- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 20, 2005

Grant’s wish list

NBC is turning to Christian music darling Amy Grant to make some reality show wishes come true.

The network is producing a reality show pilot, “Three Wishes,” which features the Grammy-winning singer spreading joy to a few small-town dwellers.

This doesn’t sound like the typical reality show fodder, where single people’s hearts are mercilessly crushed or adrenaline junkies try to swallow all manner of insects. Perhaps someone at ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” told NBC there’s gold in respecting, not humiliating, reality show contestants.

The new show’s “wishes” will range from helping homeless families to letting people live out their sports fantasies, according to the network.

NBC renews four

NBC is renewing four shows for the fall, including an old favorite, “The West Wing,” and the struggling “Friends” spinoff “Joey,” Associated Press reports.

Also getting the thumbs up are “Crossing Jordan” and “Las Vegas.”

The peacock network doesn’t have many hits to renew these days, hence the pickup of Matt LeBlanc’s “Friends”-less sitcom. NBC posted an unprecedented fourth-place finish in the February sweeps period, a key ratings measurement marker.

“Joey” enjoyed an endless stream of hype last fall but has struggled creatively and remains ratings-challenged.

A new ‘Affair’

“A Current Affair,” the tabloid news show once hosted by District native Maury Povich, is coming back to TV.

The show, known for its everyman muckraking and tabloid hyperbole, returns tonight with an emphasis on noncelebrity news. The show will air weeknights at 11 on Fox 5.

The updated “Affair” is hosted by Tim Green, a former Atlanta Falcons linebacker, attorney and contributor to Fox Sports. Among the show’s correspondents are Arthel Neville (CNN, Fox News) and legal expert Michel James Bryant, formerly of the syndicated entertainment show, “Extra.”

“A Current Affair” initially ran from 1986 to 1996 and helped pave the way for a slew of syndicated newsmagazine shows, including “Inside Edition” and “Hard Copy.”

‘Sixteen’ hits home

Oscar winner Mercedes Ruehl and Tony winner Jane Krakowski are teaming up for a new Lifetime feature about a too-young mother and her road to responsibility.

“Mom at Sixteen” follows a high schooler whose life is dramatically changed when she becomes pregnant. Miss Ruehl plays her mother, who helps out initially by saying the baby is hers, and Miss Krakowski is on hand as a counselor to help the family reach key decisions.

The film — airing at 9 tonight on the cable network — deals with teenage sex, adoption and the seemingly ubiquitous “friends with benefits” trend.

More Martha

Cybill Shepherd may soon be outfitted with a new prison-made poncho.

CBS is planning a TV movie based on the domestic diva turned inmate Martha Stewart, who donned the now-famous garment went she was released from jail earlier this month, Associated Press reports.

Miss Shepherd previously portrayed Stewart in NBC’s campy 2003 biopic “Martha, Inc.: The Story of Martha Stewart” (based on the best-selling biography by Christopher Byron) and could reprise the role for CBS — although the Los Angeles Times reports a firm casting decision has yet to be made.

The CBS film would cover the last six years of Stewart’s life — and we’re certain extra attention will be paid to her recent imprisonment for lying about a stock sale. The movie will draw from news in the public domain and from trial records.

Currently under house arrest, Stewart was convicted in March 2004 of lying to federal officials about her sale of nearly 4,000 shares of ImClone Systems Inc. stock the day before a negative government ruling about an ImClone cancer drug. She was released from a federal women’s prison in Alderson, W.Va., on March 4 after serving a five-month sentence. The 63-year-old celebrity homemaker is now serving the second half of her sentence at her Westchester County estate in New York.

Filming on the as-yet untitled CBS project — which will chronicle the time period from Stewart’s Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia going public on the New York Stock Exchange through the day of her prison release — begins March 28 in Toronto, executive producer Tom Patricia told Associated Press.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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