- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The ‘Lord’s‘ work

HBO debuts a new feature film this weekend looking at the true story of two men who overcame racial bigotry to revolutionize heart surgery.

“Something the Lord Made,” debuting at 9 p.m. Sunday, stars Alan Rickman (the “Harry Potter” films) as Dr. Alfred Blalock, the wealthy chief of surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Mos Def (“The Italian Job,” “Monster’s Ball”) as Vivien Thomas, a gifted black carpenter-turned-lab-technician at the prestigious Baltimore institution. Their collaborations led to significant advancements for heart patients in 1944.

The pair began working together at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville, Tenn., during the segregated 1930s, a time when significant social barriers and the nation’s harsh economic woes from the Great Depression prevented Mr. Thomas from attending medical school. At Johns Hopkins, the duo pioneered the field of heart surgery with a procedure to alleviate the tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart defect, known in layman’s terms as “blue baby syndrome.”

Dr. Blalock died in 1964; Mr. Thomas (who later would receive an honorary doctor of laws degree from Johns Hopkins University) died in 1985.

“Something,” which was filmed in Baltimore and is based on an August 1989 article in Washingtonian magazine, also stars Charles S. Dutton, Mary Stuart Masterson, Kyra Sedgwick and Gabrielle Union.

CBS rides high

CBS’ unstoppable “CSI” franchise led the network to the top spot in the final week of May sweeps, Associated Press reports.

Fox slipped past NBC into second place for the week, as “American Idol” headed toward yesterday’s finale and “That ‘70s Show” had a strong season finale, Nielsen Media Research said.

“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” drew 25.4 million viewers to lead the pack. The May 17 episode of “CSI: Miami,” which set up the second New York-based spinoff that will air in the fall, was seen by 23.1 million people.

The Daytime Emmy Awards ceremony, which has dropped in popularity over the years, was seen by 8.4 million people on NBC.

For the week, CBS averaged 12.1 million viewers (8.0 rating, 14 share). Fox had 10.1 million viewers (6.4, 11) and dominated among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic sought by advertisers. NBC had 9.6 million (6.3, 11), ABC had 8.5 million (5.5, 9), the WB had 3.7 million (2.5, 4), UPN had 2.7 million (1.9, 3), and Pax TV had 780,000 (0.5, 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 May 17 through 23, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 25.4 million; “American Idol” (Tuesday), Fox, 23.6 million; “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 23.1 million; “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 22.4 million; “Without a Trace,” CBS, 19.6 million.

Casting recalls

Just because a television pilot is given the go-ahead for the upcoming season doesn’t mean the cast will remain intact.

NBC, which replaced a number of key actors on several shows — including “Hawaii,” “The MacGregors” and “D.O.T.S.” — before or during production on the pilots, is busy again, going back to the drawing board on several characters, Reuters News Agency reports.

Eric Lively, one of the stars of the comedy “The Men’s Room,” which received a midseason order, has been given a pink slip along with Kal Penn, star of the midseason hopeful “Nearly Nirvana” (formerly dubbed “Nevermind Nirvana”).

Meanwhile, Rebecca De Mornay’s character on ABC’s “The Practice” is not expected to return to David E. Kelley’s spinoff “The Practice: Fleet Street” as initially planned.

Over at CBS, Jason Alexander’s new sitcom “Listen Up” is looking for a new actress to play his wife. The role of Method Man’s feisty mother in the upcoming Fox series “Method & Red” also was recast, with Anna Maria Horsford (NBC’s “Amen”) stepping in for Ella Joyce (Fox’s “Roc”) after the pilot was shot.

Parker’s Gap appeal

Carrie Bradshaw wouldn’t be caught near a Gap store, but actress Sarah Jessica Parker doesn’t seem to mind.

Miss Parker, who set fashion trends on her HBO hit “Sex and the City,” is trading in Prada couture for Gap khakis and T-shirts, Associated Press reports.

The 39-year-old actress signed on to represent Gap through year’s end, company officials said this week. She will appear in print and TV ads during the fall marketing campaign.

The collaboration is the first time Gap has partnered with a celebrity for more than a one-time appearance in a print or TV ad.

Miss Parker played columnist (and clotheshorse) Carrie Bradshaw on “Sex,” which ended its run this year after six seasons. Carrie’s chameleonlike style was mimicked by women all over the country.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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