- The Washington Times - Monday, November 21, 2005

The gift of Babs

Barbra Streisand fans get an early Christmas treat this week.

Five of the superstar’s earliest television specials come gift-wrapped in a new DVD box set hitting store shelves today.

“Barbra Streisand: The Television Specials,” with a list price of $60, features several shows that were seen on CBS over an eight-year span along with a 60-page booklet recalling Miss Streisand’s early career.

The set includes “My Name Is Barbra” (1965), “Color Me Barbra” (1966), “The Belle of 14th Street” (1967), “Barbra Streisand: A Happening in Central Park” (1968) and “Barbra Streisand and Other Musical Instruments” — featuring the late, great Ray Charles — from 1973.

‘Solitary’ play

Fed up with airing repeats of past reality-TV fare, the fledgling Fox Reality Channel is living up to its name by creating a series of its own, reports Reuters news agency.

The News Corp.-owned channel, which subsists largely on reruns of old shows such as “Joe Millionaire” and “My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance,” has ordered eight hourlong episodes of “Solitary,” a show on which contestants weather all sorts of tough conditions — ranging from solitary confinement to sleep deprivation and being forced to watch reality television for days on end.

OK, we made up that last challenge.

“Solitary” is expected to premiere in the first quarter of next year.

David Lyle, chief operating officer and general manager of Fox Reality, is hoping his first original effort will help establish the channel’s identity.

“We were looking for a show that kind of jumped out and maybe [went] into territory that isn’t being covered in other reality shows,” Mr. Lyle told Reuters.

He also hopes to add several more original series to the network’s schedule in 2006.

Now seen in 18 million homes, Fox Reality produces some original programming, including “Reality Remix,” but “Solitary” represents the channel’s first stand-alone effort.

A ‘Heist’ for Harris

Steve Harris, best known for his role as attorney Eugene Young on the ABC legal drama “The Practice,” will be on the wrong side of the law for his next TV project.

The actor has signed on as part of the ensemble cast of “Heist,” an NBC pilot about a team of ambitious thieves, Reuters reports.

The comedy-drama, which also stars Scottish-born actor Dougray Scott, chronicles attempts by a band of thieves to simultaneously rob three upscale jewelry stores on Beverly Hills’ famed Rodeo Drive.

Mr. Scott plays the mastermind of the operation, with Mr. Harris as his partner. Also joining the cast are Michelle Hicks and Billy Gardell. Doug Liman (“Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” “Go”) will direct the pilot and also will serve as an executive producer.

Mr. Harris most recently co-starred in the breakout hit “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” and the indie film “The Unseen,” which is making the festival circuit rounds.

Miss Hicks had a recurring role on FX’s “The Shield,” while Mr. Gardell’s series credits include CBS’ “Yes, Dear” and FX’s “Lucky.”

Daly gets real

John Daly was born to be a reality-show star. The prodigiously talented golfer has battled problems with alcohol, weight and his temper throughout his career.

“The Daly Planet,” a 13-part series for the Golf Channel beginning Jan. 18, will follow Mr. Daly’s life on and off the golf course, Associated Press reports.

The long-hitting 39-year-old pro has for years been one of the most popular golfers on the PGA tour, yet his life has seemed the stuff of fiction.

During a 1998 tournament, he shot an 18 on one hole — hitting shot after shot into a water hazard, virtually mimicking Kevin Costner’s short-tempered character in the 1996 movie “Tin Cup.” In the film, Mr. Costner plays an underdog golfer who has a chance to win the U.S. Open before stubbornly hitting balls into a pond.

“I still say they made that movie after me,” Mr. Daly said at the time.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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