- The Washington Times - Friday, November 13, 2009

Nonstop laughs

NBC has cooked up a week of sitcom marathons featuring programs from its Thursday evening lineup.

The marathons are slated to air in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, TVWeek.com reports.

The four-episode marathons will run Monday through Thursday, beginning at 8 each night. “Community” is up first, leading off the week on Dec. 28. “Parks & Recreation” airs Dec. 29, followed by “The Office” on Dec. 30 and “30 Rock” on New Year’s Eve.

Holiday sing-along

More news about NBC holiday fare: The Peacock network is planning to celebrate with a new music competition series, says thefutoncritic.com.

Network sources have confirmed “The Sing-Off,” a program in which a cappella groups compete for a Sony recording contract.

The series will premiere at 8 p.m. on Dec. 14, thefutoncritic.com reports. Additional episodes, all at 8 p.m., are set to air Dec. 15 and 16, with the finale slated for Dec. 21. Each installment will run two hours.

Two years ago, NBC launched “Clash of the Choirs” in a similar December rollout strategy.


More specials ahead

Not to be outdone, rival network ABC plans some holiday cheer of its own, with back-to-back specials starring Paul McCartney and Beyonce slated to air Thanksgiving night.

According to Associated Press, the evening kicks off at 9 p.m. with a Beyonce concert taped over the summer in Las Vegas.

That will be followed by a McCartney special that will include highlights from his July concert at Citi Field in New York City. The stadium in Queens is next to the former site of Shea Stadium, where Mr. McCartney and his fellow Beatles rocked at the height of Beatlemania. Footage from that 1965 concert also will air during the special, AP says.

Both specials will offer interviews with and personal glimpses of the stars.

Role reversal

Evolution Media, the production company behind Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” is shopping a male-focused reality series in a similar vein.

Princess Banton-Lofters, who cast “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” is producing and casting the project, Broadcastingcable.com reports.

The project, currently called “Boys Club: ATL,” also will be set in Atlanta.

“We’d obviously admired from afar what Princess did with ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta,’ and when she approached us with this idea, it was a slam dunk” says Evolution President Douglas Ross. “Men’s lives are as dramatic and interesting as their female counterparts.”

In addition to “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” Evolution produces TruTV’s “Ocean Force” and was the company behind the inaugural seasons of NBC’s “Fear Factor” and CBS’ “Big Brother.”

Look who’s talking

Stars of television and film are flocking to area Borders Books & Music stores for a little face time with fans in the coming weeks.

On the list:

Nov. 30: Charlie Murphy, “Chappelle’s Show” standout (and older brother of Eddie), will sign copies of his book, “The Making of a Stand-Up Guy” at Borders in downtown Washington (18th and L streets Northwest). The program begins at 6:30 p.m. In his raucous and revealing memoir, he tells of his life on the road with his brother, his nights on the town with Rick James and his crazy movie audition with Chris Rock.

Dec. 4: Chef Lidia Bastianich, host of PBS’ “Lidia’s Italy,” will sign copies of her book, “Lidia Cooks From the Heart of Italy,” at the Borders in Baileys Crossroads at 7:30 p.m. The book’s recipes reflect the cuisine and techniques of Italy’s various regions and the people behind them.

Dec. 7: Actress Amber Tamblyn, star of CBS’ “Joan of Arcadia” (2003-05) and the 2005 film “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” will read from and sign copies of her book, “Bang Ditto,” at Borders downtown. The no-holds-barred book of poetry offers insight into what it’s like to be a celebrated Hollywood actor from age 11. The program begins at 6:30 p.m.

Weekend watch

Friday

Ancients Behaving Badly (9 p.m., the History Channel) — Attila the Hun, a marauding barbarian with a reputation as one of history’s most brutal monsters, is the focus of tonight’s installment.

Saturday

Flower Girl (9 p.m., Hallmark Channel) — Marion Ross, known best for her turn as family matriarch Marion Cunningham (aka Mrs. C) on “Happy Days,” attempts to play matchmaker to her lovelorn granddaughter florist (played by Marla Sokoloff) who has given up hope of ever finding Mr. Right.

Sunday

WWII in HD (9 p.m., the History Channel) — Billed by the cable channel as the first-ever World War II documentary in high definition, this 10-hour series to air over five nights examines the war from beginning to end. Sunday’s back-to-back installments look at Europe as it falls under Nazi control and at America’s unpreparedness for war and the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

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

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