- The Washington Times - Monday, September 15, 2003

HBO probes ‘Curse’

There are worse things than breaking up with a celebrity actress/singer/diva. You could be a Boston Red Sox fan. Boston’s own Ben Affleck narrates a look at the long-suffering Red Sox at 10 tonight on HBO.

“The Curse of the Bambino” may sound like nonsense, but tell that to the legion of frazzled fans up north.

The Boston Red Sox franchise won five of baseball’s first 15 World Series. Then, Bosox owner Harry Frazee sold hitter/pitcher Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees before the start of the 1920 season. It’s been heartache ever since for the Beantown bunch.



The special blends archival footage with modern interviews, baseball experts and Red Sox fans, including comedian Denis Leary.

New project for duo

The powers behind ABC’s hit spy drama “Alias” are at it again, creating a new saga centering on the Secret Service.

ABC has picked up a character-driven procedural drama from “Alias” executive producers Alex Kurtzman-Counter and Roberto Orci, Reuters News Agency reports. The duo will write and executive produce the project for Touchstone TV.

The as-yet-untitled project, described as a “cross-pollination” between “The French Connection” and “thirtysomething,” centers on a young woman who struggles to balance her marriage with the demands and dangers of her career in the Secret Service.

The show will dispel a lot of misconceptions about the Secret Service, the agency set up to protect the president and solve classified crimes.

“Most people think of the Secret Service as men with sunglasses on, running next to a limousine; they think [Secret Service agents] only protect people and don’t know that they start off as detectives,” Mr. Orci said.

The creative duo is developing the project as part of the development deal they recently signed with Touchstone TV that also covers their services as executive producers on “Alias.”

On the feature side, the two also are doing a rewrite for the sequel to the 1998 hit “The Mask of Zorro,” with Martin Campbell, who helmed the original, to direct.

Media bias examined

PBS’ probing “Flashpoints USA” series sets its sights on today’s media machines.

Co-hosts Gwen Ifill and Bryant Gumbel, the latter a frequent target of conservative critics, explore the press’ credibility in the wake of the Jayson Blair scandal at the New York Times.

Are viewers and newspaper readers getting an accurate picture of the world around them?

The show conducted a poll for the special to illustrate how the public sees the media and came up with some intriguing numbers. The poll found that only 34 percent of us trust what we hear, read and see in the news either all or most of the time. work “Flashpoints USA” airs at 9 tonight on WETA-TV.

Ritter remembered

ABC will present a special tribute to the late John Ritter tonight, looking back with his friends and co-workers.

“A Life of Laughter: Remembering John Ritter” airs at 8 on ABC.

The special reflects on Mr. Ritter’s Emmy-winning career with clips from “Three’s Company” and “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter.”

Among those contributing are “Company” co-stars Suzanne Somers and Joyce DeWitt, longtime pal Henry Winkler, and Billy Bob Thornton, who directed Mr. Ritter in 1996’s “Sling Blade.”

Mr. Ritter died Thursday from a dissected aorta, a rare heart condition.

ABC News’ Diane Sawyer anchors the program.

‘Yankers’ hits redial

Sometimes a crank call goes down easier if you know it’s coming from a fuzzy puppet.

Comedy Central hosts the second season premiere of its funny and often crass “Crank Yankers” program at 10 tonight.

The half-hour show brings prank phone calls to life through a series of puppet “actors.”

“Crank Yankers,” the brainchild of former “Man Show” stars Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel, features prank calls in the new episode from comic Jim Florentine and actors David Wain, Fred Armisen and Jeff Goldblum.

Mr. Kimmel’s gag has him impersonating author J.K. Rowling’s personal assistant who makes some curious demands for her next bookstore appearance. Mr. Florentine’s mentally slow “Special Ed” character calls up a baseball team to sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

Rogers honored

A friendly neighbor of the late Fred Rogers has granted the entertainer a final salute.

St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., has established the Fred M. Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media seven months after his passing, the Associated Press reports.

The project, close to the entertainer’s heart, will offer degree, certificate and continuing education programs in early childhood education and children’s media.

Mr. Rogers, the television pioneer whose “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” has been watched by generations of children, had been working with the Catholic liberal arts college to set up the center for about three years before he died.

The native of Latrobe, about 40 miles east of Pittsburgh, died of stomach cancer on Feb. 27 at age 74.

The college plans to raise $10 million within the next five years for the center, which is funded in part with $1 million from the Heinz Endowments.

‘She Spies’ mishap

A stunt went awry on the set of the syndicated “She Spies” show over the weekend, injuring five people, AP reports.

A moving car being filmed for a stunt went out of control and hurt five crew members, authorities said Saturday.

Four people were in serious condition and the other had minor injuries.

The accident occurred Friday in the Los Feliz area, northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

There was no immediate response Saturday to a call seeking comment from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the studio behind “She Spies.”

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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