- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 17, 2009

Golf’s reality

The Golf Channel says Ray Romano, star of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” will be the focus of the next season of its reality series, “The Haney Project.”

The series follows Tiger Woods’ swing coach Hank Haney as he tries to improve the game of a celebrity, Associated Press reports.

The first season of “The Haney Project” with former NBA player Charles Barkley was the second-highest rated program in the network’s history. Only “The Big Break,” about competing for a spot on the professional tour, did better. The Golf Channel started in 1995.

Mr. Barkley’s appeal was his hideously bad swing. Funnyman Mr. Romano, who’s “obsessed” with golf and wants to get better, will add entertainment value to the show, said Tom Stathakes, the network’s programming chief.

The Romano project is expected to air in March.

The Golf Channel is trying to become more than just putts and slices. “Law & Order” actor Anthony Anderson is host of a news program called “Golf in America,” and the network is filming a reality series about troubled golfer John Daly.

‘Big Brother’ winner

Jordan Lloyd was served the $500,000 grand prize on “Big Brother 11,” Associated Press reports.

The goofy 22-year-old waitress from Matthews, N.C., bested Natalie Martinez, the scheming 24-year-old recent college graduate from Gilbert, Ariz., on Tuesday’s season finale of the voyeuristic CBS reality show. Miss Lloyd received five votes from the show’s seven-member jury, which included viewer votes as the possibly tie-breaking seventh pick for the first time.

Miss Lloyd, who spent most of the season aligned with and romantically linked to charming 31-year-old advertising salesman Jeff Schroeder, defeated Kevin Campbell, the cunning 29-year-old graphic designer from Chula Vista, Calif., in the last round of a three-part Head of Household competition, which allowed her to choose Miss Martinez to battle against for votes.

Miss Martinez, who earned a $50,000 second-place prize, had been aligned with several jury members, but her lies in the game apparently caught up to her in the jury house and cost her votes.

Howard returns

Ron Howard, whose previous pet TV project, the single-camera comedy “Arrested Development,” was one of the most acclaimed series of the past decade, is back with a new idea for a comedy series, this time in the multicamera genre, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The show, a workplace comedy set at an Internal Revenue Service district office, has landed at Fox. It will be written by Brent Forrester, writer-director on another workplace comedy, NBC’s single-camera “The Office.”

Fox brass was so high on the 20th TV/Imagine project that they bought it preemptively before it could be pitched to other networks.

Mr. Forrester and Mr. Howard are executive producing with Imagine’s Brian Grazer and David Nevins.

“It’s an idea Ron had toyed with for many years as a feature,” Mr. Nevins said. “Eventually, Brian and I convinced him it would be better as a TV show.”

The three met with several writers until hitting it off with Mr. Forrester.

“The one thing that unites all Americans is their suspicion and hatred for the IRS,” Mr. Forrester said. “That makes the characters on the show underdogs, because outside the office everyone is suspicious of them.

“It’s a classic workplace show; the model for it is ‘Taxi,’ ” Mr. Forrester said. “In essence, it’s a group of eclectic characters who have come to the job from different paths and who represent different points of view and different voices.”

Allen as O’Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe stirs recognition in certain predictable ways: her no-nonsense face leathered by the New Mexico sun; her paintings of animal skulls and of flowers. But there is much more to know about Miss O’Keeffe, who in her 98 years established herself as one of the best-known female painters in history - and more.

A new Lifetime film, “Georgia O’Keeffe,” provides a telling glimpse through the framework of her love affair, collaboration and emotional tug of war with photographer Alfred Stieglitz.

This biopic, which premieres at 9 p.m. Saturday, is directed by the versatile Bob Balaban (a filmmaker, writer and actor remembered as Elaine’s boyfriend Russell on “Seinfeld”).

Oscar winner Jeremy Irons is charismatically exasperating as Mr. Stieglitz, whose own artistic pursuits took a back seat to championing Miss O’Keeffe’s career, even as his self-absorbed nature threatened to destroy her.

And Joan Allen plays the fiercely independent yet vulnerable Miss O’Keeffe, a young woman who meets Mr. Stieglitz in New York early in the last century, finds fame under his tutelage, then makes a difficult break to spend the bulk of her years in Santa Fe’s splendid isolation.

Will’s back

Remember Eric McCormack? He was Will Truman forever in the sitcom “Will & Grace” and received an Emmy Award for best actor in a comedy series in 2001.

Now he has lined up two TV projects, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

At Lifetime, he will star in an original movie about the con artist who goes by the alias Clark Rockefeller. He also will star in a single-camera comedy written on speculation by Alex Barnow and Marc Firk, THR says. The latter will be offered to the networks shortly. Both projects are produced by Sony Pictures TV.

In the “Rockefeller” story, German con artist Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter came to the United States as a foreign exchange student in 1979 and “used a series of aliases, impersonating a talk-show host and a Pentagon adviser, among others.”

He claimed to be Clark Rockefeller and was a figure in Boston society. The deception was described as “the longest con in FBI history.”

He later married and lost custody of his daughter, but kidnapped her. After the daughter was freed, his real identity was discovered, according to the THR report.

The second project is still untitled but the main character is known: Mr. McCormick will play Kris Jacobs, “a recent widower surrounded by an eccentric cast of family and friends who tries to put his life back together.”

• Compiled by Dianne Lash from Web and wire reports.

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