- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 25, 2004

‘American’ appeal

Like it or not, lefty song slinger Steve Earle is as American as a singer can be.

How else would you describe a troubadour who served time, overcame drug abuse and never met a cause he didn’t like?

“Just an American Boy,” the Amos Poe documentary highlighting the singer’s last tour, makes its stateside TV debut at 6 p.m. tomorrow on Link TV. The cable channel is available via DIRECTV and the DISH Network Channel.

The hard-left singer/songwriter, one of the most respected musicians of his generation, is seen touring on behalf of his most recent song collection, “Jerusalem.”

For those who don’t recall the album, try remembering the uproar over its song “John Walker’s Blues,” which took a sympathetic take on the American Taliban fighter.

The film features 18 live performances of Mr. Earle’s best-known songs, including “Guitar Town,” “Copperhead Road” and the anti-death penalty polemics “Billy Austin” and “Over Yonder (Jonathan’s Song).”

In case the songs don’t suffice, viewers can watch Mr. Earle break down his political views between song snippets.

Link TV offers a global perspective on news and culture, including a wealth of foreign documentaries never before seen on U.S. television.

Rappers out of water

Fox already struck ratings gold by depositing silver spoon-licking debutantes into “The Simple Life.”

Now, the network is giving a green light to “Method & Red,” a sitcom featuring rappers Method Man and Redman dropped into a mostly white neighborhood.

Fox has given a 13-episode series order to the buddy comedy sitcom, Reuters News Agency reports.

“Method & Red” revolves around the fish-out-of-water antics of two highly successful rappers who move into a predominantly white, affluent gated community in New Jersey.

The two are all set to revel in the high life, until Method Man’s mother decides to move in with them and restore a semblance of order to their lives.

“They have a very original voice, and they bring a unique group of characters in terms of their ensemble,” Fox Executive Vice President Craig Erwich told Reuters.

The series was created by Kell Cahoon (“Just Shoot Me”), who is executive producing along with Will Gluck (Fox’s short-lived stinker “Luis”). It started with a pitch from Method Man for a show that would offer a hip-hop twist on the “Odd Couple” theme.

The project was put on the development fast track last year, and the pilot wrapped production late last month, a time when most comedy pilots are still in the casting stage.

Fox executives have said they intend to launch several new series during the summer months this year, but Mr. Erwich said no decision has been made on a premiere date for “Method & Red.”

One ‘Hot Mama’

Gina Gershon just wrapped a sultry turn as Larry David’s lust object in “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Now, she’s gearing up to play the lead in ABC’s comedy pilot “Hot Mama,” Reuters reports.

The new show will center on a hip wedding planner/single mom and her more conservative daughter.

The actress’s last series attempt was ABC’s short-lived “Snoops.” Her feature credits include “Driven,” “Face/Off” and, much as she might wish otherwise, “Showgirls.”

Reuters reveals other pilot casting announcements, including: Laurie Metcalf and Brenda Vaccaro are set to star in ABC’s comedy pilot “The Furst Family,” which centers on a blue-collar family. Miss Metcalf, best known for her work on “Roseanne,” would play the mom, and Miss Vaccaro the grandmother married to a younger man (“Third Rock from the Sun’s” French Stewart).

Miss Metcalf earned three Emmys for her “Roseanne” work, while Miss Vaccaro, who was nominated for an Oscar for “Jacqueline Susann’s Once Is Not Enough,” most recently appeared in the telefilm “Just Desserts.”

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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