- The Washington Times - Friday, September 12, 2003

More ‘CSI’ on CBS

Blame “Law & Order” for the reproductive boom hitting the Tiffany network’s “CSI.”

CBS plans to develop a third installment of their forensic science franchise “Crime Scene Investigation,” E! Online reports.

Network head Les Moonves told the trades last week he expected another spinoff of the successful series to join the CBS lineup and that it was “plausible” the show could be ready to go as early as fall 2004.

The original Las Vegas-based series, which bowed in 2000, was the top-rated show last season, while its rookie spinoff, “CSI: Miami,” ranked 14th in the Nielsen ratings.

No word yet on where the suggested spinoff would take place.

NBC’s “Law & Order” has been spun off twice with strong results. Both “Special Victims Unit” and “Criminal Intent” are solid performers for the network without stealing too much thunder from the source material.

“CSI 3” is part of a development deal CBS Productions and Alliance Atlantis has with current executive producers Ann Donahue and Carol Mendelsohn, who re-upped their contracts this week, according to E! Online.

Both signed lucrative long-term deals to continue overseeing their respective dramas through 2007.

Head science geek William L. Petersen, who plays Gil Grissom on “CSI” and co-produces the series, has yet to sound off on the proposed third installment. The actor was extremely vocal in his opposition to the “CSI: Miami” spinoff last year, fearing it would cannibalize the success of the original series.

But with Miami’s strong ratings, Mr. Petersen may have had a change of heart.

Recall just a game?

Even the Game Show Network is taking shots at the California recall election.

The cable channel has unveiled the final four candidates for its Oct. 1 governor’s “debate,” Reuters News Agency reports.

Joining two already-announced candidates, diminutive actor Gary Coleman and porn star Mary Carey, will be artist Trek Thunder Kelly, who wears only blue; weapons collector and tomato grower Carl Mehr; college junior Bryan Quinn; and Nathan Whitecloud Walton, a business student and son of basketball great Bill Walton.

The event will be held in a two-round format, with the first round scores based on responses to a series of questions about the state and the candidates. The two top scorers will move on to a so-called “Onus Round,” where they can present their platforms to prospective voters.

Viewers will be able to vote on the network’s Web site for the winner, who will receive a “donation” of $21,200. That winner will be announced after the polls close on Oct. 7.

Network executives previously said they were not looking for mainstream candidates in the recall, where more than 130 people have qualified for the chance to replace unpopular incumbent Gov. Gray Davis should he be removed from office.

‘Dickie’ on ‘Squares’

Former child actors never had it so good.

First, a bevy of cable channels made it their mission to revisit the lives of these formerly in-demand actors with all manner of “whatever became of” yarns.

Now, eight ex-child stars have landed prime real estate on this week’s “Hollywood Squares.”

To promote “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star,” actor/comic David Spade coaxed the film’s co-stars — real-life former child actors — to play some games. Not coincidentally, all the performers have parts in the new film, which opened with a tepid $7 million or so in its first week.

“Hollywood Squares” airs weekdays at 10 on WJLA-TV.

Among those gracing “Squares” this week are Barry Williams (Greg Brady of “The Brady Bunch”), former teen idol Leif Garrett, Erin Moran (Joanie Cunningham of “Happy Days”), Corey Feldman (Star of “The Lost Boys” and “Stand By Me”), Dustin Diamond (Screech of “Saved by the Bell”), Danny Bonaduce (Danny Partridge of “The Partridge Family”), Willie Ames (Tommy Bradford of “Eight is Enough”) and Todd Bridges (Willis of “Diff’rent Strokes”).

Mr. Spade, of course, finds himself in the center square.

The comic’s new film follows 35-year-old Dickie Roberts, a washed up actor who hires a family to adopt him so he can relive his childhood and prep himself for more mature acting gigs.

Ripa aids dad

Talk show host Kelly Ripa will head to her home state this week for a seafood dinner expected to raise more than $700,000 for Camden County Democrats.

The fund-raiser also is expected to benefit someone she holds particularly dear: her father, Joe Ripa, who’s running for county freeholder in Haddonfield, N.J.

The dinner — scheduled for tomorrow at the Tavistock Country Club — will include lobster, crab cakes, shrimp, clams and oysters. Democratic supporters at the 16th annual Seafood Gala will pay $850 a plate.

Last month on “Live With Regis & Kelly,” the younger Ripa said she did not know what a freeholder does.

Republican candidate Christopher Carlson questioned her father’s familiarity with the office as well.

“Quite frankly, I think what he brings to the table is his daughter. I haven’t seen the man answer a single question,” Mr. Carlson told the Courier-Post of Cherry Hill.

Joe Ripa, a former bus driver and head of a transit workers union, declined comment to the paper. Democratic Party spokesman Carl Winter said the GOP is taking cheap shots.

“The Democratic Party selected Joe Ripa not for his political expertise but for his life experience,” Mr. Winter said.

Republicans will host their own event tomorrow night.

Short takes

From TV Guide Online:

• “American Idol” also-ran Kimberly Locke has signed a multiple album deal with Curb Records.

There’s apparently no truth to the rumor, though, that the pop-urban album — which is due out later this year — will include 10 variations of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

• Former “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” star Sarah Michelle Gellar recently recorded an episode of Fox’s “The Simpsons” to air in early 2004.

In the episode, the actress portrays a kiddie delinquent named Gina who befriends Bart in juvenile detention. She later helps the bad seed escape, and the two go on the lam… la “The Defiant Ones.”

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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