- The Washington Times - Friday, April 10, 2009

TV Land fetes ‘ER’

NBC’s acclaimed medical drama “ER,” which checked out April 2 after a 15-year run, has been added as an honoree at the “2009 TV Land Awards.”

The ceremony, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris (CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother”) takes place April 19 at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City. It will air on cable’s TV Land April 26 at 8 p.m.

Cast members Alex Kingston, Anthony Edwards, Linda Cardellini, Ellen Crawford, Laura Innes, Kellie Martin, Mekhi Phifer, Parminder Nagra, Shane West and Yvette Freeman will be on hand to accept the award.

‘Eastbound’ renewed

HBO has renewed the comedy series “Eastbound & Down” for a second season, the Hollywood Reporter notes. Production on the new episodes will begin this year for a 2010 premiere.

The series, with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay as executive producers, had a slow start, drawing 671,000 viewers in its Feb. 15 premiere. However, like Alan Ball’s vampire drama “True Blood” last year, it grew steadily throughout its six-episode run, peaking at 950,000 viewers on March 15. It closed out its freshman season with 904,000 viewers March 22.

“Eastbound” stars Danny McBride as Kenny Powers, a star pitcher whose self-destructive behavior knocked him out of the major leagues. He returned home to North Carolina to teach gym at the middle school he once attended, but he eventually scored another big-league job offer.

Holiday watch

It’s Easter weekend, and holiday specials abound. Among the highlights:

Friday

Ten Commandments (8 a.m., History Channel) What’s the real story behind history’s most famous written document? This two-hour special examines the three different — and sometimes contradictory — biblical accounts of Moses on the Mount and also looks at each of the Ten Commandments in historical context.

Saturday

Ten Commandments (7, ABC) — The annual Easter Week telecast of Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 film adaptation of the journey of the Egyptian prince Moses (Charlton Heston), who, after learning of his true Hebrew heritage, fulfills his divine mission as the deliverer of his people.

Easter Unwrapped (8, Food Network) — Host Marc Summers checks out marshmallow bunnies and the laying of malted eggs. The secrets behind dyeing Easter eggs by hand and by machine are revealed, and viewers also can see the making of a chocolate bunny and meet an artist specializing in Peeps. Repeats Sunday at 3 p.m.

Sunday

From sunrise to sundown and beyond, cable’s Turner Classic Movies has just the ticket for a day filled with familiar holiday and biblical films:

The Green Pastures (6:30 a.m.) — This seldom-seen classic from the early days of black cinema seems to merit an early wake-up call for movie buffs. The re-enactment of Bible stories — set in the world of black American folklore — is presented in this 1936 film starring Rex Ingram, Oscar Polk and Eddie “Rochester” Anderson.

Salome (8:15 a.m.) — Herod’s stepdaughter discovers Christianity through her love for a Roman centurion. With Rita Hayworth, Stewart Granger and Charles Laughton.

Solomon and Sheba (10 a.m.) — This is the epic tale of the biblical king’s (Yul Brynner) seduction by a pagan queen (Gina Lollobrigida), which leads to his downfall. George Sanders co-stars, and King Vidor directs.

Ben-Hur (12:30 p.m. ) — This 1959 adaptation of Lew Wallace’s novel about a rebellious Israelite prince (Charlton Heston) who crosses paths with Jesus Christ took home 11 Academy Awards — including the best-picture Oscar and top prizes for Mr. Heston (best actor) and William Wyler (best director). With Stephen Boyd and Jack Hawkins.

Barabbas (4:30 p.m.) — A thief (Anthony Quinn) is pardoned so Jesus can be crucified in his place. Jack Palance and Ernest Borgnine co-star. Directed by Richard Fleischer.

Easter Parade (7 p.m.) — When his partner (Ann Miller) leaves him, a vaudeville star (Fred Astaire) trains an untried performer (Judy Garland) to take her place and finds love in the process. The magnificent score by Irving Berlin (whose work was uncredited) features such classics as “Steppin’ Out With My Baby,” “We’re a Couple of Swells,” “I Love a Piano” and, of course, the familiar title tune.

The King of Kings (9 p.m.) — Sometimes dubbed “I Was a Teenage Jesus” because of star Jeffrey Hunter’s youthful teen-idol appeal, this epic tells the story of Jesus’ (Mr. Hunter) life and the impact of his teachings. Co-stars include Siobhan McKenna as Mary, Robert Ryan as John the Baptist and Rip Torn as Judas Iscariot.

The King of Kings (Midnight) — Filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille directs the retelling of the life of Jesus in this silent film from 1927. The cast includes H.B. Warner, Dorothy Cumming and Ernest Torrence.

Elsewhere on cable:

The Joy of Easter (7 p.m., TV One) — Taped at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, this gospel-music Easter extravaganza features performances by Grammy winner Yolanda Adams, the gospel group sensation Mary Mary and the 200-member Apostolic Church of God Sanctuary Choir.

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

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