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Jasmyne Cannick, who worked with Mr. Washington on the Pan African Arts Festival, said she’s infuriated that ABC booted Washington from the show’s upcoming fourth season for using an anti-homosexual slur against Mr. Knight during a scuffle on the set and believes it smacks of racism. So she’s started a petition — which had 1,233 signatures as of last week — to get the actor his job back, says the Denver Post, citing published reports by Associated Press and the New York Post.

The petition says Mr. Washington’s firing “further adds to a disturbing new trend at ABC wherein minority actors have been dismissed at an alarming rate over the past two years. Blacks, including … Star Jones (“The View”), Harold Perrineau (“Lost”), Alfre Woodard, Mehcad Brooks and Page Kennedy (“Desperate Housewives”) have been let go … One must ask themselves, what is going on? … While we don’t approve of use of the F-word at the Golden Globes, Washington has since apologized and gone on to perform community service by way of a public service announcement for the very organizations that have been orchestrating his dismissal. But it seems it wasn’t enough.”

The actor came under fire last fall after getting into an altercation with Patrick Dempsey, during which he slurred Mr. Knight. He later repeated the word at the Golden Globes. Mr. Washington later apologized, checked into rehab and met with homosexual rights leaders.

‘Office’ reruns on Fox

NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution has sold the rights to its sitcom “The Office” to the Fox Television Stations for its first off-network run in broadcast syndication beginning in the fall of 2009, and to cable network TBS for airing on a limited basis beginning this fall, MediaWeek.com reports.

“The Office,” which stars Steve Carell and Rainn Wilson, will air on Fox stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Orlando, Baltimore and in the District (Fox5-WTTG). Overall, Fox’s owned-and-operated stations number 35 in 26 markets and cover nearly 45 percent of U.S. television homes.

“The Office” was NBC’s highest-rated sitcom this past season and delivered the most upscale audience, drawing the highest rating among women 18-34 of any broadcast network first-run, prime-time sitcom.

Under its deal with TBS, the cable network will have the rights to air “The Office” for one hour a week during the 2007-08 season and then have full rights beginning in fall 2009. Those rights include not only television, but also nonexclusive broadband streaming, on-demand and wireless rights.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports