- The Washington Times - Monday, July 17, 2006

Everybody loves ‘Ray’

Rachael Ray is everywhere with her Food Network shows, best-selling cookbooks and lifestyle magazine. Now, she’s adding daytime talk show hostess to her crowded resume.

The high-energy cook who shows America how to whip up inexpensive meals in 30 minutes promises her hour-long syndicated show, debuting Sept. 18, will present “can-do” advice about cooking, travel, relationships and pop culture trends.

However, don’t expect her to be bound to a couch like hosts of more conventional talk shows.

“I want to laugh and eat something in every show,” Miss Ray tells Associated Press. “It’s very important to me that everything is accessible. People love that sort of friendly advice and that sense of community when you get advice from a peer instead of an expert.”

Unlike Ellen DeGeneres, Tony Danza and Oprah Winfrey (whose Harpo Productions is a producing partner), Miss Ray’s show won’t be celebrity-driven. Instead, she expects famous guests to cook with her or play foosball. Miss Winfrey, she adds, has been “a huge and continuing influence” on her.

“She tells me to be myself,” Miss Ray says. “She doesn’t chime in or call up and say, ‘This is how you can be more like Oprah.’ She’s pretty busy with her own job.”

Besides, Miss Ray couldn’t change her outgoing ways.

“We’re talkers in my family. We’re very loud, talkative, volatile people,” she says. “I got a big mouth. My husband (lawyer and musician John Cusimano) is a lot like me. He doesn’t bruise easily.”

Her show (which will air locally on Fox 5 WTTG) has been picked up by stations nationwide, said Terry Wood, president of creative affairs for King World and CBS Paramount Domestic Television.

Miss Ray knows what she does and doesn’t want to try on her own show.

“I’m really tired of seeing makeovers and date things and everyone is 20,” she says, explaining that she recently taped a segment on seniors dating. “I want to go from another angle. I want old and young to want to watch the show. I want it to be fun and interactive for all ages.”

So, with all her traveling, cooking and eating, how does Miss Ray manage her weight?

“I don’t,” she says with a laugh. “I buy jeans with stretch. Everything I have has stretch in it. I haven’t known my weight since I was 12-years-old. I have enough pressure. I don’t care about any fashion enough to give up food.”

Eggs-traordinary

CBS is enlisting eggs in its scramble to attract viewers.

The CBS logo and slogans promoting the TV network and its series will appear along with coded expiration dates on eggs sold by grocers — just another promotional measure in the competitive world of television.

More than 35 million eggs will be marked with phrases such as “CSI: Crack the Case on CBS” and “The Class, New Grade-A CBS Comedy” as part of a deal between the CBS Marketing Group and EggFusion, an egg-coding company, AP reports. The campaign will begin in September, at the start of the new fall TV season, CBS said Saturday at a meeting of the Television Critics Association.

However, CBS isn’t putting all of its eggs in one marketing basket.

The campaign is part of what the network is calling its “Outernet strategy,” an effort to reach viewers “outside their homes as they go about their daily lives,” the network said. EggFusion, based in Deerfield, Ill., will use laser technology to create the expiration dates and “On-Egg Messaging,” CBS said.

‘Friends’ to the end

Jennifer Aniston says she would like to reprise her role as Rachel Green in a reunion show of TV’s most famous group of “Friends.”

“The only thing I can think of doing is maybe for fun doing a Thanksgiving episode,” AP quotes Miss Aniston as saying in a TV interview that was set to air yesterday on London’s Channel Four. “Our Thanksgiving episodes were really fun.”

“Friends,” which centered on the lives of six young friends living in Manhattan, ended its 10-year run in 2004. The NBC comedy also starred Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer.

Miss Aniston, 37, was in London to promote her new film, “The Break-Up,” co-starring Vince Vaughn.

Short takes

From TVWeek.com…

• Sci Fi has signed Emmy-nominated “Six Feet Under” star Peter Krause to star in “The Lost Room.” The limited series, described as ” ‘The Fugitive’ meets ‘The Twilight Zone,’ ” will bow in December.

• Bravo has renewed “The Real Housewives of Orange County” for eight episodes scheduled to air later this year.

• Reuters reports that cable channel FX has snagged the rerun rights to television’s top-rated sitcom, CBS’ “Two and a Half Men.” The deal for the Charlie Sheen comedy is valued at about $750,000 per episode and begins in 2010. It’s believed to be the second-highest cable deal ever for an off-network comedy, second only to the $1 million per episode TBS paid for “Seinfeld.”

Compiled by Kelly Jane Torrance and Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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