- The Washington Times - Friday, May 30, 2008

Doin’ time on MTV

Rapper T.I. is turning his legal woes into an MTV documentary series.

According to Variety, the cable network will follow the hip-hop star as he performs more than 1,000 hours of community service before beginning to serve his one-year prison sentence next spring.

Cameras previously chronicled T.I.’s release from house arrest. Shooting for the new series will start in summer, leading up to his return to jail in early 2009. MTV plans to air the show soon after that.

T.I. - real name Clifford Joseph Harris Jr. - has had several brushes with the law. He was arrested in October just hours before he was to be honored at the BET Hip-Hop Awards. The Grammy-winning rapper, who already had been convicted of selling crack cocaine in the late 1990s, was charged with possession of unregistered machine guns and silencers and possession of firearms by a convicted felon.

Salute for the troops

Sam Moore, best known as the trademarkable lead voice of Sam & Dave, will join ZZ Top to close out “America United: In Support of Our Troops,” airing Sunday evening at 7 on NBC. Sam & Dave were one of the most successful and critically acclaimed duos in soul music history. Dave Prater died in 1988.

Mr. Moore will perform his gospel-inspired 1968 hit “I Thank You.”

The two-hour special was taped at Camp Pendleton, Calif., in conjunction with shows in Iraq and at Fort Benning, Ga.

‘Wife’ has nothing new

It’s titled “The DC Sniper’s Wife,” but the documentary - from two-time Oscar winner Barbara Kopple and airing at 9 p.m. tomorrow on TruTV (formerly Court TV) - focuses more on convicted serial killer John Allen Muhammad than on his former spouse, Mildred.

Moreover, the program offers nothing new. Sadly, it is stuffed into the curt, formulaic style that often befalls ripped-from-the-headlines TV documentaries and mainly revisits the month-long reign of terror Muhammad and his teenage cohort, Lee Boyd Malvo, inflicted on Washington and its suburbs in October 2002. In all, 10 people were killed at random.

Viewers can, however, see more graphic footage from the crime scenes. Photographs of a blood-soaked sheet used to cover a victim in Wheaton, for instance, are particularly gruesome.

Mildred Muhammad gets her somewhat guarded say about her ex in interviews buttressed with family videos that offer a glimpse into her ex-husband’s gradual change in behavior.

Throughout their marriage, she says, Muhammad frequently threatened to kill her and often “stood over my bed in the middle of the night watching me. He thought I was asleep, but I was too afraid to sleep.”

Years before his onslaught, Muhammad also offered a chilling prophecy of things to come, Mildred Muhammad says on the program.

” ‘You know, I could take a small city, terrorize it and they would think it was a group,’ ” she recalls John Muhammad saying. ” ‘But it would only be me.’ ”

Also premiering this weekend:

Tonight

2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee (8 p.m., ABC) - Emmy Award-winning Tom Bergeron (“Dancing With the Stars,” “America’s Funniest Home Videos”) hosts live television coverage of the final championship rounds of “The 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee” at the District’s Grand Hyatt Hotel. Preliminary championship rounds will air live earlier in the day (from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.) on ESPN , which has televised the Bee in its entirety since 1994.

Tomorrow

Celine Dion: A New Day (8 p.m., WETA-Channel 26) - The award-winning diva brings her acclaimed stage show to public television in a live concert taped at the Coliseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Sunday

Bridezillas (We TV, 9 p.m.) - All the drama returns for the fourth season of the hit show, which chronicles brides behaving badly in the weeks leading up to their glory day. In the series premiere, we meet Ayesha Graves, a 27-year-old budding bridezilla, who hates to be touched by anyone - especially her fiancee.

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