- The Washington Times - Monday, March 29, 2004

Wild ‘Bus’ ride

A standoff in 2000 between a desperate hijacker and the Rio de Janeiro police became a searing indictment of the media in the hands of filmmaker Jose Padilha.

“Bus 174,” the celebrated documentary that recalls the hostage drama through footage captured by the local media, drew raves during its U.S. release last year.

The film, making its cable debut tonight on Cinemax, recounts the standoff but also takes a broader perspective, detailing the horrific conditions that led Sandro do Nascimento to his life of crime. “Bus 174” also takes an unflattering look at Brazil’s penal system and disregard for youth offenders.

It airs at 6 p.m.

Gotti reality check

A new reality show promises to combine the interpersonal politics of “The Sopranos” with the moxie of a real-life mob daughter.

Victoria Gotti, described as a cross between Carmela Soprano and Danielle Steele, will be the subject of a new TV series on the A&E; Network, Associated Press reports.

The cable channel said it was beginning production on “Growing Up Gotti,” a new series featuring Miss Gotti, an author and daughter of the late mob boss John Gotti.

Miss Gotti and her three sons “will form the unpredictable, sometimes humorous and often startling centerpiece to the series,” the network said.

“We are thrilled to get this unbelievable access to the intimate life of a very public person and that of her family,” Robert Debitetto, A&E;’s senior vice president of programming, told AP.

No airdate has been given for the series.

Stand-up brothers

If golf, cooking and weather can have channels of their own, why not stand-up comedy?

Two brothers who made a fortune with an online brokerage firm in the crazed dot-com boom are pitching a stand-up comedy channel, AP reports.

Joseph and Avi Fox, who founded Web Street Inc. in 1996 and sold it to E-Trade Financial Corp. for $45 million in 2001, told AP that Stand-Up Comedy Television will be a Chicago-based, 24-hour national cable network targeting baby boomers.

SCTV, no relation to the Canadian-based sketch show, will air vintage comedy shows, movies and classic stand-up routines in addition to original stand-up comedy programming produced at its studio stages in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Phoenix.

“There could be no better place from which to launch a national comedy channel than Chicago, with its rich comedic heritage,” the 37-year-old Joseph Fox told AP.

He added that no comedy channel fares well with viewers older than 30.

The brothers are teaming with former Web Street executives Jonathan Rosenberg and Stuart Cohn in the venture, which is expected to begin in January.

Orbach’s swan song?

The “Law & Order” cast-go-round could be cranking up again.

Sources told Reuters News Agency that “L&O;” mainstay Jerry Orbach may be calling it quits after the show wraps for the season, his 12th.

But Mr. Orbach, who plays wisecracking Detective Lennie Briscoe, may still retain his professional ties with show creator Dick Wolf — playing a role on the upcoming “Law & Order: Trial by Jury,” the fourth spinoff of the popular franchise.

As for the flagship show, there’s no word yet about a replacement for Mr. Orbach, but one scenario involves his character’s partner, Detective Ed Green (Jesse L. Martin), being promoted.

The network’s lips, for now, are sealed.

“‘Law & Order’” has a 15-year track record of Dick Wolf never commenting on casting changes during the season,” a spokesman for the show told Reuters.

Indeed, “Law & Order” has famously weathered many cast changes since its 1990 debut. Mr. Orbach is the longest-serving member of the current “Law & Order” cast members, having signed on during the show’s third season in 1992.

‘8’s‘ Cate gets beau

TVGuide Online

Katey Sagal’s “8 Simple Rules” widow may still be mourning the death of her husband (played by the late John Ritter), but that doesn’t mean other guys can’t look, right? Adam Arkin had better hope not, because beginning May 4, the former “Chicago Hope” doc will do just that as a man from Cate’s past who is eager to become a constant presence in her life.

The actor will appear in this season’s final three episodes, and word is we’ll see a lot more of him next season.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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