- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 6, 2006

Rocky family values

“Remember … the first time mom posed for Playboy, when the U.S. Postal Service decided to put dad on a stamp, the feeling in the pit of your stomach when mom told you that she might have ended up with Hugh Hefner instead of dad?”

That’s from one of the most clever press releases making the rounds this summer, promoting A&E;’s new summer reality series,”Gene Simmons Family Jewels.” The show premieres tonight at 10.

Gene Simmons is a co-founder of rock band Kiss. With former Playboy Playmate Shannon Tweed, he has two children, 17-year-old Nick and 14-year-old Sophie. The new series gives viewers a glimpse into their very untraditional family life.

Mr. Simmons and Miss Tweed have been together for 22 years. “You call it happily unmarried,” son Nick says to his father in the first episode. “Mom calls it waiting.”

Miss Tweed isn’t happy when she hears that a fan accosted Mr. Simmons in Las Vegas and dragged him to her wedding as a surprise for her fiance. “You go to a stranger’s wedding and I don’t get a wedding?” she asks him.

She gets her revenge by planning an “ambush wedding,” complete with rabbi. (Mr. Simmons is the son of a Holocaust survivor.) But, will the self-described “alpha male” finally commit to the mother of his children?

Mr. Simmons and Miss Tweed’s children seem surprisingly down-to-earth and well-adjusted given their unusual home life.

Kiss fans might be surprised to see their idol cleaning the kitty litter and doing the laundry a day after attending the opening of Hooters Las Vegas. Mr. Simmons’ multifaceted personality raises “Gene Simmons Family Jewels” a bit higher than the usual banal reality fare.

Compiled by Kelly Jane Torrance from staff, wire and Web reports.

CBS’ Titanic change

The CBS Evening News is not only getting a new host next month. It’s getting a new soundtrack, too.

Oscar-winning composer James Horner, who wrote the music for films such as “Titanic,” “Braveheart” and “Apollo 13,” will compose new music for the news program, Cynopsis reports. The music will eventually be heard on all of the CBS News program.

New host Katie Couric, along with the new music and a new set, arrives on the show Sept. 5.

Sci-fi masters

ABC has signed up some top talent for its upcoming anthology series “Masters of Science Fiction.”

Reuters news agency reports that Judy Davis (“Husbands and Wives”), Sam Waterston (“Law and Order”), Malcolm McDowell (“A Clockwork Orange”), and James Cromwell (“L.A. Confidential”) are among the actors who have agreed to star in installments of the six-episode series.

The hour-long episodes will be based on short stories by some of sci-fi’s top writers, reportedly including Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison and Robert Heinlein. Physicist Stephen Hawking, author of “A Brief History of Time,” will introduce each episode of the show, which is to be filmed in Vancouver, Canada, and will air during the 2006-07 season.

Costanza on ‘Chris’

Jason Alexander will work on “Everybody Hates Chris” next season, both in front of and behind the camera.

Mr. Alexander, best known as George Costanza on “Seinfeld,” will play the principal of Corleone Junior High on two episodes of the sitcom and will direct a third, Associated Press reports. Air dates have yet to be announced.

In one episode, Mr. Alexander in his guise as Principal Edwards makes Chris (Tyler Williams) confront a bully. In another, Chris and the principal bond while waiting at school for a snowstorm to lift.

Whoopi Goldberg was previously announced as a guest star for the comedy’s second season. She will play a new next-door neighbor for Chris’ family.

Chris Rock’s UPN sitcom, based on the comedian’s childhood in Brooklyn, survived the merger of that network with WB. It is set to premiere on the resulting new network, The CW, on Oct. 1.

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