- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 1, 2007

Super alternatives

Take heart, sports haters — you do have alternatives on Sunday to the telecast of Super Bowl XLI and the endless stream of related programs leading up to the big game.

Cable’s TNT, for instance, will air a marathon of first-season episodes from its award-winning series “The Closer” (11 a.m. until midnight), which stars Kyra Sedgwick as the offbeat CIA-trained Deputy Police Chief Brenda Johnson, a former Atlanta detective brought to Los Angeles to head a special LAPD unit charged with cracking sensitive, high-profile murder cases.

Jon Tenney, J.K. Simmons, Corey Reynolds, Robert Gossett, G.W. Bailey, Tony Denison, Raymond Cruz, Michael Paul Chan and Gina Ravera round out the ensemble cast.

Meanwhile, TNT’s sister network, TBS, will offer a 13-episode marathon of its new series “My Boys,” beginning Sunday afternoon at 5. The sitcom debuted last fall and centers on the adventures of P.J. Franklin (played by Jordana Spiro), a single Chicago sports columnist, as she navigates the dating world with her coterie of male friends (Jim Gaffigan, Kyle Howard, Reid Scott, Michael Bunin and Jamie Kaler). Kellee Stewart plays P.J.’s no-nonsense best friend, Stephanie.

Have a hankering for romance? Ageless troubadour Engelbert Humperdinck will heat up the Hallmark Channel with “Whole Lotta Love — Full-Contact Edition,” a 30-minute music showcase billed by Hallmark as a “salute to the most heartfelt and timeless of Hallmark Cards and Hallmark Hall of Fame commercial spots.” Mr. Humperdinck’s early valentine is scheduled to air at the same time as the Super Bowl halftime show on CBS.

Finally, for those seeking a more-hands-on approach to programming, DIY Network’s first-ever “Super Knit Sunday” (airing from 5 to 11 p.m.) might be just the ticket.

The “Knit In” event — a partnership with Warm Up America!, a charitable organization dedicated to the creation of handmade blankets, clothing and accessories to help those in need — is designed to encourage knitsters and crocheters to pick up their sticks and yarn to help create shawls and blankets for the less fortunate. Viewers will be asked to create 7-inches-by-9-inches knit squares that will be sewn together into blankets that will be distributed to women’s shelters, nursing homes and day care centers. For more information on how to participate in DIY’s year-long initiative, including a pattern for the square, log on to www.DIYnetwork.com/knit.

Back-to-back episodes of DYI’s popular series “Knitty Gritty” will air during the “Knit In,” and notable guests — including singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb and Kelley Deal, lead guitarist of rock band The Breeders — will also drop by.

Danson’s cable debut

Ted Danson is making his first foray into cable-TV drama, joining the cast of an FX pilot starring Glenn Close.

The former “Cheers” star and two-time Emmy winner will play a captain of industry whose corporation is embroiled in a class-action suit brought by Miss Close’s character, a high-powered attorney, reports Zap2it.com.

The still-untitled pilot’s cast also includes Rose Byrne (“Marie Antoinette”) and Tate Donovan (“The O.C.”) as lawyers in Miss Close’s firm and Zeljko Ivanek (“24,” “Oz”) as one of Mr. Danson’s attorneys.

Mr. Danson is coming off the short-lived ABC comedy “Help Me Help You.” He and Miss Close worked together previously on the 1984 TV movie “Something About Amelia.”

Drug-dealing doc

An Australian doctor who looked after “Survivor” contestants and has been hired by film and TV companies to work on other productions has admitted buying pharmaceutical cocaine for his personal use, reports Contactmusic.com, citing a story in the New York Post.

Dr. Adrian Cohen of Sydney is also being investigated for reportedly using patients’ names to write prescriptions for cocaine that he used himself and selling some of the drugs on the sets of TV shows.

“I have admitted it was inappropriate,” Mr. Cohen told the newspaper. “We made money from it, [but] I certainly didn’t make myself rich by doing it.”

Nosedive for Miss A

Up against rough-and-tumble competitors such as “24” and “Heroes” Monday night, the Miss America pageant took a ratings hit on CMT this year, down 22 percent from last year’s debut on the network, Cox News Servive reports.

Only 2.4 million viewers watched Miss Oklahoma get crowned by new host Mario Lopez, compared with 3.1 million last year and 10 million in 2004, the final year the pageant aired on ABC. One bright spot: Viewership was down only slightly among the coveted 18- to 49-year-old demographic.

Last year, CMT aired the pageant on a less competitive Saturday night.

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

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