- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 23, 2005

Stars Cash in

A host of top recording artists — ranging from Dwight Yoakam to Norah Jones to the Foo Fighters — have signed on to a CBS special paying tribute to Johnny Cash, which will air just before a biopic about his life hits theaters.

The hourlong “I Walk the Line: A Night for Johnny Cash,” will air Nov. 16, just two days before the Nov. 18 opening of “I Walk the Line.”

Along with Miss Jones, Mr. Yoakam and the Foos, the show’s superstar lineup will include U2, Brad Paisley, Sheryl Crow, Allison Krauss and Mr. Cash’s former fellow Highwayman Kris Kristofferson, Zap2it.com reports.

The movie’s stars, Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon (who portray the Man in Black and his wife, June Carter Cash) will be on hand to introduce performances, as will Dennis Quaid, who played Mr. Cash’s contemporary, Jerry Lee Lewis, in the 1989 movie “Great Balls of Fire.” Mr. Lewis will also perform on the special.

Last year, CBS aired a similar tribute special for Ray Charles shortly before the release of the movie “Ray.” That special, “Genius: A Night for Ray Charles,” featured the movie’s Oscar-winning star, Jamie Foxx, along with Quincy Jones, Mary J. Blige, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Kenny Chesney and a host of others.

Days’ gets Trumped

Real estate tycoon Donald Trump, whose “Apprentice” is getting pummeled in the ratings this season, will take a brief hiatus from reality TV for a stop today on NBC’s long-running soap “Days of Our Lives.”

Mr. Trump, appearing as himself, will swing by the fictional town of Salem to make a reference to the 40th anniversary of “Days’” Horton Foundation. The Donald’s appearance and his lip service comes as “Days” prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary next month.

The hit daytime drama, seen weekdays at 1 p.m., has notched some 10,000 episodes since its 1965 debut, reports MSNBC.com.

Mr. Trump’s appearance was taped in September, NBC said.

Foxx favors Fantasia

Speaking of Jamie Foxx, the “Ray” star is lobbying hard for Fantasia Barrino, winner of Fox’s “American Idol 3,” to fill a key and as-yet-uncast role in the big-screen adaptation of the Tony-winning musical “Dreamgirls,” according to TVGuide.com.

The show, which ran on Broadway for 1,522 performances (1981-84) , follows the rise and off-stage back-stabbing of the Dreams, a fictional female group reportedly patterned after Diana Ross and the Supremes.

Mr. Foxx, who already is attached to the project, has so far recruited singer Beyonce Knowles (to play Deena, the Diana Ross part), Tony winner Anika Noni Rose and Eddie Murphy. Miss Barrino — who appears Sunday with rapper Kanye West at George Mason University’s Patriot Center in Fairfax — would play Effie, the role made famous on stage by Jennifer Holiday.

“If Fantasia does it, it’s outta here,” Mr. Foxx says. “It’s completely in the stratosphere.”

Roman holiday

For those interested in playing catch-up, HBO is continuing the rebroadcast of its “Rome” series (which began last night) throughout the week with the first eight episodes of the epic drama.

The first three episodes (“The Stolen Eagle,” “How Titus Pullo Brought Down the Republic” and “An Owl in a Thornbush”) aired last night. Episodes four and five (“Stealing from Saturn” and “The Ram Has Touched the Wall”), can be seen tomorrow evening at 8, and episodes six through eight (“Egeria,” “Pharsalus” and “Caesarion”) air back-to-back on Friday starting at 8 p.m.

A new episode, “Utica,” debuts Sunday in “Rome’s” regular 9 p.m. time slot.

Invasion’ continues

ABC has ordered a full season pickup of its new series “Invasion,” the Hollywood Reporter notes.

The network announced Thursday it would add a “back nine” order to the 13 episodes it scheduled for the fall for a full-season pickup of 22 installments. “Invasion” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m.

“Invasion” marks the second full-season order in as many days ABC has made for new series. On Wednesday the network ordered nine additional episodes for “Commander in Chief,” seen Tuesday evenings at 9.

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

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