- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bad timing

First, the good news: Hachette Filipacchi Media is teaming up with remodeling guru Ty Pennington for a new special-interest shelter magazine, Ty Pennington At Home, MediaWeek.com reports.

Now for the bad. The announcement’s timing is awkward for Hachette, the world’s largest magazine publisher, and Mr. Pennington, who was arrested last weekend on a driving-under-the-influence charge. The host of ABC’s popular “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” released a statement apologizing for his “lapse in judgment.” (He’s scheduled to be arraigned June 4 and faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail plus a $1,000 fine, if convicted.)

Mr. Pennington, 41, may also be regretting some of the language in the magazine. Among the items sure to generate buzz: A Thai-themed menu includes a cocktail recipe for “Tytinis” and encourages readers to “Thai one on,” while a do-it-yourself column shows readers how to build their own wine rack.

A Hachette spokesperson did not return calls seeking comment, MediaWeek said.

The one-time Ty Pennington At Home issue hits newsstands Tuesday with a $4.99 cover price and features tips on gadget, decorating, organizing and other lifestyle information. Initial distribution is 650,000 copies. Hachette also hopes to publish the magazine quarterly next year.

Meanwhile, the show goes on for Mr. Pennington and crew — at least for this Sunday, when “Extreme Makeover” returns with a new episode in its regular 8 p.m. time slot.

HBO rolls on

Like Mr. Pennington, bad timing has also cast a pall over HBO, whose chairman and CEO, Chris Albrecht, was forced out following a reported altercation with a lady friend that landed him in a Las Vegas jail last weekend.

The ouster not only comes amid the May sweeps, but also at a particularly vulnerable time for the cable biggie with its long-running tentpole series, “The Sopranos,” signing off in the next few weeks.

There may be a glimmer of hope, though, with the network’s drumroll growing louder for the upcoming made-for-cable adaptation of Dee Brown’s best-selling 1970 novel “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.”

The film — produced by “Law & Order” kingpin Dick Wolf and premiering May 27 — stars Aidan Quinn, Adam Beach, August Schellenberg, J.K. Simmons, Eric Schweig, Wes Studi, Colm Feore, Gordon Tootoosis, Oscar winner Anna Paquin and former U.S. senator and presidential hopeful Fred Thompson, who, at least on-screen, will fill the nation’s top job as President Ulysses S. Grant.

Also, the network’s controversial “Big Love,” a series about polygamy, returns for its second season on June 11. It moves from its previous Sunday-night berth to Monday evenings at 9.

The 13-episode season kicks off with “Damage Control.” A follow-up to last year’s season finale, the episode finds the Henrickson clan (headed by family patriarch Bill Paxton) reeling from first wife Barb’s (Jeanne Tripplehorn) public exposure as a polygamist during a Mother of the Year ceremony at the governor’s mansion.

Was Bill’s arch-enemy — and father-in-law — Roman Grant (Harry Dean Stanton) behind the devastating disclosure? Will Barb recover from this public humiliation? Will Bill’s home improvement stores suffer from the revelation?

We’ll also get a look at the family’s early years on “Big Love: In The Beginning — An HBO On Demand Exclusive Story,” which depicts events that took place before the start of season one. These three “back-story” segments, written by series creators Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer (and featuring the series’ lead actors), will first be available exclusively on HBO On Demand through Comcast starting May 28, HBO says. They will then be made available a week later on all HBO On Demand carriers and via HBO Podcasts at hbo.com shortly thereafter.

The three prequels — titled “Post-Partum,” “Meet the Baby-Sitter” and “Moving Day” — will also premiere back-to-back on HBO on June 24.

Fond farewells

While May is rapidly shaping up as a month filled with celebrity scandals, it’s also rife with the season finales of network shows, which begin rolling out in abundance starting this weekend.

Tonight, “Ghost Whisperer” (8 p.m., CBS) takes its final bow of the season with guest stars Julian Sands and Vivian Wu.

On Sunday, CBS wraps its latest edition of “Survivor,” with one player receiving the $1 million prize for outplaying, outwitting and outlasting the other 15 contestants in the Fiji Islands. Also Sunday, the CW’s “7th Heaven” closes shop for good with the Camden parents (Stephen Collins and Catherine Hicks) retiring to hit the road.

On MondayMay 14rs will bid a fond farewell to “The King of Queens” (9 p.m.) after nine seasons. Other season finishers slated for Monday: “Everybody Hates Chris”(8 p.m. on the CW) and CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother” (8 p.m.) and “Two and a Half Men” (8:30 p.m.).

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

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