- The Washington Times - Monday, March 5, 2007

A full ‘House’

Tonight’s episode of “House” (9 on Fox) guest-stars musician-actor Dave Matthews and actor Kurtwood Smith. Yet, it’s the story line involving the titular character that will keep you glued to the television for the full hour of the hit medical drama.

Mr. Matthews, frontman of the Dave Matthews Band, plays Patrick Obyedkov, a musical savant with a severe neurological impairment. Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) isn’t so much intrigued by the seizures that brought Patrick to the hospital as he is by how the man gained his musical abilities after suffering an accident at the age of 10 after having had no prior musical training. As House delves deeper into the cause of Patrick’s current problems and his past accident, he presents a very difficult decision to Patrick’s father, played by Mr. Smith (known to fans as Topher Grace’s TV dad, Red Forman, from Fox’s “That ‘70s Show”).

Meanwhile, House’s colleagues are presented with some difficulties of their own when they discover — through the kind of snooping House himself pioneered — that the good doctor secretly has submitted his medical records for admission into a clinical trial for cancer patients. Everyone is affected by the news, but perhaps no one more than Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), who has always had a soft spot for the cantankerous physician. House is forced to treat Patrick almost on his own while the team becomes obsessed with figuring out how bad off House really is.

Mr. Matthews and Mr. Smith turn in some fine acting — and musical interludes provide “House” with a change of pace — but that story is eclipsed by House’s own. Viewers will be on the edge of their seats wondering if television’s most compelling doctor will be a critically ill patient once again.

Vive le president

If you can’t wait until 2008 to get your political fix, you’re in luck. Starting today and continuing until the final tally in May, TV5MONDE USA will be producing and broadcasting weekly coverage of the 2007 French presidential election.

America’s only 24/7 French-language network (Channel 688 for Comcast subscribers) will offer 90-minute election coverage each Tuesday at 10:45 p.m. Philippe Dessaint will host.

TV5MONDE has partnered with the French magazine Vivre a l’Etranger to offer interviews with the candidates, foreign reporters and Francophones living abroad as well as commentary from reporters all over the world.

This year’s election marks the first time in the nation’s history that a woman will run for the presidency. Segolene Royal won the French Socialist Party primary on Nov. 17. Other candidates include Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Francois Bayrou, Olivier Besancenot, Jose Bove, Marie-George Buffet, Philippe de Villiers, Arlette Laguiller, Jean-Marie Le Pen, Nicolas Sarkozy and Dominique Voynet.

Doll’ search begins

Viewers who can’t get enough of the hotties on “America’s Next Top Model” have another CW show to ogle. “Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll” has its series premiere tonight at 9.

The show features nine attractive finalists, each of whom tries to unleash her inner Pussycat Doll through singing and dancing while competing to become the newest member of the chart-topping multiplatinum group.

Judges include the group’s founder and choreographer, Robin Antin; Ron Fair, chairman of Geffen Records; and the controversial Grammy Award-winning rap star Lil’ Kim.

With a judging table like that — plus nine gorgeous women vying for a single prize — the new series promises plenty of drama.

Reality bites

Jason Wahler was arrested last weekend and charged with underage drinking and resisting a public officer, authorities said yesterday.

Mr. Wahler, 20, who appeared on MTV’s “Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County” reality series, was arrested by an undercover state Alcohol Law Enforcement agent at Rumors nightclub in Greenville, N.C., late Friday night and booked at Pitt County Jail early Saturday morning, authorities said. He was released on $1,000 bond several hours later, Associated Press reports.

The charge of resisting a public officer stems from providing several false birth dates, said ALE Agent Matt Knight, who arrested Mr. Wahler. He’s scheduled to appear in Pitt County District Court on April 18.

The arrest was first reported on the celebrity news Web site TMZ.com.

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

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