- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 6, 2006

‘Ten’ times two

ABC will roll out its new four-hour, two-part “Ten Commandments” miniseries (Monday and Tuesday at 9 p.m.), but the network still plans to broadcast Cecil B. DeMille’s epic 1956 film, an annual Holy Week staple since 1973.

ABC commissioned the new version (filmed in Morocco) from producer Robert Halmi because it wanted to tell the story of the Hebrew exodus in a new way, the New York Post reports.

“It’s been 50 years since the DeMille version was made, and there has been 50 years of additional scholarly research and historical investigation into the man who was Moses,” Quinn Taylor, senior vice president of movies and miniseries for ABC, told the newspaper.

In the new “Ten,” Scottish actor and “Heist” star Dougray Scott offers a new take on Moses, bringing an honest look, warts and all, to one of the Bible’s most revered figures. Directed by Robert Dornhelm, it hits all the expected touchstones: the burning bush, the plagues, the angel of death, the pillar of fire, Pharaoh’s chariots, the golden calf and, of course, the parting of the Red Sea — which pales in comparison to Mr. DeMille’s famous sequence, notes the Web site Catholic Online (www.catholic.org).

Far from a sanitized Sunday school version, the new miniseries contains everything the commandments forbid, including adultery and murders — some quite graphic by network standards. “It’s hard to imagine Charlton Heston (Moses in the 1956 film) ordering the slaughter of fellow Hebrews (women and children included) — as recorded in the Book of Exodus —for breaking the covenant, as Scott does here,” the Catholic Online says in its review.

Still, ABC hasn’t forgotten fans of the DeMille classic, which featured more than 14,000 extras and 15,000 animals in its cast and was an Oscar contender for best picture in 1956. (It lost to “Around the World in 80 Days,” but co-star Yul Brynner, who portrayed the evil Rameses, walked off with the best actor prize for his starring role in “The King and I”).

The film will air on the network April 15 from 8 to 11:45 p.m.

New duty for Mitchell

News of Russ Mitchell’s appointment as the permanent anchor of the Sunday edition of the “CBS Evening News” took second billing to the hype surrounding Katie Couric’s move to host the network’s weekday newscast, although word of Mr. Mitchell’s new role, in fact, came earlier in the week.

Mr. Mitchell, a St. Louis native and graduate of the University of Missouri (class of 1982), had been rotating the anchorship of the Sunday newscast with Mika Brzezinski. According to Reuters, he will continue on as co-anchor of the “Saturday Early Show” and as an anchor (along with Miss Brzezinski and Thalia Assuras) of the Saturday “CBS Evening News.” He also occasionally appears on the weekday “CBS Evening News” and the network’s “The Early Show” and as a correspondent on “CBS Sunday Morning.”

Mr. Mitchell has co-anchored the “Saturday Early Show” since it began in August 1997. He was a Washington-based CBS News correspondent from 1995-99 and covered the 1996 presidential campaign. From 1993-95, he was a correspondent for the “Eye to Eye” news magazine.

Spin the ‘Wheel’

Local “Wheel of Fortune” fans hoping to compete on their favorite game show can try out tomorrow when the show’s Wheelmobile wheels into the District.

Staffers from the show’s promotions team will begin handing out applications on a first-come, first-served basis at noon at Woodrow Wilson Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Each person who attends will have the opportunity to fill out an application, have his or her name drawn at random to play a simulated version of the game, and be evaluated as a potential contestant on the show, organizers said.

Searches will take place at 1, 2:30 and 4 p.m., with each show lasting about an hour. Further information may be obtained online at www.wjla.com or www.wheeloffortune.com.

The long-running “Wheel of Fortune” airs Monday through Saturday, at 7 p.m. on WJLA-TV, ABC 7. aaa

Life after ‘Idol’

“American Idol” finalist and real-life Orange County resident Lisa Tucker, who was booted from Fox’s hit talent search on March 30 after drawing the lowest number of call-in votes, will guest-star as herself on the network’s “The O.C.” on April 27 — just in time to attend the senior prom at the show’s Harbor School, reports TVGuide.com.

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

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