- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Oscars seeing red

Celebrity gawkers take note: The official Academy Awards red-carpet broadcast will be longer this year.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is boosting the duration of the red-carpet portion of its telecast from 30 minutes to a full hour to give viewers a better sense of what’s hot and what’s not as stars stroll by in their finery, Associated Press reports.

Up to 1 billion television viewers across the globe are expected to tune in to watch cinema’s greatest honors being handed out, and the traditional red-carpet fashion parade is, for many, the highlight of the evening.

ABC will air the 78th annual awards ceremony live from Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre on March 5.

The Oscars have become an annual smorgasbord of fashion that prompts a jostle among clothes and jewelry designers to get the stars to sport their designs before the phalanx of cameras that line the red carpet.

Double ‘Bubble’

Director Steven Soderbergh’s new movie, “Bubble,” bows in movie theaters nationwide tomorrow, but HDNet viewers won’t have to wait months to see it at home.

The channel will debut the film tomorrow evening at 9 as part of Mr. Soderbergh’s radical new approach to movie distribution. “Bubble,” an indie feature about three doll-factory workers whose lives take a fatal turn, is the first of six Soderbergh films to be released simultaneously in theaters, on cable television and on DVD.

The director, who won an Oscar for his 2000 film “Traffic,” has teamed with HDNet co-founder Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner to make the experiment a reality.

“Bubble” features an amateur cast and was shot on high-definition video.

The movie will be repeated at 11 p.m. tomorrow.

Stewie opens up

Stewie Griffin of “Family Guy” has plenty to say about his Fox animated series.

So it’s only natural for the tyrannical tyke to take his big mouth online.

The animated Stewie will be the virtual host of a talk show being developed strictly for the Internet later this year, Reuters news agency reports. The show will be based on familyguy.com and other News Corp.-owned Web properties catering to the young demographics that have embraced the Fox series.

“We think that the property is perfectly suited for that audience,” Fox Interactive Media President Ross Levinsohn told Reuters.

He added that the idea for the show has been embraced on Madison Avenue by potential advertisers. However, Mr. Levinsohn doesn’t expect the program to cannibalize viewing for the Fox series or other “Family” brand extensions such as DVD.

Stewie wouldn’t be the first animated character to get his own talk show; that distinction belongs to “Space Ghost Coast to Coast,” which aired on Cartoon Network.

Creating Joy

“My Name is Earl” co-star Jaime Pressly’s breakout character isn’t based on any one woman. The actress says Joy is a composite of more than a dozen Southern women.

Specifically, Miss Pressly told AP she modeled the way Joy talks from three states: a nasally tone she has heard from women in Virginia, the way she has heard some Arkansas women talk out of the side of their mouths and her own fast-talking North Carolina accent.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing her from the day I set foot on that set,” the 28-year-old actress told AP.

Her feisty character, who’s also Earl’s (Jason Lee) ex-wife, has become a hero for women, who approach Miss Pressly to show their appreciation. Joy, they note, says exactly what they would like to say.

Miss Pressly says the range she has shown with Joy, a gutsy woman who sometimes shows her insecurities, has enabled her to break down stereotypes about herself as an actress.

“They’ve never looked at me as someone who could play a vulnerable role,” she says.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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