- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 6, 2004

Kelley gets real

When reality stared TV maestro David E. Kelley in the face, he blinked.

The creator of “Ally McBeal,” “The Practice” and “L.A. Law,” and an outspoken critic of the reality show genre, is getting into the business himself with a new show following some real-life legal eagles.

Mr. Kelley will executive produce an eight-episode show for NBC featuring eight lawyers competing against one another for a partner position at a law firm.

Says Mr. Kelley: “I remain fascinated by the law, and this will be another franchise set in that arena. This time however, the attorneys, clients and cases will be real.” Mr. Kelley continues, “In success, we should be as enlightening as we are entertaining. In failure, we’ll stink.”

The former Boston lawyer still has some fictional tales to tell. His “Practice” may be ending this season, but its spinoff, “Fleet Street” starring James Spader and William Shatner, is set to debut this fall.

Kiss the ‘Bridezilla’

A new eight-part series from WE:Women’s Entertainment takes a cold, hard look at the creature known as “Bridezilla.”

The network’s new show zooms in on some “extreme” brides as they prepare for the biggest day in their social life. One bride-to-be convinces her fiance to skip buying a house in favor of a really big wedding reception. Another isn’t happy even after her sixth dress fitting.

“Bridezillas,” debuting at 10 tonight, promises temper tantrums and other reality show staples.

Hutton’s ‘Midnight’ run

A college professor has just five days to figure out his own murder in a new miniseries from the Sci Fi Channel debuting tonight.

“5ive Days to Midnight” stars Timothy Hutton as a man who discovers a police file with graphic information about his own death, set to happen in five days. He dismisses the file as fiction at first, but when events begin to echo the information within it he realizes he only has a few days to prevent his own death.

Mr. Hutton previously starred in “The Dark Half,” “Beautiful Girls” and 1980’s “Ordinary People,” the latter turn earning him the best supporting actor Oscar.

“Midnight” debuts at 9 p.m., with subsequent hourlong installments airing at the same time tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday.

Ties’ tyke busted

E! Online

Ex-“Family Ties” co-star Brian Bonsall was arrested May 28 on drunken-driving charges in his hometown of Boulder, Colo., police there said.

Mr. Bonsall, now 22, was stopped after an officer watched him pull over his Chevrolet SUV to the side of the road, let his passenger throw up out the window, and then return to traffic, said Sgt. Kurt Matthews of the Boulder Police Department. Mr. Bonsall was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license.

When police asked Mr. Bonsall how much he’d been drinking, he reportedly replied, “Plenty.” When asked to be more specific, he reportedly said, a “half-pint of Jim Beam.”

Sgt. Matthews said police didn’t recognize Mr. Bonsall as Michael J. Fox’s TV kid brother from NBC’s “Family Ties” sitcom where he played a preschooler from 1986 to 1989.

A court hearing is scheduled for July 19.

French connection

Comcast digital subscribers can get a decidedly French view on life thanks to a new channel available a la carte.

France’s TV5 is now part of Comcast’s digital lineup for $9.95 a month, providing a schedule full of news, sports and cinema for the Francophile in us all.

The timing might seem poor, given strained relations between the United States and France in recent months, but the deal has been in the works for more than a year, TV5 officials say.

“It seemed quite logical for a world channel to be broadcast in the capital of the United States,” said Serge Adda, president of TV5, during a visit to the District last week to talk television.

Speaking through an interpreter, Mr. Adda said the District’s “cosmopolitan” makeup, strong international contingent and ties to the World Bank make it a snug fit from a marketing point of view.

The channel, which includes 22 daily newscasts from France, Belgium, Switzerland and Canada, already is broadcast via Time Warner, Cox and Adelphia cable systems in other U.S. cities.

Worldwide, TV5 is seen by 147 million subscribers, the network says.

TV5 averages up to three hours of subtitled content a day, a figure Mr. Adda said will be increasing in the coming months.

No one channel can bridge the divide between the United States and France, but he says one of the channel’s missions is to improve understanding between the two cultures.

“We want to be a good representative for what cultural diversity is all about,” he says.

And, he adds, the channel will add “the French touch” to the U.S. cable landscape. When asked to expand on the phrase, he smiled with a twinkle as if to say it couldn’t be defined.

One item he could elaborate on was reality television — albeit abbreviated.

“There won’t be reality television on TV5,” he said.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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