- The Washington Times - Monday, January 15, 2007

Idol’ is back

Get your dialing finger ready. Television’s top show for the past three seasons returns tonight with the premiere of “American Idol” at 8 on Fox.

Tonight’s two hours feature auditions from Minneapolis, while tomorrow’s two hours (also at 8) have the Seattle auditions.

In other “Idol” news, judge Paula Abdul is getting her own reality series, Associated Press reports. “Hey Paula” will debut sometime later this year on Bravo and will follow the 44-year-old choreographer as she films “Idol,” works on “Bratz: The Movie” and develops her own perfume and cosmetics line.

Singing synergy

The minds at CBS have thought up some pretty creative ideas for cross-promotion. Two Grammy Award nominees will guest star on CBS shows during next month’s “Grammy Week.”

R&B; songstress Mary J. Blige, who’s up for eight Grammys including record and song of the year, will appear on the Feb. 9 episode of “Ghost Whisperer.” Miss Blige’s music will be featured in the show and she’ll play Jackie Boyd, the coach of a high-school cheerleading team whose members are being disabled by freak accidents right before a big competition. Melinda (series star Jennifer Love Hewitt) discovers the culprit is the vengeful spirit of a former cheerleader and that something in Jackie’s past is keeping her from helping her girls.

“Ghost Whisperer” airs Friday nights at 8.

Also scheduled: Canadian singer Nelly Furtado, who will appear on the Feb. 7 episode of “CSI: NY.” Miss Furtado, a Grammy-nominee for her hit song “Promiscuous,” will play a “world-class personal shoplifter” (as opposed to personal shopper) who nabs high-priced items for her clients. She’s a master of disguise who becomes CSI’s top suspect when a store security guard is found dead in a dressing room of a high-end store.

“CSI: NY” stars Gary Sinise and Melina Kanakaredes and airs Wednesday evenings at 10.

The 49th Annual Grammy Awards will be broadcast live from Los Angeles at 8 p.m. Feb. 11 on CBS.

YouTube TV?

YouTube is considering creating a television channel compiled from the video clips submitted by its users, London’s Guardian newspaper reports.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, YouTube Vice-President of Content Kevin Donahue said the company is mulling over plans to make TV shows using such content and might even extend the format into a full channel.

Mr. Donahue also said the firm had been contacted by companies interested in a YouTube show and others interested in a YouTube channel, though he said neither is a priority.

CBS has already set up a video competition that will be hosted by YouTube.

The 15 Seconds campaign asks users to submit a video of “whatever they want to say to the world.” The five best entries will be chosen every two weeks to run on CBS.com and will later be broadcast on national TV.

The first batch will air during the network’s telecast of Super Bowl XLI on Feb. 4.

Chiller on DirecTV

Television soon will have an option for people who want to be scared out of their wits at any hour.

Chiller, a new network devoted exclusively to horror movies and series, will crawl out of the crypt on March 1, AP reports. The specialty network is a project of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment.

The series “Friday the 13th,” “Twin Peaks,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “Tales from the Crypt” will be on the new network’s initial lineup, and viewers can expect such films as “The Shining,” “Psycho” and “Blade Runner” to be in heavy rotation. To date, Chiller hasn’t announced any original series.

The satellite service DirecTV is the only carrier to say it will carry Chiller to date. The network will also be presented as a triple-pack service, with separate high definition and on-demand channels.

Chiller is similar to Sleuth, an NBC Universal network devoted to crime mysteries. The company also owns USA, Bravo and Sci Fi.

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

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