- The Washington Times - Monday, November 13, 2006

‘3 Lbs.’ weighs in

Every successful show spawns imitators. “CSI” inspired a raft of forensic dramas as well as two spinoffs.

Now Fox’s “House” is getting the copycat treatment with CBS’ new “3 Lbs.,” premiering tonight at 10.

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Fans of “House” (which stars Hugh Laurie as the cantankerous Dr. Gregory House) will recognize more than a few similarities in “3 Lbs.” Like every episode of “House,” tonight’s “3 Lbs.” begins in the moments before a major crisis befalls a patient, and special effects allow us to see what’s going on under the skin.

However, “3 Lbs.” doesn’t center on the medical mystery. Instead, the focus here (similar to that of ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy”) seems to be on the relationships among the doctors. It’s not nearly as soapy as “Grey’s,” but there’s plenty of sexual tension and attractive stars.

Stanley Tucci (“Big Night”) is renowned brain surgeon Dr. Douglas Hanson, the hospital curmudgeon with a medical problem of his own.

Sound familiar?

Meanwhile, Mr. Tucci’s co-star, Mark Feuerstein (“The West Wing”), may be voicing the question of TV viewers everywhere when he asks, “Do you think in this business you have to have a glaring personality disorder to be taken seriously as a genius?”

Mr. Feuerstein’s hunky Dr. Jonathan Seger is the touchy-feely foil. He meditates. He cares about the patients. “When I look at these, I feel I’m looking at an undiscovered country,” he says of one patient’s brain scans.

British actress Indira Varma (“Rome”) adds some lightness with her accent and her amused attitude as Dr. Adrianne Holland. Griffin Dunne (“After Hours”) plays Dr. Hanson’s nemesis, Dr. Jeffrey Coles, a scheming surgeon out to steal patients.

“3 Lbs.” may not be as intelligent as “House,” but its great cast and potential to evolve in any of several directions — it could turn into a mystery, a soap or even an inspirational series — make it worth checking out.

Dying to be ‘Thin’

Photographer-writer Lauren Greenfield was granted access to an eating-disorder facility for a magazine story and a book, but she wanted to do more. She returned to make a documentary, “Thin,” airing at 9 tonight on HBO.

Living at Florida’s Renfrew Center for six months, Miss Greenfield and her crew observed the meetings, therapy sessions and meals that make up the daily life for those undergoing treatment, Associated Press reports. Through interviews, still photographs and behind-the-scenes footage, “Thin” tells the stories of four women between the ages of 15 and 30 whose pasts may be different but who became united by a common illness. The film exposes their struggles with eating and weight as well as the deeper issues afflicting women by the hundreds of thousands who are, literally, dying to be thin.

‘A Hidden Life’

A little more than a year ago, Jim West the popular, socially conservative mayor of Spokane, Wash., sponsored legislation that forbade homosexuals from teaching in public schools. Then the town’s newspaper exposed his secret life — an obsession for prowling the Web to enlist young men for sexual trysts.

When the news broke, however, the paper’s investigative methods were almost as controversial. For months, a middle-aged “forensic computer specialist” had posed online as an 18-year-old, engaging the mayor in a relationship that became more and more intimate.

The fallout forms the basis for PBS’ “Frontline,” airing tonight at 9 on WPMT (Channel 22) and at 10 on WETA (Channel 26).

“We wanted to know, ‘Do we have a mayor trolling on the Internet for underage boys?’ ” Spokesman-Review reporter Bill Morlin says.

The hourlong documentary will explore the relationship between politics, sexuality, fear and judgment.

Compiled by Kelly Jane Torrance from staff and wire reports.

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