- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 17, 2008

HBO banks on docs

HBO is turning to original documentaries this summer to fill its Monday night slate, starting with “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” on June 9, Variety reports.

The programs will air each Monday through Aug. 25.

The scheduling strategy comes as the premium cable giant enters the summer without any original series on tap because of the writers strike, the trade publication notes.

The Polanski documentary, from filmmaker Marina Zenovich, looks at the lingering impact on the director 30 years after he was accused of having sex with a minor and later fled the country.

Other films on the docket include the high school debate-themed “Resolved” (June 16); “Hard Times at Douglass High: A No Child Left Behind Report Card,” which focuses on a Baltimore high school (June 23); and “Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery,” about soldiers from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars buried at the cemetery (June 30).

July entries include “The Art of Failure: Chuck Connelly’s Not for Sale” (July 7), “China’s Stolen Children” (July 14), “Heidi Fleiss: The Would-Be Madam of Crystal” (July 21) and “The Recruiter” (July 28).

In August, films include “Baghdad High” (Aug. 4), “We Are Together: The Children of Agape Choir” (Aug. 11), “Ganja Queen” (Aug. 18) and “The Black List, Vol. 1” (Aug. 25).

Green scene for Fox

Fox is launching its first networkwide public service campaign in two years: “Green It. Mean It.”

Timed to lead up to Tuesday’s Earth Day observance, the weeklong eco-themed campaign began yesterday and features on-and off-air elements including promos starring Fox talent, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Omar Epps and Lisa Edelstein from “House,” Emily Deschanel from “Bones” and Kelsey Grammer and Fred Willard from “Back to You” are among those who will offer “green tips” to viewers. Meanwhile, Fox affiliates will offer an “Are You Smart Enough to Save the Planet?” promotion for a special two-hour “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?”

The efforts represent the first on-air public service campaign for the network since the 2006 PAUSE campaign, which promoted making smart choices to teenagers. That campaign was done as part of a partnership with the Kaiser Foundation.

In November, NBC became the first broadcast network to do a “green week” of programming and marketing tie-ins. Last year, Fox parent News Corp. embraced promoting ecological initiatives after owner Rupert Murdoch announced his intention to educate his company’s viewers and readers about global warming.

‘Weeds’ lands Brooks

Albert Brooks will be joining the cast of “Weeds” when the Showtime comedy has its fourth-season premiere in June, Zap2it.com reports.

“Weeds” kicks off its new season June 16 at 10 p.m. with Mr. Brooks making his first appearance as Len Botwin, the estranged father-in-law to Mary-Louise Parker’s Nancy Botwin and father of her ne’er-do-well brother-in law, Andy (Justin Kirk).

Mr. Brooks’ character comes into play as the Botwin clan (and some close friends and associates) leaves the smoldering ruins of Agrestic and takes up residence in Ren Mar, a fictional beach community near the Mexican border. The Botwins will be moving in with Len’s ailing mother, which causes family tensions.

It’s expected that Mr. Brooks will appear in at least four of the season’s 13 episodes.

An Oscar nominee for “Broadcast News” who also is beloved by a generation of children for his voice work in Pixar’s “Finding Nemo,” Mr. Brooks is a writer, director and star whose recent credits include “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World,” “The Muse” and “Mother.”

Garth exits ‘Girl’

Jennie Garth has left the CBS comedy pilot “My Best Friend’s Girl,” raising speculation about a possible stint on the CW’s “Beverly Hills, 90210” spinoff.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Kristin Booth has been tapped to replace Miss Garth as the female lead in “Girl.”

The series, from Sony TV, revolves around two best friends whose relationship becomes complicated when one (Tim Peper) starts dating the ex-wife of the other (Josh Cooke).

Miss Garth was to play the ex-wife. She departed the pilot after the table read Monday in what was described as a mutual decision between her and the producers. She has been coping with the death of her father, which occurred after she was cast in “Girl,” THR notes.

On tap tonight …

Smallville (8 p.m., the CW): The secret of Veritas leads Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) in a dangerous direction that will put Clark (Tom Welling) and Lex in each other’s crosshairs. One more thing: There’s also a major power struggle — and one character dies.

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

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