- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 31, 2006

‘Capitol’ connection

Even if you missed last night’s premiere of “The Capitol” — C-Span’s original three-part series on the history of the building that symbolizes American democracy both here and abroad — tonight’s second installment will offer plenty to savor.

The series, a combination of taped and live segments shot in high definition, features appearances by major political figures who welcome the audience into their workplaces. Some of the halls remain off-limits to public tours, and others have never been shown on television before.

Tonight’s three-hour episode, beginning at 8, gives viewers a peek into what makes the House of Representatives tick. Program highlights include visits to the House Chamber, Statuary Hall and the Board of Education room, where Harry Truman first learned he had become president.

Tomorrow’s installment, “The U.S. Senate” (also airing from 8 to 11 p.m.), features Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, giving a tour not only of his office, but of the Vice President’s Ceremonial Office, the Brumidi Corridors, the old Supreme Court Chamber and the Old Senate Baths.

Featured guests on the series’ final episode include Sen. Robert Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, and Sen. Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican.

Out with a bang

Fox reigned supreme in the final week of the traditional TV season, thanks to the new, gray “American Idol.”

An estimated 36.4 million people watched Alabama native Taylor Hicks win the coveted fifth-season crown of the mega-hit singing competition, Associated Press reported yesterday, citing data from Nielsen Media Research.

The “Idol” finale aired May 24 — the final day of the traditional TV season — and got the third-biggest audience for a televised event this year after the Super Bowl and Academy Awards.

The singing show also may have helped boost other Fox shows last week. The premiere of the summertime competition “So You Think You Can Dance?” the following night ranked 14th among last week’s prime-time shows.

Overall, Fox averaged 14.8 million viewers for the week. CBS was a distant second with 9 million, followed by ABC with 7.3 million, NBC with 6.3 million, UPN with 2.1 million, the WB with 1.9 million and the I network with 400,000.

For the week of May 22 through 28, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 36.38 million; “American Idol” (Tuesday), Fox, 31.78 million; “House,” Fox, 25.47 million; “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 19.96 million; and “Lost,” ABC, 17.84 million.

Healing and hoping

Kimberly Dozier, the CBS Iraq correspondent who was injured over the weekend, will need to spend more time in a U.S. military hospital before she’s well enough to fly home, Reuters news agency reports.

Miss Dozier, 39, will remain in the Germany-based medical facility for at least several more days, a hospital spokeswoman said yesterday.

Miss Dozier remained in intensive care two days after a roadside bomb attack in Baghdad that killed her two British colleagues, cameraman Paul Douglas and soundman James Brolan.

“She’s still listed in very serious condition,” spokeswoman Marie Shaw told Reuters from Landstuhl military hospital, where Miss Dozier’s mother, father, brother, sister and boyfriend were at her bedside.

Miss Shaw said Miss Dozier was conscious but sedated and unable to speak because she was hooked up to medical tubes.

The American journalist had shrapnel removed from her head by doctors at a U.S. military hospital in Iraq but has more serious injuries to her lower body. Miss Shaw said a patient in her condition typically would need up to four days before she could be transferred to a U.S. hospital.

“She needs to be stable enough to sustain a flight,” Miss Shaw said. “Once we have that, we’re going to look for a location in the States where she will receive the best possible care, and then we will fly her back.”

Final ‘Chappelle’s‘ set

Comedy Central finally has set an airdate for the final episodes of “Chappelle’s Show,” which will feature sketches Dave Chappelle completed before walking away from the series, Zap2it.com reported yesterday.

The network will air what it’s calling “Chappelle’s Show: The Lost Episodes” on July 9. For those keeping score at home, that’s more than two years since the last original installment of the show first aired and 15-plus months since Comedy Central’s last scheduled premiere date for season three.

Soon after Comedy Central made that announcement, Mr. Chappelle quit the show, prompting rumors that he had suffered a breakdown and had sought treatment in Africa. The comedian, a graduate of the District’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts, indeed visited Africa but repeatedly has denied rumors that anything was wrong with him. He has since said in interviews that his widely publicized fat contract — which reportedly was worth as much as $50 million — and stories about him having writer’s block caused undue stress.

He also says he became uncomfortable with the direction the show was taking. “I was doing sketches that were funny but socially irresponsible,” he told Oprah Winfrey in February.

“Chappelle’s Show” regulars Charlie Murphy and Donnell Rawlings will introduce the sketches because Mr. Chappelle hadn’t filmed any introductions before his departure, notes Zap2it.com.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff, Web and wire reports.

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