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Tuning in to TV

- - Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Will Ferrell to receive Mark Twain humor prize

Jack Black, Conan O'Brien and Larry King will honor Will Ferrell with the nation's top humor prize, along with Maya Rudolph and Molly Shannon from his "Saturday Night Live" days, the Associated Press reports.

On Wednesday, the Kennedy Center announced a lineup of star comedians who will perform in Mr. Ferrell's honor for the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. They will salute him Oct. 23 in a performance taped for broadcast Oct. 31 on PBS stations nationwide.

Mr. Ferrell's longtime collaborator Adam McKay from the films "Anchorman," "Talladega Nights" and "The Other Guys" will appear, as well as Lorne Michaels, Paul Rudd, John C. Reilly and the rock band Green Day.

Mr. Ferrell starred on "Saturday Night Live" for seven seasons, perfecting his character "President George W. Bush." He went on to create FunnyorDie.com with Mr. McKay in 2007 and took his Bush character to Broadway in 2009's "You're Welcome America: A Final Night With George W. Bush."

His other impressions have included Janet Reno, Alex Trebek and Neil Diamond.

Mr. Ferrell got his start in comedy with the Los Angeles improv group the Groundlings when he was discovered by "SNL."

The Mark Twain prize, now in its 14th year, recalls the social commentary and satire of Samuel Clemens, the writer known as Mark Twain. Past winners include Tina Fey, Bill Cosby, Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin.

Sheen: Crazy spring was like 'being shot out of a cannon'

Charlie Sheen says his life's a lot calmer now.

The actor and former star of CBS' "Two and a Half Men" told NBC's Matt Lauer that he didn't really know what happened this spring when he was fired from the show and began a manic round of media appearances talking about his "tiger blood" and "winning." According to the Associated Press, Mr. Lauer's interview will air on Friday's "Today" show; NBC released excerpts on Wednesday.

"It was one of those things where the planets were aligned, perfectly or imperfectly. I said some stuff and then it caught such traction globally and instantly that I couldn't really put out the fire," Mr. Sheen said. "I had to keep fueling it."

Mr. Sheen said the experience "was like being shot out of a cannon into another cannon and then being just shot out of that one. It was like from one moment to the next I didn't know what was going to happen. It was pretty exciting."

The actor said he was sober, but couldn't tell Mr. Lauer the last time he took drugs or drank. He said he didn't believe in keeping track of the sober time because "if you're walking around hanging on to your time, it's only a matter of time before it goes."

Now he said he is reconnecting with his children — Cassandra with former girlfriend Paula Profit, Sam and Lola with actress Denise Richards, and twins Bob and Max, with ex-wife Brooke Mueller — and appreciating the quiet things in life.

"That's where the life is, you know, it's in those quiet moments," he said. "It's not the giant TV deal or the big party or the award or whatever; it's the memory of your child's smile at the end of the day that sort of brings that one lonesome tear."

Mr. Sheen is appearing Thursday on the "Tonight" show. His re-emergence coincides with the airing of a Comedy Central roast of him Monday, the same day that Ashton Kutcher debuts as his replacement on "Two and a Half Men."

'Idol's' Lythgoe eyes projects with Cooper, Kardashian

Fresh off a rejuvenated "American Idol" season, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe has hatched a production company with a slew of development deals, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The company, Nigel Lythgoe Productions, is a joint venture with "Idol's" 19 Entertainment and a successor to his Big Red 2 Entertainment. Through the shingle, Mr. Lythgoe has projects in various stages of development at E!, TruTV and CBS, among other networks.

Mr. Lythgoe is developing unscripted projects with heavy-metal icon Alice Cooper, Pussycat Dolls founder Robin Antin, sex and relationship adviser Dr. Laura Berman and executive producer Kim Kardashian.

Mr. Lythgoe, who is also a creator, executive producer and judge on Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance," has two other reality projects in the works: an adapted game show pilot at CBS, "Secret Fortune," which will be hosted by Donny Osmond; and a "Partridge Family"-esque singing competition show, "We Are Family," in development at the CW.

Arquette says 'Dancing' is getting him back in shape

Move over, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino.

New "Dancing With the Stars" contestant David Arquette said the show's grueling rehearsals are starting to leave a mark — in the form of abs, according to People.com.

"I'm exhausted," the actor, 40, said on Tuesday's "Ellen DeGeneres Show." "I've been dancing for like, five hours a day. It's amazing. Every bone aches."

"I'm starting to get a little 'Situation,' " he quipped about his emerging six-pack.

Mr. Arquette is one of the show's more buzzed-about contestants this season. He is making an appearance after his separating from wife Courteney Cox almost a year ago and entering rehab earlier this year.

"I did it because I love dancing," he tells Miss DeGeneres. "It's part of joy. ... A lot of the themes that are involved with dancing are involved with sort of my way of life now. Balance, staying connected to your core, being in touch with everything around you, the flow of life."

Though he and Miss Cox seem to be getting along fabulously, Miss DeGeneres asked Mr. Arquette point-blank whether his drinking contributed to the breakdown of their marriage.

"We had grown apart for quite a while, and I was just really heartbroken over it," he said. "I used it as an excuse to accelerate my drinking."

He added, "You know, to be honest, I didn't want to live anymore. I was just so heartbroken and distraught and my family was broken. I didn't know how to deal with these feelings."

Compiled from Web and wire reports.