- The Washington Times - Monday, April 7, 2008

MSNBC tackles race

Following on the heels of the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, MSNBC will air three hours of programming devoted to issues of race and racial reconciliation on Friday, Multichannel.com reports.

The cable channel will premiere “Meeting David Wilson” (9 p.m.), the story of a young man’s reconciliation with his ancestors’ history as slaves. A discussion, “A Live Conversation About Race,” will follow immediately at 10:30. The 90-minute forum will be broadcast from Howard University in Northwest and will stream simultaneously on msnbc.com.

“NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams will moderate a panel discussion with nationally syndicated morning radio host Tom Joyner, author Michael Eric Dyson, entrepreneur Malaak Compton-Rock, screenwriter Kriss Turner, writer Kevin Powell and columnist Mike Barnicle. Tim Wise, director of the Association for White Anti-Racist Education (AWARE) and the Rev. Buster Soaries also will be featured panelists.

MSNBC.com also will create a special online section for the documentary and feature content to address issues discussed in the film, such as race and identity, as well as stories and video from pivotal moments in black history.

Viewers can log on to nightly.msnbc.com or davidwilson.msnbc.com to suggest questions for the broadcast discussion and to engage in an online forum. Viewers also will be given the opportunity to ask questions by logging onto davidwilson.msnbc.com.

Brit’s second chance

Here’s a bit of good news for Britney Spears: An executive producer for “How I Met Your Mother” says he’s open to having the troubled pop star return for another cameo.

“We always said, ‘You know, if her character pops, we’ll bring her back,’ ” Carter Bays told Associated Press. “I thought she was great. I was very proud of that episode.”

Miss Spears, 26, garnered good reviews for her guest-starring role as a goofy receptionist in the March 24 episode of the cult CBS sitcom. The show ended with Miss Spears’ character flirting with womanizer Barney (Neil Patrick Harris).

On the following episode, which aired March 31, the show introduced a “mystery woman” who has been sabotaging Barney’s usually successful attempts to pick up ladies.

Soapland troubles

The Writers Guild of America, East, has filed arbitration cases charging ABC and Corday Productions with violating terms agreed to in the Feb. 11 strike termination agreement regarding two daytime soaps: ABC’s “All My Children” and NBC’s “Days of Our Lives.”

According to MediaWeek.com, the complaints filed by the WGA charge the producers of each show with retaining replacement workers hired during the strike rather than rehiring WGA writers.

ABC, producer of “All My Children,” and Corday, which produces “Days of Our Lives,” have 10 days to respond.

Executives for both the network and Corday were not immediately available for comment, MediaWeek said.

Short takes

Fox has given a 13-episode order to the animated comedy “King of the Hill,” bringing the series back for its 13th season, Zap2it.com reports. The somewhat limited order shouldn’t be taken as a bad sign for proud Texans Hank, Peggy and Bobby Hill. Fox has reliably left “King of the Hill” in renewal limbo only to realize the value of its steady, albeit unspectacular, performances on Sunday night for more than a decade. All of the show’s core vocal cast members — including Mike Judge, Kathy Najimy, Pamela Adlon, Brittany Murphy, Tom Petty, Johnny Hardwick and Stephen Root—are expected to return. Created by Mr. Judge, “King of the Hill” has had the second longest run of any animated program in prime-time history. Only “The Simpsons” has lasted longer.

• Judy Davis is set to reprise her role in USA Network’s upcoming series “The Starter Wife,” starring Debra Messing as a newly divorced mother, the Hollywood Reporter notes. Miss Davis won a supporting-actress Emmy last year for her role as Joan McAllister, one of Molly Kagan’s (Miss Messing) closest friends, in “Starter Wife,” which originally aired as a miniseries last summer.

• Lifetime Television will renew a second edition of “How to Look Good Naked,” the reality series that averaged more than 1.1 million viewers per episode in its recently concluded inaugural season, MultiChannel.com reports. The show, hosted by former “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” co-star Carson Kressley, also will be expanded from 30 minutes to a full hour per episode. The network said ratings for the first season garnered a 53 percent jump in viewership among women 18 to 34 and an 11 percent bump among women between 18 and 49.

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

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