- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Look who’s talking

The prostitute at the center of the scandal that brought down former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and generated national headlines is going to dish on her life as a pricey escort.

ABC says Ashley Alexandra Dupre sat down with Diane Sawyer on the program “20/20.”

The show will air Friday at 10 p.m., Associated Press reports.

According to AP, Miss Dupre reveals how an “upper-middle-class girl next door” got into the world’s oldest profession and the psychological journey she continues to experience.”

Mr. Spitzer resigned March 12 after it was disclosed he had used Emperors Club VIP. Miss Dupre worked for the escort service.

On Thursday, federal prosecutors said they wouldn’t bring criminal charges against Mr. Spitzer, marking the end of the saga.

Four people pleaded guilty to running the prostitution operation.

NBC’s new ‘Friends’

President-elect Barack Obama is already bringing about change - to the world of network TV development, at least.

NBC is developing a comedy based on the book “Making Friends With Black People,” a buddy comedy that will focus on the state of race relations in the United States, Variety reported Tuesday.

The show isn’t specifically about Mr. Obama’s rise as the nation’s first black president, but it hopes to capitalize on how the former Illinois senator’s success has changed the nation’s dialogue on race.

“From time to time, race bubbles up in the consciousness of the country and then dissipates,” says “Making Friends” author Nick Adams. “Now, with Obama, people are talking about race a lot more. We hope to capitalize on that and not let the dialogue die down. … It seemed like a good opportunity to strike while the iron is hot.”

Mara Brock Akil (who also created “Girlfriends”) and Salim Akil, executive producers of “The Game” on the CW, will write the script and serve as executive producers on the project, Variety says.

“Making Friends” will center on two guys - one black and one white - who become close friends but don’t necessarily see things the same way.

Mr. Adams, a stand-up comic who took a humorous look at how people dance around issues of race, penned “Making Friends” in 2006.

The show could represent the latest in a long line of laffers conceived to reflect, in part, a societal shift in America, Variety notes. In 1982, for example, “Family Ties” bowed in the midst of the country’s move toward a more conservative era under Ronald Reagan. Before that, 1970s sitcoms such as “All in the Family” highlighted the nation’s generational culture clash, while “Maude” embraced the women’s movement.

Ski sets launch date

The Ski Channel has announced a Christmas Day launch in front of 15 million digital-cable subscribers, with additional video-on-demand distribution deals in place with DirecTV and Verizon’s FiOS TV service.

According to Variety, the national cable channel will target mountain-sports enthusiasts with 250 hours of licensed content at start-up. It also has inked a deal with Mountain Sports Media allowing it to broadcast ski-themed films from the Warren Miller Entertainment library.

‘60’ is No. 1

For the week of Nov. 10 through 16, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships, according to Nielsen Media Research, were: 1) “60 Minutes,” CBS, 25.1 million; 2) NFL Football: Dallas at Washington, NBC, 19.2 million; 3) “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 19 million; 4) “NCIS,” CBS, 18.7 million; and 5) “Dancing With the Stars,” ABC, 18.6 million.

Last call for ‘Monk’?

USA Network has picked up the eighth and what it calls final season of “Monk,” Variety reports.

The basic cable network has ordered 16 episodes of the series, with a premiere scheduled for next summer. “Monk” stars Tony Shalhoub, a three-time Emmy winner for his role as a brilliant detective who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. The defective detective will soon be closing shop.

The final 16 episodes will debut in the summer, Zap2it.com reports, with a special holiday episode airing Nov. 28, before the holiday episode of “Psych.”

— Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse fom Web and wire reports

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