- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 26, 2004

Wanna-be Marthas

A group of 12 women will try their hand next month at being Martha Stewart.

“Wickedly Perfect,” CBS’ new reality show debuting Jan. 6, lets a dozen women try to mimic the domestic diva’s persona, Associated Press reports.

The show, hosted by Joan Lunden, fills the 8 p.m. Thursday time slot abandoned by the just wrapped “Survivor: Vanuatu.”

The 12 makeshift Marthas will live together in a New England estate, where they will try to prove they are role models for housewives everywhere.

They will be critiqued by celebrity chef and Food Network host Bobby Flay, stylist David Evangelista and “Sex and the City” author Candace Bushnell in a variety of challenges in entertaining, decorating, cooking, baking, sewing and crafts.

The stock trading challenges must have been left on the cutting room floor.

After 10 episodes, the last diva standing will win a development deal for a lifestyle-oriented TV show, six appearances on CBS’ “The Early Show” and a publishing deal with Atria Books.

Among the nine women and three men are two homemakers, a chef, a baker and a Home Shopping Network host. Their ages range from 25 to 46. Five contestants are from California; two are from Florida.

‘Reunion’ time

It sounds almost old-fashioned, but a proposed Fox pilot based on a high school reunion will have an actual script and actors.

The network is close to ordering “Reunion,” a drama that follows six close friends from their high school graduation in 1986 to their 20th reunion in 2006, Reuters News Agency reports.

Each season of the potential series is designed to follow a different group of high school friends through the following 20 years of their lives which means a new cast and new location for the show each year.

The pilot’s producer, Steve Pearlman, a former executive at Warner Bros. TV, said he got the idea for the show when he attended his 20th high school reunion a few years back.

“I found it to be a very emotional experience,” Mr. Pearlman told Reuters. “You get to relive moments that at the time seemed very important and now seem very insignificant or, on the contrary, it causes you to think about things that at the time were very insignificant and now, looking back from the perspective of 20 years later, you realize that they may have had a fairly profound impact in your life.”

The script will be written by Jon Harmon Feldman, the creator and executive producer of Fox’s “Tru Calling.”

Elvis reborn

CBS is planning a new mini-series based on the life of Elvis Presley.

At this point, it’s hard to imagine there’s something we don’t know about the King, who died in 1977, but perhaps CBS has a trick up its programming sleeve.

The drama is being made with the “full cooperation” of the Elvis Presley Estate so don’t expect any of the man’s sordid side to be explored.

The four-hour event will feature master recordings of Presley songs, which CBS says is the first time a biographical film has had access to that material.

Jonathan Rhys-Meyers of “Bend it Like Beckham” will play Mr. Presley and Emmy winner Camryn Manheim (“The Practice”) stars as the singer’s beloved mother, Gladys Presley. The rest of the cast includes Randy Quaid as “Colonel” Tom Parker and Rose McGowan (“Charmed”) as Ann-Margret.

The Doctor is in

Dr. Drew Pinsky of “Loveline” fame is joining the Discovery Health Channel to dispense some no-nonsense advice in the new year.

Dr. Pinsky, whose “Loveline” call-in show is heard at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday nights on WHFS-FM, will headline “Strictly Sex with Dr. Drew.”

The program promises frank discussions for singles and married couples on all things romantic.

“We are going to take a fearless look at sex and what we Americans are up to in the bedroom and why,” said Dr. Pinsky, who often coaxes his “Loveline” callers to discuss the traumas in their past in order to explain their sexual predicaments.

Dr. Pinsky, recently named assistant clinical professor of psychiatry for the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, detailed his theories on abuse and its harrowing fallout in the loosely autobiographical novel “Cracked.”

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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