- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 17, 2007

Surf’s up for ‘John’

With the end of “The Sopranos” rapidly approaching, HBO is hoping audiences will get hooked on another drama, “John From Cincinnati,” which bows June 10 at 10 p.m. following the long-awaited exit of Tony Soprano and his crew.

Set in Imperial Beach, Calif. — described by show producers as “the last great surf-break before Tijuana, where the U.S. meets Mexico, and water meets land” — “John” follows the Yosts, a family of surfers whose awesome athletic prowess has, for generations, seemingly come with a curse attached. The gifts of 13-year-old Shaun (played by newcomer Greyson Fletcher) rival those of Butchie (Brian Van Holt), his addict-derelict father, and his ascetically withdrawn grandfather Mitch (Bruce Greenwood) — both of whom defined the sport in their glory days. There’s also Shaun’s grandmother, Cissy (Rebecca De Mornay), who helped shape his career and pushes him to achieve the commercial and athletic success that eluded her husband and son.

Into this world steps a mysterious stranger named John (Austin Nichols), and things soon begin to change for the Yosts — in both the natural world and what lies beyond it.

Created by David Milch (the mastermind behind the acclaimed HBO series “Deadwood”) and celebrated “surf noir” novelist Kem Nunn, “John From Cincinnati” also stars Garret Dillahunt (“Deadwood”), Willie Garson (HBO’s “Sex and the City”), Luis Guzman (“Anger Management”), Keala Kennelly (“Blue Crush”), Ed O’Neill (Fox’s “Married … With Children”), Luke Perry (Fox’s “Beverly Hills, 90210”), and Matt Winston (“Little Miss Sunshine”).

The show will move to its regular 9 p.m. Sunday slot following its June 10 premiere.

ESPN steps up its game

ESPN will introduce a “60 Minutes”-style broadcast called “ESPN Reports” that will focus on long-form reporting, according to Variety.

The magazine show will seek to bring ESPN’s trademark humor and gloss to its in-depth coverage. A number of the network’s reporter personalities will appear on the series — including Jeremy Schaap, Rachel Nichols, Tom Farrey, Lisa Salters and Michael Smith, Variety says.

The show will premiere in October and air on what network execs say will be a recurring basis.

Also, during its upfront presentation in New York this week, ESPN announced that it would air its eight-part series about the 1977 American League East playoff race, “Bronx Is Burning,” on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. beginning in July.

Among the network’s other programming announcements:

• Beginning Sept. 4, ESPN will air “SportsCenter 300,” a weekly four-part series about the network’s ironic commercials for “SportsCenter.”

• A new hourlong Sunday fantasy-sports show will debut in August.

• ESPN also plans to work a “SportsCenter Minute” into ABC sports programming.

Extreme blessings

“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” designer Ed Sanders could well get the feminine touch in his household.

The actor-carpenter and his wife, Gioia, a makeup artist, welcomed triplets — three daughters named Scarlette, Azure and Lucia — into the family on May 5, Zap2it.com reports, citing a story in People magazine.

Mr. Sanders, 32, a London-born actor who learned carpentry to earn a living between acting jobs, moved to the U.S. in 2004 and landed the part of the carpenter on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” He also is the host of “National Bingo Night,” premiering tonight at 9 on ABC.

More trouble for Tracy

Comedian Tracy Morgan is being accused of inappropriately groping a Florida disc jockey at a radio station last week, Denverpost.com reports.

Yuleika De Castro told police that the “30 Rock” star smelled of alcohol as he touched her shoulders and arms and kissed the back of her head. In an interview with Associated Press, Miss De Castro said Mr. Morgan told her he wanted “to impregnate” her.

A spokesman for the Miramar Police Department said Miss De Castro filed a complaint, and police are considering whether to press charges. Mr. Morgan’s stand-up shows — scheduled for May 11 and 12 at the Improv in Coconut Grove, Fla. — were canceled without explanation.

Mr. Morgan, 38, a former cast member on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” has a history of alcohol abuse. He pleaded guilty in February to a misdemeanor drunken driving charge in New York. The married father of three previously pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor impaired driving charge in Los Angeles and was sentenced to 36 months’ probation, fined $390 and ordered to attend an alcohol education program.

Around town

Today is National Missing Children’s Day,” and Mr.”CHiPs” himself, actor Erik Estrada, will attend a meeting hosted by the Department of Justice’s Office of Child Protection at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre on Capitol Hill.

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

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