- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Local boy makes good

Local bluesman Robert Lighthouse has a busy weekend ahead.

Tomorrow, he’s the featured artist on “MHz Spotlight,” seen locally at 8 p.m. on the MHz channel (available to Comcast, RCN and Cox subscribers) and nationally on the Worldview satellite channel (for Dish Network and Direct TV subscribers). The half-hour program is a new music show focusing on recording artists from the D.C. area.

Then on Sunday at 8 and 10 p.m., Mr. Lighthouse and his Blues Band will perform at Blues Alley, the country’s oldest continuing jazz supper club.

The Swedish musician was inspired by blues great Muddy Waters and arrived in the States nearly 20 years ago. For five years, his most frequent venue was the Dupont Circle Metro stop, but he has moved on to such clubs as Chief Ike’s Mambo Room and collaborations with such noted rockers as Mick Fleetwood.

Last month, Mr. Lighthouse won the DC Blues Society International Blues Challenge in the acoustic category. In January, he heads to Memphis, Tenn., for the national competition. His new CD comes out in September.

Spike Lee’s new joint

NBC has decided it has, er, gotta have it.

The Peacock network has signed moviemaker Spike Lee to develop a drama series, according to published reports.

No further details were provided.

Mr. Lee, an Oscar-nominated director, is best known for the films “Do the Right Thing,” “Malcolm X” and his 1986 feature debut, “She’s Gotta Have It.” He has done a number of long-form projects for TV, most recently “When the Levees Broke,” a documentary about Hurricane Katrina that premieres on HBO in August, Zap2it.com reports. He also directed “Sucker Free City” and “A Huey P. Newton Story” for Showtime.

His involvement in ongoing series, though, has been scant. Mr. Lee directed the pilot for the new CBS show “Shark” and two episodes of the N’s miniseries “Miracle’s Boys,” but that’s about it, notes Zap2it.com.

Often a lightning rod for controversy, he must be happy to know he’s still in demand. His name pointedly was missing from promotional trailers for his last film, “Inside Man.”

NBC on Netflix

Speaking of NBC, the network is letting viewers watch the first episodes of two new shows more than a month before their premieres — but only if they’re subscribers to Netflix, the online DVD rental service that ships movies to customers’ homes.

Both “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” and “Kidnapped” bow on Sept. 17. However, starting Aug. 8, Netflix’s 4.8 million subscribers can rent both premieres on a commercial-free DVD, NBC announced yesterday. It’s the first time a broadcaster has offered such a promotion.

“Studio,” from “The West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin, is a behind-the-scenes look at a “Saturday Night Live”-type sketch comedy show. It stars D.L. Hughley and Matthew Perry.

“Kidnapped” stars Timothy Hutton and Dana Delany as the parents of a teenage boy who’s kidnapped from their wealthy neighborhood. The serialized thriller is told from varying points of view.

ABC’s Telenovela

The telenovela, a format long successful in the U.S. on Spanish-language networks such as Univision and Telemundo, is coming to ABC, Associated Press reports.

Oscar nominee Salma Hayek, who began her acting career in telenovelas, is one of the executive producers of “Ugly Betty,” set to debut Sept. 22.

Based on the Colombian telenovela “Yo Soy Betty La Fea,” “Ugly Betty” stars America Ferrera as Betty Suarez, a zaftig, unhip girl from Queens who works as an assistant to a fashion magazine publisher — sort of a Hispanic “The Devil Wears Prada.” Miss Ferrera, 22, also starred in the 2002 independent film “Real Women Have Curves.”

Changes for ‘L&O:CI’

Nona Gaye, daughter of the late R&B singer Marvin Gaye, has joined the cast of NBC’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” as an assistant district attorney, Reuters news agency reports.

She replaces Courtney B. Vance, who has played Assistant District Attorney Ron Carver since the crime drama’s premiere in 2001. Mr. Vance is the first original cast member to depart the NBC series, which stars Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe. This is Miss Gaye’s first television series. Her feature-film credits include “Ali” and “Crash.”

Two other cast members also are leaving the show. Recent addition Annabella Sciorra has played Detective Carolyn Barek, partner to Chris Noth’s Detective Mike Logan, since 2005. She has been replaced by Julianne Nicholson, last seen in the failed “Law & Order” spinoff “Conviction.”

Jamey Sheridan, who played Capt. James Deakins, is also departing. He will be replaced by actor-playwright Eric Bogosian, last seen on the short-lived CBS series “Love Monkey.”

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

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