- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Donor Show’ riles some

A Dutch reality show that claims to be trying to draw attention to a shortage of organ donors yesterday said it would go ahead with a program in which a terminally ill woman will choose a contestant to receive one of her kidneys.

The program “Big Donor Show” has been attacked as unethical and tasteless, Associated Press reports, and a member of the Dutch parliament suggested the government should block Friday’s broadcast.

“We know that this program is supercontroversial and some people will think it’s tasteless, but we think the reality is even more shocking and tasteless: waiting for an organ is just like playing the lottery,” said Laurens Drillich, chairman of the BNN network, adding that waiting lists in the Netherlands are more than four years long and 200 patients die annually for lack of a donor.

The network identified the donor as “Lisa,” a 37-year-old woman with an inoperable brain tumor. During the show, she will hear interviews with the three candidates, their families and friends before choosing who will get her kidney.

The show is being produced by Endemol NV, creator of the “Big Brother” series. A spokeswoman for BNN said there could be no guarantees the donation would actually be made, “but the intention is” Lisa’s donation would be carried out before she died.

That is because her wish to donate to a particular candidate “wouldn’t be valid anymore after her death” under Dutch donation rules, BNN’s Marieke Saly said. If Lisa donates one kidney while living, the other kidney may still be awarded to someone else on a national donation waiting list under the country’s organ allotment system.

Viewers will be able to vote for the candidate they feel is most deserving via SMS text message, but “Lisa will determine who the happy one is,” BNN said.

Ronald Plasterk, the Netherland’s education minister — addressing parliament on behalf of the government because the health minister was ill — replied that there were serious questions about whether the transplant would actually go through as BNN has advertised it.

However, he added, there was no way to stop the program from airing.

Redgrave, ‘Year’ on HBO

Vanessa Redgrave will headline “The Year of Magical Thinking” on Broadway for just four more months, but HBO is aiming to preserve her performance in the one-woman show.

According to Variety, the premium cable biggie is negotiating a deal to film the David Hare-directed play for broadcast. No air date has been set.

Miss Redgrave just won a Drama Desk Award for solo performance and is a Tony nominee for her portrayal of author Joan Didion in a drama Miss Didion adapted from her own 2005 memoir.

The play covers her grieving process after losing, in quick succession, her husband of 39 years, author John Gregory Dunne, and their daughter, Quintana.

Miss Redgrave, 70, a Tony winner for her last Broadway turn in 2003’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” started a 24-week engagement in “Year” on March 29.

CW banks on ‘Palms’

With the regular season winding down and an unpromising slew of reality shows on the air, the CW is hoping for a hit — or at least a chance to reignite viewer interest in broadcast television — with its new drama, “Hidden Palms,” which bows at 8 tonight.

The new show, from executive producers Kevin Williamson (“Dawson’s Creek,” “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and the “Scream” feature trilogy) and Scott Winant (“Huff,” “My So-Called Life”) focuses on Johnny Miller (Taylor Handley, “The O.C.”), an overachieving high school student who’s struggling to come to terms with two tragedies in the strange and artificial atmosphere of Palm Springs.

His world is shattered when he witnesses his father’s suicide, so Johnny numbs himself with drugs and alcohol. Out of rehab, his world is rocked once more when his mother, Karen (Gail O’Grady, “NYPD Blue”), and her new husband, Bob (D.W. Moffett, “Traffic”) relocate the family to Palm Springs.

Along with Mr. Handley, Mr. Moffet and Miss O’Grady, the cast of “Hidden Palms” also includes Amber Heard (“Alpha Dog”), Michael Cassidy (“The O.C.”), Ellary Porterfield (“The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio”) and Tessa Thompson (Veronica Mars).

Tech savvy ‘Jeopardy!’

“Jeopardy!” has answered the question of how to integrate the online world with America’s classic game show with the Jeopardy! Google Daily Challenge.

Beginning Friday, viewers who log on to Jeopardy.com will find an additional clue/answer drawn from one of the featured categories from that day’s broadcast. They can use the Google search application to find the correct answer, the Hollywood Reporter notes. Online participants will then be entered into sweepstakes for a chance to win the daily $100 prize or the $25,000 grand prize.

The contest, which will continue through July 13 with a new clue posted each day, was made possible through a collaboration between Sony Pictures Television and Google, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Ex ‘O.C.’ star falls ill

Actress Mischa Barton was rushed to the hospital Monday night after suffering a bad reaction to medication, reports TMZ.com.

Miss Barton, 21, a former star of Fox’s “The O.C.,” had been enjoying herself at a friend’s Memorial Day barbecue in Los Angeles but began feeling ill after having a few cocktails. She was taken to a local hospital before doctors sent her home with strict instructions to rest.

A representative for the actress said Miss Barton was at home with family and is “feeling much better.”

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

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