- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 7, 2003

Reality gets respect

And the winner is … Evan Marriott, “Joe Millionaire.”

Sound farfetched that the heartthrob of Fox TV’s reality dating show could be honored for his work?

ABC is making such a scenario possible with its upcoming “Reality Awards.”

The first annual award show, headed our way this fall as a two-hour special, will celebrate the best in reality television.

So, how are they going to fill the remaining hour and 53 minutes?

The ABC Television Network and Don Mischer Productions, in a statement, said the show would “honor network and cable prime time reality and alternative series and specials” — and, perhaps, stick it to critics who perpetually label reality shows as unworthy of our time.

An entertainment industry panel will choose the nominees, but in true reality show fashion television viewers will vote for the winners via the Internet.

The first ever award show will honor programs that aired during the 2002-03 season.

Janet plays Lena

Grammy-winner Janet Jackson is set to star as the legendary Lena Horne in a new television film set to air next year.

Fans of “Good Times” and “Diff’rent Strokes” may remember a young Miss Jackson appearing on both situation comedies. The Horne film marks her dramatic TV debut.

Miss Jackson, who will serve as an executive producer on the film, also will perform the movie’s songs.

The singer isn’t a stranger to dramatic work, given her previous big-screen role in director John Singleton’s “Poetic Justice,” co-starring the late Tupac Shakur. She also dabbled in comedy alongside Eddie Murphy in “Nutty Professor II: The Klumps.”

Miss Jackson has sold 50 million albums throughout her musical career, earning five Grammys and an Oscar nomination for Best Song for her “Poetic Justice” soundtrack contribution.

The telefilm will recount Miss Horne’s early career, during which she endured a bitter divorce and a racial climate which fought her rise to stardom as both a singer and actress. The tentatively titled “Lena Horne” will be based on the book “Lena” by Miss Horne, now 86, and Richard Schickel.

Here’s ‘Ellen’

Ellen DeGeneres caused a cultural ruckus when her character came out of the closet on her eponymous sitcom in 1997.

Now, the blond comic just wants us to hear what she has to say five days a week.

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” premieres at 11 a.m. today on NBC.

We certainly don’t need another talk show, especially one in which celebrities are trotted out to pitch their latest projects. But Miss DeGeneres harbors a genuine wit that never resorts to vulgarity on the way to the punch line.

The new chat-fest promises a monologue and a sprinkling of regular folk betwixt the celebrity parade. The show begins on a starry note with appearances by Jennifer Aniston, Macy Gray and Justin Timberlake.

Love triangle

Former “Just Shoot Me” star Wendie Malick has landed a new role: the love interest for both Frasier Crane and his papa, Martin.

TV Guide reports that a multi-episode story arc in this, the final season of NBC’s “Frasier,” casts Miss Malick as a former Crane baby sitter who develops a crush on the son, and later, the father.

Bravo’s ‘Reality’ check

The American public has embraced some of reality television’s most peculiar players — from feisty Rudy of “Survivor” to the lovely “Bachelorette” Trista Rehn.

But what happens to reality show participants once they settle back into their old lives? And just how authentic are these shows in the first place?

Bravo’s new five-part documentary series “The Reality of Reality,” beginning at 9 tonight, promises to unearth some of those answers.

The series, narrated by Kyle MacLachlan (“Twin Peaks,” “Sex and the City”), will run throughout the week.

The episode, “The Reality of Reality: How Real is Real?,” talks to television producers to find out how these shows are created and just how spontaneous they really are.

The series also promises to expose the “fudging” and re-created footage which blemishes too many of these programs.

Compiled by ChristianToto from staff and wire reports.


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