- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 23, 2004

Waist management

Dr. Phil, continuing his self-appointed role as the country’s obesity educator, helps a Lorton woman shed some unwanted pounds on today’s episode of his weekday help-fest.

Judith Blowe, one of Dr. Phillip McGraw’s Weight Loss Challengers, first teamed up with the good doctor in September, when she weighed 255 pounds.

She recently celebrated losing more than 60 pounds, a transformation viewers can watch at 3 p.m. today on WRC-TV (Channel 4) as part of the Weight Loss Challenge Finale.

Miss Blowe, 39, also appears on this week’s cover of TV Guide magazine along with Dr. Phil. The former Doritos addict was one of more than 7,000 applicants who submitted a three-minute video to take part in the challenge, which features 10 women and three men.

Pryor commitment

Comedian Richard Pryor is teaming up with Showtime for a new series that recalls his initial foray into show business, Reuters News Agency reports.

The show is one of six new projects on the cable network’s “to do” list.

Mr. Pryor will serve as the executive producer of “Pryor Offenses,” an updated take on his actual experience as a young comedian who is on the verge of a career breakthrough but also is dealing with a ton of personal issues.

Showtime, which has found success with such niche-oriented series as “Queer as Folk,” “Soul Food” and “The L Word,” also ordered pilots for two other comedies: “Weeds,” about a suburban mom and her daughter, and an untitled project described as a “Seinfeld”-like take on living in New York among all the uptown and downtown denizens.

On the dramatic front, “The Cell” focuses on an ex-con black Muslim recruited by the FBI to infiltrate a sleeper Islamic terrorist cell, and “Hate” is a fictionalized take on the New York Police Department’s bias unit, which handles hate crimes.

A final project, “Southie,” revolves around two ambitious bothers — one a politician and the other a gangster — from South Boston.

Fox’s year-round plan

Viewers don’t have to wait until fall to see what Fox has in store for them.

The network will kick off its new series in June, August, November and January this year — nearly every month save the traditional September start time — Associated Press reports.

The network’s upcoming season features good news regarding the smart but little-seen “Arrested Development.” The docu-comedy will return for a second season.

Fox also will shift two of its most popular dramas for the new season. “The O.C.” moves to Thursday nights in November, and “24” will shift to Monday in January.

Fox has been the most aggressive network in advocating for a year-round scheduling strategy, with new series beginning all the time instead of just in September.

That theory stems in part from the belief that viewers’ habits and expectations have changed — and in part from having Fox’s prime-time schedule pre-empted for baseball in October.

The network previously announced it was debuting five new series next month, the same time its rivals essentially shut down for reruns. They include “Method and Red,” a comedy starring rappers Method Man and Redman, and the Mark Burnett-produced reality series, “Casino.”

Viewers’ second visit to Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie’s world, “The Simple Life 2: Road Trip,” also will premiere in June.

In November, Fox will introduce “House,” described as a medical mystery series.

Three new reality series also will premiere in November.

Fox’s “The Next Great Champ” features Oscar De La Hoya trying to scope out up-and-coming boxing talent. With “The Billionaire: Branson’s Quest for the Best,” Virgin enterprises founder Richard Branson joins Donald Trump and Mark Cuban as rich guys looking to give away money on TV. “The Partner” takes a page from “The Apprentice,” matching a team of Ivy Leaguers against “street smart” lawyers looking for a job in a major firm.

In January, Fox will premiere three new dramas and three new comedies, including a sketch comedy program showcasing “Frasier” star Kelsey Grammer — who, apparently, didn’t stand in the unemployment line very long.

Meanwhile, “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane will produce a new cartoon, “American Dad,” for the network. Next summer, he’ll begin work on all-new “Family Guy” episodes. The cartoon show was canceled by Fox but enjoyed a healthy rebirth on DVD. The sales were so strong they persuaded Fox suits to reconsider their decision.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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