- The Washington Times - Friday, May 15, 2009

Love for ailing Farrah

Apart from her “Charlie’s Angels” image, her much-imitated tousled blond tresses and her iconic ‘70s swimsuit pose, Farrah Fawcett has been so much more: a mother, a three-time Emmy nominee and a five-time Golden Globes contender.

Sadly, TV’s golden girl may be remembered for her battle with her terminal illness — captured in its relentless progression through a touching two-hour documentary airing at 9 tonight on WRC-NBC4.

“Farrah’s Story,” a video diary shot by her close friend Alana Stewart, chronicles the actress’s fight against anal cancer (discovered in 2006) that has spread to her liver. The emotional no-holds-barred film examines her good days and bad, plus her longtime relationship with actor Ryan O’Neal — which ended in the late 1990s — and their troubled son, Redmond.

“He’s been in jail for most of his mom’s illness,” Ryan O’Neal said in an interview with Meredith Vieira Wednesday on NBC’s “Today.” “He’s sorry and knows he has to do better. But she forgives him.”

Mr. O’Neal and Miss Stewart are participants in the documentary.

Mr. O’Neal says Miss Fawcett has managed to joke about her illness — and his own battle against leukemia, which was diagnosed in 2001, Associated Press reports.

“She asked me once, ‘Am I gonna make it?’ She asked me that a couple of weeks ago,” Mr. O’Neal recalls. “I said, ‘Yeah, sure, you’ll make it. And if you don’t, I’ll go with you.’”

Miss Fawcett then joked that he should stop taking Gleevec, the medicine Mr. O’Neal uses to treat leukemia, he says.

“I know that Farrah hasn’t given up,” says Miss Stewart, who met Miss Fawcett in the 1970s in Los Angeles when they were young actresses from Texas looking for commercial work.

Trying to field questions about Miss Fawcett and choking up at times, Mr. O’Neal describes himself and Miss Stewart as “two broken people.”

Miss Fawcett is in a “very rocky place,” Mr. O’Neal tells AP. “We put on a brave front, always, when we’re with her. She doesn’t know how scared we are.”

Top contenders

Beyonce and T.I., who each scored No. 1 hit songs and videos this year, lead the list of BET Awards nominees with five apiece, Associated Press reports.

Beyonce also counts a No. 1 film among her recent credits: “Obsessed,” which topped the box-office list when it opened last month. The 27-year-old singer is up for female R&B artist, actress, the Viewers’ Choice award and video of the year. In the latter category, she has nods for both “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” and “If I Were a Boy.”

T.I. has two nominations for best collaboration — with Rihanna for “Live Your Life” and with Yung L.A. and Young Dro for “Ain’t I.” The 28-year-old rapper also is up for male hip-hop artist, the Viewers’ Choice award and video of the year.

The awards will be presented June 28 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Jamie Foxx hosts.

Will crime pay for A&E?

A&E is going on a crime spree, putting a half-dozen scripted police dramas in development, Variety reports.

Shawn Ryan, James Ellroy and Joel Gotler will be executive producers of one contender, “The Lead Sheet,” with Mr. Ellroy writing the script. The project is a period piece, with the Los Angeles Police Department’s pursuit of the notorious Hillside Strangler in 1977-78 as the backdrop.

The cable network also is entertaining two concepts featuring crime fighters with mental issues. “The Quickening,” by Jennifer Salt (“Nip/Tuck”), is about a bipolar LAPD detective who performs better when off her medication; “Night Falls” centers on a New York cop with a Jekyll-and-Hyde neurological condition.

An untitled project from Matthew Carnahan (“Dirt”), with actor Anthony LaPaglia attached as executive producer, has echoes of “Law and Order: Criminal Intent.” It proposes to spend half the show with a group of criminals and the other half with the FBI team assigned to capture them.

Another drama, “NY’s Finest,” focusing on a new police commissioner, comes from reality-show producer Thom Beers (“Deadliest Catch”) and Philip Segal. Charles Murray (“Criminal Minds”) is the writer.

Finally, a precinct with two female captains is the focus of “Central Division,” written by Anne McGrail (“Boomtown”).

A&E also said it will push two of its candidates into the pilot stage in coming weeks to join the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced “Cooler Kings.”

Blue times for Green

No matter how you cut it, it’s not easy being Green.

HBO is canceling plans to sponsor the popular Screen on the Green summer movie series on the Mall, sparking a rush from fans to save the Washington tradition.

The company issued a statement saying it was unable to find a partner to continue sponsoring Screen on the Green for a 10th year. The news broke on a blog, prompting outrage among loyal fans.

Hundreds of people have signed on to a Save Screen on the Green Facebook page, Associated Press reports. At least one fan suggested Congress help pay for the events, while others suggested alternate corporate sponsors.

The outdoor movie series has drawn huge crowds over the years with a screen set up near the Washington Monument. It even inspired an impromptu dance during HBO’s movie introductions each year.

Weekend watch

Jim Jeffries: I Swear to God (10 p.m. Saturday, HBO) — Known for his rude and crude delivery, comic Jim Jeffries returns to the cable biggie with a stand-up special filled with his anecdotal humor. Taped before a live audience at the Skirball Center at New York University, the hourlong show offers the funnyman’s take on death, national health standards, panda bears, smoking bans and much more.

Desperate Housewives (9 p.m. Sunday, WJLA-ABC7) — As with the show’s other season-enders, fans can expect a jaw-dropping twist on this year’s two-hour season finale, “Everybody Says Don’t/It’s Only in Your Head.”

Written and compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse

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