- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 22, 2004

More ‘Pain’

The ‘80s nostalgia machine is bringing back ABC’s “Growing Pains” for an all-new comedy film.

“Growing Pains II: Home Equity” has begun shooting in New Orleans and will air sometime in May, the network reports.

Show regulars Alan Thicke, Joanna Kerns, Kirk Cameron, Tracey Gold, Jeremy Miller, Ashley Johnson and Chelsea Noble will reprise their roles from the seven-year series. Miss Kerns will also direct the film.

“Growing Pains II: Home Equity” finds Jason (Mr. Thicke) and Maggie Seaver (Miss Kerns) putting the family home up for sale after all their children have grown up and moved away. Mike (Mr. Cameron) and Carol (Miss Gold) won’t have it though, as each tries to sabotage the plan to feed their own agendas. But Ben (Mr. Miller), the youngest, grew up to be a real estate agent and wouldn’t mind pleasing his boss by helping ma and pa sell their old digs.

“Growing Pains” ran from 1985 to 1992. According to www.jumptheshark.com, which lets Web surfers vote on when a show has lost its way, “Pains” “jumped” with the birth of Chrissy Seaver in 1988.

Bring back ‘Ed’

Loyal “Ed” watchers weren’t satisfied to the see the NBC series’ final episode with the wedding of the show’s leads. They want a fifth season.

The show’s fans are leveraging the Internet to convince NBC not to cancel the sitcom. The network has yet to officially decide “Ed’s” fate, though, with declining ratings and the marriage of its key characters, it looks like the show’s end is here.

That didn’t stop a group of fans from taking out a full-page ad in the trade publication Variety last Friday to plead their case. A mockup of the ad can be found at https://webpages.charter.net/jniner/.

The Web site claims it took just seven days to raise $5,000 toward the Variety advertisement.

“The quality of TV is slowly diminishing into a sewer of sensationalistic garbage. If we continue to lose shows with the craftsmanship of actors and the creativeness of writing like we have with ‘Ed,’ where will it leave us?” the site asks. “People drinking maggot milkshakes and dwarf dating shows?”

Point taken.

If the infamous Stuckey Bowl is open for business this fall, viewers can thank “Ed’s” loyal fans.

H-h-h-here’s Jay Leno

“Stuttering” John Melendez, the butt of countless jokes on “The Howard Stern Show,” is the new voice of NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

Mr. Melendez, a featured player on the bawdy radio program, will replace announcer Edd Hall starting March 29, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Hall is leaving Mr. Leno’s side after 12 years to concentrate on movies.

“Tonight Show” executives say they became interested in Mr. Melendez after seeing him on the ABC reality show “I’m a Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here.” The spokeswoman said Mr. Melendez came across as a “peacemaker” and “family man.”

Fans of his ribald radio show know him as anything but a peaceful presence, given his propensity to fuel personal feuds and agitate celebrities with his coarse questions.

The radio personality is preparing for his new role by working with a speech coach to control his stutter, a “Tonight Show” spokeswoman told the AP last Wednesday.

Besides announcing, Mr. Melendez will be in sketches and will go out on interviews. Just don’t expect him to recreate his embarrassing questions for “The Tonight Show’s” audiences, the spokeswoman said.

Let’s see: They choose a stuttering personality known for his gonzo-style interview techniques, but promise he will neither stutter nor storm unsuspecting celebrities.

Makes perfect sense.

Take that, Fab Five

Comedy Central tells Bravo where it can put its metrosexual programming tonight with the debut of “Straight Plan for the Gay Man.”

The limited-run series features three homosexual men trying to achieve their “dreams” of becoming a blue-collar meatpacker, competitive basketball player and babe magnet, the cable network notes.

Comedy Central’s three hourlong specials promise to embrace the male stereotypes in the same way Bravo’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” paints all homosexuals as style mavens.

The first “Straight Plan for the Gay Man” airs at 10 tonight.

The show’s “Flab 4” — Curtis Gwinn, Billy Merritt, Kyle Grooms and Rob Riggle — will coach the homosexual men on the ways of “real” manly men.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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