- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Yabba-dabba DVD

Television’s first modern stone-age family has arrived on DVD.

“The Flintstones” DVD box set features the first full season of the animated show that tweaked “The Honeymooners” format all the way back to the prehistoric era.

The set, priced at $64.92, contains all 28 half-hour episodes, including “The Flagstones: The Lost Pilot,” a featurette highlighting the prehistoric “innovations” developed by the show’s writers to modernize the Flintstone home, and a collection of early television ads.

The prime-time cartoon, which aired from 1960 to 1966, never scaled the intellectual heights that today’s animated family, “The Simpsons,” reaches, but its sharply defined characters etched themselves into our popular culture and triggered an endless supply of merchandising tie-ins.

The cartoon classic is hitting the shelf with another popular creation from the William Hanna and Joseph Barbera animation factory.

The first full season of “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” also debuts this week for the same retail price of $62.92.

The mystery-show box set features 25 episodes along with a featurette teaching children how to draw Scooby and the gang, a trivia challenge and a promotional gift certificate for one free ticket to “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed,” opening March 26.

Enduring radio personality Casey Kasem gives voice to Shaggy, the best reason to tune in to the manufactured mystery tours.

“Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” aired from 1969 to 1972.

Trump towers

Donald Trump is single-handedly resurrecting NBC’s “must see” mantra.

In two months, “The Apprentice,” starring the Donald as himself, has made a huge difference for NBC’s Thursday-night lineup.

Last week, “The Apprentice” was No. 6 in weekly prime-time ratings despite competing against CBS juggernaut “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” the Associated Press reports.

Running “The Apprentice” for a full hour and moving “Will & Grace” to 8:30 p.m. enables NBC to avoid its oft-repeated problem of putting two struggling comedies on its Thursday schedule.

Still, the Peacock network will have to deal without its Thursday-night powerhouse, “Friends,” next season. Mr. Trump has made that prospect less scary. NBC already has locked him up for two more seasons.

Overall, CBS lorded over the competition, averaging 12 million viewers (a 7.8 rating, 13 share). NBC was next with 10.2 million (6.9, 11), Fox had 9.5 million (5.9, 10), ABC 7.7 million (5.1, 8), UPN 3.3 million (2.3, 4), WB 3.2 million (2.2, 3) and Pax TV 1 million (0.7, 1).

A ratings point represents 1.08 million households, or 1 percent of the nation’s estimated 108.4 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of March 8 to 14, the top five shows, their networks and viewership were: “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 27.4 million; “American Idol,” (Tuesday), Fox, 24.6 million; “Survivor: All-Stars,” CBS, 22.6 million; “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 22 million; “Without a Trace,” CBS, 19.7 million.

BET’s tragic ‘Truth’

The third installment of Black Entertainment Television’s “Naked Truth” series zeroes in on AIDS and the black community.

The network’s “Naked Truth III,” airing Saturday afternoon at 12:30, explores how sexuality and sexual identity among blacks impacts their health regarding the HIV virus. The one-hour special also delves into homophobia and discrimination, and critiques the levels of access some blacks have to crucial health information.

Casting calls

Reuters News Agency

Jeri Ryan is in final negotiations to star opposite Kim Delaney in CBS’ drama pilot “Sudbury,” which centers on two sisters, both witches.

For the past three years, Miss Ryan starred on Fox’s drama “Boston Public.” She made her name as Seven of Nine in “Star Trek: Voyager.”

Meanwhile, Carmine Giovinazzo has been tapped as one of the leads in the CBS series “CSI: New York,” the third installment of the hit “CSI” franchise. Gary Sinise (“Forrest Gump”) is in talks to play the lead. Mr. Giovinazzo (“Black Hawk Down”) joins Vanessa Ferlito, both set to play crime-scene investigators.

Elsewhere in the pilot-casting world:

• Jeffrey Nordling, Henry Winkler and Darryl M. Bell have been cast in NBC’s comedy pilot “Beverly Hills SUV,” which centers on an unlikely ensemble of salespeople at an upscale Beverly Hills car boutique. Mr. Nordling (“Providence”), Mr. Winkler (“Happy Days”) and Mr. Bell (“A Different World”) will play highly competitive salesmen.

• Michael Michele (NBC’s “ER”) has been tapped to star opposite Taye Diggs in UPN’s drama pilot “Kevin Hill,” which focuses on a rising young attorney (Mr. Diggs) who gives up his playboy lifestyle to raise his cousin’s infant daughter. Miss Michele will play the owner of a small law firm Hill joins.

• Ethan Embry has landed the male lead in Fox’s comedy pilot “Lucky Us,” about a pair (Chyler Leigh and Mr. Embry) who go on a blind date and end up having a baby. Mr. Embry most recently starred on ABC’s “L.A. Dragnet.”

• John Ratzenberger has joined CBS’ untitled Andrew Kennedy comedy pilot about a young couple (Mr. Kennedy, Christa Miller ) whose parents are in their lives. Mr. Ratzenberger (of “Cheers” fame) will play one of the parents.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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