- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Martin expands

Roland Martin will anchor “Washington Watch,” a new Sunday public affairs show aimed at a black audience that will debut this fall on cable’s TV One network, Associated Press reports.

TV One President and Chief Executive Officer Johnathan Rodgers says the program aims to tap into a new interest in politics and government credited to the election of President Obama. It debuts Sept. 27 at 11 a.m.

Mr. Martin, who is also a CNN commentator, will interview newsmakers and members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Regular panel members will include April Ryan, White House correspondent for the American Urban Radio Networks, and Robert Traynham, a Philadelphia Tribune columnist and Comcast host.

The Silver Spring-based TV One is in about 48 million homes, a little less than half of the nation’s TV homes, AP notes.

Little fight turns big

Little people are calling on the Federal Communications Commission to ban the use of the word “midget” on broadcast TV, Associated Press reports.

The group Little People of America said Sunday that the word is just as offensive as racial slurs.

The request was prompted by an April episode of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” that the group said was demeaning.

In the episode, contestants created a detergent ad called “Jesse James and the Midgets.” The contenders, including celebrity winner Joan Rivers, suggested bathing little people in the detergent and hanging them up to dry.

Calls to the FCC and “Celebrity Apprentice” host Donald Trump were not immediately answered Sunday, AP says. NBC Universal representatives didn’t immediately respond to e-mail messages, and the telephone rang unanswered at their Los Angeles office, AP says.

Sci-Fi now Syfy

The content’s the same, but the name has changed.

Starting Tuesday, cable’s Sci-Fi network will morph into Syfy, pronounced the same as its predecessor.

The re-branding comes amid the launch of Syfy’s new series “Warehouse 13,” starring Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelly as Secret Service agents assigned to a mysterious South Dakota warehouse full of fantastical objects and supernatural souvenirs, the New York Daily News notes.

Returning to ‘Idol’

Paula Abdul said Monday she has been invited to remain as an “American Idol” judge and that she’s optimistic that she’ll be able to negotiate a new contract. “I’ve been invited to stay the duration of the show, however long it lasts,” Miss Abdul, whose contract hasn’t been renewed since it expired after the show’s eighth season, tells Associated Press.

She said the invitation to come back is subject to agreement on the details of a new deal.

The 47-year-old singer-dancer was interviewed by AP backstage at the new sitcom “Drop Dead Diva,” which premieres Sunday on cable’s Lifetime channel. She’s making a guest appearance on the show as a judge.

She jokingly called the panel of “Idol” judges that includes Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi a “dysfunctional family of sorts.”

“I’m the nurturing mom, Simon’s the disapproving dad, and Randy’s the cool brother,” Miss said. “It’s been an interesting journey. It’s something that I’ll always would want to be a part of.”

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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