- The Washington Times - Monday, July 31, 2006

Lovable ‘Love Soup’

“Love Soup,” a quirky new romantic sitcom from Britain, debuts tonight at 10 on BBC America.

The comedy, starring Tamsin Grieg and Michael Landes, explores the age-old question of whether there is only one person out there perfect for you — and what do you do until you meet that person?

Miss Grieg (from the long-running BBC radio series “The Archers”) is Alice Chenery, a perfume-counter manager in a London department store who seems to attract nothing but weirdos. Gil Raymond (Mr. Landes,the first Jimmy Olsen on “Lois & Clark” and a guest star on “CSI”) is an American comedy writer transplanted to the English countryside who keeps getting dumped. They have one thing in common — an odd take on life.

In the strong first episode, Alice remarks that the name of her real estate agent’s company, Rush & Butcher, sounds like one of Stalin’s death camps. “I suppose everyone says that,” she says to her agent, who looks at her with a mixture of puzzlement and disgust. The only person who wouldn’t, in all probability, is Gil. The two would make a great match, but they run in completely different circles. Will they ever meet? If they do, will they recognize how perfect they are for each other?

Trudie Styler — the actress wife of rock star Sting — steals the show as Gil’s neighbor, Irene, a woman who leaves her husband after a slip by Gil reveals her hubby’s extramarital affair. Irene’s digital sleight of hand — she replaces her husband with Gil in a series of cozy snapshots via Photoshop — should make for an amusingly awkward relationship in future episodes.

Chilis are red hot

The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Shakira received the most nominations for this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, Associated Press reports.

The rock band and the Colombian songstress each nabbed seven nominations for their respective videos, “Dani California” and “Hips Don’t Lie,” MTV announced yesterday. Both will compete for video of the year along with Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man,” Madonna’s “Hung Up” and Panic! at the Disco’s “I Write Sins not Tragedies.”

Madonna, Shakira and Miss Aguilera also are nominated for best female video with Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You” and Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous.”

Nick Lachey’s “What’s Left of Me,” which re-creates his breakup with wife Jessica Simpson, will vie for best male video along with James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful,” Kanye West’s “Gold Digger,” T.I.’s “What You Know” and Busta Rhymes’ remix of “Touch It,” featuring Mary J. Blige and Missy Elliot.

Beyonce Knowles, Justin Timberlake, Panic! at the Disco, the Killers and rappers T.I. and Ludacris are set to perform at the Aug. 31 event at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The awards show will air live on MTV starting at 8 p.m. Viewers can watch videos and vote on the awards’ general categories, such as best male video and best hip-hop video, through Aug. 20 by visiting MTV Overdrive, an Internet channel that began last year, at the Web site www.vma.mtv.com. Voting for the viewer’s choice award runs Aug. 7 through 31.

Gaye leaves ‘L&O;:CI’

Nona Gaye has left the cast of NBC’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” before the new season has even started, Reuters news agency reports.

The actress — daughter of the late soul singer Marvin Gaye — left shortly after she signed on to play the new assistant district attorney, replacing actor Courtney B. Vance, who is leaving the series. Sources cited creative differences for her departure, which happened soon after production started on the show’s sixth season.

Miss Gaye, 31, was replaced quickly by Theresa Randle, who starred in the “Bad Boys” films. Today is expected to be Miss Randle’s first day on the set. Her deal covers just three episodes, with an option to continue on the show as a regular.

Miss Randle joins Vincent D’Onofrio, Chris Noth and Kathryn Erbe as well as the other new cast members, Eric Bogosian and Julianne Nicholson. Mr. Bogosian and Miss Nicholson are replacing Jamey Sheridan and Annabella Sciorra, who also left the series after the end of last season.

Compiled by Kelly Jane Torrance from staff and wire reports.

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