- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Big Apple Blitzer

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer broadcasts the second of three shows from New York City today, just in time for the city’s traditional St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Mr. Blitzer sits down with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg today to explore politics, then tomorrow shifts gears to talk reality TV with the genre’s least likely star, “The Apprentice’s” Donald Trump.

“Wolf Blitzer Reports” airs weeknights at 5 on CNN.

Herzog’s last laugh

Former Fox Broadcasting President Doug Herzog is returning to Comedy Central, where he helped establish such hits as “South Park” and “The Daily Show” in the mid-1990s.

He will become the comedy network’s president beginning this May, replacing Larry Divney, who will retire, Comedy Central reports.

Mr. Herzog will wrap his current duties at USA Network when NBC’s acquisition of Universal Television’s assets, which include USA, is completed this spring, according to Media Week.

During Mr. Herzog’s three-plus years at Comedy Central, he developed its nightly satirical newscast, now hosted by Jon Stewart, as well as the raunchy animated “South Park.”

“If I had known ‘South Park’ was going to last this long … I would have never left in the first place,” Mr. Herzog said in a statement.

His tenure also included lesser known shows such as “Strangers With Candy” and “Viva Variety.”

The network says its audience share increased for 14 consecutive quarters during Mr. Herzog’s reign.

The veteran television executive left Comedy Central in November 1998 to serve as president of entertainment for Fox Broadcasting Co.

While at Fox, he shepherded the hit comedy “Malcolm in the Middle,” as well as the respected but quickly canceled “Action.”

His Fox run, which lasted a mere 14 months, became known for the heat he drew by greenlighting the reality debacle “Who Wants to Marry a Multi Millionaire.” Mr. Herzog had joined Fox trumpeting the need to upgrade the network’s programming.

He followed up his Fox duties by serving as USA Network’s president. His contributions there include “The Dead Zone,” “Monk” and the just-wrapped miniseries “Traffic.”

Prior to his first Comedy Central stint, Mr. Herzog spent 11 years at MTV as executive vice president of programming and president of MTV Productions.

Comedy Central is seen in more than 85 million homes nationwide.

MTV’s new Simpson

MTV is keeping it in the family when it comes to tagging another beautiful blonde for its next reality series.

Jessica Simpson’s younger sister, Ashlee, will be the star of her own self-titled reality show, Associated Press reports.

The 19-year-old singer will be trailed by multiple cameras as she attempts to establish her own recording career. The six-episode series debuts this summer.

“Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica,” starring Jessica Simpson and her husband, 98 Degrees singer Nick Lachey, is now in its second season.

The new Simpson show will follow Ashlee as she records her first album, on Geffen Records, auditions a band and breaks up with her boyfriend.

We’ll have to see if dumb luck runs in the family. Jessica Simpson’s new album, “In This Skin” is suddenly in the Billboard top 10, buoyed by her reality-show fame. None of her previous records has charted so well.

CBS’ ‘Stones’ throw

Midseason replacements occasionally blossom into bona fide hits. More often than not, they sink like the proverbial stone.

Yet CBS’ new comedy, “The Stones,” might stand a fighting chance based on its casting alone. The new show stars venerable stand-up comic Robert Klein and “Who’s the Boss” mainstay Judith Light as a long-married couple on the cusp of divorce. That just won’t do for their two grown children (Lindsay Sloane and Jay Baruchel), who spend all their available time trying to keep the family unit intact.

“The Stones,” from the creative team behind NBC’s “Will & Grace,” will air tonight at 9:30 on CBS.

Dutiful daughter

Martha Stewart’s daughter speaks out about her mother’s legal woes on tonight’s “Larry King Live,” airing at 9 on CNN.

The talk show host will ask Alexis Stewart — in her first-ever television interview, according to the network — about her personal reflections on her mother’s prosecution and recent conviction on four counts of obstructing justice and lying to investigators about a well-timed stock sale.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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