- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 7, 2007

A Star returns

Star Jones Reynolds has landed her own daily talk show — and she won’t have to worry about Barbara Walters this time.

Court TV yesterday said it had hired Miss Jones Reynolds to run a show about criminal justice issues that intersect with the pop culture world. The show, as yet untitled, will likely start early this fall, Associated Press reports.

It’s a return to her roots for Miss Jones Reynolds, an American University graduate and attorney who began her TV career as a legal commentator on Court TV in 1991. She was an original co-host with ABC’s “The View,” starting in 1997, where she became acquainted with the glitz and glamour of show biz.

“This is the perfect time in our culture to see how the law, politics and entertainment come together,” Miss Jones Reynolds said. “Some people say it has been on a collision. I say it has been connected.”

Steve Koonin, Turner Entertainment Networks president, said that Court TV is looking to broaden the appeal of its daytime lineup and that this offered a good opportunity.

Miss Jones Reynolds, 44, left “The View” on bad terms last summer. Told her contract wasn’t going to be renewed, she beat Miss Walters to the punch in announcing her departure. That angered Miss Walters, and Miss Jones Reynolds wasn’t allowed on the air again.

She brushed aside any questions about whether her new gig offered any sense of vindication.

“It would not be smart to look at it as anything other than a blessing,” she said. “I see only the positive. I had an amazing nine years.”

She doesn’t watch “The View” anymore but follows news reports about it.

“It’s not my show anymore,” Miss Jones Reynolds said. “I wish them the best, and I hope they wish me the best.”

A star-studded ‘SVU’

This May, “Law & Order: SVU” will see the return of some old, familiar faces along with some fresh blood to stir up the action.

Rapper-actor Chris “Ludacris” Bridges leads the way for a star-studded guest cast on the NBC drama’s season finale, airing May 22, reports Zap2it.com. Joining him are attorneys/entertainers Star Jones Reynolds and Nancy Grace and actors Steven Weber, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Ernest Waddell, Vincent Spano, Judith Light and Michael Weston.

Ludacris previously appeared on the show as Darius Parker, the stepson of Detective Fin Tutola (Ice-T) and Teresa Randall (Miss Hamilton). When he returns for the finale, titled “Screwed,” Darius is on trial for the murder of a woman and her baby. He’s represented by defense attorney Matthew Greyson (Mr. Weber), who has an impressive track record getting his clients cleared.

Miss Jones Reynolds and Miss Grace will both appear as themselves in the episode as the case gains momentum in the media.

Reprising their guest roles are Miss Light as Judge Elizabeth Donnelly, Mr. Spano as FBI Agent Dean Porter, Mr. Waddell as Ken Randall and Mr. Weston as Simon Marsden.

The episode also marks the official debut of Adam Beach as Detective Chester Lake, the newest member of the SVU team. He appeared previously this season when he joined Detective Tutola to track down a rapist. Upon his return, he will stick around to help out permanently for the show’s upcoming ninth season.

Mr. Beach has appeared on a number of TV shows including “JAG” and “Third Watch.” His film credits include “Mystery, Alaska,” “Joe Dirt,” “Windtalkers” and “Flags of Our Fathers.” He next appears in the HBO film adaptation of the book “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” which was also produced by “SVU” creator Dick Wolf.

Outside of the music world, Ludacris is known for his film roles in “2 Fast 2 Furious,” “Crash” and “Hustle & Flow.”

New ‘Riches’ online

FX plans to preview episodes of its new series “The Riches” on MSN and Yahoo.

The series, produced by Fox Television Studios, premieres Monday on FX, but as of yesterday, broadband users could see it first on MSN exclusively for three days. On Saturday, the premiere episode also will be available on Yahoo.com, AOL.com and TV.com, reports TVWeek.com.

The second episode, airing March 19 on FX, will be available online on Yahoo starting Tuesday for three days. After that, it will be available on MSN and TV.com.

“The Riches” stars Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver as thieves who steal the identity of a well-to-do family.

The first two episodes of “The Riches” that will be available for online viewing will be edited for content and rated TV-14. Episodes airing on FX are rated TV-MA and will have the proper subratings code applicable to each installment.

Knights’ officially out

ABC has pulled its comedy “The Knights of Prosperity,” effective immediately.

With four episodes left to air in its original 13-episode order, the network filled its regular Wednesday time slot with “According to Jim” last night, and repeats of “The George Lopez Show” will air at 8:30 p.m. in weeks to come, reports MediaWeek.com.

“Knights” stars Donal Logue as a janitor who tries to change his life for the better by robbing Mick Jagger. The four remaining episodes begin a new arc, in which Mr. Logue and his cohorts target comic Ray Romano.

Co-created by Rob Burnett and Jon Beckerman (NBC’s “Ed”), “Knights” averaged 4.8 million viewers. Despite critical acclaim, the series premiered in a tough climate for network comedy — and opposite Fox’s “American Idol” during the past two weeks — and never really stood a chance.

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

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