- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Abdul comes clean

“American Idol” judge Paula Abdul has been hiding a dark and painful secret for 12 years, she says in an upcoming issue of Ladies Home Journal.

She was an addict, straight up, she finally admits.

“I could have killed myself,” the fairy godmother of aspiring pop singers said as she revealed a dependency on powerful pain killers that she finally kicked last November.

She called the withdrawals she suffered during her detox at the La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, Calif., last fall “the worst thing.”

“I was freezing cold, then sweating hot, then chattering and in so much pain,” she says in the cover story which hits newsstands next Tuesday. “It was excruciating. But at my very core, I did not like existing the way I had been.”

Miss Abdul, 46, says she turned to a combination of painkillers and Chinese medicine to get through the “grueling” dance routines that made her a reigning pop princess in the 1990s, the New York Daily News reported Tuesday, citing the Ladies Home Journal story. She already had suffered serious back and neck injuries as a cheerleader and dancer along with those received in two car accidents.

“I didn’t want anyone to count me out,” she told LHJ. “I tried to keep everything hush-hush.”

Miss Abdul had regular shots of lidocaine, she said, and by 2005 was diagnosed with reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, which caused disabling pain, teeth chattering and shingles-like lesions.

She wore a patch that delivered pain medication 80 times more potent than morphine, she revealed. She also popped muscle relaxers, had trouble sleeping and would sometimes “get weird,” she said.

Indeed, a video of Miss Abdul slurring her way through an interview with a Seattle TV station in January 2007 was a YouTube hit. At the time, her publicist Jeff Ballard attributed the bizarre episode to technical glitches and Miss Abdul’s exhausting schedule.

In a sad twist, Miss Abdul beat her own addiction the same month that groupie Paula Goodspeed, an “American Idol” reject, overdosed on pills outside the former pop star’s Sherman Oaks, Calif., mansion.

That house is now on the market.

“I want to start fresh,” Miss Abdul told LHJ, adding that her physical pain is almost gone thanks to her 15th surgery.

Farrah’s tale on NBC

NBC is readying “Farrah’s Story,” a two-hour documentary chronicling actress Farrah Fawcett’s two-and-a-half-year battle with cancer, the Hollywood Reporter notes.

The documentary, shot with Miss Fawcett’s own video recorder, will air May 15.

In a video diary format, the former “Charlie’s Angel” star shares her thoughts and feelings as well as accounts of her treatments in the U.S. and Germany.

“This film is very personal,”Miss Fawcett said during filming. “At the time, I didn’t know if anybody would ever see it. But at some point, the footage took on a life of its own and dictated that it be seen.”

Also featured in the documentary are Miss Fawcett’s longtime companion Ryan O’Neal, her “Charlie’s Angel’s” co-stars Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson; and Miss Fawcett’s father, Jim Fawcett, as well as her team of doctors.

Miss Fawcett’s close friend Alana Stewart shot most of the video and serves as co-producer.

CW to cut Sundays

The CW television network is shutting down on Sunday nights, Associated Press reports.

The network is negotiating to turn over the time to its affiliates. Viewers will see programming picked by their local stations instead of the reruns the CW is now airing.

It’s a sign of the economy and the young network’s consistent failure on Sundays. Last year the CW leased time on Sundays to an independent production company, but their shows only lasted a couple of months.

Network spokesman Paul McGuire says this will enable the CW to concentrate on its stronger Monday through Friday schedule - which includes Tyra Banks’ “America’s Next Top Model” - and see its weekly ratings increase because a weak link is removed.

Fox talker axed

“Talkshow with Spike Feresten” won’t be back for a fourth season.

The show joins “Mad TV” on the Fox cancellation heap, as the network opts to completely make over its Saturday late night lineup, Variety notes.

Earlier this year, Fox announced plans to launch a new late-night franchise starring comedian Wanda Sykes this fall at 11 p.m., in “Mad TV’s ” slot. That now leaves Mr. Feresten’s 30-minute spot at midnight open.

Fox said the network is still mulling its options at midnight. According to Broadcasting & Cable, which first broke the story, a comedy repeat is one possibility for the slot.

The network originally tapped Mr. Feresten in 2006 with an eye toward potentially expanding the show to other nights of the week. Much in the vein of how NBC star Conan O’Brien got his start, Mr. Feresten was a well-known comedy scribe (“Seinfeld”) who didn’t have much experience in front of the camera before landing his show.

Happy returns

• Nickelodeon is bringing back live-action comedy series “True Jackson, VP” for a sophomore run, Multichannel.com reports.

The show centers on 15-year-old actress and singer Keke Palmer (“Akelah and the Bee,” “Medea’s Family Reunion”), who gets a job as vice president of the youth apparel department of fashion company, Mad Style. There, her character navigates her work, social and love lives with her best friends Lulu (Ashley Argota) and Ryan (Matt Shively). Nick officials did not indicate when the second season would launch. During its continuing rookie run, “True Jackson” has emerged as the No. 2 show on all of TV in 2009 among a raft of kids demos for Nickelodeon on Saturday nights, in its 8:30 p.m. time slot.

• Also from Multichannel: Lifetime’s hit series “Army Wives” kicks off a third season at 10 p.m. on Sunday, June 7.The series, Lifetime’s biggest ever, was seen by more than 80 million total viewers in its second season. “Army Wives” follows the struggles, dreams and friendships of a diverse group of women - and one man - living with their spouses and families on an active army post. Season three opens with the army wives banding together to support Claudia Joy (Kim Delaney) after her daughter, Emmalin (Katelyn Pippy), disappears on the eve of the family’s imminent overseas transfer.

Bristol Palin on ‘GMA’

Bristol Palin will talk with Chris Cuomo on today’s edition of “Good Morning America” (7-9 a.m., WJLA-ABC7).

The interview, which will be broadcast live from the show’s New York studio, marks Miss Palin’s first television interview since Levi Johnston, her former fiance and the father of her four-month old son Tripp, went public with his side of their break up.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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