- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 2, 2006

A passion for ‘Fashion’

Barbara Walters versus Star Jones Reynolds? Old news. How about Morgan Fairchild going up against Bo Derek?

This one’s fiction, of course, said My Network TV in announcing that Miss Fairchild, 56, is joining the cast of its telenovela “Fashion House,” which debuts on the new network in September. She’ll play Sophia Blakely, the arch-nemesis of Miss Derek’s character, Maria Gianni, in the fashion business.

“This has been fun,” Miss Fairchild, who’s already shot some scenes with Miss Derek, told Associated Press.

“She’s very game,” she said. “We’re having a very good time doing our knockdown, drag-out … fights. It’s always fun to do it with someone who gets into it.”

Miss Fairchild said she likes to stay on the industry’s cutting edge and was intrigued by My Network, which will be introduced in September on channels displaced by UPN’s closing. My Network TV is showing a prime-time lineup of soap operas that air five nights a week, modeled after the telenovela format that is popular worldwide.

“I’m always trying to find new ways to catch my audience off-guard,” Miss Fairchild said.

Brandy’s new ‘View’

Speaking of the Jones Reynolds-Walters dust-up, pop star Brandy has been tapped to fill in for the now-departed co-host of “The View” on Wednesday and Friday, reports People magazine.

The Grammy-winning singer, 27, formerly the star of UPN’s “Moesha,” is now a judge on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”

If successful, Brandy’s “View” debut could put her on the short list to replace Miss Jones Reynolds on the ABC daytime talk show — a list that’s said to include her “Moesha” co-star Sheryl Lee Ralph (a member of the original cast of Broadway’s “Dreamgirls”), Bo Griffin, former talk show host (“Men Are From Mars,Women Are from Venus”)and infomercial queen; singer-actress Vanessa L. Williams; and former talk show host and Oprah Winfrey pal, Gayle King, according to the syndicated entertainment show “The Insider.”

“At 7 o’clock, the phone started ringing and it did not stop until I was heading out the door,” Miss Ralph, 49, told “The Insider. “I am flattered, I would love that job.”

Meanwhile, an unnamed source told the New York Daily News that “The View” staff was glad to see Miss Jones Reynolds leave. “Star has very effectively alienated everybody on the show,” the newspaper quoted the source as saying.

His first ‘Fourth’

Jason Alexander (the former “Seinfeld” star, not Britney Spears’ ex-husband) will make his debut as host of “A Capitol Fourth” — an evening of patriotic music followed by a spectacular display of fireworks over the Washington Monument — airing live tomorrow at 8 p.m. (WETA-TV, Channel 26) from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

Now in its 26th year, the annual Independence Day concert will feature a variety of performing artists including Stevie Wonder, Michael Bolton, Vanessa L. Williams, Elmo from “Sesame Street,” teen sensation JoJo and country music recording star Jo Dee Messina performing with the National Symphony Orchestra, AP reports.

As usual, Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” — complete with the traditional live cannon fire — will bring the show to a rousing end.

Style gets ‘Makeover’

Style Network has purchased the off-network rights to ABC’s “Extreme Makeover,” the cable network announced last week. The purchase is the second major acquisition by the E! Networks channel following its 2004 deal to acquire “Martha Stewart Living,” TVWeek.com reports.

“Extreme” will join the Style schedule tomorrow .

“The series offers heartfelt, real-life drama, which has proven appeal to our core, young female audience who are passionate about the lifestyle genre,” said Salaam Coleman Smith, Style Network’s executive vice president.

Style is typically ranked in the bottom 20 percent among cable networks. For the second quarter, the channel is up 17 percent among viewers for total day and down 7 percent in prime time, reports TVWeek.com.

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

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