- The Washington Times - Monday, June 15, 2009

The end for ‘Earl’

A last chance at saving “My Name Is Earl” has fallen through.

The comedy, starring Jason Lee as a lifelong loser trying to fix his life in zany ways, ran for four seasons on NBC. Since the network canceled it last month, Twentieth Century Fox Television had tried to sell the series elsewhere as fans begged for its rescue.

But “Earl’s” luck has run out, Associated Press reports. The studio says efforts to strike a deal to film more episodes for cable network TBS have fallen through.

According to AP, studio spokesman Chris Alexander says TBS and the studio were unable to make the show’s economics work without undermining its quality.

More ‘Dance’

ABC will be waltzing with celebs once again, but this time via the comedic reality entry “Let’s Dance,” Variety reports.

The network has picked up five episodes of the FremantleMedia North America series, which likely will air during the holidays, as a bridge between cycles of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

Like “Stars,” “Let’s Dance” centers on celebrities learning moves on the dance floor. But “Let’s Dance” takes a much more comedic approach, as the stars are brought on to re-enact a famous dance routine.

Think Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in “Dirty Dancing” or Gene Kelly in “Singin’ in the Rain.”

Weekly episodes will air live, and viewers will be asked to vote on their favorite routines — leading up to a final episode when top performers return to compete one last time. Proceeds from the calls go to charity.

Unlike “Dancing,” which requires a lengthy time commitment, celebs on “Let’s Dance” will only need to take a week off to be on the show. The producers and network hope that will help in the casting of talent.

ABC scored the rights to the show after a competitive bidding situation; FremantleMedia execs said they liked the fact that the Alphabet network already has “Dancing With the Stars” on the air, much like BBC1 airs both “Dancing With the Stars” and “Let’s Dance” in Britain.

“We do love dancing,” said ABC alternative series co-head Vicki Dummer. “The tone of this is fun.”

The U.K. version featured celebs imitating Britney Spears’ routine in her “Hit Me Baby One More Time” video, as well as dances from “Pulp Fiction” and “Footloose.” Robert Webb (“Peep Show”), who performed a routine from “Flashdance,” was crowned winner.

“Let’s Dance for Comic Relief” won its time period in the U.K. across all key demos and also posted BBC1’s best ratings for an entertainment series launch since May 2002.

Davis joining ‘Tara’

Viola Davis will join fellow Oscar-nominated actress Toni Collette on her Showtime series “United States of Tara,” the Hollywood Reporter says.

Miss Davis, a supporting actress Oscar nominee for “Doubt,” will appear in seven of the 12 episodes of the show’s upcoming season. She will play Lynda, an unconventional artist who plays a significant role in the lives of Tara (Miss Collette) and her daughter Kate (Brie Larson).

Created by “Juno” writer Diablo Cody and executive produced by Steven Spielberg, “Tara” is about a suburban wife and mother struggling with multiple-personality disorder.

Miss Davis, a veteran TV and stage actress whose series credits include “Law & Order: SVU” and “City of Angels,” made her feature breakthrough with “Doubt,” in which she played the mother of a boy at risk.

She recently appeared in “State of Play” and Tyler Perry’s “Madea Goes to Jail.”

‘Price’ sued

A former contestant is suing “The Price Is Right,” claiming he was tripped on his way down to Contestant’s Row last year and hasn’t been the same since.

While charging down the aisle in a fit of uncontrollable glee, Michael Lerner says a folding chair being used by a “cheering” audience member struck him on his right ankle, TMZ.com reports.

In the lawsuit filed Friday, Mr. Lerner claims he suffered a torn Achilles tendon and a herniated lumbar disc, resulting in multiple surgeries and “harmful mental and physical residue.”

He’s seeking unspecified damages.

Queen hosting bash

The party won’t stop after the BET Awards are over, and Queen Latifah will be around to make sure of it.

The entertainer is hosting the network’s post-awards televised bash, which will air after the live show June 28, Associated Press reports.

Beyonce and T.I. are the top nominees for the BET Awards with five each. The show will be hosted by another nominee — Jamie Foxx.

Beyonce and Mr. Foxx also are set to perform along with acts like Maxwell and Ne-Yo, Associated Press said.

‘Wife’ charged

A New Jersey mother once featured on the reality show “Wife Swap” has been accused of stabbing her husband.

Jamie Czerniawski tells the New York Post it was self-defense. Her husband’s lawyer denies that.

She is charged in Monmouth County with aggravated assault and is free on $75,000 bail, Associated Press reports.

According to court papers, the former Miss Teen New Jersey used a kitchen knife to slash her husband, Charles, in their Freehold home on Memorial Day weekend. She told the newspaper that her husband became jealous when she got a phone call from a mutual male friend.

The couple were featured on “Wife Swap” in 2006. The suspect swapped places with a mom from Arizona who is a tattooed freak-show performer.

Calls swamp FCC

Friday’s complete switch from analog broadcasting to digital prompted more than 300,000 phone calls to the Federal Communications Commission’s digital transition help line.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, a record 317,450 calls were placed on Friday, bringing the total number of calls between June 8 and June 12 to around 700,000, according to the FCC. The agency reports that nearly 30 percent of the calls were related to questions about analog-to digital converter boxes. Most of those calls were resolved by consumers “re-scanning” for channels that had changed frequency when going digital. Another 20 percent of the calls dealt with reception issues.

In anticipation of the spike in calls, the FCC manned the phone lines with 4,000 staffers. The agency also dispersed more than 200 workers in the field. Those staffers reported the majority of questions received to be similar to those of the help line.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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