- The Washington Times - Friday, August 17, 2007

Remembering Merv

The man who built a game-show empire will receive a tribute this weekend on, appropriately enough, a network devoted to games.

Cable’s GSN will celebrate the TV legacy of Merv Griffin with marathons of Griffin-produced shows, plus a couple of his vintage on-air appearances, Zap2it.com reports.

Mr. Griffin, 82, died Sunday of prostate cancer.

Although he produced other game shows, including a TV version of “Monopoly” and the 1970s nugget “Dance Fever,” and he hosted a syndicated talk show for better than 20 years, Mr. Griffin’s place in television history is tied to his game-show creations “Jeopardy!” which debuted in 1964, and “Wheel of Fortune,” which followed in 1975.

The GSN marathons, airing at 10 a.m. tomorrow and Sunday, will focus on those two shows. The “Wheel” retrospective will air tomorrow and include an early episode hosted by Chuck Woolery and Vanna White’s debut in 1982, among others. Sunday’s “Jeopardy” marathon will include episodes from the million-dollar “Masters Tournament of Champions.”

Additionally, GSN will air two on-air Griffin appearances during its black-and-white programming block early Monday. At 3 a.m., the cable network will air the first nighttime episode of “Play Your Hunch,” which was Mr. Griffin’s first hosting gig. It will be followed by a 1961 episode of “To Tell the Truth” that featured Mr. Griffin as a fill-in for regular host Bud Collyer.

Lake on Lifetime

Lifetime will air “Matters of Life & Dating,” starring Ricki Lake as a woman who resumes dating after surviving breast cancer, Variety reports.

Airing Oct. 22 at 9 p.m., the made-for-cable movie, which also stars Holly Robinson Peete, is the centerpiece of the network’s Stop Breast Cancer for Life public awareness campaign. It will premiere during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month; this year is the 13th in which Lifetime has undertaken its Stop Breast Cancer for Life advocacy drive.

Miss Lake stars as a successful single woman in Boston who loses self-esteem after undergoing a mastectomy, while Miss Robinson Peete plays a childhood friend who re-connects with Miss Lake’s character at a support group. Rachael Harris also stars.

Miss Lake’s recent credits include the documentary “The Business of Being Born.” Miss Robinson Peete’s recent credits include the TV shows “Love Inc.,” “For Your Love” and “One on One.”

‘TMZ’ names hosts

Perhaps the most talked-about new syndicated series for fall is Telepictures’ newsmagazine strip “TMZ,” based on the Web mega-site TMZ.com, which breaks celebrity news online.

A lot of questions have surrounded the format and talent for the upcoming show (which will air locally on Fox5-WTTG weekdays at 6:30 p.m.), but now there’s some clarity, TVWeek.com says.

Executive producer (and main on-air personality) Harvey Levin has added four persons to the show’s on-air talent list, including Teresa Strasser, perhaps best known as the host of the TLC series “While You Were Out.” Miss Strasser co-hosts TV Guide Network’s weekly pop-culture roundup “TV Watercooler” with comedian John Fugelsang and is a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times’ Calendar section.

Also on board: Katie Daryl, who has hosted the political MTV Special “Choose or Lose” and recently worked with HDNet as host and producer of “True Music”; Ben Mankiewicz, who co-hosts the Air America/XM radio show “The Young Turks” and hosts film presentations on Turner Classic Movies; and TMZ.com staffer Michael Hundgen.

The “TMZ” hosts will be based in its new newsroom on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. The series was designed to complement the Web site, with news updates added to later airings of the show.

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

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