- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 11, 2003

A Hootie ‘Christmas’

Hootie & the Blowfish dusts off some holiday chestnuts for Sunday’s 22nd annual “Christmas in Washington” concert at 8 p.m. on TNT.

The special, to be taped earlier in the day, will feature Ashanti, Joss Stone, Kenny Chesney (“All I Want for Christmas is a Really Good Tan”) and Renee Fleming performing holiday favorites.

Also featured: the world premiere of Hootie’s new video, “Goodbye Girl,” recorded for TNT’s upcoming Neil Simon telepicture of the same name, airing at 8 p.m. Jan. 16.

The band recently returned from a long hiatus. Its new self-titled release reminded lead singer Darius Rucker why the band assembled in the first place.

“It helped me realize how much I love doing what we do,” says Mr. Rucker, who also pursues a solo career.

He says during the band’s ‘90s heyday he was too busy working to take it all in.

“That time was a blur,” he says..

Barker’s birthday bash

Come on down, Bob Barker. It’s time to celebrate your 80th birthday with a prime-time special.

The Emmy-winning host is front and center with “The Price is Right Million Dollar Spectacular,” airing at 8 p.m. tomorrow on CBS.

One contestant will get a chance to spin the show’s famous wheel for a chance at $1 million.

Mr. Barker, whose birthday is today, will be joined by longtime pal Larry King and Chuck Norris, his onetime karate teacher. He also will be feted, via videotape, by CBS stars such as Ray Romano, Mary Steenburgen, Ted Danson and Charlie Sheen.

Mr. Barker was born in 1923 in Darrington, Wash., and raised on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. He served as a Navy pilot during World War II and later worked in radio before landing a gig hosting “Truth or Consequences” in 1956.

The silver-haired Mr. Barker hosted the first “Price is Right” episode in 1972 while simultaneously holding down his “Truth” duties. He worked double time for three years before taking on his “Price” work exclusively.

“The Price is Right” airs at 11 a.m. weekdays on CBS.

A vocal ‘Friend’

“Friends” star Lisa Kudrow is as busy as ever these days preparing for life after a smash sitcom.

Miss Kudrow will lend her voice to an untitled animated pilot under consideration at Fox, according to the Reuters News Agency.

The actress will contribute to a project being created by Jonathan Katz and Tom Snyder (“Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist”), playing the mother of a family whose life is disrupted when their uncle moves in with them.

The project is one of many Miss Kudrow has lined up to keep busy in the post-“Friends” phase of her career. Next to be seen on the big screen in Don Roos’ “Happy Endings,” she also has formed Is or Isn’t Entertainment, a production banner with writer-producer Dan Bucatinsky.

Signed to a development deal with Warner Bros. Television in June, they already have a sitcom pilot setup for “Friends” guest star Aisha Tyler at CBS.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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