- The Washington Times - Monday, May 7, 2007

Lost’ to end in 2010

In a move that could change the face of network TV production, ABC yesterday announced that “Lost” — which debuted in 2004 — will end its run on the network after 48 more episodes over three seasons. The deal calls for 16 episodes to air each season in consecutive runs, MediaWeek.com reports.

According to the Web site, the show’s executive producers, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, both have signed on to remain with “Lost” through its end.

“Lost” and other serialized dramas have faced an uphill battle this season, losing viewers each time the shows leave the airwaves for mid-season hiatuses. For weeks now, advertisers and programmers have been batting around ideas to try to stem audience declines, including the concept of airing shows continuously.

Broadcasters have said production demands limit how many shows can be delivered on the strict deadlines required for continuous broadcasts — but “Lost’s” reduced number of per season episodes could be a solution to that problem.

HBO exec arrested

The chairman and chief executive of HBO was arrested early Sunday on suspicion of assaulting his girlfriend outside the MGM Grand casino a few hours after a boxing match aired by his network, authorities said.

Chris Albrecht was in Las Vegas for Saturday night’s fight between Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr., held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and broadcast on pay-per-view by Home Box Office Inc., a division of Time Warner Inc., Associated Press reports. Officers assigned to the fight reported seeing Mr. Albrecht fighting with a woman identified only as his girlfriend in the MGM Grand’s valet parking lot shortly after 3 a.m., said Las Vegas police spokesman Officer Bill Cassell.

“Some of our guys observed a domestic dispute between him and his girlfriend,” Officer Cassell told the Los Angeles Times. “It was a physical confrontation.”

Mr. Albrecht was booked into the Clark County Detention Center and held on suspicion of a misdemeanor battery-domestic assault, Mr. Cassell said. He was later released, according to detention center dispatcher Ana Herczeg, who said she could provide no further details.

A call to HBO was not immediately returned, AP said.

Mr. Albrecht joined HBO in 1985 as a senior vice president and was named CEO in 2002, according to his official company biography.

Pirate’ cast in place

Christian Okoye, a two-time Pro Bowl running back, is the most recognizable face among the 16 potential buccaneers competing in the CBS summer reality show “Pirate Master,” reports Zap2it.com.

The Mark Burnett produced “Pirate Master” premieres May 31 and will take the standard 8 p.m. “Survivor” time slot through much of the summer.

On “Pirate Master,” 16 contestants will live aboard a 179-foot, square-rigged barque. Over the course of 33 days, they’ll live as buccaneers, traveling around a Caribbean island in search of a treasure totaling $1 million. Each episode will find the contestants gathering at Pirate’s Court, overseen by show host Cameron Daddo, where they’ll state their case and someone will be set adrift each week.

At 45, Mr. Okoye — who is known as the Nigerian Nightmare and rushed for 1,480 yards and 12 touchdowns in 1989 — is the oldest member of the “Pirate Master” cast. Only 43-year-old marina owner Louie Frase — from Fishing Creek, Md., in Dorchester County — comes close in the decidedly young-skewing cast.

Although the cast includes the usual assortment of Burnett-picked transitional occupations (bartenders and students), the nautical-themed show has a few interesting alternatives — including a dive master (Kendra Guffey), a smoke jumper (J.D. Norton) and, best of all, John Lakness, whose occupation is described as “scientist/Chippendale dancer.”

New face on ‘Weeds’

Showtime has set an Aug. 13 premiere date for the third season of its Golden Globe-nominated “Weeds” and signed Matthew Modine to a recurring role, Zap2it.com reports.

Mr. Modine, most recently seen on the WB’s short-lived “Bedford Diaries,” will play Sullivan Goff, a mysterious land developer for Majestic, a new Christian, mega-church development being built right near Agrestic. The character has both business and personal dealings (if you know what we mean) with Mary-Louise Parker’s pot-dealing mom, Nancy, and Elizabeth Perkins’ erratic Celia Hodes.

The actor, whose film credits include “Short Cuts” and “Full Metal Jacket,” will appear in at least 10 episodes in the 15-episode season.

Showtime also made a variety of other guest-starring announcements for “Weeds,” including the return of Zooey Deschanel as Andy’s (Justin Kirk) deranged ex-girlfriend, Kat, in the season opener. Two weeks later, Carrie Fisher will drop by as Arlene, Celia’s divorce attorney.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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