- The Washington Times - Monday, February 18, 2008

‘Girlfriends’ ends

When Aaron (Richard T. Jones) proposed to Joan (Tracee Ellis Ross) in the “Girlfriends” seventh-season finale, fans suspected that the episode was the series’ swan song. It wasn’t. The show returned for an eighth and final season.

But instead of going out with a bang, “Girlfriends” is leaving with a whimper, another victim of the writers’ strike, TVGuide.com reports. On Thursday, CW executives announced there will be no new post-strike “Girlfriends” episodes because the network has decided to “focus its creative and financial resources on shows that are in consideration for renewal next year.”

So tonight’s episode (at 9), where Joan reads her fiance Aaron’s letter to his former students and learned that he would be returning from Iraq in two weeks, will be the series’ last, says TVGuide.com. New episodes of its spinoff, “The Game,” are expected to premiere in March.

“Although it’s always difficult to say goodbye, I choose to focus my energy on the history that ‘Girlfriends’ has made,” producer-writer Mara Brock Akil wrote in her official farewell statement. “I am immensely thankful to the amazingly talented cast, writers, directors, staff and crew for their endless dedication and hard work for eight seasons.”

Miss Akil is currently in talks with CW and CBS Paramount Studios to produce a farewell special for the series, which has consistently ranked among the top shows with black viewers.

No statement was released by the network, Zap2it.com reports.

“Girlfriends” — which starred Miss Ross, Jill Marie Jones, Persia White and Golden Brooks as the titular pals — ran for 172 episodes. “Girlfriends” is the second-highest rated series with a predominantly black cast, behind “The Game.” The only such show to produce more episodes was “The Cosby Show,” Associated Press reports. Its star, Miss Ross, earned six consecutive NAACP Image Award nominations as best comic actress, winning once.

The show began airing on UPN in 2000 and moved over to the CW when UPN and the WB merged. It has been enjoying a home in the network’s Monday comedy lineup that includes “Everybody Hates Chris,” “Aliens in America” and “The Game.”

GMC to air Doves

Cable’s Gospel Music Channel has signed a multiyear deal for the exclusive rights to carry the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Awards, an annual event considered by many to be the Christian music industry’s answer to the Grammys, MediaWeek.com reports.

Sponsored by the American Bible Society, the 39th annual Dove Awards will air live on GMC April 23 at 8 p.m. As part of its agreement with the channel, the ABS has the option to continue on as presenting sponsor of the telecast for the duration of the rights deal.

Terms were not disclosed.

Chris Tomlin, the Clark Sisters, Amy Grant and 2006 “American Idol” finalist Mandisa are among the nominees.

Wayans ‘Colors’ Web

Damon Wayans is taking “In Living Color” to the Internet.

The comedian, 47, has announced the debut of “WayOutTV,” a collaboration with YouTube that will show sketch comedy videos he produces, AP reports.

Mr. Wayans described the venture as “In Living Color 2.0”— an online version of the hit 1990s TV series that made him and his brothers Keenen Ivory, Shawn and Marlon famous.

“WayOutTV” will allow viewers to share, rate and leave comments on the sketches.

“For too long, comedy has been a one-way dialogue, with comedians talking to an audience rather than with an audience,” Mr. Wayans said. “My entire goal is to make people laugh and at the same time find a way to be creative and collaborative with people who want to be a part of the process.”

Mr. Wayans became famous for his portrayal of outrageous characters on “In Living Color,” including Homey D. Clown. He also starred on the ABC sitcom “My Wife and Kids” and the Showtime series “The Underground.” His film credits include “The Last Boy Scout” and “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka.”

Bravo ‘Steps It Up’

Not enough reality dance competitions for you?

Luckily, Bravo has put its best foot forward to join the action.

Its new series, “Step It Up & Dance,” premieres April 3 at 10 p.m., Zap2it.com reports.

On the show, a dozen dancers will participate in challenges in a variety of dance styles such as hip-hop, burlesque and Latin in an effort to become the last hoofer standing, winning $100,000. The weekly challenges are set up as auditions for performances that range from a music video shoot to a Vegas spectacular.

“Showgirls” and “Saved by the Bell” star Elizabeth Berkley will host, while Emmy Award nominee and Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell (“Hairspray,” “Legally Blonde”) acts as the competitors’ mentor. On the judging panel are director-choreographer Vincent Paterson ( Madonna’s “Blond Ambition” tour, Michael Jackson’s “Bad” tour) and choreographer Nancy O’Meara (“Hannah Montana,” “High School Musical Tour”).

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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