- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Commercial appeal

Ricky Gervais’ podcast is going commercial.

A New Jersey company yesterday announced that it will begin selling subscriptions to the “Ricky Gervais Show” next week, Associated Press reports.

Mr. Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the team behind the BBC’s acclaimed comedy series “The Office,” started the podcast in December. Podcasts are audio recordings that are posted online; most are free.

The 30-minute show contains much of the pair’s scatological humor. It features the duo interviewing Karl Pilkington, a producer at their old radio show, on topics such as the cognitive abilities of chimpanzees and whether vampires and ghosts exist.

Audible, based in Wayne, N.J., said it will offer two seasons of the show — one beginning Tuesday and another starting in the fall — with at least four episodes. The podcasts will cost $1.95 per episode or $6.95 per season.

White lauded

Betty White is known to millions for her roles as domestic guru Sue-Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and the clueless Rose from “The Golden Girls.”

She’s also a kindhearted benefactor to countless furry creatures.

Monday, the Los Angeles Zoo rewarded the durable sitcom star for her commitment to animals, Associated Press reports. The zoo made the multiple Emmy-winner an ambassador to the animals at a ceremony attended by about 50 people, including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

A bronze plaque will be placed next to the zoo’s gorilla exhibit, home to Miss White’s favorite animal.

Miss White joked that the honor would make her “tough to live with from now on.”

“I’m not sure what I’m going to do as ambassador except to love the animals as I have all my life,” said Miss White, who has served for more than three decades on the Morris Animal Foundation and the board of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association.

Now 84, Miss White earned six Emmys during a TV career spanning more than 50 years. She was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1995 and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Moving on

Erika Christensen of “Flightplan” and “The Upside of Anger” fame is turning to television for her next project.

The actress is joining the pilot cast of ABC’s “Six Degrees,” reports Reuters news agency, a sudsy drama about the intertwined stories of a group of strangers in New York.

Miss Christensen will next be seen in the feature “The Sisters,” an update of Chekhov’s “Three Sisters,” which also stars Maria Bello and Mary Stuart Masterson.

Casting calls

In other casting news:

• Actor Ving Rhames is taking the plunge for the latest adaptation of the DC Comics character Aquaman, Reuters reports.

The actor will co-star in the new CW network’s untitled Aquaman drama, a contemporary reinterpretation of the comic book. Mr. Rhames will play McCaffery, mentor to A.C. or Arthur Curry (aka Aquaman). Also cast in the pilot is Denise Quinones (“Smallville,” “Bad Boys II”)) as Rachel Starling, a Navy fighter pilot and potential love interest for A.C.

Mr. Rhames, a Golden Globe winner for his 1997 portrayal of boxing promoter Don King in an HBO biopic, will soon be seen in “Mission: Impossible 3” with Tom Cruise.

• Timm Sharp has landed the male lead in CBS’ “Play Nice,” a series about a brother-sister team who oversee a family-owned toy company. He next appears in the independent features “Aurora Borealis” and “Americano.” Sara Rue, from ABC’s short-lived “Less Than Perfect,” has been tapped to play the sister.

• Rachel Boston, best known for her role as Beth on NBC’s “American Dreams,” will play a lead in CBS’ untitled Joe Port/Joe Wiseman project. The new show revolves around a young couple who move to her character’s hometown in Michigan and their dealings with her complicated extended family.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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