- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 8, 2005

Boob-tube ‘Blade’

Spike TV is turning the popular “Blade” film franchise into a regular series.

The Marvel superhero, played on the big screen by Wesley Snipes, will be the focus of the new show. It will be executive produced by David Goyer, who directed “Blade: Trinity.”

The show is set to debut sometime next year, but no casting decisions have been made.

“Blade is a great movie franchise with an established brand that men already recognize and identify with,” says Spike TV President Doug Herzog.

“Blade” centers on a half man/half vampire hero who battles an underground world of blood suckers who want to wipe out humanity.

The three “Blade” films have earned more than $400 million worldwide to date, Spike TV says.

A sweet Diddy deal

MTV is expanding its ties with Sean “P. Diddy” Combs — the brains behind its “Making the Band” franchise — for everything from developing and consulting to possibly appearing on shows, Reuters News Agency reports.

“It’s a big step, my first TV executive-producer deal,” the music mogul said of the deal, which also involves his company, Bad Boy Entertainment. “It gives me a chance to create content, but it also doesn’t limit me to do things outside.”

Mr. Combs has been working with the network since 1994 through music videos and special events, including the Vote or Die registration drive during last year’s presidential race.

“We’ve been there for each other throughout the years. We’ve been like a family,” Mr. Combs told Reuters.

In announcing the deal, MTV noted the success and high ratings of the new season of “Band,” which features Mr. Combs creating an all-girl music group.

“P. Diddy is at the forefront of music, fashion, film, TV and entertainment in general, and he has been an integral part of MTV’s success through the years,” said Brian Graden, president of entertainment at MTV Networks Music.

Matthew’s Evel ways

Actor Matthew McConaughey recalls that as a child, he used to attempt to perform the stunts that made motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel a household name.

However, he performed them on his bicycle.

“My middle brother, Pat, would jump and get a lot of air, and they’d call him Big Knievel. Then I’d jump and only get a little air, and they’d call me Little Knievel,” Mr. McConaughey told Associated Press.

These days the actor is more intrigued by Mr. Knievel’s life beyond the stunts, a subject he will explore as host of “Absolute Evel: The Evel Knievel Story,” airing May 29 on the History Channel. He’s also planning to star as the famed daredevil in a feature film.

“If your threshold for feeling alive comes from having to jump 18 Mack trucks, then daily life can be really mundane,” says Mr. McConaughey, who has been in St. Francisville, La., a community about 100 miles north of New Orleans and roughly 20 miles south of the Mississippi state line, to wrap shooting on “Absolute Evel.”

“I believe that when he was about to jump, that’s when he felt most right with the world. In between the jumps, that’s when life was tough.”

“Absolute Evel” will include footage of Mr. Knievel’s jumps covered by ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” It also will feature Mr. Knievel discussing the evolution of his career, his relationships with women, his baseball-bat beating of his former press agent, his time in jail and his relationship with his son Robbie Knievel — who’s also a motorcycle stuntman.

Lovitz lands at CBS

“Saturday Night Live” alum Jon Lovitz will host a new CBS reality series that will combine game-show elements with hidden camera work — and that’s no lie.

The show, as yet untitled, will feature the comic actor setting up unsuspecting guests in outrageous situations, Reuters reports. One proposed segment would team a contestant with a pro golfer who would offer strange advice with a little help from Mr. Lovitz. A pilot will be shot in Las Vegas this month.

Mr. Lovitz rose to fame on “SNL” with a variety of characters, including a fellow who would follow one outrageous lie upon another by proclaiming “that’s the ticket!” He now has a guest-starring role as a billionaire on NBC’s “Las Vegas” and also provided the voice for the short-lived animated show “The Critic.”

Compiled by Christian Toto from Web and wire reports.

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