- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 31, 2008

Stars on cancer special

Meryl Streep, Forest Whitaker, cancer survivor Lance Armstrong and other celebrities will take part in a three-network telethon to support cancer research, Associated Press reports.

The hourlong “Stand Up to Cancer” will air live and commercial-free on ABC, CBS and NBC Sept. 5 and will feature musical performances and appeals from actors, athletes and journalists.

Oscar winners Charlize Theron and Hilary Swank; Emmy winner America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”); auto racing driver Danica Patrick; actors Salma Hayek, Kirsten Dunst, Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Aniston and Masi Oka; and news anchors Charles Gibson, Brian Williams and Katie Couric will be among those taking part.

Former Sen. John Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth, and Robin Roberts of ABC’s “Good Morning America” also are set to appear, AP says. Both women have battled breast cancer.

During the telethon, viewers will be invited to make donations by calling the phone bank or by texting.

Such network cooperation is rare but not unprecedented. In 2005, the six biggest broadcasters, along with cable channels, carried a Hurricane Katrina benefit program. In 2001, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox aired a telethon for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Fox was invited to participate in the cancer telethon but declined.

In a statement Tuesday, Fox called the telethon worthy but said it was focusing on “the global outreach of ‘Idol Gives Back,’” its charity effort tied to its hit singing contest “American Idol.”

“Idol Gives Back” does not specifically address cancer but was established to “raise money and awareness for children and families living in poverty and at risk in the U.S. and abroad,” according to a statement on its Web site.

Instead of participating, Fox will promote the telethon with public service announcements during the broadcast and during some baseball playoff games, the network said.

The telethon is part of a broader initiative aimed at raising money to quicken the pace of research leading to development of new cancer treatments.

CBS reviving ‘Streets’

Steve Keller and Mike Stone will be back on “The Streets of San Francisco.”

According to the Hollywood Reporter, CBS is developing a contemporary remake of the classic 1970s cop series, which starred Michael Douglas and Karl Malden.

CBS Par TV, which owns the rights to Quinn Martin Productions’ original series, is producing the new take, which has received a script order from the network.

Feature writer Sheldon Turner (“The Longest Yard”) and “Numbers” producer Robert Port are penning the script, and Simon West will direct the potential pilot, THR says.

Mr. Turner and Mr. Port (a certified member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department) worked on reinventing “Streets” for the past seven months. They spent time in San Francisco, riding along with city cops.

The remake will keep key elements from the original series: the title, the names of the two main characters and, of course, the backdrop of the City by the Bay. However, the main focus is to bring the spirit of the original “Streets” into the new reincarnation, Mr. Turner said.

“The times are very similar — it was the Vietnam War in the 1970s and the Iraq war now,” he said. “There is the same sort of tension between generations, and we wanted to carry that to the new series.”

ABC’s French connection

ABC has picked up a U.S. version of the Gallic comedy series “Don’t Do This, Don’t Do That” (Fais pas ci, fais pas ca), the Hollywood Reporter says.

“Samantha Who?” co-executive producer Bob Kushell will adapt the format, a documentary-style look at the lives of two families.

“The show is about two very different families struggling to live in the same screwed-up world,” Mr. Kushell tells THR. “What attracted me to the format is it really gives me the opportunity to explore the minutiae of family life and not have to wrap up every episode with a happy ending.”

Mr. Kushell plans several twists to the original series, including changing the title. “I’m thinking of changing it to ‘Family Guy,’” he says. “I mean, that show is huge.”

Mr. Kushell’s other series credits include NBC’s “3rd Rock From the Sun” and Fox’s “The Simpsons” and “Malcolm in the Middle.”

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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