- The Washington Times - Friday, January 4, 2008

Blackout on ‘Judy’?

An ex-producer for “Judge Judy” is claiming he was canned for complaining that black litigants were being eliminated from the popular court show, TMZ.com reports.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court by former senior producer Jonathan Sebastien, claims that Randy Douthit — a supervisor — told staffers, “We’re not doing any more black shows” and “I don’t want to hear black people arguing.”

Mr. Sebastien says that when he complained about the reported whitewashing, Mr. Douthit commanded his fellow producers to book “white, upscale, pretty people” for Judge Judy and to send black litigants to the “Judge Joe Brown” show. Mr. Brown’s show is produced by the same company as “Judy.” Locally, both shows are seen weekdays on Fox5-WTTG.

Mr. Sebastien also claims that after he objected to the policy, his boss “berated and mocked him” and fired him on March 30. He is seeking unspecified damages from the show and CBS Paramount.

Judge Judy Sheindlin herself isn’t named as a defendant. A representative for CBS Paramount told TMZ, “CBS Paramount does not comment on pending litigation.”

According to TMZ.com, a staffer from “Judge Judy” — who did not want to be identified — said that the suit has “no merit” and that the claims are being made by “a disgruntled former employee who was fired for cause.”

Now in its 12th season, “Judge Judy” has been renewed through 2010.

N.Y. state of mind

Start spreading the news: New York is engaged.

Tiffany Pollard, star of VH1’s reality show “I Love New York 2” is betrothed to “Tailor Made,” nee George Weisgerber, says Zap2it.com, citing a report from People magazine.

Miss Pollard had faced 20 bachelors on the second season of her show and settled on Mr. Weisgerber. When he proposed during the finale, however, she asked for more time — 24 months — before making a real decision. That time is significantly abbreviated, though. A source says that on the reunion show, set to air on Sunday , she accepts when he proposes again.

“They are madly in love. They are a great couple,” the unnamed source told the magazine.

Mr. Weisgerber, 32, is a retail planner from Queens, New York. Miss Pollard, 25, was a reject from Flavor Flav’s “Flavor of Love” dating show before she got her own spinoff love connection series. During the first season of her show, she chose “Tango,” who called off their engagement after a few months.

Weekend highlights

Tonight

• How to Look Good Naked (9 p.m., Lifetime) — If nothing more, you gotta give the show extra credit for its provocative title. This reality series sets out to demonstrate that — without shedding (or gaining) — a pound, all women are beautiful, regardless of their shape or size, Associated Press notes. With the wildly encouraging Carson Kressley (“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”) on the case, women are taught to go from self-loathing to self-loving without interventions like extreme dieting or cosmetic surgery. During each half-hour, Mr. Kressley guides a woman through a variety of activities, such as learning to dress appropriately for her body type, choosing the correct undergarments and understanding the right way to style her hair and makeup. Can he succeed in helping her true self come through? Find out during tonight’s premiere.

Sunday

• The Wire (9 p.m., HB0) — Set and filmed in Baltimore, the gritty and acclaimed urban crime series begins its fifth and final season on the premium cable channel.

• Cashmere Mafia (10 p.m., ABC) has a Sunday premiere, but its regular time slot will be Wednesday evenings at 10, reports film.com. This looks like yet another women-wearing-gorgeous-clothes-in-New York show, but what supposedly sets it apart from its most obvious predecessor, “Sex and the City” (created by Darren Star, who is also “Mafia’s” executive producer), is that these women all have Ivy League educations and high-powered careers. Of course, the “Sex and the City” women all had excellent jobs as well, although we really never saw them working that much. The series touts itself as a nonsoapy show about the real issues facing female high achievers. Lucy Liu, Miranda Otto, Bonnie Somerville and Frances O’Connor star.

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

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