- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 2, 2009

Duff to ‘Gossip’

“Gossip Girl” has racked up another casting coup, signing Hilary Duff for a guest arc in the fall, Zap2it.com says.

Miss Duff’s casting, confirmed by the CW on Wednesday afternoon, follows Joanna Garcia’s addition to the show as Nate’s (Chace Crawford) new love interest. Word is that Miss Duff’s character may be cozying up to one of the “Gossip” guys, too.

Miss Duff, of course, is a former child (or teenage, anyway) star, too, having shot to fame as the star of “Lizzie McGuire.” She’s been taking on more grown-up roles lately, guesting on “Ghost Whisperer” and “Law & Order: SVU” last season. She’s also attached to a retelling of “Bonnie and Clyde” that’s supposed to begin shooting later this year.

‘Neighborhood’ set

CBS has announced plans to air its new reality show “There Goes the Neighborhood” in August, the Hollywood Reporter notes.

The Mike Fleiss series traps eight families behind a 20-foot wall in their suburban neighborhood. The show will run for seven hour-long episodes starting Aug. 9 at 9 p.m.

Cut off from electronic communication and entertainment, the families will have to work together and compete in family-friendly games for the grand prize of $250,000. Matt Rogers (a 2004 “American Idol” finalist) will host.

SoapNet, BBC team

SoapNet will adapt BBC Worldwide’s non-scripted series “Bank of Mom and Dad” for a September launch on the Disney-owned cable channel.

Additionally, SoapNet picked up a second season of BBC Worldwide’s scripted hour-long “Being Erica” and ordered 10 episodes of the reality series “Holidate,” which ABC’s daytime production arm, ABC Media Productions, will shepherd.

“Bank of Mom and Dad” invites the parents of women in their 20s and 30s to move into the women’s homes for a week and exert influence over their finances - and, with some amount of conflict, their lives. Demo-friendly money consultant Farnoosh Torabi (“Real Simple. Real Life.”) will provide guidance each week, beginning Sept. 30 at 10 p.m., Variety reports.

SoapNet is hoping “Mom and Dad” piggybacks on the success of “Southern Belles: Louisville.” Nearly half of the audience of the reality series is made up of new viewers.

“We’re growing our audience while servicing our core viewer,” said Ann Lewis Roberts, senior vice president of ABC Media Productions and SoapNet alternative programming and development, to Variety. “And so we believe this new viewer is going to flow into the new programming that we have.”

“Being Erica,” which centers on a 30-something woman whose mysterious therapist helps her relive and learn from a past regret each week, received a 12-episode renewal for early 2010. Erin Karpluk stars.

“Holidate” offers a sort of dating version of ABC’s “Wife Swap,” Variety says. Each week, two women will seek relationships in each other’s home city. Previously planned as a one-hour special, the show will begin its run July 29 in the Wednesday 10 p.m. slot.

“It’s one of those projects where we wanted to test the format to make sure that it worked,” Miss Lewis says of the adjustment, “and within the second day of shooting, we found out that there was something really … to it.”

MTV gets ‘Pregnant’

MTV has picked up the reality series “16 & Pregnant” for a second season after three episodes and has announced a first-season finale special, the Hollywood Reporter says.

The documentary series, which drew 1.6 million viewers for its premiere, follows teenagers through pregnancy and their adjustment to parenthood as they discuss marriage, adoption and education options.

The finale special, “16 and Pregnant: Life After Labor,” will be hosted by celebrity psychiatrist Dr. Drew Pinsky. During the finale, six new mothers profiled in the first season will discuss their experiences and answer viewers’ questions before a live studio audience. The special will air July 23.

Despite the inherent sensationalism involved in “16 and Pregnant,” MTV has partnered with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy to use the show to discuss sexual health and the prevention of teen pregnancy.

The national campaign has created viewing guides and an online resource in association with the show, THR notes.

‘Show’ notches 1,000

G4’s “Attack of the Show” will celebrate its 1,000th episode with a live two-hour special July 9.

According to TVWeek.com, the special will look back at memorable moments and skits and present never-been-done-before stunts. It also will feature surprise in-studio guests and the top five “Around the Net” viral videos from the past episodes.

The special also will feature the show’s attempt to create a Guinness World Record for the “largest sky-written social networking message” or “world’s largest tweet.”

This just in…

Cable’s Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will dedicate its July 10 prime-time lineup to Oscar-winning actor Karl Malden, who died Wednesday at age 97.

The selection of films includes his best-supporting-actor role in the classic adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951) and his memorable performances in “On the Waterfront” (1952) and “Birdman of Alcatraz” (1962).

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

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