- The Washington Times - Monday, March 14, 2005

Rock in a hard place

We’ll soon learn why comic Chris Rock is always so agitated.

“Everybody Hates Chris,” a comedy pilot inspired by Mr. Rock’s childhood experiences, has gotten a green light from UPN, according to Reuters News Agency.

The show will be a coming-of-age tale seen through the eyes of the eldest of three children in a strict family. The main character attends a predominantly white school in 1980s Brooklyn. Mr. Rock will narrate the single-camera pilot, which originally was developed as a pilot for Fox last season.

Elsewhere, Spike TV has discussed bringing another caustic comic’s early days to TV. Radio shock jock Howard Stern is working with the cable network to produce “Howard Stern: The Teenage Years,” an animated series for the male-targeted network.

Pauley’ axed

The news is grim for former news anchor Jane Pauley.

Her syndicated talker, “The Jane Pauley Show,” will wrap its first and final season next month, Reuters reports.

NBC Universal Television Distribution confirmed that the daytime talk show hosted by the former “Today” and “Dateline NBC” anchor will end production by the middle of April, though original episodes will continue to run through early September.

“The Jane Pauley Show” debuted to mediocre ratings and was never able to build momentum with daytime viewers.

The show debuted in late August on the heels of NBC’s Summer Olympics coverage.

‘Idol’ second thoughts

Every “American Idol” crooner dreams of surviving the brutal competition to become the favorite of the three judges and the American public.

Apparently, that allure wasn’t enough for “Idol” contestant Mario Vazquez.

Citing “personal issues,” the singer withdrew from the talent competition Sunday, Associated Press reports.

Fox, in turn, called in Nikko Smith — the son of baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith — as backup.

Fox bumped Mr. Smith into Mr. Vazquez’s spot because he received more votes than Manassas native Travis Tucker when both were voted off Wednesday, the network said.

Now, viewers of the No. 1-rated series will get a chance to reconsider their votes as Mr. Smith and the other 11 finalists perform tonight at 8. The show airs live to viewers on the East Coast and is tape-delayed for the West Coast.

Mr. Vazquez, 27, had been picked by many fans and three fellow finalists as a favorite to win the competition.

He told TV Guide’s Web site that he dropped out to “take care of some personal issues with my family in New York. And with ‘Idol’ being a live show, it just wouldn’t have worked out schedulewise.”

Mr. Vazquez is not the first to leave “Idol” unexpectedly, though few have done so willingly. Last year, George Huff was called back to Los Angeles when contestant Donnie Williams was cited for driving under the influence. In 2003, three contestants were dropped by Fox — two for failing to disclose arrest records and another for posing on an adult-oriented Web site.

Feds: No indecency here

Federal regulators yesterday ruled that there was nothing indecent about a steamy introductory segment to ABC’s “Monday Night Football” featuring actress Nicollette Sheridan jumping into the arms of Terrell Owens.

The segment, which aired in November, showed Miss Sheridan in a locker room wearing only a towel and provocatively asking the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver to skip the game for her. She then dropped the towel and leapt into Mr. Owens’ arms.

Only Miss Sheridan’s upper back was exposed, and no foul language was used.

The network, Mr. Owens and the Eagles all apologized. The Federal Communications Commission opened an investigation after receiving many complaints. However, the five-member panel unanimously ruled the segment didn’t violate federal indecency standards, Associated Press reports.

Federal law bars nonsatellite radio stations and noncable television channels from airing certain references to sexual and excretory functions between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., when children are most likely tuning in.

Though the federal indecency statute has been on the books for many years, the FCC has considerably boosted enforcement in the past 18 months. The watershed event came in February 2004 when Janet Jackson’s right breast was exposed briefly during the Super Bowl halftime show.

The FCC wound up proposing a $550,000 fine against CBS, which broadcast the Super Bowl. The network is appealing. After the Jackson mishap, some networks began using a broadcast delay on live programs to catch any offensive material before it aired.

‘Beauty’ revealed

Black Entertainment Television tonight will offer a peek at “Beauty Shop,” the upcoming “Barbershop” spinoff, for those who can’t wait for its March 30 release.

The film, set up during last year’s “Barbershop 2,” finds Gina (Queen Latifah) moving to Atlanta to work in a new beauty parlor. When she gets fed up with its egotistical owner (Kevin Bacon), she decides to open her own competing salon.

The “Beauty Shop” sneak-peek will air at 7:30 p.m.

Compiled by Christian Toto from Web and wire reports.

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