- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 9, 2006

Their personal ‘Best’

Cable’s Fine Living Network will air “Esquire: Man at His Best,” a documentary series that claims a man “doesn’t need to have washboard abs, bespoke tailored suits, or a two-comma paycheck, just a willingness to stand up and change the world for the better.”

Maybe so — but it sure does help to have a famous name.

Sunday’s installment (airing at 8 p.m.) profiles five philanthropists — John Wood, Denis Leary, Warrick Dunn, Travis Roy and Alonzo Mourning — who have gone beyond writing checks to take a hands-on approach to helping others.

Their individual accomplishments are impressive.

• Mr. Leary, star of FX’s “Rescue Me,” started the Leary Firefighters Foundation after his childhood friend and first cousin died in a 1999 blaze that killed six firefighters. Since its inception six years ago, the charity has raised more than $5 million for firefighters in New York and Massachusetts. Sunday’s program takes a look at his latest efforts. The actor donated 15 firetrucks to New Orleans communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

• Mr. Dunn, a star running back with the Atlanta Falcons, founded Homes for the Holidays, which helps single parents afford proper housing by providing grants for down payments. The cause hits close to home for Mr. Dunn, whose mother, a policewoman, was killed in the line of duty during his senior year of high school. Since founding the organization in 1997, he has helped more than 60 single mothers and 140 children.

• Mr. Roy’s hockey career was cut short in 1995 when he was paralyzed from the neck down as a freshman Boston University left winger. After spending months in the hospital recovering, he founded the Travis Roy Foundation to fund spinal-cord-injury research and help other spinal-cord-injury sufferers. The fund has distributed more than $1.3 million in grants over the past nine years.

• Mr. Mourning, who battled back from a kidney transplant to win the NBA title last year with the Miami Heat, spent his teenage years in a foster home after his parents separated. To help other youngsters obtain the same opportunity he had, Mr. Mourning serves as chairman of the Overtown Youth Center, a state-of-the-art facility that helps at-risk Miami youth reach their full potential.

• Mr. Wood, a high-powered Microsoft executive, threw it all away after backpacking through impoverished regions of Nepal. He quit his job and founded Room to Read, an organization that aims to end world poverty through education. To date, the foundation has opened more than 3,000 schools and libraries in Asia.

Split season

The remaining episodes of “Jericho,” CBS’ new apocalyptic drama, will be presented in two distinct seasons with no repeats, the network announced.

The series will conclude its “fall season” with a cliffhanger finale at 8 p.m. Nov. 29. It will return Feb. 14 with a recap special followed by an original episode on Feb. 21.

To keep audiences interested, CBS will create an online destination for “Jericho” during the show’s 10-week intermission. CBS also will continue streaming all episodes of the show broadcast to date on its broadband channel Innertube. According to CBS, “Jericho” is the network’s most-streamed program on the online channel.

The show — which stars Skeet Ulrich, Gerald McRaney, Ashley Scott, Pamela Reed, Kenneth Mitchell, Lennie James, Sprague Grayden, Michael Gaston, Erik Knudsen, Brad Beyer and Shoshannah Stern — has been a big success for CBS, boosting its viewership in the time period by 50 percent and averaging about 11 million viewers a week.

In other CBS news, the network also announced that Kevin James, Leah Remini and Jerry Stiller will return with original episodes of “The King of Queens” Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. Two new episodes will air that week and the following week.

Short takes

• After jaunts to Las Vegas and Anchorage, Alaska, the Travel Channel’s “5 Takes: USA” pays a visit to the District for tomorrow’s show. The series, seen Saturday evenings at 10, features five Asian travel journalists on an eight-week trek across the U.S.

• Flamboyant New York radio personality Wendy Williams chats up actress Vivica A. Fox, Grammy winner John Legend and reality-show stars/newlyweds Chris Knight and Adrianne Curry tonight at 11:30 on VH1’s “The Wendy Williams Experience.” Miss Curry, 23, winner of the first season of “America’s Next Top Model,” and Mr. Knight, 48, who starred as Peter Brady on the 1970s hit sitcom “The Brady Bunch,” met while filming VH1’s “The Surreal Life” in 2004.

m HBO will air “Brokeback Mountain,” the controversial 2005 Oscar-winning film about a same-sex cowboy romance, during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It’s scheduled for Nov. 26 at 7:30 p.m.

Compiled by Kelly Jane Torrance and Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports.

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