- The Washington Times - Monday, June 1, 2009

Leno’s best

Jay Leno’s final “Tonight Show” telecast delivered the show’s highest Friday numbers in his 17-year run as host, Broadcastingcable.com reports.

The Friday telecast marked the best overnight rating for any night of the week since March 19, when President Obama was Mr. Leno’s guest.

Friday’s show featured Conan O’Brien, who takes over as host of the venerable late-night institution Monday night.

The final week of “The Tonight Show” featured a raft of high-profile guests including pop star Prince and comedian-actor Billy Crystal, who performed a farewell musical medley on Friday night.

‘Burn’ halts demolition

Commissioners in Miami might delay the demolition of a waterfront expo center to accommodate the producers of the cable television series “Burn Notice,” the Associated Press reports.

Last year, Miami commissioners approved a proposal that included plans to demolish the decaying expo center. However, producers said the show might leave Miami if the facility is torn down.

According to the Miami Herald, the expo center has served as the headquarters to the production of the Fox Television series, which airs on the USA Network.

“Burn Notice” stars Jeffrey Donovan, who plays a spy fired by the CIA who uses his training to help others in trouble. The new season premieres Thursday.

Prinze Jr. joins ‘24’

Freddie Prinze Jr. as Jack Bauer Jr.?

Unnamed sources tell the Hollywood Reporter that Mr. Prinze is joining the cast of Fox’s “24” as a regular, playing Davis Cole, a recently returned Marine who wants to follow in Jack Bauer’s (Kiefer Sutherland) footsteps, the trade publication notes.

On the real-time drama, which began production of its eighth season last week, Mr. Prinze joins fellow new cast additions Anil Kapoor, who plays a Middle East leader; Chris Diamantopoulos, as the president’s new chief of staff; and John Boyd as a systems analyst. The new cast members will appear regularly, while Jennifer Westfeldt has come aboard in a recurring, playing a journalist, THR says.

Mr. Prinze recently co-starred on the ABC comedy pilot “No Heroics.”

‘Ted’ back for summer

ABC is bringing back “Better off Ted” for a summer run, while “Surviving Suburbia” couldn’t survive its new time slot, Variety notes.

The Alphabet Network still had six episodes of “Ted” left from its midseason run earlier this year, and beginning June 23, those segments will air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. after the new reality competition “The Superstars.”

ABC has ordered 13 more episodes of “Ted” for next season, Variety says. When it returns in midseason, it will be paired with “Scrubs.”

VH1 heads to Aspen

VH1 has given the go-ahead to a reality series about the denizens of Aspen, Colo., the moneyed resort town that attracts the rich and famous during the winter ski season.

According to Broadcastingcable.com, the network has not settled on the number of episodes of the untitled series, set to debut early next year.

The show will follow residents on both ends of the social and economic divide, mining the tension between the haves and the have-nots — those who work the service jobs catering to the wealthy vacationers who arrive each winter to swell the tiny towns population from 5,000 to 40,000 at its peak.

The series has been in development for several months, and producers held casting calls at various local hot spots last winter, B&C says.

Meadows to TBS

TBS is set to launch nonscripted late-night series “The Very Funny Show.”

Hosted by former “Saturday Night Live” star Tim Meadows, the 10-episode half-hour series will feature stand-up performances at Zanies Comedy Club in Chicago during the TBS Just for Laughs fest.

The series will run in November, but no specific time or dates have been set, Variety says.

Events at the festival, slated for June 17-21, will provide three other programs for the network as well: “Ellen’s Bigger Longer and Wider Show,” starring Ellen DeGeneres; “Let Freedom Hum — An Evening of Comedy Hosted by Martin Short”; and “Comedy You Can Believe in With David Alan Grier.” All three specials will air June 24-26, Variety says.

Comedians slated to appear on “The Very Funny Show” include New England favorite Bob Marley, plus Dwight Slade and Steve Byrne.

Mr. Meadows currently appears in TBS comedy “The Bill Engvall Show,” which returns for its third season July 18.

Short takes

• MTV has put out a casting notice seeking people dating outside of their social caste, the New York Post reports. The network says it’s looking for such people for an episode of “True Life.” The series will examine what it’s like to date someone who is wealthier or poorer, the tabloid says.

• Wilmer Valderrama (Fox’s “That 70s Show”) has signed a three-year agreement with Relativity Media’s reality division, RelativityReal, says TVWeek.com, citing a report from Daily Variety. As part of the deal, he’ll create and executive produce series for both cable and broadcast.

• TV Guide Network has launched an “I’m a Celebrity Look-a-Like” contest where entrants can win a role on the network’s hit series “Look-A-Like.” Viewers have until June 21 to submit photos at www.TVGuide.com/LAL. The top five celebrity doppelgangers will be put to a final vote on TVGuide.com between June 29 and July 9. TV Guide Network will reveal the winner July 10. The winning look-alike will receive a five-day, four-night trip for two to Toronto to film a celebrity makeover for an episode of the show. Past episodes styled subjects as Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt, Miley Cyrus, Jessica Simpson and Ashton Kutcher.

• CBS’ “Big Brother 11” will premiere July 8 at 8 p.m, TVGuide.com reports. And beginning July 12, the show will air three nights a week: Sundays at 8 p.m., Tuesdays at 9 p.m. and Thursdays at 8 p.m. Julie Chen — baby bump and all — will return as the host of the weekly eviction shows. “Big Brother” features contestants who live in a camera-rigged house and have their lives taped 24 hours a day as they compete against one another to win $500,000.

Reality star gives birth

It’s a boy for former fashion model Kimora Lee Simmons and Oscar-nominated actor Djimon Hounsou.

Miss Simmons — star of “Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane,” seen on cable’s “Style” and E! Entertainment networks — announced the birth Saturday on her Twitter feed. A representative for Miss Simmons says mother and son are doing great.

The 34-year-old Miss Simmons has two daughters with 51-year-old hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, whom she divorced in 2008 after seven years of marriage.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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