- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 9, 2007

Presidential faith

On a special edition of “20/20,” ABC anchor Charles Gibson examines the Rev. Billy Graham’s relationship with 11 presidential administrations, from Harry Truman’s to the present.

“Pastor to Power: Billy Graham and the Presidents,” airing tomorrow evening at 10, explores Mr. Graham’s White House role through interviews with former presidents and includes a joint discussion with Jimmy Carter, the first President Bush and Bill Clinton, Associated Press reports.

Asked if faith is necessary for a president, Mr. Clinton said: “It’d be a much lonelier job, a more uncertain job, and a person would have to have extraordinary ethical and moral fiber without it.”

Mr. Graham has been privy to some of the most intimate details of the presidents’ professional and personal lives, providing counsel on everything from war to the existence of heaven, ABC says on its Web site.

He prayed with the elder Mr. Bush as the first bombs of Desert Storm fell on Baghdad. “It’s the toughest decision a president can make,” the former president told Mr. Gibson during a recent visit to his home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

“He alone can make it, or she alone. And you’ve got to hope like heck you’re right.”

Mr. Graham also helped the senior Mr. Bush address questions about an afterlife. “I don’t think the president is any different than anybody else when it comes to wonder,” the former president told Mr. Gibson. “Especially as you get older … I find myself thinking about it more and more: What’s it going to be like?”

Mr. Gibson also interviewed the evangelist, 88. Said Mr. Graham of the powerful men he dealt with so closely: “I thought of them as just wonderful human beings who were wonderful personal friends as I knew them, each one.”

Good news and bad

When it comes to TV’s upcoming fall season, it could be a mixed bag for ABC, the Houston Chronicle notes, with what looks like a hit (“Dirty, Sexy Money”) and another show (“Cavemen”) whose success appears doubtful.

If “Housewives,” “Betty,” “Brothers & Sisters” and “Grey’s Anatomy” prove anything, it’s that millions of people will sit for a smartly written serial. With “Dirty Sexy Money,” ABC is betting that viewers are ready for a fresh take on the power soaps of the 1980s.

Peter Krause (“Six Feet Under”) plays Nick George. As a boy, Nick saw his father eaten up by the demands placed upon him as consigliere of the filthy-rich Darling family. He has vowed not to follow that path with his own family, a wife and daughter. Nevertheless, Nick falls under the spell of a really big paycheck and agrees to become the Darlings’ lawyer after his father dies mysteriously.

The death will serve as an ongoing story line throughout the first season. On a week-to-week basis, the show will involve Nick putting out fires started by his privileged New York City employers.

He’s going to be busy. The clan consists of Tripp and Letitia Darling (Donald Sutherland and Jill Clayburgh) and their five grown children: oldest son Patrick (William Baldwin), the New York attorney general with a penchant for prostitutes; oldest daughter Karen (Pasadena, Texas, native Natalie Zea), who has a sexual history with Nick; son Brian (Glenn Fitzgerald), an Episcopal priest with an illegitimate son; and youngest siblings Juliete and Jeremy (Samaire Armstrong and Seth Gabel), perpetually in trouble.

Written by Craig Wright (“Brothers & Sisters,” “Lost,” “Six Feet Under”), “Dirty Sexy Money” has all the ingredients necessary to become a 21st-century “Dallas,” the Chronicle says.

On the other hand, some critics are betting that the network’s “Cavemen” — which is based on the popular commercials for Geico insurance — never makes it to air. According to the Chronicle, ABC is reworking the concept and promises a new pilot.

Murder’ marathon

Here’s a Jessica Fletcher alert: Cable’s Hallmark Channel is airing a “Murder, She Wrote” marathon on Saturday from 1 to 9 p.m. with Angela Lansbury — who made the character one of TV’s most gracious and enduring sleuths.

According to AP, MIss Lansbury will share some of her favorite episodes, behind-the-scenes anecdotes and other memories. She’s also kindly opening the door for a new crime solver, helping introduce the movie “Claire” (9 p.m.) with Valerie Bertinelli as a suburban mom who finds her psychic gifts in demand when murder plagues her town.

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



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