- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 19, 2005

WB axes two

The WB has benched “Living With Fran” and “Blue Collar TV,” although both shows will remain in production, TVGuide.com reported yesterday.

“Twins,” the new Melanie Griffith sitcom, will take over “Fran’s” Friday slot at 9:30 p.m. Encore showings of the network’s new “Supernatural” will replace “Blue Collar” on Sunday evenings at 9 opposite ABC’s “Desperate Housewives.”

From real to reel

Ashton Kutcher isn’t letting the tabloids have all the fun. He’s producing a sitcom pilot loosely based on his relationship with Demi Moore.

The project, in development with the Fox TV network by Twentieth Century Fox Television and Mr. Kutcher’s production company, is about a younger man who marries an older woman and becomes stepdad to her children.

Casting has not been determined, and it was unknown whether Mr. Kutcher planned to star in the sitcom, Associated Press reports.

Mr. Kutcher, 27, and Miss Moore, 42, who are favorite subjects of tabloid newspapers and magazines, married last month in a ceremony attended by her ex-husband, Bruce Willis, and their three daughters.

Mr. Kutcher’s comedy pilot was being written by Holly Hester (“The Drew Carey Show”). Mr. Kutcher is among the show’s executive producers.

Blast from the past

Rick Springfield, the Grammy-winning singer, former Tiger Beat magazine mainstay and ex-“General Hospital” star, is returning to the long-running ABC soap to reprise his role as Dr. Noah Drake. According to Zap2it.com, he’s scheduled to make his first appearance Dec. 2.

“Dr. Noah Drake has always been a fan favorite, and we are so happy that the story line will allow for the character to make an exciting return to the canvas,” says Brian Frons, president of ABC Daytime.

“I guess there was a reason why they didn’t kill Noah off in the ‘80s,” Mr. Springfield, 56, says. “This should be fun. I’m looking forward to it.”

Drake’s return to the show will be triggered when he receives a call for help from Dr. Robin Scorpio (actress Kimberly McCullough), who’s treating bad boy Jason Morgan (Steve Burton) for seizures.

Mr. Springfield played Drake on “General Hospital” from 1981 to 1983, around the time that his single “Jessie’s Girl” and his album “Working Class Dog” made him a chart-topping pop star and launched thousands of schoolgirl crushes — although he was in his early 30s at the time. He left the soap to do the feature film “Hard to Hold” in 1984, then faded from most fans’ radar after the movie flopped.

Mr. Springfield returned to the concert touring circuit this year, recently wrapping a six-month tour of the United States. He also appeared on the syndicated talk show “Live With Regis and Kelly” and on CNN’s “Larry King Live.”

Tyra’s last ‘Secret’

Supermodel Tyra Banks will publicly don her designer undies one last time when she hits the “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” runway in December before ceding the catwalk to a new generation of models.

CBS and the lingerie maker have scheduled the show for Dec. 6, Zap2it.com reports.

Miss Banks, who has parlayed her catwalk success into a hit reality series (UPN’s “America’s Next Top Model”) and a budding daytime talk show, will be joined by Heidi Klum and a host of other Victoria’s Secret models showing off the company’s scanty designs. Miss Klum will be making her first runway appearance since giving birth in September, and new modeling sensations Selita Ebanks and Izabel Goulart will make their show debuts.

The Victoria’s Secret show has been a lightning rod for indecency watchdogs ever since its first airing on ABC in 2001. (It moved to CBS the following year.) Each show has generated a flood of complaints to the Federal Communications Commission, although no fines have resulted. Last year, following the Janet Jackson Super Bowl bare-breast flap, CBS and Victoria’s Secret opted not to air the special.

However, this year’s special will air at 10 p.m. — when, presumably, the audience will be mostly grown-ups.

Lost in translation

“SpongeBob SquarePants,” Nickelodeon’s hit animated children’s show, is slated to debut in Chinese households on or around Dec. 28, TVGuide.com reports.

There, the show’s title will be translated roughly to “Spongey Robert Funny Delight Sensation.”

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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