- The Washington Times - Monday, April 23, 2007

Ahoy, matey

CBS will introduce the new Mark Burnett reality show, “Pirate Master,” on May 31.

According to Broadcasting & Cable magazine, the show is a combination of Mr. Burnett’s long-running CBS hit “Survivor” and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie franchise. The setup calls for 16 people to be plucked from their comfort zone — as Mr. Burnett puts it — dressed in period costume and sent off in a “pirate” ship to search for buried treasure totaling $1 million.

The new show is set on and around the Caribbean island of Dominica. There will be challenges and vote-offs, with money doled out on each show and the big winner claiming $500,000.

“Pirate Master” will be hosted by Australian actor Cameron Daddo, whose credits include roles on “CSI,” “The West Wing,” “Boston Legal” and “Monk” and in the feature film “Big Momma’s House.”

Report: Isaiah to stay

ABC is dismissing rumors that “Grey’s Anatomy” stars Isaiah Washington and T.R. Knight are leaving the acclaimed show, calling the stories “completely bunk,” E! Online reports.

Mr. Washington — who was chided for berating Mr. Knight, an admitted homosexual, with a slur about his orientation — recently withdrew his name for Emmy consideration.

Stone’s antiwar ad

Oliver Stone’s work will soon be seen on the small screen — but just for 30 seconds.

The Oscar-winning filmmaker has signed on to direct a TV ad for the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org, E! Online reports. The politically charged commercial will feature an Iraq war veteran challenging the Bush administration’s rationale for the conflict.

The group began collecting video interviews with soldiers and their families via the Internet. More than 20 have been uploaded so far, each lasting less than two minutes. MoveOn members will choose their favorite, and then Mr. Stone will make a 30-second spot incorporating the veteran’s story.

“I decided to participate in this project because as a veteran, I know that America needs to listen to our servicemen and women,” said Mr. Stone, who served in the Vietnam War.

The project is co-sponsored by VoteVets.org, a liberal political action committee run by Iraq war veterans whose goal is “holding public officials accountable for their words and actions that adversely affect the troops and veterans.” VoteVets helped MoveOn find soldiers wishing to speak out.

MoveOn members have until midnight tomorrow to vote. Mr. Stone will then re-shoot and edit the interview for a tentative air date of May 3.

Mr. Stone, whose last feature film was the September 11 drama “World Trade Center” (released last year), will stick with the anti-terrorist theme for his next project, a film depicting the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

‘Vila’ nailed shut

Say goodbye to “Bob Vila”— at least in its original run. CBS Television Distribution yesterday pulled the plug on longtime home-improvement television show host Bob Vila and his eponymous weekly series, due to slipping ratings, TVWeek.com reports.

The cancellation of the show ends a 28-year run for Mr. Vila on broadcast TV. He first shot to fame as host of “This Old House” on PBS in 1979 for a decade-long run before debuting “Bob Vila’s Home Again” in syndication in 1989. That series was renamed “Bob Vila” in 2005.

Mr. Vila has authored 11 books, including a five-book series titled “Bob Vila’s Guide to Historic Homes of America.” In addition, he appears regularly on the Home Shopping Network, where he sells a range of tools under his own brand.

“Bob Vila” experienced a steady decline in ratings over the years due to the proliferation of home improvement channels on cable, including the DIY Network and HGTV, which made him a cornerstone of their programming. DIY currently airs old episodes of “This Old House” as well as “Bob Vila’s Home Again.”

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

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