- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 1, 2005

Couch potato fare

With summer fading fast, Labor Day weekend — an-oft neglected observance when compared to the fanfare surrounding other holidays — still manages to offer a few interesting possibilities for TV viewers who plan to stay glued to their sets.

Worth a look:

• The Michael Landon marathon: Beginning tomorrow at 6 a.m., cable’s TV Land will devote 72 hours of airtime to the late actor who starred in three hit series (“Bonanza,” 1959-1973; “Little House on the Prairie,” 1972-1984 and “Highway to Heaven,” 1984-1989) and collected multiple Emmy nominations throughout his career.

• “The Comeback” season finale: “The Comeback” (at 10:30 p.m.) — whose fate, despite its title, appears uncertain — ends its first season on HBO Sunday evening at 10:30. The show, featuring former “Friends’ ” favorite Lisa Kudrow as a self-absorbed has-been sitcom star — now willing to sacrifice her dignity for fame — has garnered critical praise but only so-so ratings for the premium cable network since its June debut.

• “In Performance at the White House — The Congressional Picnic”: Somehow, it just wouldn’t be a holiday without an assist from PBS and local flagship station WETA, Channel 26. WETA delivers in grand style with a Sunday performance showcase (8 p.m.) with President and Mrs. Bush hosting members of Congress and their families for this annual event held on the South Lawn of the executive mansion. Performers for this year’s picnic include Oscar-winner and “Partridge Family” mom Shirley Jones, Broadway and TV star Tom Wopat (of CBS’ “The Dukes of Hazzard”), opera diva Harolyn Blackwell and 16-year-old dance virtuoso Cartier Williams. With its “Broadway Americana” theme, the program will also include documentary material about the picnic and the White House South Lawn.

Back to the ‘70s

Former child sitcom stars Christopher Knight (“The Brady Bunch”) and Danny Bonaduce (“The Partridge Family”) will be headlining a pair of reality series for VH1, reports MediaWeek.

Mr. Knight will appear opposite his real-life “Surreal Life” love Adrianne Curry, an “America’s Next Top Model” winner, in “My Fair Brady,” which chronicles their relationship. Look for its debut September 11 at 9:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bonaduce, his wife, Gretchen, and their two young children will be featured in “Breaking Bonaduce,” a show about the entertainer’s descent into drug use, drinking binges, sex addiction and his recent stint in rehab. It also debuts September 11 in a 10:30 p.m. slot.

Manhattan mamas

HBO has ordered a comedy series pilot from a producer of the cable channel’s Emmy-winning suffragette movie “Iron Jawed Angels.”

According to Reuters, the as-yet untitled project follows a group of thirtysomething upper-class Manhattan women as they try to juggle motherhood with their careers, spouses and other responsibilities.

The protagonist is a married mother who is as self-assured on the job as she is insecure about being a parent to her preschooler son. She is surrounded by a variety of friends with and without children, including a stay-at-home homosexual dad.

The sitcom will begin shooting this fall in New York. No talent has been attached and HBO has declined comment. The project is from Lydia Dean Pilcher, an executive producer on “Iron Jawed Angels,” which starred Oscar-winners Hilary Swank and Anjelica Houston and premiered on HBO in February 2004. Screenwriter Becky Mode, who, along with “Angels,” has scripted various children’s programs (including HBO’s “A Little Curious”) is also attached to the project.

Crossing the pond

“The Daily Show,” Comedy Central’s award-winning fake newscast, is set to become part of the lineup on a new digital channel in the United Kingdom this fall. More4, a digital spinoff of broadcaster Channel 4, will begin next month, Reuters news agency reports.

The deal marks the first time that “The Daily Show” will be seen in its entirety outside North America (the show also airs in Canada), according to Reuters. A condensed version of the show currently airs on CNN International.

“The Daily Show” makes most of its jokes at the expense of American politicians and the news media, but More4 head Peter Dale doesn’t think the humor will be lost when it crosses the Atlantic.

“I think it’s irresistible to an audience that likes an irreverent brand of humor,” Mr. Dale tells Reuters. “It’s made for British audiences in some ways.”

“The Daily Show,” a two-time Emmy winner for outstanding variety, music or comedy show, is again vying for TV’s highest prize this year. Host Jon Stewart is also nominated for his individual performance on the show.

Compiled by Thomas Walter and Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web, staff and wire reports.

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