- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 21, 2004

A holly, jolly Kimmel

Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel is making a list and checking it twice to avoid offending anyone’s theology this holiday season.

The snarky comic is hosting “Jimmy Kimmel’s Non-Denominational All-Star Christmas Special” during his regular late-night slot tonight on ABC.

He’s promising ugly seasonal sweaters, a children’s story segment with rapper Flavor Flav, the song stylings of Chris Isaak, and Mike Tyson, among other guests.

The fun begins just after midnight, at 12:05 a.m.

New role for Chestnut

Actor Morris Chestnut (“Ladder 49”) never attained gridiron glory during his days of playing high school football, but an upcoming project will revisit the fantasy and allow him to become the big man on campus.

He’s set to star in NBC’s “Dante,” a football-themed sitcom from “Just Shoot Me” creator Steven Levitan, Reuters News Agency reports.

Mr. Levitan wrote the script with John Immesoete, who developed the popular series of humorous Budweiser ad spots featuring the egotistical football player Leon.

“Dante” centers on the life and family of a football superstar (Mr. Chestnut) who has an extra-large sense of entitlement and often is out of touch with reality.

Sounds like a mere 80 percent of the NFL elite.

Tony Cox, who played Billy Bob Thornton’s diminutive buddy in “Bad Santa,” will co-star.

Mr. Chestnut got his big break in the 1991 Oscar-nominated feature “Boyz n the Hood,” playing a high school running back using his football skills to survive in his South Central Los Angeles neighborhood. He next appears in “The Cave,” a thriller that’s scheduled to arrive in movie theaters in April.

‘Dead’ will R.I.P.

Showtime’s afterlife drama is getting a visit from the real Grim Reaper.

“Dead Like Me,” which followed a group of kindly reapers who offer counsel to the newly departed while resolving their own issues, has been canceled after two seasons, Reuters reports.

The drama, starring Tony Award-winner Mandy Patinkin and Ellen Muth, premiered last year on the premium cable channel to relatively strong ratings and some critical acclaim but failed to sustain the buzz in its second season.

The end of “Dead” could be a signal that Showtime’s president of entertainment, Robert Greenblatt, (who also serves as executive producer for another show dealing with death, HBO’s “Six Feet Under”) wants to clear some room on the schedule for more than one of the pilots he’s considering for a series. Among the contenders are the terrorist drama “The Cell” and the cop drama “Hate.” A decision is expected next month.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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