- The Washington Times - Monday, September 21, 2009

Stossel vents on ABC

John Stossel has only got a few weeks to go before starting with Fox News, but he’s still talking about his old job, the New York Post reports.

“It was frustrating,” Mr. Stossel wrote on in a parting-shot blog posted on Townhall.com. “My vision and that of my producers were often not in harmony. Too many stories I thought were important … were not aired.”

Mr. Stossel spent 28 years with ABC News and gives the network credit for sticking with his different-drummer style for so long.

“When I did my first TV special, I pointed out that regulation itself, by stifling innovation, can make life less safe. Two producers angrily objected. …

“But give ABC credit. After bitter arguments, it ran the show, titled, ‘Are We Scaring You to Death?’ A news division’s vice president said, ‘I don’t agree with you, but it’s a valid intellectual argument that deserves to be made.’ We were all surprised when 17 million Americans watched.”

Still “too many stories I thought were important — such as the land theft called eminent domain, or the FDA’s endangering people’s lives by withholding life-saving drugs — were not aired,” he wrote.

“He has engaged, and occasionally enraged, our audience with thought-provoking opinions and analysis,” ABC News said in a statement after the blog was posted late Wednesday. “John has been an important part of the ABC News family for decades, and we will miss him.”

Mr. Stossel will do a weekly show for Fox Business Network and will be a contributor to the main Fox News Channel when he starts in a few weeks.

Barker suit tossed

A judge has thrown out a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a former “The Price Is Right” employee against CBS and former host Bob Barker, says the Hollywood Reporter.

Attorneys say a judge in Los Angeles dismissed the case Friday, finding there were no issues that could be tried. Deborah Curling sued Mr. Barker and the network in October 2007, claiming she was improperly fired from the show and forced to endure a hostile work environment.

Miss Curling claimed she was dismissed because she testified in a former co-worker’s wrongful-termination case. She also accused Mr. Barker of making racist and anti-Semitic jokes, but the judge said she hadn’t proven that claim.

Miss Curling’s attorney says he plans to appeal.

Mr. Barker’s attorney, Patty Glaser, says the lawsuit was meritless.

Jack is back

Jack Bass, the devious uncle of “Gossip Girl’s” Chuck (Ed Westwick), is set to return to the show later this season, TVGuide.com reports.

“I will be back this year,” says Desmond Harrington, who plays the character. “I think it’s episode 15 or 16 where I show back up. It’s fun playing Uncle Jack.”

When we last saw Jack, he tried to attack Lily van der Woodsen (Kelly Rutherford), who had taken over Bass Industries for Chuck. Jack was then sent packing back to Australia with a sore jaw after being punched by Chuck.

Mr. Harrington, who currently plays Detective Quinn on “Dexter,” says the producers asked him to come back, but he doesn’t yet know the plot details surrounding Jack’s return to New York. However, the actor says he hopes to continue making Chuck’s life a living hell.

“I think, if anything, I am there to screw that kid’s life up basically,” Mr. Harrington says. “I think he might be, out of all the most evil characters the show has ever had on it, the most evil character. He’s evil.”

P&T to ABC

Comedy/illusionist duo Penn and Teller have signed on to star in a project for ABC loosely based on their own lives.

According to Variety, the alphabet network has given a script order to the project. The hourlong comedy stars the duo as Penn Jillette and Teller — Las Vegas magicians by night. But here’s how the show takes a slight twist from real life: By day, the duo become reluctant detectives.

Leonard Dick (“House”) is writing the project and will serve as executive producer along with Mr. Jillette and Teller.

Penn and Teller have a lengthy TV resume as performers, hosts and actors (mostly playing themselves). The show would mark a return to ABC for Mr. Jillette, who recently competed on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

The duo have hosted seven seasons of their Showtime series, in which they take on myths, conspiracy theories and misconceptions. They’ve also appeared on shows such as “Babylon 5,” “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and “The West Wing.”

Mr. Dick’s other credits include “Lost” and “The Mentalist,” where he’s been serving as a consulting producer.

Casting calls

• Andrew Connolly has joined NBC’s drama “Heroes” for a multiepisode arc, notes the Hollywood Reporter. He’ll play Samuel’s (Robert Knepper) older brother. Samuel, the charismatic but evil Earth-moving ringleader of a traveling carnival who recruits people with special powers for a mysterious purpose, has emerged as a central character to “Heroes’ ” mythology this coming season. Mr. Connolly’s recent credits include a guest spot on ABC’s “Lost.”

• Lee Woodruff and former “Early Show” anchor Rene Syler are joining Kate Gosselin’s “View”-type talk show pilot, the New York Post reports. The pilot, fronted by Mrs. Gosselin — the newly single “Jon & Kate Plus 8” star — will also feature Food Network star Paula Deen, according to an earlier eonline.com report. It was scheduled to tape Sunday in Manhattan at an undisclosed location. The show is being touted as a look at everyday life from the perspective of working moms. Mrs. Woodruff is married to former ABC “World News” anchor Bob Woodruff who, in 2006, was seriously injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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