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Tuning in to TV: Couric fills out guest list for launch of new show

- - Tuesday, August 28, 2012

When Katie Couric returns to TV on Sept. 10, she will do so with Jessica Simpson and Sheryl Crow by her side.

With a hefty price tag and sky-high expectations for her daytime effort, Ms. Couric is billing her guest list as a cadre of women — many of them household names — who are at a transitional point in their lives. "Katie's" early guests also will include Aimee Copeland, 24, a Georgia graduate student who lost parts of all her limbs to a rare flesh-eating bacteria; "50 Shades of Grey" author E.L. James; "Modern Family's" Sofia Vergara; Jennifer Lopez; and singer, actress and activist Barbra Streisand.

In her bid to court daytime's all-important female demographic with relatable fare, Ms. Couric's premiere episode will feature Miss Simpson discussing such challenges as losing her baby weight, getting past nasty rumors and balancing a baby and a career, while Miss Crow opens up about entering the next phases of her life and career as a 50-year-old single mother. Also on offer in the coming weeks: Wendy Williams, Heidi Klum, Susan Sarandon and Chelsea Handler, among other promotable names.

But rather than make her show another stop on the celebrity promotional circuit, Ms. Couric is attempting to push the platform as a place to delve into the more substantial — at least for now. Along those lines, Miss Crow is expected to address her recent brain tumor diagnosis, while "The X Factor's" Demi Lovato will come on to discuss her past struggles with anorexia and bulimia. The show is expected to tackle one to three topics each day and is being pushed to affiliates as a female-friendly option that is, as Ms. Couric has said, "smart with heart."

Still, Ms. Copeland will join her Sept. 11, a reminder that "Katie" won't be all stars, all the time. Later, Sharon and Lexie Love, whose daughter and sister, Yeardley, was murdered two years ago by her ex-boyfriend at the University of Virginia, will break their silence on an episode that will focus on the epidemic of date violence.

As Ms. Couric noted in late July, she also will look to add more star-driven franchises, including a "women who should be famous" segment featuring "remarkable women who are doing extraordinary things" and "YOLO: You only live once" pieces about Ms. Couric and others checking off items on their respective bucket lists.

Aguilera to perform new single on 'The Voice'

Christina Aguilera is comparing her upcoming album to a "rebirth."

With more than a decade in the music business behind her, the album will be a culmination of "everything I've experienced up until this point," the 31-year-old pop star said in a recent Associated Press interview.

"I've been through a lot since the release of my last album, being on ['The Voice'], having had a divorce," she said. "This is all sort of a free rebirth for me."

Miss Aguilera and Jordan Bratman were married for five years before she filed for divorce in 2010. They have a 4-year-old son, Max.

Her new album's first single, "Your Body," was produced by Max Martin, who also produced Miss Aguilera's last hit, the Maroon 5 smash "Moves Like Jagger," where she was featured. She will perform the song on NBC's "The Voice" on Sept. 17.

"I'm embracing many different things, but it's all feel-good," she said of the album's material, including tracks that are "superexpressive" and fun, with moments that are "supervulnerable."

The new album, which is without a release date or announced title, will feature fellow "Voice" coach Cee Lo Green and comes two years after Miss Aguilera's lackluster "Bionic," which has sold 310,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That album featured electronic and dance-flavored tracks as well as pop ballads; it's her only album that did not reach platinum status.

"In the fashion that I always like to put forth, it's very self-expressive and it's all heartfelt," Miss Aguilera said of her new material.

Adam Levine, Maroon 5 frontman and a "Voice" coach, told Miss Aguilera at a recent news conference for the show that he had heard "Your Body" and added, "I hate you because it's so good."

The third season of "The Voice" starts Sept. 10.

'Idol's' Nigel Lythgoe to revive 'Fame'

Nigel Lythgoe and MGM Television are prepared to re-imagine "Fame" for the small screen.

As music-themed series such as "Glee," "Smash" and ABC's upcoming "Nashville" continue to generate buzz, Mr. Lythgoe said he has high hopes for a reboot of the classic 1980 MGM film and follow-up TV series, which chronicled the lives of talented students paying their dues on the road to success.

Mr. Lythgoe, best known for his work on "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance," will serve as an executive producer. The project — which has yet to hire a writer, much less a cast — will be produced under the new MGM TV group banner.

"In my lifetime, I've discovered a great many incredibly talented individuals," Mr. Lythgoe said. "Some have achieved stardom. Simultaneously, I've seen many dreams shattered, egos destroyed and lives changed forever. ... I look forward to stripping away the glitter and glamour and revealing the true mixture of passion, humanity, exhaustion and sacrifice that these richly talented individuals endure on their road to fame."

'Walking Dead' actor charged with driving drunk

An actor on the television show "The Walking Dead" has been charged with driving drunk in Georgia, where the show is filmed.

Peachtree City police arrested Scott Wilson at 2 a.m. Aug. 18 after someone called 911 to report a Chrysler PT Cruiser driving erratically.

On the AMC drama, Mr. Wilson, 70, plays a farmer and recovering alcoholic who is part of a band of survivors after a zombie apocalypse.

The arresting officer wrote in a report that Mr. Wilson said he had been drinking scotch and wine at a restaurant. The officer said Mr. Wilson was swaying and asked to do yoga poses instead of a field sobriety test.

It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Wilson had a lawyer. A message seeking comment from the network was not immediately returned.

Compiled from Web and wire reports