- The Washington Times - Friday, March 6, 2009

Family specials

Fox has opted to air its variety show starring the Osbourne family as a series of specials, Variety reports.

“Osbournes: Reloaded” will air March 31 at 9 p.m. following an episode of “American Idol.” After that, the show will “return to the Fox schedule as a series of one-hour specials to air later in the season,” network officials say.

According to Variety, the decision not to run “Osbournes” as a series puts another damper on the trend earlier this season toward attempting to resurrect the variety genre. Although several variety projects are in the works — including a John Mayer special at CBS and another being pitched by R&B star Nelly — November’s disastrous attempt by Rosie O’Donnell may have cooled the networks on the form.

“Osbournes: Reloaded” will pre-empt “Fringe” for a week. “Fringe” will return April 7.

Hef’s ex may dance

The new season of “Dancing With the Stars” starts Monday at 9 p.m., and rumors are circulating that one celebrity hoofer may be out already and a former “Girl Next Door” may be taking her place, Zap2it.com says, citing a report in Us magazine.

Us reports that Playboy Playmate Holly Madison, ex-girlfriend of Hugh Hefner and star of E!’s “The Girls Next Door,” is set to join the ABC dance competition.

The network isn’t commenting.

Miss Madison most likely would take the place of singer-songwriter Jewel, who wrote on her blog last week that she has been slowed by tendonitis in her knees, a result of rehearsing for the show with partner Dmitry Chaplin. Jewel’s husband, rodeo cowboy Ty Murray, is also a contestant this season.

Along with fellow Hef girlfriends Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson, Miss Madison, 30, starred in “The Girls Next Door” from 2005 until last month. The three women have moved out of the Playboy Mansion and gone their separate ways.

Meanwhile, Mr. Hefner, who turns 83 next month, has reloaded with a new set of girlfriends and will keep filming the show.

A second gig?

Sherri Shepherd may be pulling double duty.

Lifetime has ordered a pilot for an untitled comedy starring the comedian and co-host of ABC’s “The View,” the Hollywood Reporter says.

The project, based loosely on Miss Shepherd’s experiences, was planned originally for the CW during the 2007-08 development season. Dave Flebotte wrote the script about a woman who contends with her husband’s infidelity and his out-of-wedlock child when she allows the child and mother to move in with them.

When the comedy was nixed at the CW, the script went to Lifetime, which is half-owned by ABC Studios’ parent company, Disney.

Miss Shepherd, 41, a Chicago native, follows in the footsteps of another morning talk-show host, Kelly Ripa, who juggled her duties on “Live With Regis and Kelly” and her ABC sitcom “Hope and Faith” for three seasons. Along with “The View,” Miss Shepherd’s series credits include a recurring role on “30 Rock” and a co-starring role on the ABC comedy “Less Than Perfect.”

Audition time

Locals hoping to land a spot on Cycle 13 of “America’s Next Top Model” get their chance Saturday. Auditions take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Renaissance M Street Hotel, 1143 New Hampshire Ave. NW. Eligibility requirements and additional details are available at www.dc50tv.com.

Weekend highlights


20/20 (8 p.m. ABC). Master illusionists Siegfried and Roy perform at a charity gala and talk about their career and Roy’s recovery after his near-fatal tiger attack in 2003. The attack was caught on tape. Here’s hoping it won’t be replayed.

• Saturday

United States of Tara (9 p.m., Showtime 2). It’s a “Tara” marathon, with back-to-back episodes of the quirky series about a woman with multiple personalities. Toni Collette stars.

• Sunday

American Masters (9 p.m., WETA 26). The 21st season opener profiles iconic folk singer Peter Seeger.

Written and compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports

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