- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 14, 2005

BBC’s gain

A veteran TV producer responsible for bringing “Roseanne” and “The Cosby Show” to the public is going across the pond for her future shows, Reuters News Agency reports.

The BBC has signed a first-look development deal with Caryn Mandabach, who left independent production outfit Carsey-Werner-Mandabach in August. She will set up a British-based company as part of the bargain.

The agreement calls for her to develop five comedy scripts for the BBC. One is already in development with writer Simon Nye, whose sitcom “Men Behaving Badly” was unsuccessfully adapted by CWM — now known as Carsey-Werner — as an NBC sitcom in 1996.

“I have loved British comedy for as long as I can remember,” Miss Mandabach told Reuters. “I dare say that the deal is spectacular because it shows such a faith in me. I’m truly humbled.”

The deal is also the first for an American producer with the BBC since the British public broadcaster agreed last year to raise its independent production quota. As mandated by the agreement, Miss Mandabach retains ownership of any resulting projects and formats.

Miss Mandabach has had a long-standing relationship with the British TV industry dating to her first U.S. project, the short-lived 1983 ABC sitcom “Oh Madeline,” a weak adaptation of the BBC series “Pig in the Middle” starring the late Madeline Kahn.

The TV producer isn’t completely severing ties to her homeland. She continues to stay busy in the United States, with projects in development at HBO and FX.

Simmons’ ‘School’

When it comes to rock music, we all could learn a little from Kiss’ tongue-wagging bass player Gene Simmons.

So hopes VH1, which is producing a six-episode series dubbed “Rock School” to be led by Mr. Simmons, according to E! Online.

The reality series is inspired by the hit movie “School of Rock,” according to Daily Variety.

That movie starred Jack Black as the headbanging teacher helping mold a group of classically trained children.

The new series lets Mr. Simmons offer lessons in everything from applying demon makeup to covering such Kiss hits as “Rock and Roll All Night.”

“Rock School” already held its first classes in England, where Mr. Simmons participated in a British version of the show.

The American show will tweak those episodes and add footage of Kiss in action. No word whether Mr. Simmons’ fellow Kiss mates Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley or Peter Criss might be making any cameos.

“Rock School” should bow either in late spring or early summer, according to E! Online.

Dolly visits Reba

Tonight’s “Reba” finds the plucky singer-turned-sitcom-star trading barbs with country legend Dolly Parton.

“Reba,” which airs at 9 p.m. on the WB, features Miss Parton playing a top-notch real estate agent looking to interview Miss McEntire for a job.

Things get complicated when Miss Parton’s character arrives at Miss McEntire’s home for a surprise interview.

Compiled by Christian Toto from wire and Web reports.

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