- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Prime time return

Former sitcom star Michael J. Fox is plotting his prime-time return this May. According to Variety, Mr. Fox has signed to star in ABC’s “Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist.”

The special, which airs May 7 at 10 p.m., will follow the actor as he attempts to spread his positive attitude to others during a time of economic turmoil.

In 1998, Mr. Fox revealed that he suffers from Parkinson’s disease. The special will feature his worldwide travels, including a visit tothe Himalayan nation of Bhutan, described as a “modern-day Shangri-La.” On his travels, he will interview famous and everyday people on how they conjure up optimism and hope.

In recent years, Mr. Fox has turned his attention to his foundation, which focuses on Parkinson’s research. His new book, “Always Looking Up,” arrives in bookstores March 31.



Dating violence

Pop star Rihanna’s reported beating by her singer-boyfriend Chris Brown has Oprah Winfrey so mad that the talk show queen will dedicate a show to dating violence this week.

The hourlong episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” will air live from Chicago on Thursday, Associated Press reports.

Miss Winfrey says the Thursday episode (airing at 4 p.m. on WJLA-ABC7) is “dedicated to all the Rihannas of the world” and will include guest Tyra Banks.

A Los Angeles police affidavit claims that on Feb. 8, Mr. Brown punched, bit and choked Rihanna until she nearly lost consciousness. He has been charged with two felonies and will be arraigned April 6.

Star, HBO reunite

Darren Star is back at HBO. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the creator of one of the premium cable network’s signature series, “Sex and the City,” has inked a two-year first-look deal with HBO.

Under the agreement, Mr. Star will create a series, his first solo creation in nearly a decade. He also will shepherd comedy and drama projects from other writers, THR says.

In addition to the Emmy-winning “Sex and the City,” Mr. Star’s series-creator credits include Fox’s “Beverly Hills, 90210” and its spinoff, “Melrose Place,” as well as the critically praised WB comedy “Grosse Pointe.”

Casting calls

• Rebecca Romijn has been tapped as the third witch on ABC’s drama pilot “Eastwick,” notes THR. The show revolves around three young witches (Miss Romijn, Lindsay Price and Jaime Ray Newman) who come into their powers. Miss Romijn, who recently co-starred in the network’s “Ugly Betty, will play Roxie, a bohemian and sharp-tongued single mother.

• Andrew McCarthy has joined the “Gossip Girl” spinoff, playing Lily’s father, Rick Rodes, a music company executive. The spinoff will center onLily’s (Brittany Snow) wild teen years in 1980s Los Angeles.

On tap tonight

(8 NBC) - Celebrated chef and restaurateur Marco Pierre White (Britain’s “Hell’s Kitchen”) serves up a new cooking competition series in which he offers hopeful neophyte chefs-restaurateurs a chance to compete for $250,000.

Chad Phillips and Mikey Torres, who received culinary arts degrees from the Art Institute of Washington in Arlington, are among the contestants.

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

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