- The Washington Times - Monday, April 28, 2008

Irked by ‘Gossip’

The Parents Television Council is on the warpath again, this time taking issue with the CW network’s marketing campaign promoting its freshman drama “Gossip Girl,” says MediaWeek.com.

The new CW print and online campaign includes an ad and pictures what the PTC believes is a “sexually suggestive photo showing a teenage boy kissing a girl’s cleavage.”

“The Parents Television Council deplores the CW’s deliberate use of profanity and sexual imagery to exploit and further corrupt young viewers, and has warned its members about the show and the new ad campaign,” a representative of the PTC said.

The PTC said “Gossip Girl” is “the most-watched show among girls 12 to 17 and glamorizes casual sex and drug use among teens. Story lines have featured a would-be teen rapist, threesome among teens, and teenage girls having sex with adults.”

CW officials could not be reached for immediate comment, MediaWeek said, but have not spoken publicly on other recent complaints the PTC has raised about its shows.

Heading to ‘Court’

The honeymoon is over for Gary Coleman and his new bride.

The 40-year-old actor and his 22-year-old wife, Shannon Price, are set to air their dirty laundry on TV’s “Divorce Court” Thursday and Friday (1 p.m., Fox5-WTTG), the Associated Press reports. The couple wed in August after meeting on the set of the 2006 comedy “Church Ball.”

Among the problems the pair discusses with Judge Lynn Toler are Mr. Coleman’s anger and intimacy issues.

“If he doesn’t get his way, he throws a temper tantrum like a 5-year-old does,” Miss Price says, according to a transcript of the show obtained by AP.

Miss Price also complains that Mr. Coleman has no friends and inexplicably disappears from home in the middle of the night.

Mr. Coleman — who achieved childhood fame as the star of NBC’s “Diff’rent Strokes” — says he gets frustrated because “the male is always the bad guy.”

Targeting ‘Bad Dads’

After embracing the dark side of reality TV with its marriage-busting hit “The Moment of Truth,” Fox’s newest project will tap the power of its unscripted division for the forces of good.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the network has ordered a pilot titled “Bad Dads,” in which an avenger of penniless single mothers hunts down deadbeat dads and forces them to pay child support.

“It’s a show that depicts the sacrifice and heartache of incredibly brave women on behalf of their kids and then ends in the most gratifying way possible — justice for these women,” says the show’s executive producer J.D. Roth (“The Biggest Loser,” “Beauty and the Geek”).

Sluggish government agencies often fail to persuade financially liable fathers to pay child support. As of 2006, the nation’s cumulative uncollected child support stood at about $105 billion, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

If greenlighted to series, “Bad Dads” will provide Fox with a fresh take on the law-enforcement reality show, a genre the network pioneered with such Saturday night staples as “Cops” and “America’s Most Wanted.”

Short takes

• Lucy Liu will be back on ABC next season no matter what. The actress, known best for her roles on “Ally McBeal” and the “Charlie’s Angels” film franchise, is in negotiations to join the cast of the network’s freshman drama “Dirty Sexy Money,” which has been renewed for a second season, says the Hollywood Reporter. She most recently starred in another ABC freshman drama, “Cashmere Mafia.” “Sexy” already has been picked up by ABC for a second season, but “Mafia’s” chances for renewal are not very good following a low-rated midseason run, the trade publication notes.

• Naomi Campbell is getting “Ugly.” The supermodel will appear on ABC’s “Ugly Betty,” AP reports. A network representative confirmed last week that Miss Campbell would play herself in the second season finale. ABC previously announced that the series will return for a third season.

• Singer-actor-reality TV star Nick Lachey has been chosen to host ABC’s upcoming summer series “High School Musical: Summer Session,” a reality competition program based on Disney’s “High School Musical” franchise, notes TVWeek.com. The series will follow a group of young people as they audition for a chance to attend a summer music program, where after rigorous training one outstanding hopeful will win “the opportunity of a lifetime,” yet to be announced. Open casting calls for the series take place May 7 at Disney World’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. Auditions are open to anyone between 16 and 22 years old.

On tap tonight

Celebrity Expose (8 p.m. MyNetwork TV, WDCA-Channel 20) Fresh off a mysterious, headline-grabbing marriage to rapper Jay-Z, Grammy Award-winning singer and actress Beyonce Knowles is the subject of tonight’s show. The hourlong episode will examine the Houston native’s rise in the now-defunct pop group Destiny’s Child, her solo career and her relationship with Jay-Z.

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

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