- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 25, 2004

Spike snares ‘CSI:NY’?

Spike TV is enjoying so much success rebroadcasting “CSI” reruns that it’s gunning to add the franchise’s latest spinoff to its arsenal.

The network for men is close to snagging CBS’ first-year drama “CSI: NY” for a record sum nearing $1.9 million per episode, sources told Reuters News Agency.

The cable network’s deal with the series’ distributor, King World, would make “CSI: NY” the most expensive series sold into cable syndication.

The record holder is “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” which Spike TV bought for a reported $1.6 million per episode.

It’s likely that “CSI: NY” will begin airing once a week on Spike in fall 2005 and then go daily in fall 2008. This would follow the same model as “CSI: Miami,” which also was sold into cable syndication during its first year. A&E, which bought “CSI: Miami” for $1 million per episode, began airing the series last month.

“CSI: NY,” starring Gary Sinise, is the third installment in the hit “CSI” franchise, which has proven to be a ratings powerhouse across broadcast, cable and syndication.

The freshman “CSI: NY” already is winning its time slot and putting a dent in the ratings of NBC’s veteran series “Law & Order.”

The record price tag reflects not only the vitality of the franchise, but also the nature of “CSI” episodes, which feature self-contained story lines that can air out of sequence in syndication.

Dysfunctional ‘Rockwell’

Comedian Christopher Titus, best known for his scabrous Fox sitcom based loosely on his dysfunctional family, is going back to the well for his latest TV special.

“Christopher Titus: Norman Rockwell is Bleeding,” airing at 9 p.m. tonight on Showtime, revisits Mr. Titus’ childhood.

Viewers can be thankful they didn’t have to endure an alcoholic, abusive dad and suicidal mother, as Mr. Titus did, but it did give him plenty of darkly comic inspiration.

The special was taped live at UCLA’s Freud Playhouse in Westwood, Calif.

Innocent ‘Makeover’

Not everyone participating in “Extreme Makeover” has shallow reasons for going under the knife.

An upcoming episode of the ABC reality drama will feature a wrongfully convicted man once known as the “snaggletooth killer” fixing the facial feature that landed him on death row, Reuters News Agency reports.

Ray Krone, 47, was convicted twice and spent more than 10 years in prison — including four on death row — for the 1991 killing of a woman who worked at a bar where he often played darts in Phoenix.

His convictions, in 1992 and at a 1996 retrial, hinged on experts who testified that an impression of his teeth taken shortly after the murder matched bite marks found on the 36-year-old victim’s body.

Only much later did DNA evidence emerge, clearing Mr. Krone of the murder and pointing to another man, already in prison, as the culprit.

Lou Gorfain, executive producer of “Extreme Makeover,” told Reuters that Mr. Krone most wanted to change his teeth to eradicate the feature associated with his years of incarceration.

“His smile was an indictment,” Mr. Gorfain said.

Mr. Krone was selected as “someone whose looks really affected his life and a candidate who deserved a makeover,” Mr. Gorfain said. “We look for candidates who have great back stories, and his is more than a story; it’s a novel.”

In 2002, Mr. Krone became the 100th death row inmate exonerated and freed since capital punishment was reinstated in the United States in 1976, according to the Innocence Project.

Before his arrest, Mr. Krone served as a postal worker and had no criminal record.

Mr. Krone, who now lives in Dover Township, Pa., will recover at the show’s Makeover Mansion in Los Angeles while awaiting the tentative Feb. 3 air date, series co-executive producer Julie Loughlin said.

Dangerfield’s voice endures

Pop-eyed comic Rodney Dangerfield may be gone, but we can still hear his croaky pipes in a new episode of the Disney Channel’s “Phil of the Future.”

Mr. Dangerfield contributes the voice of a surly canine named Mad Max in this weekend’s “Future,” airing at 6 p.m. Saturday. The episode is part of a “Future” marathon starting at noon Saturday and running until 8 p.m. At that time, the network will broadcast the Disney Channel original movie “Pixel Perfect,” which inspired the show.

“Phil of the Future” stars Ricky Ullman as a 21st-century teen living in our present.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports

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