- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 14, 2004

Hopper’s new ride

“Easy Rider” is parking his counter-culture cred in TV land.

Dennis Hopper has signed up for a new situation comedy on NBC, Reuters News Agency reports.

The 1960s truly are over.

The new show, a co-production with Matt LeBlanc’s WBTV-based Fort Hill Prods., has received a script commitment from the network.

The untitled comedy will star Mr. Hopper as a free-spirited father who lives with his grown-up daughter and her husband.

Mike Chessler and Chris Alberghini, whose series credits include “Tucker,” “The Nanny” and “Murphy Brown,” will pen the script for the show.

Fresh Seinfeld

“Seinfeld” fans who can repeat every line of the classic show can hear fresh material from the sitcom star tonight.

Jerry Seinfeld breaks in a set of new jokes on “Late Night with David Letterman.”

The show airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on CBS.

Mr. Seinfeld has worked sporadically since leaving the sitcom world, mostly behind the stand-up microphone.

‘Design’ switcheroo

The Discovery Channel’s “Surprise by Design” gets a makeover of its own today as it begins its new season.

The show, airing weekdays at 1 and 2 p.m., adds a new co-host (L.A.-based designer Peter Gurski) and crew member (carpenter David Boyd) to help kick off its 40 fresh episodes.

Mr. Gurksi’s work includes set design for “Will & Grace” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

“Design” offers a one-day home makeover to a lucky homeowner, that’s overseen in part by family and friends.

BET’s ol’ college try

Applying to college can be even trickier than the course work itself.

So Black Entertainment Television is attempting to simplify the ordeal with a weeklong investigation of the process through its “BET Nightly News” broadcast.

“The Higher Ed Hook-Up,” a new five-part series beginning tonight at 11, will examine the crucial steps and preparation needed to enter college. The program will offer information on saving money for college, researching schools, and the right way to visit and assess a college campus.

Tomorrow’s installment looks at the new SAT exam and its impact on black students.

“Many African-Americans are out of the loop when it comes to the little things that make getting into college easier. We hope this series will raise the level of understanding for African-American students and parents and make college a fulfilling experience,” said Heather Vincent Holley, executive producer of “BET Nightly News.”

“The expertise and information that we’ll share each night will go well beyond your typical ‘how-to’ about college admissions.”

Back despite attacks

Those nasty television critics must not have as much pull as they thought.

CBS is ordering additional episodes of two lambasted shows, “Listen Up” and “Center of the Universe,” Reuters reports.

The Jason Alexander comedy “Listen Up” has received an order for nine new episodes, bringing the total to a full season of 22 installments. Likewise, “Universe,” starring John Goodman and Jean Smart, has been given an order for two additional episodes, bringing its total to 15.

The latter freshman comedy earned perhaps the worst reviews of any new fall show, but viewers found it compelling enough to keep tuning in.

Meanwhile, Comedy Central has ordered 15 more episodes of its offbeat animated series “Drawn Together,” a spoof on reality TV programs. The series, which premiered Oct. 27 to promising Nielsen numbers, will begin its second season in fourth-quarter 2005.

Elsewhere on cable, Lifetime Television shared some good news with the staffers at two of its homegrown shows. The network OK’d 13-episode pickups to “Merge” — which revolves around newlyweds — and to “Head 2 Toe,” a makeover show.

Return to ‘Everwood’

Acclaimed actor James Earl Jones returns to “Everwood” tonight, reprising his Emmy-nominated role.

Mr. Jones, who recently scored a grand performance in “On Golden Pond” at the Kennedy Center, portrays a music teacher who plays a key role in Ephram’s (Gregory Smith) choice of careers.

“Everwood,” which follows the travails of a widowed neurosurgeon played by Treat Williams and his two youngsters, airs Monday evenings at 9 on the WB.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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