- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 28, 2004

All hail the ‘King’

CBS’ “The King of Queens” begins its seventh season tonight with yet another skirmish between the sexes.

The season premiere finds Doug (Kevin James) trying to earn brownie points with Carrie (Leah Remini) by taking her to a “minimalist spa.”

He hopes the trip will make his own planned trek to Las Vegas more palatable to her, but when his vacation falls through, he’s stuck listening to sleep-inducing music and getting his pores cleaned.

The show, which co-stars “Seinfeld” alum Jerry Stiller, airs at 9 p.m. on CBS.

Diggs’ new digs

Taye Diggs used to be a so-called “ugly duckling.” Just ask him.

“No one believes it, but I was kind of very thin, very insecure, big glasses,” the handsome star of UPN’s new drama “Kevin Hill” told Associated Press.

His transformation into the proverbial swan was a slow process that began when he attended a performing arts high school, the Rochester, N.Y., native says.

“There, it was great because it didn’t matter what you looked like, how much money you had, how good you were at sports. If you had [acting] talent, you were considered. So that’s where I got a little confidence going,” says Mr. Diggs, an original star of Broadway’s Pulitzer and Tony-winning musical “Rent.”

His self-esteem could get another boost if “Kevin Hill” — which features Mr. Diggs in the title role — delivers big ratings for UPN.

The show, premiering at 9 tonight, finds the star of “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” “The Best Man” and “Brown Sugar” front and center on the small screen. He plays flashy bachelor lawyer Kevin Hill, whose lifestyle takes a sharply complicated turn when he inherits Sarah, an orphaned 10-month-old.

Being a parent not only changes Hill’s private life and personal values, but also his work schedule — forcing him to downshift from a large corporation to a small legal firm staffed by women.

An hourlong drama with a black lead is a rarity on network TV, but Mr. Diggs says he tries not to think of that as added pressure. His main reason for signing on, he says, was simply because the project appealed to him.

“It’s a character with many layers and layers,” Mr. Diggs, 32, says of Kevin Hill. “There’s a reason why Kevin always has to appear to be ultrasharp. He’s obviously compensating for something … The baby is going to slowly tear him apart. He won’t be able to hold it together, and that will force him to shed that skin and look inside himself.”

Ready, set, ‘Boom’

The minds behind Spike TV know men never mind seeing things blow up. So they’ve crafted a new program featuring demolition experts blowing up structures and vehicles, Reuters News Agency reports.

Aptly titled “Boom,” the new series is the latest project from “Monster Garage” creator Thom Beers.

By comparison, the show makes Fox TV’s “The Swan” look like “Masterpiece Theater.”

Spike also has picked up “Carpocalypse,” a new reality series scheduled to premiere early next year. A Spike TV marketing executive described it as reality programing meeting “the future of smash-up derby.”

“It’s shot in high def, and it features five demolition experts who unite and take on a weekly assignment”… Dario Spina of Spike TV told Reuters. “That’s the only description I have for it.” Mr. Spina is vice president of marketing and promotions.

Mr. Spina also introduced some rough footage from the first show, which depicted the demolition of a trailer in the desert.

“Carpocalypse,” he said, follows teams “as they prepare, create and race in such bizarre events as automotive soccer, the school bus figure-eight race, blindfolded trailer racing and many others.”

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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