- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 12, 2005

Take that, O’Reilly“The Daily Show’s” Stephen Colbert is taking on those high profile news commentators spreading their views all over the cable dial.

That means you, Bill O’Reilly and Chris Matthews.

Mr. Colbert is set to star in a Comedy Central show dubbed “The Colbert Report” which will tackle the headlines from a single personality’s perspective, according to Reuters News Agency. The show will debut this fall.

“I don’t know why someone hasn’t copied ‘The Daily Show,’ ” Mr. Colbert told the New York Times. “I, personally, was eager to rip us off.”

“Daily Show” host Jon Stewart’s Busboy Productions will produce the spinoff; Mr. Stewart, Mr. Colbert and Ben Karlin will serve as executive producers.

“In the way ‘The Daily Show’ is kind of a goof on the structure of news, this is more of a goof on the cult of personality-type shows,” the New York Times quoted Mr. Stewart as saying. “It’s about a man and his forum. And by the way, he’s not doing it for himself. He’s doing it for the people. As a public service.”

Mr. Colbert is best known for his on-the-road interviews in which he asks wacky questions of real people — some famous, some not — with a very straight face. His new show will reportedly offer a similar format, although interviews will take place in the studio and will likely air unedited.

One segment of the show, titled “Worthy Opponent,” will feature Mr. Colbert debating himself.

The comic performer will still appear on “The Daily Show” but will significantly reduce his duties.

No tears for ‘Raymond’

Monday’s final episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” will seem like any other installment of the revered sitcom.

Star Ray Romano wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We don’t have a lot of loose ends to tie up,” the actor told AP Radio. “We don’t do story arcs, and we don’t have (any) cliffhangers.”

While Mr. Romano wouldn’t divulge any secrets, he promised that the ending won’t be sappy.

“The expectation is for it to have a little emotional resonance, but it won’t be overly done,” he said. “We just want it to be funny.”

The CBS show has done just that for nine seasons, and Mr. Romano and company are bowing out on their own terms.

Those who need a second dose of Mr. Romano on Monday — following the series finale at 9 p.m. — can catch “The Late Show With David Letterman” at 11:35 p.m., where he’ll be the night’s big guest.

HBO’s family affair

Cable’s HBO, known for its edgy programming, is preparing a family based sitcom.

It isn’t as values friendly as one might think. The new show is said to have an “Everybody Loves Raymond” sensibility, but also features an unrestrained level of profanity now familiar on cable, Reuters reports.

The project promises a realistic look at the life of a middle-class couple raising their daughter. It stars comedian Louis C.K., who won an Emmy as part of the writing team for HBO’s “The Chris Rock Show” in 1999.

HBO has picked up 12 episodes of the project, known as “American Dream,” bringing the total order to 13 30-minute installments, including the already-filmed pilot.

The cable biggie’s brand on the half-hour side traditionally has been synonymous with such sharp, unconventional comedies as “Sex and the City,” “The Larry Sanders Show” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

‘X’ marks the spot

Comic book fans can double their X-Men viewing pleasure tonight, assuming they have TiVo or a trusty VHS recorder.

HBO is airing “X2: X-Men United” at 8 p.m., the blockbuster sequel in which a team of military types storm our heroes’ home in a plot to demonize the mutants. Those who prefer the original X feature, however, can turn to Fox for “X-Men” (also at 8 p.m.) director Bryan Singer’s first look at Professor Xavier’s school for mutants.

Fans generally preferred the sequel over the first film, but each has its merits, particularly Hugh Jackman as the dyspeptic Wolverine.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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