- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 18, 2008

‘Riches’ returns

FX’s “The Riches” returns tonight at 10 for its second season of counterfeit normality by a family of con artists.

Thanks to a bizarre accident last season, Wayne and Dahlia Malloy (Eddie Izzard and newly announced mom-to-be Minnie Driver) and their three children were able to leave behind a life spent on the run, living from scam to scam, and assume the identity of the deceased, moneyed suburban family of Doug and Cherien Rich. The Malloys claimed the couple’s posh home and respectable name, and no one in the wealthy community of Eden Falls was the wiser.

How long can they keep up the act?

As season two begins, Wayne sends his family on the road with plans to join them once he has figured out how to deal with the latest threat to their luxurious lifestyle: the unexpected arrival of Pete (Arye Gross), a longtime friend of the real Doug Rich’s who has no idea Rich is dead. Meanwhile, Wayne — who wrangled a job as a lawyer at a local land development firm — has a crack at a multimillion-dollar payday as his share of a potential $150 million land deal. Will this temptation prove to be his (and his family’s) undoing?

CBS eyeing TWC?

The Weather Channel could fit nicely under the CBS media umbrella, the network’s chief executive said Thursday.

TWC is “something that could fit,” Leslie Moonves said during the 2008 Media Summit in New York, Multichannel.com reports. Yet acquiring the 25-year-old cable, satellite and TV network along with its associated Web site “depends on the pricing,” he added.

The weather-tracking and -forecasting service is being auctioned off by its parent company, Landmark Communications of Norfolk. The purported price tag is $5 billion, which a Landmark executive has defended and at least one Wall Street financial analyst has termed “achievable,” Multichannel.com reports.

Mr. Moonves didn’t say whether CBS has entered the bidding for TWC.

“Everybody is kicking the tires,” he said.

In 2006, Mr. Moonves said CBS was interested in acquiring the Spanish-language broadcaster Univision, but the $11.1 billion price that wound up being paid by a private equity consortium led by media investor Haim Saban was too high.

CBS doesn’t own any networks that appear on basic cable television tiers of programming. Among its holdingsare broadcast TV networks CBS and the CW; the multimedia network now branded CBS College Sports Television, which appears on digital tiers of cable networks; and Showtime Networks, a premium subscription service.

Slater series set

Christian Slater is coming to prime time.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, NBC is close to handing out a series order to an untitled drama from writer-producer Jason Smilovic starring Mr. Slater in what would be the actor’s first TV series.

The project originally was developed as a feature at Fox several years ago. It is described as “The Bourne Identity” meets “Jekyll & Hyde” and centers on a mild-mannered suburban dad (Mr. Slater) who learns that his alter ego is a spy.

NBC declined comment, THR said.

Mr. Smilovic most recently served as executive producer on NBC’s “Bionic Woman.” He also created and executive-produced the network’s well-received drama “Kidnapped” and was behind ABC’s critically praised “Karen Sisco.”

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

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