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Tuning In

- The Washington Times - Monday, June 25, 2007

'Larry King' gets Paris

Paris Hilton plans to appear on CNN's "Larry King Live" on Wednesday night, a day after she's scheduled to be released from jail, a spokeswoman for Mr. King said Saturday.

"We do have Paris on Wednesday," the show's spokeswoman, Bridget Leininger, told Associated Press. "She'll do the whole hour."

Elliott Mintz, Miss Hilton's spokesman, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment, AP said.

CNN's announcement followed competition for the interview between ABC and NBC that ended Friday with both networks saying they were no longer interested. Both networks were embarrassed by reports that they were willing to pay the Hilton family for materials related to an interview. CBS said it has never pursued the interview.

"Larry doesn't pay for interviews or do ground rules," Miss Leininger said. The show will air from 9 to 10 p.m. EDT.

The hotel heiress and reality TV star is serving a 45-day sentence for violating probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case. Sheriff's Department officials announced Friday that they expect to release her sometime tomorrow, but declined to be more specific.

Although her sentence was for 45 days, authorities have said all along that with time off for good behavior and because of crowded jail conditions Miss Hilton was likely to serve only 23 days.

If she is released tomorrow, it will mark the 24th day since she surrendered to jailers following an appearance at the MTV Movie Awards in which she walked the red carpet in a flashy, strapless evening gown.

NBC eyeing Stewart?

NBC Universal bigwigs Jeff Zucker and Marc Graboff recently had "exploratory" talks over dinner with Jon Stewart, suggesting that the "Daily Show" frontman might somehow fit into the Peacock's late-night plan, says TVGuide.com, citing a story from Broadcasting & Cable magazine.

But rather than pitch Mr. Stewart anything specific, a source told B&C that Mr. Zucker and Mr. Graboff "just made their interest known in finding a way to do business together if Jon was ever available."

Mr. Stewart's Comedy Central contract expires in 2008, not long before Conan O'Brien is scheduled to inherit "The Tonight Show" from Jay Leno. There is some buzz, though, that with Mr. Leno still being immensely profitable, NBC might pay Mr. O'Brien to walk away — thus freeing up the 12:30 slot, TVGuide.com said.

Surprising ally

Isaiah Washingtonis getting some unexpected support in his bid to return to "Grey's Anatomy" — a petition drive spearheaded by a prominent lesbian and homosexual activist who insists he shouldn't have been axed for his homophobic remarks against co-star T.R. Knight.

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