- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 7, 2008

Moderators chosen

The Commission on Presidential Debates has named Jim Lehrer and Gwen Ifill of PBS, Tom Brokaw of NBC News and Bob Schieffer of CBS News as moderators of the three presidential debates and one vice presidential face-off, Associated Press reported Wednesday.

Mr. Lehrer, anchor of “The NewsHour,” will moderate the first presidential debate in Oxford, Miss., on Sept. 26. Miss Ifill, a correspondent on the same program and moderator of “Washington Week,” will handle the vice presidential debate Oct. 2 in St. Louis.

Mr. Brokaw, moderator of “Meet the Press,” will handle the second presidential debate in Nashville, Tenn., followed by Mr. Schieffer, host of “Face the Nation,” who will handle the third and final presidential debate in Hempstead, N.Y.

Each 90-minute debate will have a single moderator, AP says.

Fishburne eyeing ‘CSI’

Oscar-nominated actor Laurence Fishburne (1993’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”) reportedly is close to signing a deal to join CBS’ “CSI,” TVGuide.com reports. He would fill the considerable void being left when series frontman William Petersen steps down after this season’s 10th episode. Other actors under consideration to replace Mr. Petersen include John Malkovich and Kurt Russell, the Hollywood Reporter says.

According to TVGuide.com, Mr. Fishburne would play a doctor-scientist who comes into the CSI as an outsider and not as the team’s new boss, CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler said at the Television Critics Association press tour. As a DNA expert, this new character has identified a common profile among serial killers — and it’s even in his own genes.

Mr. Petersen — who will continue on as an executive producer and also put in the occasional “special” appearance — is the third original cast member to leave “CSI,” following Jorja Fox and Gary Dourdan (each of whom will resurface briefly this season).

Stone to join ‘Tudors’

In her first major acting gig, British R&B singer Joss Stone is joining the cast of Showtime’s drama “The Tudors” for its upcoming third season.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Miss Stone will play Anne of Cleves, the fourth wife of Henry VIII (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). A daughter of a German nobleman, Anne was betrothed to Henry in a marriage treaty between the Cleves Court and the king’s chancellor after Henry was shown a portrait of her.

Upon Anne’s arrival in England, Henry was disappointed in her looks and soon found a legal way to have the marriage annulled.

According to Showtime, the upcoming season of the racy royal drama will follow the king as he weds third queen Jane Seymour (Anita Briem) and then Anne of Cleves.

Miss Stone, who burst onto the music scene in 2003 and has had three gold albums in the United States, has been looking to cross over into acting. In 2006, she had a role in the fantasy feature “Eragon.”

‘Dancing’ for Toni B.?

Grammy-winning Bowie native Toni Braxton apparently has weathered her recent health crisis and reportedly will trip the light fantastic in the new season of the ABC hit “Dancing With the Stars,” according to several published reports.

Miss Braxton, 41, reportedly will join former ‘N Sync singer Lance Bass; Jewel’s rodeo-rider boyfriend, Ty Murray; and ex-” Brady Bunch” mom Florence Henderson for the seventh season of the hit show, Contactmusic.com reports.

The news, broken by In Touch magazine, comes just three months after Miss Braxton was forced to scrap a series of shows in Las Vegas following a health scare that led to hospitalization. The singer, who suffers from a heart condition called pericarditis — an inflammation of the tissues surrounding the heart — checked into a Las Vegas hospital in April after experiencing chest pains. She has yet to comment on her latest health situation.

Celebrities who have competed on “Dancing With the Stars” in the past include actress Jane Seymour; singer Marie Osmond; Heather Mills, ex-wife of Beatle Paul McCartney; and former Spice Girl Melanie Brown.

An ABC spokeswoman for the hit show has refused to confirm the latest lineup reports.

The official cast reportedly will be revealed Aug. 25 on the network’s “Good Morning America.”

“Dancing’s” new season premieres Sept. 22.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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