- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 27, 2007

ABC’s ‘Ex’ factor

Been abused by your ex? Cheated on? Belittled and marginalized? Then pull up a chair because ABC’s “Ex-Wives Club” is for you, you and you.

Tonight at 9, the network kicks off the summer “we-have-to-schedule-this-somewhere” season with a reality show in which three attractive ex-wives give encouragement and sympathy each week to a man and a woman who, by any account, made terrible choices selecting a mate.

The three exes are extremely well-qualified in this regard, the Hollywood Reporter notes.

Marla Maples once chose the Donald for her life partner. Angie Everhart was married for a full three months to actor Ashley Hamilton (George’s son) who, a couple years earlier, had already shown his commitment to matrimony by being wed to Shannen Doherty for six months. And finally there’s Shar Jackson, who was once engaged to Kevin Federline — and bore him two children —before that temptress Britney Spears came along. ‘Nuff said.

In tonight’s premiere, the trio comes to the aid of 30-year-old Rebecca, whose husband called her the B-word on their honeymoon but who nonetheless stuck around for seven more years of abuse. “Rebecca is a mess,” says Andrew Glassman, the show’s executive producer (whose credits include “Average Joe,” “Three Wishes” and “National Bingo Night”), in his role as narrator.

They also aid Kevin, 35, whose wife confessed her affair only after she became pregnant by his best friend. “I felt bad for him,” Miss Everhart confides to the camera.

To get rid of their anger, Rebecca and Kevin enroll in the Debbie Ford Retreat (not to be confused with the Betty Ford Clinic) of Palm Springs. They get makeovers, too, of course.

Yet the evening’s highlight comes when Rebecca and the ex-wives charter a cargo plane to drop the vintage car that belonged to Rebecca’s ex-hubby from 10,000 feet. (Presumably, they bought the car from him, but this never is explained, the Hollywood Reporter says.) Anyway, you know this is the highlight because the show devotes seven separate clips to it in addition to a segment nearly seven minutes long that shows the car being demolished. There’s even a windshield cam to record grainy images during the descent.

The night’s other highlight is when Miss Everhart confronts Rebecca’s ex, Grant, and he concedes on camera that he called her names.

“Ex-Wives” is yet another show in which people exchange their emotional pain for fame and prizes, while producers mine their suffering for entertainment. It’s no match in that regard for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” But it is slickly produced and, given the frequency with which couples divorce, there could be a built-in audience.

Evening ‘Star’

The History Channel is taking a break from guts and guns tonight — to air “Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed,” a new two-hour special premiering at 9.

With comments from politicians, scholars and critics, the documentary argues that George Lucas’ iconic film “is a remarkably complex and sophisticated story about power, politics, sin, spirituality and redemption — almost Shakespearean in its power, humor, presentation and influence.”

Also on tap tonight:

m Fans of another iconic creation will want to tune into Encore today. The channel is offering a holiday Monday “Jaws” marathon — just as millions of us assumed it was safe to go in the water, with beach season beginning this holiday weekend. The fun starts at 5 a.m. with Steven Spielberg’s first tale about the killer shark, followed by showings of “Jaws 2,” “Jaws III” and “Jaws: The Revenge” throughout the day.

m Memorial Day, of course, is meant to honor those who have died in military service, and cable’s Hallmark Channel is offering a lighthearted commemoration of the day with a “M*A*S*H Bash.” Fans of the series can see episodes highlighting the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital — including the lovably wacky Cpl. Klinger (played by Jamie Farr) — and their escapades during the Korean War all day from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m.

c Compiled by Kelly Jane Torrance and Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff and Web reports.

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