- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 28, 2004

Hughes speaks out

Karen Hughes, President Bush’s ex-communications director, sits down with Barbara Walters tonight on a special edition of ABC’s “20/20.”

Mrs. Hughes helped shape Mr. Bush’s message for the first years of his presidency, but later stepped down to devote more time to her family back in Texas. She tells Miss Walters many men have told her they also turned down lucrative jobs to preserve more time with their families. Yet the former White House counselor says she still speaks with administration officials almost on a daily basis.

Also featured on the hourlong program is a talk with ex-brat packer Andrew McCarthy, who reveals his battles with the bottle during his busy ‘80s film career. The actor, now starring on ABC’s “Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital,” says he shot some of his biggest films, such as 1986’s “Pretty in Pink,” while nursing major hangovers. He says he sobered up in 1992.

The newsmagazine’s John Stossel wraps the hour by giving out more “Give Me a Break!” awards to those people and groups who try to alarm the public with exaggerated claims or immoral behavior.

The special edition of the ABC news magazine show airs at 10 p.m.

Slaying Gellar rumor

Stubborn “Angel” fans, already in a tizzy over the demise of their favorite show, can stop dreaming of a reunion between its star David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Miss Gellar, the lead of the long-running “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” won’t be making a final visit to that show’s successful spinoff, the Associated Press reports.

Joss Whedon, “Angel’s” executive producer, told TV Guide for its online edition that he didn’t invite Miss Gellar to appear in the final episode because he didn’t want it to “revolve around a guest star.”

“I want to end the show with the people who’ve been in the trenches together, the characters who have lived and occasionally died together, the regulars,” Mr. Whedon told AP.

He said he invited Miss Gellar to appear in the second-to-last episode, but she wasn’t available because she was in Tokyo working on the horror film “The Grudge” when the show was being shot.

Mr. Whedon’s partner, Jeffrey Bell, said show executives eventually learned that Miss Gellar was available for the final episode despite being booked at the time of the penultimate one. But by that time, the second-to-last episode had already been written and shot, and getting her into the finale “didn’t make any sense” with the plot that had been written so far.

“By the time it became a possibility, the ship had sort of sailed,” Mr. Bell said.

Perhaps, deep down, Mr. Whedon just isn’t a fan of the “Scooby-Doo” franchise. Miss Gellar portrays Daphne in two big screen “Doo” capers, including the current feature “Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.”

‘Frasier’s‘ new station

Who says women can’t be as aggressive as men in the marketplace?

Cable’s Lifetime network, long billing itself as TV for women, has snatched up exclusive cable rights to NBC’s “Frasier,” beating out bids from Turner Broadcasting, MTV Networks and fellow women’s network Oxygen, Reuters News Agency reports.

Lifetime will begin airing the sitcom in March 2006, when the local stations currently airing it lose their exclusivity.

The network scooped up “Frasier,” ending its 11-year network run this season, for about $600,000 per episode, according to sources, as well as a barter exchange that gives the program’s distributor, Paramount Domestic Television, 90 seconds of ad time per day.

Though the show is dominated by male characters, Paramount Domestic Television president John Nogawski told Reuters that “Frasier” scores well with women in both the 18 to 49 and 25 to 54 age demographics.

Another NBC favorite, “Will & Grace,” joins the Lifetime schedule in September 2005.

Providential casting

The star of NBC’s “Providence” will take a bite out of the Big Apple this fall for CBS.

Melina Kanakaredes will join Gary Sinise as the co-stars of the new “CSI” spinoff “CSI: New York,” the Associated Press reports.

The series will be spun off from an episode of “CSI: Miami” in May, the network said.

Miss Kanakaredes will portray a workaholic detective for the New York City crime unit.

“We are looking forward to creating a multidimensional character that an actress of Melina’s stature can sink her teeth into,” Anthony Zuiker, one of the executive producers of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “CSI: Miami,” and “CSI: New York,” told AP.

The new drama will premiere this fall.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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