- The Washington Times - Friday, September 26, 2008

Kudrow heads to Web

Lexus is making an ambitious foray into online entertainment with former “Friends” star Lisa Kudrow in the driver’s seat, the Hollywood Reporter says.

On Tuesday, the luxury carmaker will launch an Internet-only branded channel stocked with a full slate of original programming headlined by Miss Kudrow in a short-form comedy series in which she plays a nutty shrink.

The choice of the Emmy-winning actress for the lead role in “Web Therapy” should bring attention to what Lexus is calling L Studio, available at LStudio.com. However, the creation of a marketer-branded broadband channel also is bound to get attention given its only precedent: Bud.TV, a similar venture Budweiser kicked off after the Super Bowl in 2006 only to watch it fail after a reported $30 million investment.

“We learned from some of the mistakes that they made in the beginning,” says Sandy Blanchard, owner-experience manager at Lexus’ marketing division. She oversees L Studio.

According to THR, Miss Blanchard would not divulge the budget for L Studio but made clear it is not in the ballpark of $30 million.

In “Therapy,” Miss Kudrow plays Fiona Wallice, a psychotherapist who conducts absurdly abridged three-minute sessions via the Internet that do little to help her clients. She juggles five clients in 15 episodes, played by Bob Balaban, Jane Lynch, Rashida Jones, Tim Bagley and Dan Bucatinsky.

“This is the kind of idea that’s just meant for the Web,” says Miss Kudrow, who wrote and produced “Therapy” with Mr. Bucatinsky, her partner at Is or Isn’t Productions.

Miss Kudrow isn’t Hollywood’s only representative on L Studio. “Sex and the City” writer-producer Amy B. Harris joins the site in October with a scripted series of her own, “Puppy Love,” in which she examines the relationships between people and their dogs. Miss Harris recruited many other “Sex” writers to contribute to the 40-episode series. Famke Janssen, Janel Moloney and Heather Burns round out the cast.

MTV talks ‘Sex’

MTV has greenlighted a sex-themed series for teens and their parents featuring relationship expert Dr. Drew Pinsky.

The show, “Sex • With Mom and Dad,” is part of Think MTV’s sexual-health campaign, “It’s Your (Sex) Life.” In each half-hour episode, Dr. Pinsky will help a teen and parents work through their problems discussing sex, dating and relationships.

“Sex,” which has received a 20-episode order, premieres at 7 p.m. Monday.

Dr. Pinsky, a board-certified addiction medicine specialist famed for his long-running radio show “Loveline,” recently collaborated with MTV sister channel VH1 for “Celebrity Rehab,” Hollywood Reporter notes.

Rock’s latest on HBO

Emmy- and Grammy-winning comedian Chris Rock returns to HBO on Saturday with “Chris Rock: Don’t Kill the Messenger,” his fifth stand-up special for the premium cable giant.

The 90-minute show, airing at 9 p.m., features footage from three performances — at South Africa’s Carnival City Casino, New York’s legendary Apollo Theater and the Carling Apollo Hammersmith in London.

“Messenger” follows four other HBO specials featuring Mr. Rock: 2004’s “Never Scared” (filmed at DAR Constitution Hall in the District), 2000’s “Bigger & Blacker,” the Emmy-winning “Bring the Pain” from 1996 and “Big Ass Jokes” from 1994, which won the CableACE Award.

Also this weekend:

Friday

Saving Jazz — (10 p.m., Sundance Channel): This 2006 documentary by Leslie Woodhead follows the often painful journey of 82-year-old photographer Herman Leonard — who since the 1940s has captured the images of Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday and hundreds of other music icons — as he struggles to salvage his historic New Orleans archive, which was damaged by Hurricane Katrina. With Wynton Marsalis, Tony Bennett and others.

Saturday

Baisden After Dark — (11 p.m., TV One): Radio and TV talk-show host Michael Baisden tackles the topic of obesity in America with fitness trainer A.J. Johnson, comic actress Kim Coles and author and speaker Lawana S. Gladney. Musical guests: a performance by original members of ‘80s soul and funk band the Time.

Sunday

Desperate Housewives — (9 p.m., ABC): The women of Wisteria Lane travel five years into the future as the ABC hit kicks off its fifth season. Marcia Cross, Dana Delany, Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Eva Longoria Parker and Nicolette Sheridan star.

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


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