- The Washington Times - Monday, January 1, 2007

Dishin’ the ‘Dirt’

Former “Friends” star Courteney Cox (the lovable Monica Geller) returns to series television in “Dirt” (tonight at 10 on FX), a new series about the inner workings of a tabloid.

She plays Lucy Spiller, the cutthroat editor of Dirt, a tawdry rag that has the scoop on everybody in Hollywood.

Like most FX shows, “Dirt” has its gritty side, but it mostly plays out as a dark comedy, notes Scripps Howard News Service.

In the tradition of grand TV villains, Lucy is a woman people love to hate — and she knows it, too.

“You and all your Hollywood pals read my magazines and secretly love them,” Lucy says in the first episode. She also observes: “As much as you all hate to admit it, you need me.”

Lucy isn’t beyond blackmail to get what she wants. However, she rarely gets her own hands dirty, preferring to let her staff do the deeds to get to the trashy tales.

Thankfully for her, Don Konkey (a schizophrenic photographer played by Ian Hart) usually gets her the best results. Through him, she manipulates relationships to get Dirt’s headlines — everything from splitting up an actor and his superstar girlfriend to exploiting an athlete’s sexual liaison.

Has there ever been a series more aptly named?

One more on ‘24’

The sixth season of “24” has added yet another actor to its already sprawling cast, with Jamison Jones taking a recurring role on the show.

Mr. Jones has signed on to play the head of President Wayne Palmer’s (D.B. Woodside) Secret Service detail, reports Zap2it.com, citing a story in the Hollywood Reporter. The show is scheduled to return to Fox on Jan. 14 with a two-night premiere spanning four hours.

The casting is actually a return trip to “24” for Mr. Jones, who had a small role as a deputy in two episodes of the show’s second season. His other credits include guest spots on “Crossing Jordan,” “NCIS” and “Alias” and the feature film “He Was a Quiet Man,” which is due for release sometime this year.

Season six of “24” will pick up 20 months after we last saw Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), who was on a slow boat to China after being apprehended by operatives. The country, now under the leadership of Mr. Palmer, suffers a series of terrorist attacks.

Among those logging time on the show this season: Regina King (“Ray”), James Cromwell (“L.A. Confidential,” “Six Feet Under”), Peter MacNicol (“Numb3rs”), Powers Boothe (“Deadwood”), Kal Penn (“Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle”) and Rick Schroder (“NYPD Blue”). Gregory Itzin, Jean Smart, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Roger Cross, James Morrison, Jayne Atkinson, Eric Balfour (“Six Feet Under”) and Carlo Rota will reprise their roles from past seasons.

Familiar faces

“Star Trek’s” George Takei, “That ‘70s Show’s” Don Stark and “Desperate Housewives’ ” Lupe Ontiveros are getting ready to hang with “Cory.”

The trio is set to guest star in “Cory in the House,” the Disney Channel’s spinoff of the popular comedy “That’s So Raven,” reports E!Online.com.

The new show premieres on the family network Jan. 12.

TV on DVD

Out today:

Martin: Season 1 (1992) — HBO is releasing all 27 episodes (on four discs) of the premiere season of the hit Fox sitcom starring funnyman Martin Lawrence — a 1983 graduate of Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt — as Detroit radio talk show host Martin Payne and Tisha Campbell (“My Wife and Kids”) as his often put-upon girlfriend, Gina. Tachina Arnold (“Everybody Hates Chris”), Carl Anthony Payne II and Thomas Mikal Ford round out the ensemble cast as the couple’s friends. The series also featured a costumed Mr. Lawrence playing several recurring characters including a 10-year-old brat named Roscoe and, most notably, a troublemaking female neighbor named Sheneneh.

During its network run (1992-1997), the show spawned a number of catch phrases, including “You go girl” and “get to steppin’.”

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

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