- - Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cat-fights among women on “Love & Hip Hop,” “Basketball Wives” and “The Real Housewives” franchises are not unusual. In fact, fans of the shows expect harsh language and the knock-down, drag-out fights that are featured.

But “R&B Divas,” TV One’s newest reality series, looks to change that dynamic.

The show follows the lives of singers Faith Evans, Nicci Gilbert-Daniels, Monifah Carter, Syleena Johnson and Keke Wyatt as they join forces to record “R&B Divas,” an album from Miss Evans that features all the ladies and also pays homage to inspirations such as Whitney Houston.

“We all know that life has drama,” said Miss Evans, who is also the widow of rap legend Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace. “But what we wanted to showcase was that the drama doesn’t always have to be resolved in violence or fighting, that there can be some inspiring [going on] as well through reaching resolutions.”

Miss Gilbert-Daniels, whose voice was among those in the 1990s trio Brownstone, said she approached Miss Evans about pitching a reality television project and the two devised the show’s concept after lamenting the state of programming that constantly “glamorizes the buffoonery.”

“I’ve never jumped across a table to get my point across,” Miss Gilbert-Daniels said, referencing the altercations that are regularly seen on other popular reality shows. “There was definitely a void in programming and in a real representation of women we know.”

Miss Evans and Miss Gilbert-Daniels are executive producers of “R&B Divas,” which airs Mondays at 10 p.m. EDT.

Man kills himself on live TV after police chase in Phoenix

A man fatally shot himself in the head Friday on live national television at the end of a high-speed carjacking chase that began in Phoenix and ended about 90 minutes later within 80 miles of the California border.

Fox News was covering the chase that began about midday using a live helicopter shot from Phoenix affiliate KSAZ-TV. The man driving a copper-colored four-door sedan stopped, ran into the desert, placed a handgun to his head and fired.

The man was declared dead at the scene and hasn’t yet been identified, according to Sgt. Tommy Thompson, a Phoenix police spokesman.

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith told viewers that the video was supposed to be on a 10-second delay so it could be cut off from airing if something went awry.

“We really messed up, and we’re all very sorry,” Mr. Smith said.

Fox apologized for showing the violence on air.

“We took every precaution to avoid any such live incident by putting the helicopter pictures on a five-second delay,” said Michael Clemente, executive vice president of news editorial. “Unfortunately, this mistake was the result of a severe human error and we apologize for what viewers ultimately saw on the screen.”

More frequently than its rivals, Fox News picks up car chases from its local affiliates and airs them live. It’s gripping television, a live mystery with no clear resolution, and often provides a short-term ratings boost as viewers tune in to see how it ends. Critics say the chases themselves rarely rise to the level of national news. The Phoenix station was not airing the chase live when it ended.

Dion, Hudson, Usher join for Houston tribute

Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson and Usher will pay tribute to the late Whitney Houston in a one-hour TV special.

“We Will Always Love You: A Grammy Salute to Whitney Houston” will be taped Oct. 11 at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live and will feature performances by Miss Dion, Miss Hudson and Usher. It will air Nov. 16 on CBS.

The Recording Academy announced Thursday that the special will also include Houston’s “most memorable performances” and interviews with various artists. More performers will be announced.

Houston died at age 48 in February. Authorities called her death an accidental drowning, complicated by heart disease and cocaine use.

A compilation album, “I Will Always Love You — The Best of Whitney Houston,” will be released Nov. 13.

‘Young & Restless’ actress nears 40 years on show

Betty White isn’t the only woman of a certain, ahem, older age still thriving on television.

Jeanne Cooper is right there with her.

Miss Cooper plays Katherine Chancellor on “The Young and the Restless,” which aired its 10,000th episode Thursday. She joined the CBS soap a few months after it debuted in March 1973, and is its longest-tenured cast member.

Miss Cooper, who turns 84 this month, shows no signs of slowing down.

She said last week: “What would I do? I’m no good at crocheting. My fingers would bleed.”

Like Miss White, who is 90, Miss Cooper authored a book about her career titled “Not Young, Still Restless.”

‘Friends’ writer-producer tries directing with Web show

Writer-producer Marta Kauffman could rest on her “Friends” laurels. Instead, she’s delving into the online series world to explore offbeat material and a new role.

Miss Kauffman turned official first-time director for “Georgia,” a short Web series about a warmhearted yoga instructor-therapist who needs to heal herself when it comes to romance and family.

“Georgia,” with Mary Elizabeth Ellis (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) as the title character and Harold Perrineau (“Lost,” “Sons of Anarchy”) as her fiance, is on the WIGS YouTube channel. The three episodes run from five to eight minutes each.

“It was so much fun,” Miss Kauffman said of the series, which she wrote and directed. “It was a little bit like guerrilla television. We shot seven pages [of script] a day, and that’s a lot.”

WIGS, which launched in March, is the brainchild of two high-profile filmmakers, Jon Avnet (“Black Swan,” “Fried Green Tomatoes”) and Rodrigo Garcia (“Albert Nobbs,” TV’s “In Treatment”), who are turning the spotlight on women.

The lineup on WIGS (an acronym for the tag line “Where it gets interesting”) includes original series, short films and documentaries. All feature lead female characters and stories that the channel promises will be provocative and “addictive.”

Mr. Avnet and Mr. Garcia “want to do grittier, edgier stories about women than you normally see,” both dramatic and comedic, Miss Kauffman said.

Compiled from Web and wire reports