- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Stern says goodbye

The star of radio’s “The Howard Stern Show” isn’t just saying goodbye to terrestrial radio, he’s also signing off from cable’s E! Entertainment Television.

The raunchy show’s last original episodes will air next month, ending an 11-year run of porn stars, amputee beauty pageants and Mr. Stern’s various “Wack Pack” members, Reuters News Agency reports.

After taping more than 2,000 episodes of his daily radio broadcast, the nationally syndicated radio personality is looking for a new television home, with sources indicating Spike TV is at the negotiating table.

Officials at the Viacom-owned cable channel declined comment.

Mr. Stern will tape his final episode for E! July 8, less than half a year before he’s scheduled to leave terrestrial radio for Sirius Satellite Radio. E! retains rights to air library episodes of “Stern,” its highest-rated program, which will continue in its regular late-night slots beginning July 11.

Spike TV could be a potential home for Mr. Stern, given that its programing mix is targeted toward the young male audience he has lured throughout his career. The self-proclaimed king of all media already has a cartoon series based on his early years in development at the channel, but Spike’s initial stab at an animated late-night programming block flopped last year.

The E! broadcasts judiciously edited Mr. Stern’s shows for public consumption. Yet it’s unclear how Spike or any other traditional cable outlet would handle Mr. Stern’s even raunchier work on the unregulated Sirius airwaves.

A racier version of Mr. Stern’s show could find a home on premium cable, but HBO has discontinued its discussions with Mr. Stern, according to sources.

Representatives for Mr. Stern could not be reached by Reuters for comment.

Listen to Paris

Who says mother knows best? Not Kathy Hilton, who turned to her famous daughter, Paris, for advice before embarking on her own reality series, “I Want to Be a Hilton,” Associated Press reports.

Paris Hilton, star of Fox’s “The Simple Life,” had this to say: “Be very careful not to look in the camera. Always be camera-ready. And don’t trust the producers,” her mother told AP.

Mrs. Hilton says her daughter laughed when reminded that her father, real estate entrepreneur Rick Hilton, is one of the show’s producers.

“I just told her to always know the camera’s there,” Paris Hilton recently told reporters, according to AP Radio. “And not say anything bad because there’s a microphone on you. And just to be yourself.”

On “I Want to Be a Hilton,” which debuted Tuesday on NBC, Kathy Hilton guides 14 young contestants through a variety of weekly challenges in the New York social scene, ranging from art and culture to beauty and fashion.

The winner will receive a $200,000 trust fund.

Kathy Hilton says she jumped at the chance to host her own reality TV show.

“I didn’t even think about it. Why not? When I just heard all these fun things that I can do and [where I can] take these people. That’s all I really thought about, and then I thought, ‘Ooh, I’ve gotten myself into this, haven’t I?’” she told AP.

Papal miniseries

The life and times of the late Pope John Paul II will be the subject of a forthcoming miniseries on CBS, according to E! Online.

The project likely will air next year, possibly during fall sweeps. It will chronicle the rise of the Polish-born Karol Wojtyla, from his youthful activism through his 26-year reign as pontiff.

CBS executives already have secured the Vatican’s approval for the miniseries, and principal photography is expected to begin this summer in Rome. No casting decisions have been made.

“We’re really doing this on a large scale,” Bela Bajaria, CBS’ senior vice president for movies and miniseries, told the Hollywood Reporter. “It’s a fascinating story.”

Religious programming is making a comeback, to judge from the forthcoming pope project, NBC’s critically acclaimed miniseries “Revelations” and the blockbuster success of the feature film “The Passion of the Christ.”

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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