- The Washington Times - Friday, October 16, 2009

TLC axes Gosselins

Our long national nightmare is finally over.

TLC’s “Jon & Kate Plus 8,” which in recent months became increasingly contentious because of Jon and Kate Gosselin’s pending divorce, will stop filming new episodes next month, People.com says, citing a report from the New York Post.

Jon Gosselin, 32, forbade the cable network from filming his and his 34-year-old estranged wife Kate’s eight children for their show, and now the network will try to squeeze out a few remaining episodes from existing footage before putting the show to rest, according to sources.

Kate Gosselin — who previously said she relies on the show for her income and says the youngsters have been crying since the film crews left — hasn’t commented.

Neither has Mr. Gosselin, who said he put the kibosh on the show because he had had an epiphany about the harm it was causing the family … and not because he had been cut from a future version of the show, to be called “Kate Plus 8.”

It’s not clear whether TLC would restart the show should Mr. Gosselin change his mind about filming his children, People reports.

Jackson show in limbo

Whether Michael Jackson’s children will be part of a TV series about his brothers is up in the air.

A&E says the reality show with the working title “The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty” is focused on brothers Jackie, Jermaine, Tito and Marlon and their lives after Michael’s drug-induced death in June.

According to Associated Press, the network said it’s “entirely possible” the brothers will cross paths with other family members who may be included in the finished series. However, the network said Wednesday it’s too early to know which other Jacksons will appear in the series, which is tentatively set to air in December.

Asked whether Michael’s children — Paris, Prince Michael and Prince Michael II, known as Blanket — had been filmed for the show, Dan Silberman, an A&E spokesman, said he didn’t know.

Fearfest ahead

AMC will pay homage to the Halloween season by offering more than 50 horror titles as part of its annual AMC Fearfest programming package beginning next week.

The 13-year-old Fearfest campaign, which runs from Oct. 23 through 31, also will feature on-camera appearances by acclaimed filmmakers and actors who have been instrumental in the development of contemporary and classic fright films, said Joel Stillerman, AMC’s senior vice president of original programming, Multichannel.com reports.

As part of this year’s Fearfest, the network will air popular horror titles, including all four movies in the “Alien” franchise, “The Exorcist,” “Halloween,” “Psycho,” “King Kong” and “The Shining.”

Additionally, the network will feature three AMC Celebrates events honoring the 30th anniversaries of “Alien” and “The Amityville Horror” as well as the 35th anniversary of the horror spoof film “Young Frankenstein,” Mr. Stillerman said.

Filmmakers such as George Romero (“Night of the Living Dead”) and actors including Lance Henriksen (“Aliens”) and Cloris Leachman (“Young Frankenstein”) will introduce their films throughout the marathon.

On Halloween night, AMC will debut the digitally restored and remastered 1968 classic “Night of the Living Dead,” Mr. Stillerman said.

The network’s Web site, amctv.com, also will feature extended video interviews with several horror-film personalities, including Mr. Romero. The site also will offer horror-focused trivia quizzes about such classic movie franchises as “Alien,” “Dracula,” “The Exorcist,” “Ghostbusters” and “Halloween.”

AMC hopes to build on its record-breaking performance from last year, in which Fearfest ‘08 drew an average of 780,000 viewers overall and more than 1 million viewers in prime time.

“One of the great things about the [horror] genre is that it transcends demographics for us,” Mr. Stillerman said. “We find that our core 25-to-54 audience shows up in big numbers and we get a definite bump from 18-to-49 viewers when we put programming like this on.”

Moreover, Mr. Stillerman hopes the popularity of the Fearfest stunt will bleed into several other genre-related projects the network has in development, including its recent acquisition of the zombie-based comic-book series “The Walking Dead,” which the network is considering as a series.

AMC also will use Fearfest to tout the Nov. 15 debut of its sci-fi-tinged miniseries “The Prisoner,” which Mr. Stillerman says he believes will have a lot of audience crossover with Fearfest. “The Prisoner” stars Jim Caviezel as a man who wakes up to find himself inexplicably trapped in a mysterious and surreal place — the Village — whose residents are under constant surveillance.

“‘The Prisoner’ is a genre-bending piece, so we’re going to feature sneak-peeks and interstitials during Fearfest,” Mr. Stillerman said.

Rematch

Boxing rivals Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield are to meet again —and this time Oprah Winfrey will referee.

According to Associated Press, the two fighters will appear on Friday’s live episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” from Chicago. The show is seen locally at 4 p.m. on WJLA-ABC7.

On June 28, 1997, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Mr. Tyson was disqualified after biting off part of Mr. Holyfield’s right ear during their WBA heavyweight title fight.

On Monday, Miss Winfrey aired an interview with Mr. Tyson in which he discussed the death of his 4-year-old daughter and talked about his family. On Wednesday, Harpo Productions, Miss Winfrey’s company, said Mr. Tyson will take questions from the audience during Friday’s show.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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