- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2009

Trading faces

American Idol” fans will soon be able to trade Carrie Underwoods for Danny Gokeys.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, “Idol” production company FremantleMedia and trading card publisher Upper Deck are launching a line of trading cards featuring images of past and present contestants as well as the judges and host of the Fox singing competition.

The 138-card line is set to debut April 21.

“The ‘American Idol’ brand has always been really strong in the interactive space,” says Nora Wong, FremantleMedia senior manager of consumer products. “With the trading cards, it’s an old-school way of interacting with the fans. It’s another form of expression for the fans to demonstrate their connection with the show and collect their favorites.”

Six special cards autographed by past “Idols” will be randomly slipped into the five-card packs, THR says. Regular cards will feature rejected hopefuls such as William Hung and Nick Mitchell, past winners like Ruben Studdard and David Cook, and popular finalists including Adam Lambert and Jennifer Hudson.

What about long-gone first season co-host Brian Dunkleman?

“That remains to be seen,” Miss Wong says.

‘Peanuts’-voice trial

A judge threw out a contempt-of-court conviction and ordered a new trial for a woman who was the voice of Lucy in several “Peanuts” TV specials and is accused of harassing University of California at Los Angeles faculty members who conduct research on animals, her lawyer said.

Pamelyn Ferdin had faced up to five days in jail and a $1,000 fine until March 11, when Superior Court Judge John Segal voided her 2008 conviction based on what a UCLA attorney called a technicality.

The judge scheduled a new trial for April 28, said Miss Ferdin’s attorney George Seide.

Miss Ferdin, 50, was convicted of violating a court injunction that barred harassment of UCLA faculty.

In June, Miss Ferdin demonstrated outside the home of a UCLA primate researcher and handed out fliers that included home addresses, phone numbers and photographs of some researchers, Mr. Seide said.

A previous injunction against other animal rights activists barred such activity. A judge found that Miss Ferdin was acting “in concert” with them, even though she wasn’t named in the injunction, Mr. Seide said.

At trial, Miss Ferdin testified she had downloaded the flier from a Web site and wasn’t aware that the information fell under the injunction.

Miss Ferdin was a child actress who made appearances on many TV shows in the 1960s and 1970s, including “The Brady Bunch” and “The Odd Couple.” She was the voice of Lucy on two 1969 specials, “A Boy Named Charlie Brown” and “It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown,” and 1971’s “Play It Again, Charlie Brown.”

This just in…

Don Hewitt, “60 Minutes” founding executive producer, said he has a small cancerous growth on his pancreas and will start treatment for it later this week, TVWeek.com reports, citing a story in Wednesday’s New York Times.

According to the 86-year-old news veteran, his prognosis is good and doctors do not believe the cancer has spread to other organs, the newspaper says. Mr. Hewitt joined CBS News in 1948 and retired from “60 Minutes” in 2004, the New York Times notes.

TV’s Thursday best

Modern Marvels: Salt (8 p.m., History Channel) - It’s the only rock we eat, has more than 14,000 known uses - and we need it to live. This documentary explores the kitchen staple in all its glory through a visit to a salt mine 1,800 feet below Lake Erie, where workers blast salt from a massive deposit spanning four states. Also featured: a tour of an evaporation facility near San Francisco, where machines harvest salt from the briny ocean, and a trip to a Florida restaurant with 40 varieties of salt.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35 p.m., WRC-NBC4) - President Barack Obama is the evening’s guest.

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

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