- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 9, 2004

Trump roast

Even the Donald might not be tough enough to stand up to this crowd.

The Friars Club, that assemblage of comics young and very old — with plenty of bile to serve — will roast Donald Trump this fall as part of the group’s annual event.

The star of “The Apprentice” will be the brunt of a full joke assault Oct. 15, the Associated Press reports.

The billionaire real-estate mogul has been everywhere lately, from his hit reality show to his announcement that he’s engaged to his longtime girlfriend, model Melania Knauss.

“I am so proud that during our centennial year the name of Donald Trump gets added to the Friars’ illustrious list of roastees,” Friars Club dean Freddie Roman said.

“Considering how hot Donald is, in every aspect of the word, this promises to be one of the largest, if not the largest roast in our 100-year history,” he added.

The only problem for the Friars Club members is where to start with their routines. Mr. Trump’s gleefully large ego might be the ripest target, but comics have been taunting him for his curious coif for months — and his predilection for supermodels is another possible target.

Previous roastees include Jerry Lewis, Billy Crystal, Rob Reiner, Johnny Carson and Hugh Hefner.

Friends’ to the end

About 51 million people bid farewell to their Thursday night “Friends” last week.

Thursday’s final original episode featuring the six close pals proved the second-most watched show of the year, following the recent Super Bowl, the Associated Press reports citing preliminary data from Nielsen Media Research.

That was roughly two-thirds of the audience gathered by the “Cheers” and “Seinfeld” finales, but along the lines of what NBC had been predicting.

Nielsen estimated that just under 36 million people warmed up for the last episode by watching highlights of the past 10 seasons during the hour preceding Thursday’s finale.

Television’s most popular series finale ever remains the last “M*A*S*H” installment, which was seen by 105 million viewers in 1983, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Goodbye, ‘Parkers’

Not every long-running sitcom gets a “Friends”-size send-off.

UPN’s “The Parkers” ends its four-year run tonight at 8 with the potential to wrap up a long-simmering relationship.

On tonight’s finale, the professor (Dorien Wilson) finally declares his love for Nikki (Mo’Nique), but he’s a bit late. She’s about to marry someone else.

Bochco’s Iraq story

The country’s military efforts in Iraq pack enough drama to fill the front pages of newspapers each day. Now, TV producer Steven Bochco wants to brings some of that drama to the small screen.

The co-creator of landmark cop shows “Hill Street Blues” and “NYPD Blue” has signed a deal to develop a war drama set in Iraq for the FX cable network, Reuters News Agency reports.

The untitled hourlong show would mark Mr. Bochco’s first series for a basic cable network.

The Emmy-winning producer is teaming up with feature screenwriter Chris Gerolmo (“Mississippi Burning”) to develop the script.

Details of the projected series were sketchy. But entertainment trade paper Daily Variety reported the network is looking for a weekly character-driven contemporary drama that explores the lives of men and women in uniform both on and off the battlefield.

Given Mr. Bochco’s gritty portrayals of police work on his two police hits, his latest project promises to deliver an unflinching depiction of modern combat.

It’s also unclear how unbiased such a show will be, given how anti-war, anti-Bush most Hollywood denizens are these days.

For now, FX has ordered a script but has not yet given approval for production of the series, according to a spokeswoman for Mr. Bochco. The producer’s other credits include “L.A. Law,” “Doogie Howser, M.D.” and “City of Angels.”

FX is part of the Fox Entertainment Group Inc., which is controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Ltd.

Viva Las Leno

Jay Leno takes his middle-America friendly humor to Sin City this week.

“The Tonight Show” sets up camp in Las Vegas for the first time in seven years, bringing out guests such as Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, Dana Carvey — and new Vegas mainstay, Celine Dion.

Tonight, Mr. Leno welcomes “American Idol” judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, District native Wanda Sykes and pop music superstar Usher.

The shows will originate from the Paris Hotel and Casino.

Smart celebrities

The Beltway crowd puts its money where its politics are this week on “Jeopardy.”

The brainy quiz show brings out some key District players to duke it out on the trivia battleground.

Tonight’s episode, airing at 7:30 on WJLA-TV, pits CNN’s Tucker Carlson against journalist Bob Woodward and commentator Peggy Noonan.

Later episodes this week will feature CNN’s Anderson Cooper, the NAACP’s Kweisi Mfume and former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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