- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 13, 2003

‘Idol’ meets rap

Showtime’s new six-part reality show “Interscope Presents The Next Episode” (at 10 tonight) combines the star-screening scope of “American Idol” with the competition rapping of “8 Mile” in a search for the country’s next big MC.

Each one-hour episode features the top two MCs from a particular city freestyle rapping much as Eminem’s character did in “8 Mile” ‘s climax. Along the way, we’ll get to know the participants and get a glimpse of the lives that fueled their verses.

Lynch visits Dave

Rescued U.S. prisoner of war Jessica Lynch gets a break, of sorts, from the grueling media gantlet tonight when she visits “The Late Show with David Letterman” at 11:35 p.m.

Promoting her autobiography, “I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story,” Miss Lynch will discuss her harrowing ordeal and subsequent fame with the late-night comedian.

Miss Lynch was captured March 23 after her U.S. Army unit, the 507th Maintenance Company, was ambushed in Nasiriyah. U.S. Special Forces later rescued her from Saddam Hospital with the help of a kindly Iraqi lawyer.

‘Simpsons’ sweet spot

“The Simpsons” glory days clearly have come and gone.

Yet much like an aging pitcher with stocky legs beneath him for support, Fox’s long-running comedy can still whiz a fastball by us now and again.

Such is the case with this Sunday’s episode, dubbed “The President Wears Pearls.”

Lisa, in a fit of unexpected personality, bullies past the dyspeptic Nelson to be elected student-body president, only to be exploited by Principal Skinner.

Along the way, the show’s gaggle of regulars, from Groundskeeper Willie to dumb-as-a-post Ralphie, chime in to grand comic effect.

Intertwined with the scholastic politics is an “Evita” parody, reminding us how fondly the comic franchise cherishes the musical format.

“The Simpsons” airs at 8 Sunday nights on Fox.

Blond ambition

Jessica Simpson may not know tuna from chicken, but she sure knows how to market her “dumb blonde” image.

The pop-singer-turned-reality-TV-star has signed a development deal with ABC to star in a comedy series for the network targeted for fall 2004, according to Reuters News Agency.

The show will be executive produced by the singer’s dad and manager, Joe Simpson.

“Jessica has infectious energy and unmistakable star quality,” ABC entertainment president Susan Lyne told Reuters. “She also has a built-in fan base in both music and television, which is a great jumping-off point for us. We’re looking forward to developing the ideal showcase for her considerable talents.”

Those talents, if MTV’s “Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica” is any indication, include pouting and an uncertain knowledge of foodstuffs.

The pretty pop singer famously questioned whether Chicken of the Sea tuna was actually tuna or chicken.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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