- The Washington Times - Friday, November 7, 2008

ABC may claim ‘King’

Reports of “King of the Hill’s” dethronement may have been premature, Variety.com reports. At least one network has expressed interest in “King,” which was handed its pink slip last week by Fox.

The suitor is believed to be ABC, with the belief that “King” would make a strong companion to “The Goode Family,” the network’s upcoming animated comedy from “King of the Hill” executive producers Mike Judge, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky.

Fox’s decision not to order any new episodes of “King of the Hill,” meanwhile, came just three days before the animated series posted its best ratings in a year among adults 18 to 49 on Sunday night.

Yet network insiders say Fox won’t likely change its mind on the cancellation. According to Variety, network executives are looking to freshen up their animated stable, and after 260 episodes, they thought “King” was ready for retirement.

Other potential homes for the series include Comedy Central, FX and the Cartoon Network. However, the show, which would be entering its 14th season, is believed to be too expensive for a cable network at this point in its run.

If another network picks up “King of the Hill,” there’s also a remote possibility the show could wind up airing on two networks at once, as Fox’s stockpile of original “King” episodes will keep the show on Fox through next fall. It’s expected that whichever network purchases the show would wait for the Fox broadcast window to conclude.

Given the lengthy lead time on animated projects, the 14th season of “King” probably wouldn’t be available to ABC until late 2009 or early 2010. The Alphabet web could always purchase leftover segments from Fox should the network decide to part ways with the show at the end of this season.

Whatever the case, “King of the Hill” very well could become the prime-time series that couldn’t be killed. The show already has been halted and revived in the past which is why its producers have never written a series finale.

Stars get ‘Valentine’

Lauren Holly, Jennifer Westfeldt and David Sutcliffe have been tapped to star in “Then Again,” a Hallmark Channel original movie set to air on Valentine’s Day, the Hollywood Reporter says.

The movie centers on George (Mr. Sutcliffe), who is heartbroken over the refusal of his fiancee, Jane (Miss Westfeldt, of ABC’s “Notes From the Underbelly”) to marry him. When he gets into an accident, he finds himself transported back in time to fix Jane’s wounded heart from a disastrous near trip to the altar.

‘Wreck’ effect set

Discovery Channel is ordering a new series, “Wreckreation Nation,” BroadcastingCable.com says.

Much like the cable network’s long-running hit “Dirty Jobs,” the new series will follow a host as he travels the United States seeking out weird and dangerous things to try. Instead of jobs, “Wreckreation Nation” will take a look at what some people do in their free time. Everything from cowboy action shooting to alligator wrestling will be covered in the show.

Comedian Dave Nordal (NBC’s “Last Comic Standing”) has been tapped to host the series, which will premiere on Discovery in January.

Weekend highlights

Friday

Soul Deep: The Gospel Highway (9 p.m., VH1 Soul). “Soul Deep,” the 2005 British series on black popular music, profiles the late, great Sam Cooke from his rise as a gospel music standout to his ascendance as America’s first soul music superstar. The special charts his early days through a series of interviews with a number of R&B and gospel music notables (including singers Candi Staton, Mavis Staples, Ben E. King, Bobby Womack and Solomon Burke) and also examines the founding of Mr. Cooke’s own Sar/Derby label and his murder in 1964 at age 33.

Saturday

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street ( 8 p.m., HBO). Best-actor Oscar nominee Johnny Depp is the vengeful barber whose victims become a tasty favorite of London in this film version of Stephen Sondheim’s hit Broadway musical. Imprisoned on false charges, Sweeney returns to discover his wife dead and his daughter a captive — both the work of the same dirty judge. Returning to his old shop above the meat-pie shop of his landlady, Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter), Sweeney begins carving up the customers who soon turn up for Mrs. Lovett’s suddenly delicious pies.

Sunday

Crash: The Next Great Depression? (10 p.m., History Channel). This hourlong special examines America’s current economic meltdown by comparing and contrasting it to the crisis that led to the 1929 stock-market crash and the Great Depression and its aftermath through interviews with experts and scholars and those who experienced it.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, wire and Web reports


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