- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 26, 2004

Too racy for MTV?

Will this year’s traditionally ribald MTV Video Music Awards play it safe in a post-Janet Jackson Super Bowl world?

More important, does MTV even play music anymore?

The few videos it does play will be in contention for the awards, to be handed out on this Sunday’s 8 p.m. telecast.

The Beastie Boys, Evanescence’s Amy Lee, Brandy, Queen Latifah and John Mellencamp recently agreed to appear on the program, Associated Press reports.

OutKast, brimming with five nominations for the video “Hey Ya,” signed on earlier to perform, as did Usher, Kanye West, Yellowcard, Hoobastank and Terror Squad featuring Fat Joe.

Expect basketball great Shaquille O’Neal to be in the proverbial house — in part because the show will be telecast from Miami, his new home after being traded earlier this year by the Los Angeles Lakers. The show airs live from the city’s American Airlines Arena.

Historic ‘Duel’

Once upon a time, politicians settled their grudges the old-fashioned way — not with the help of any 527 groups, but with a duel to the death.

“Duel: Hamilton vs. Burr,” debuting Sunday evening at 8 on the History Channel, re-creates the fateful clash between Alexander Hamilton, America’s first secretary of the Treasury, and Aaron Burr, the nation’s third vice president.

The documentary, hosted by Richard Dreyfuss, draws its interpretations from writings by each participant, eyewitness accounts of the duel — Burr prevailed — and re-enactments of the gunfight staged at the actual location.

Romano’s next step

Not everybody, it turns out, loves Ray Romano.

Just check out the box-office receipts from “Welcome to Mooseport,” the sitcom star’s first attempt at movie stardom earlier this year.

Yet the power behind CBS’ “Everybody Loves Raymond” gives it another try with “Grilled,” a new comedy in which he plays a meat salesman in the San Fernando Valley, Reuters News Agency reports.

“There’s a great guy named Sonny who is the best salesman in California,” Mr. Romano told Reuters. “We had a ‘meatology’ class with him, and I kind of took things from him for my character.”

In the movie, due out next summer, Mr. Romano and fellow sitcom “King” Kevin James (of CBS’ “The King of Queens”) are desperately trying to meet a sales quota on the hottest day of the year.

The shooting schedule runs just 30 days in one of the region’s steamiest locations.

“In Encino, where I live, it’s supposed to be 15 degrees hotter than over the hill,” Mr. Romano said, referring to west Los Angeles. “I thought it couldn’t get any hotter than where I live. Here in Chatsworth, you can bump it up 10 more degrees. But it’s good for what we’re doing.”

Alda ‘Wings’ it

“M*A*S*H” alum Alan Alda returns to episodic television this fall to bring new life to NBC’s revered drama “The West Wing.”

The five-time Emmy winner will join the show’s cast as a Republican from California with presidential aspirations, Reuters reports.

Mr. Alda is among the bevy of new faces on the Emmy-honored program.

Also joining the series is Marley Shelton (“Uptown Girls”). She’ll play a former features reporter, mentored by Danny Concannon (Timothy Busfield), who becomes White House deputy press secretary.

Mary McCormack (USA’s “Traffic”), a guest star in several episodes last season as the brash new deputy national security adviser, will return as a permanent fixture.

Former “LA Law” and “NYPD Blue” star Jimmy Smits, meanwhile, is in talks to come aboard.

Playing a Republican senator is familiar turf for Mr. Alda, who also stars as Maine Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming Howard Hughes biopic, “The Aviator.”

The “West Wing” role marks the actor’s first major series commitment since his award-winning run on “M*A*S*H,” CBS’ Korean War dramedy. He also appeared in a story arc five years ago on NBC’s “ER,” a show that’s executive-produced by “West Wing” producer John Wells.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

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