- The Washington Times - Monday, October 13, 2003

Oliver’s ‘Kitchen’ duty

A new Food Network series combines elements of NBC’s “The Restaurant” with a helping of social consciousness.

“Jamie’s Kitchen,” premiering at 10 tonight and airing weeknights through Friday, tracks the opening of a new restaurant staffed by 15 at-risk teens.

British chef Jamie Oliver lets cameras into his new restaurant, dubbed Fifteen, as he tries to teach his trade to his inexperienced staff.

Mr. Oliver has more than that large task on his plate. The young chef is prepping a new book and preparing for the birth of his second child.

Creating a new restaurant from scratch is a recipe for tension, and the show chronicles the warts-and-all beginnings of what becomes a hit London eatery.

Salma’s ‘Miracle’ debut

Sultry Salma Hayek steps behind the camera for a film about a lethargic town brought back to life by what appears to be an act of God.

“The Maldonado Miracle,” a Showtime original starring Peter Fonda, Ruben Blades and Mare Winningham, explores the repercussions when a small town’s wooden Jesus statue begins weeping bloody tears.

Miss Hayek, who earned an Oscar nomination for her bold starring turn in “Frida,” is currently starring in “Once Upon a Time in Mexico.” “Miracle” marks her directorial debut.

The film airs tonight at 9 on the cable network.

Duo inspires Fox

The timeless tunes of Elton John and Bernie Taupin have inspired a drama series at Fox, which is developing a music-driven project revolving around the lives of two families.

Reuters News Agency reports the network has committed to a pilot for the series, dubbed “Rhapsody,” from writer-producer Shaun Cassidy (“The Agency”) and Warner Bros. TV. Sources believe the themes were influenced by John-Taupin songs.

Warner Bros.’ corporate sibling Warner/Chappell Music administers many of the compositions in the John-Taupin publishing catalog through a blockbuster deal struck in 1992.

“Rhapsody” is the second high-profile musical drama in development aat Fox for fall 2004. The network is also working on “The Rise,” a project from “Chicago” executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, and writer Lizzie Weiss.

“Rhapsody” was developed as part of Mr. Cassidy’s overall deal with WBTV. He also serves as an executive producer on the studio’s new WB Network drama, “Tarzan.”

A&E; targets Ah-nuld

Now that he’s California governor-elect, Arnold Schwarzenegger is having a movie made about him instead of by him.

Cable’s A&E; network says it’s writing a script for “See Arnold Run,” a TV movie that will focus on the action star’s campaign for California governor and his 1973 quest to become Mr. Olympia, the Associated Press reports.

Production will begin in the spring, and A&E; hopes to have it on the air about the time of the national political conventions late next summer.

So far, no one has been cast in the starring role, network spokesman Michael Feeney said Thursday.

A&E; says the movie will “be an exploration of Arnold the public figure versus Arnold the private man, told through a blend of drama, comedy and satire.”

A&E; also has a movie in development about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., which is expected to air next spring.

Where there’s a Will…

Former “Saturday Night Live” funnyman Will Ferrell has landed the coveted role of Darrin Stephens in Nora Ephron’s big-screen remake of the hit ‘60’s TV series “Bewitched,” TV Guide Online reports.

Jim Carrey had expressed interest in the plum part, but he apparently passed.

Nicole Kidman, meanwhile, is still attached to star in the film as Samantha — the role originated by the late Elizabeth Montgomery.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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