- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 8, 2006

‘Deadwood’s‘ final run

HBO’s “Deadwood” begins its third season on Sunday, but the cable biggie is set to wrap its run with a pair of two-hour original movies, according to a story on thefutoncritic.com.

The news comes on the heels of dueling statements in recent weeks by HBO and creator/executive producer David Milch over “Deadwood’s” fate. Mr. Milch told TV Guide last week that “this is to be the final season of the show,” referring to its return Sunday at 9 p.m. HBO executives, however, responded that no decision had been made about any potential fourth season. At any rate, the pair have settled on producing two telefilms as “Deadwood’s” swan song, likely as a two-night, four-hour event.

Negotiations are under way to sign the show’s cast to reprise their roles, although no production start date was mentioned.

Twelve episodes are planned for the new season starting with Sunday’s premiere titled “Tell Your God to Ready for Blood.” The segment centers on Deadwood’s first true elections, with the offices of sheriff and mayor to be contested. The candidates are expected to state their case to the townspeople — protocol that unnerves one taciturn incumbent, while exciting a more glib one.

Alive and kicking

Jaleel White is not dead.

Yet a widespread e-mail hoax that has been circulating around the Internet says the actor, best known for his role as nerdy Steve Urkel on ABC’s “Family Matters,” was found dead last week of an apparent suicide.

According to Eurweb.com, the report was falsely attributed to Associated Press and goes on to claim that Mr. White’s friend “alerted police after hearing what he described as ‘a loud bang’ coming from the actor’s Los Angeles apartment.” The fabricated story also gives false quotes from Mr. White’s former “Family Matters” co-stars Kellie Williams (“Everyone adored him”) and Reginald VelJohnson (“We have all lost a dear, dear brother”). It also says a suicide note was discovered, which read “Did I do that?” a phrase often used by Mr. White’s Urkel character on “Family Matters.”

For the record, Mr. White, 29, graduated from UCLA Film School in 2001 and appeared on the May 15 episode of Fox TV’s “24.” He currently writes a blog for the National Basketball Association. His last posting, according to his Web site (www.jaleelwhite.com), was May 30 — the day after the fake suicide report.

Clock ticking for Ed?

“60 Minutes” star Ed Bradley and CBS execs are at loggerheads over the 64-year-old correspondent’s contract as the network chases a younger audience for its venerable show, reports the New York Daily News.

Buzz around the office is that Mr. Bradley — who turns 65 on June 22 — has grown so frustrated with the money he’s being offered that he’s gone on “strike.”

Mr. Bradley, however, insists that there’s no work slowdown.

“I have a contract with CBS, and I’m honoring it,” the Daily News quoted the veteran newsman as saying. “We’re in reruns right now, so no one is shooting much.”

So he’s happy with his compensation?

“I don’t discuss my contract with anyone,” Mr. Bradley was quoted as saying.

Mr. Bradley’s contract dilemma comes as CBS chief Les Moonves and news head Sean McManus have been transfusing younger blood into the 37-year-old show. Among next season’s contributors will be new “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric, 49, and CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who turned 39 June 2 (and who’s rumored to be getting around $500,000 for up to five stories, the Daily News reports). Also being groomed for “60 Minutes” stardom are Scott Pelley and Lara Logan.

While 64-year-old Lesley Stahl is hanging in there, 74-year-old Morley Safer is doing fewer stories. Rumors also persist that “60 Minutes” contributor Dan Rather, 74, could leave CBS once and for all in a matter of weeks, the Daily News reports.

Despite his intrinsic hipness, the earring-wearing Mr. Bradley may also be hearing the tick-tick-tick of the show’s clock. But some feel Mr. Bradley, who underwent a heart bypass a few years back, will return to “60 Minutes” next season.

For his part, Mr. Bradley says he’d like to work at the show as long as it stays true to its legacy. “When someone tells me I can’t do the stories I like to do,” he told the Daily News, “then I know it’s time for me to go.”

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

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