” says Miss Jones, who today welcomes dismissed “Grey’s Anatomy” cast member Isaiah Washington to her show.

The actor was fired from the Emmy-nominated ABC drama in June following his use of a homophobic slur against castmate T.R. Knight.

Miss Jones says she doesn’t want to go all Rosie O’Donnell on us and start with the celebrity feuds from her days on “The View.” She wants to play nice.

“I’m not going to do anything that damages that warm feeling that I had,” the former attorney and American University law school graduate says. “I’m not going to pile on. I’m not going to participate in any of the silliness that might make excitement.”

‘HSM2’ sets record

Disney Channel’s “High School Musical 2” smashed records Friday night to become the most-watched basic cable television event of all time, reports TVWeek.com.

The much-anticipated sequel to Disney Channel’s enormously successful 2006 movie drew 17.2 million viewers, besting previous record holder, the TNT Western “Crossfire Trail,” by 38 percent. “HSM2” is also the most-watched television telecast on record for youngsters 6 to 11 and TV’s most-watched Friday telecast in total viewers in more than five years.

Compared to broadcast network programming, the “HSM2” audience was equivilent to last season’s average viewership for an episode of CBS’ “CSI” or ABC’s “Desperate Housewives.” Disney Channel took advantage of the anticipated turnout by following the movie with a preview of its upcoming series “Phineas and Ferb,” which drew 10.8 million viewers.

The original “HSM” was Disney’s most-successful movie when it debuted to 7.8 million viewers last year, notes TVWeek.com. Since then, it’s become a cash machine for the network, spawning a best-selling album, DVD, book series, video game, concert tour and upcoming ice show.

HBO takes ‘Flight’

HBO has renewed the new musical comedy “Flight of the Conchords” for a second season, reports TVWeek.com.

The network also said its Emmy-nominated “Entourage” would return for a fifth season.

“Flight of the Conchords” is a quirky show about New Zealand music-comedy duo Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie as they try to live and work in New York.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse and Kelly Jane Torrance from staff, wire and Web reports