- The Washington Times - Monday, August 6, 2007

Blair gets ‘Dirty’

“L.A. Law” alumnus Blair Underwood is joining the cast of the new ABC drama “Dirty Sexy Money,” playing a visionary billionaire, Associated Press reports.

The character of Simon Elder will be introduced later in the season as a potential nemesis of the wealthy, troubled Darling family that’s the series’ focus, ABC announced last week. Peter Krause (“Six Feet Under”) stars as the man hired to protect the family’s secrets.

Donald Sutherland, William Baldwin and Jill Clayburgh also star in the series, scheduled to premiere Sept. 26.

The busy Mr. Underwood, 42, is also starring in the HBO drama series “In Treatment,” set for 2008, and will reprise the character of Mr. Harris opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus on CBS’ “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” AP said.

Hungry for the Wolf

In other ABC news, the network is back in business with Scott Wolf, who toplined the net’s buzzworthy-but-busted drama series “The Nine” last year.

According to Variety, the alphabet network and its sibling ABC Studios have inked a talent holding deal with Mr. Wolf to develop a project built around him or to cast him in one of the network’s 2008-09 pilots.

Although one of the best-reviewed newcomers of the 2006-07 season, “The Nine” failed to catch on with audiences and was pulled after a handful of episodes.

Mr. Wolf has been a regular small-screen presence since breaking out in 1994 as Bailey in Fox’s “Party of Five.” He followed that with a two-season gig on the WB’s “Everwood.”

WETA to make TV doc

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation has partnered with the Documentary Group and the District’s WETA-Channel 26 to produce a miniseries about TV for PBS, Variety reports.

“The History of Television,” which is a working title, received a green light after scoring a $2 million grant from PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. News of the project — slated to air on PBS in spring 2009 — was announced last week by TV Academy Foundation Chairman Steve Mosko and WETA’s executive vice president/chief programming officer, Dalton Delan.

“Television is a medium in transition and there is no better time to step back and appreciate where it has been and where it is going,” Mr. Mosko said. “This is a milestone for the foundation.”

The project will take advantage of the TV Academy Foundation’s Archive of American Television, which includes interviews with iconic TV pioneers and other materials. The organization will also initiate a fundraiser to “create maximum impact for both the TV series and its other component parts.”

“The History of Television” will lead off with a four-hour look at scripted series, including famous TV characters in drama and comedy history, Variety says. Each hour will look at specific groups of actors, writers, producers and directors.

This is the first major TV production from the TV Academy Foundation. WETA, meanwhile, is the third-largest program-producing station in public broadcasting.

Nielsen admits error

A glitch in Nielsen Media Research equipment led to lower-than-normal ratings for the USA Network for five days last week, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Nielsen confirmed Friday that an “equipment issue” was to blame for the problems, which underreported USA Network ratings from July 28-Aug. 1. The nature of the equipment problems wasn’t clear.

A Nielsen spokeswoman said that the underreporting only affected the USA Network and that it had been corrected Thursday and was now providing accurate information. Nielsen also was working on providing new ratings for the affected five days.

USA Network couldn’t be reached for comment late Friday, the Hollywood Reporter says.

On tap tonight

“Mission: Man Band” (10 p.m., VH1) — For reasons known only to them, the powers-that-be at VH1 believe there’s a need to resurrect the evaporated careers of a few members from some of the 1990s hottest boy bands. The series will follow the daily doings of Chris Kirkpatrick (N”Sync); Jeff Timmons (98 Degrees); Rich Cronin (LFO) and Bryan Abrams (Color Me Badd) as they live together for one month, create new music, coordinate a dynamic stage show and perform as a new pop group. Conspicuously absent: a member from Boyz II Men, whose 1992 single “End of the Road,” remained at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 for 13 weeks, breaking the previous record of 11 weeks set by Elvis Presley’s “Don’t Be Cruel”/”Hound Dog” in 1956.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports.

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