- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 6, 2005

Fowl play

The Rev. Al Sharpton has joined PETA in calling for a ban of fast-food chain KFC, in a new TV and radio campaign, Associated Press reports.

Mr. Sharpton is urging the black community to join the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ boycott of the franchise, the animal protection group announced Thursday.

“If KFC wants to take our money and use it to pay for sloppy practices that hurt animals, I say we send them a message that this is not going to happen,” Mr. Sharpton says in the ad.

Mr. Sharpton and PETA are seeking improvements to KFC’s practices regarding the defeathering and debeaking of chickens, as well as a halt to using growth-promoting drugs. Last June, PETA recorded footage of the alleged mistreatment of birds at a KFC supplier in West Virginia.

Final frontier?

“Star Trek’s” nearly 40 year mission could be ending this May.

UPN’s “Star Trek: Enterprise” series, the only active link to the cherished science fiction franchise, will wrap its four-year run this spring, AP reports.

The “Star Trek” prequel’s final episode will air May 13.

“Enterprise” debuted in September 2001 with Scott Bakula as Capt. Jonathan Archer and co-stars John Billingsley, Jolene Blalock, Dominic Keating and Connor Trinneer.

The series has been sold into rerun syndication in most of the country and is set to debut this fall.

Its end means that, for the first time in 18 years, no first-run “Star Trek” series will be airing. The franchise included “Star Trek” (1966-69, NBC); “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987-94, syndicated); “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” (1992-99, syndicated); “Star Trek: Voyager” (1995-2001, UPN); and “Star Trek: Enterprise.”

“Star Trek” movies also have been released over the last 20-plus years, but recent productions have drawn weak box office receipts and no new “Star Trek” film is in production — at least for now.

“We all look forward to a new chapter of this enduring franchise in the future,” said Paramount Network Television President David Stapf.

Yet with “Enterprise’s” tepid ratings and little public interest in “Trek” features, this could be the last time we see creator Gene Roddenberry’s dream for quite some time.

In praise of ‘Heroes’

WETA-TV (Channel 26) celebrates Black History Month with a look at a local “Hero.”

Willis Thomas Jr., tennis director of the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF), is spotlighted in tonight’s Hometown Heroes” segment — one of the many short features showcasing those who’ve helped better the community that will air throughout February.

The segments will run at various times and will debut just before tonight’s telecast of the “Antique Roadshow” at 8 p.m.

WETA chose Mr. Thomas for his success in combining tennis and education for at-risk youth.

During his years in the game, Mr. Thomas played junior doubles with the late tennis great Arthur Ashe, and also has coached a series of tennis stars — from Zina Garrison to Rodney Harmon.

He currently heads the Arthur Ashe Children’s Program (AACP) for at-risk youth and the WTEF Academy, an afterschool program that teaches children in grades two through eight tennis, literacy and life-skills.

AIDS: the beginning

The Sundance Channel traces the origins of the horrific AIDS crisis tonight with a provocative documentary which blames a vaccination for the disease’s worldwide reach.

“The Origin of AIDS,” making its American debut on the cable channel at 9 p.m., investigates the claim by journalist Edward Hooper that the polio vaccination given to millions of children in the Belgian Congo during the 1950s is to blame for AIDS’ global reach.

Directed by Peter Chappell and Catherine Peix, the film features testimony from ‘50s era scientists who support the theory that vaccinations played a role in the disease’s transmission.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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