- - Tuesday, March 29, 2011

W.Va. miners: ‘Coal’ is the real deal

A southern West Virginia mine foreman featured in the new reality TV series “Coal” says the show that debuts Wednesday lives up to its billing: It’s all real.

“There’s nothing on this show fake. What’s on it, we done it,” says Jerry “Wildman” Edwards, Associated Press reports.

Mr. Edwards attended a recent preview screening of the Spike TV series in Morgantown, W.Va., and talked about what it was like to participate. He says he didn’t allow his men to do anything unsafe or inappropriate for the benefit of the cameras.

The 10-episode series was shot at Cobalt Coal’s Westchester mine in McDowell County. Mike Crowder, Cobalt Coal’s chief executive, told West Virginia Public Broadcasting it shows the men as they really are.

“Some of us read the Bible, some of us cuss like sailors,” Mr. Crowder says. “It is what it is. We are a coal company. We are not actors, we are not entertainers.”

Cobalt is not a typical West Virginia operation. It’s small, with only about two dozen employees. The men mine a highly valuable metallurgical coal used in steelmaking, but the seam is notoriously thin, forcing them to work in a space just 42 inches high some 600 feet underground.

The first episode focuses on how the men respond to the financial pressures facing the company.

“Our whole idea was to let everyone see that these guys are dads, and they’re husbands, and they work hard,” says Tom Roberts, the coal company’s president. “They’re just everyday people.”

Producer Thom Beers and his team are also behind the popular shows “Deadliest Catch,” “Ice Road Truckers” and “Ax Men,” all about inherently dangerous occupations.

Rob Lowe says Sheen shines as party animal

Rob Lowe gives fellow Brat Packer Charlie Sheen a slight edge when it comes to partying, Associated Press reports.

Mr. Lowe tells Vanity Fair that in past days, he and Mr. Sheen “competed to see who could play harder, then show up for work.”

Mr. Lowe recently finished writing his autobiography and shared excerpts with the magazine. He calls Mr. Sheen “a wonderful mix of nerd and rebel” and speaks of the days when the two were relatively unknown actors who plotted their careers in Mr. Sheen’s pool.

The May issue of Vanity Fair will be on newsstands across the nation Tuesday.

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ tunes up for musical episode

“Grey’s Anatomy” is being billed as a musical episode this week, but you won’t see Patrick Dempsey and Sandra Oh doing a kick line, Associated Press reports.

“The word ‘musical’ tends to mislead people,” says cast member Sara Ramirez, who plays Callie Torres. “Understandably so. The word ‘musical’ implies that there’s dancing, a lot of jazz hands and some kicks and some turns.”

“Grey’s Anatomy: The Musical Event” will pick up where last week’s show left off with Miss Ramirez’s character injured in a car accident. The episode will be told from her point of view.

Music has always been a big part of the ABC medical drama. Since it premiered in 2005, three soundtracks featuring music by such artists as Tegan and Sara, Ingrid Michaelson and KT Tunstall have been released.

On Thursday, longtime viewers of the show might recognize songs from early episodes, such as “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol and “How to Save a Life” by the Fray — but this time, the cast will perform them.

Singing is nothing new for Miss Ramirez. She won a Tony Award for best featured actress in a musical for her role in “Spamalot” in 2005. Still, she admitted the experience was a challenging one.

“I wasn’t walking into this like, ‘Oh, I’ve got this. I’ve done this before,’” she says. “I learned a lot.”

The episode airs at 9 p.m. Thursday.

O’Donnell’s new show to use ‘Oprah’ studio

“The Oprah Winfrey Show” is shutting down at the end of the season, but the lights won’t be going out at Miss Winfrey’s studio in Chicago, the Associated Press notes.

That’s because Rosie O’Donnell’s new talk show will be produced at Harpo Studios on Chicago’s West Side.

The announcement ends speculation about what will become of Miss Winfrey’s Harpo Studios on Chicago’s West Side when “The Oprah Winfrey Show” ends taping this spring. Miss Winfrey opened the studios in 1990.

“I’m delighted to welcome Rosie to the studio I’ve called home for so many years,” Miss Winfrey said in a statement.

The network announced last summer that Miss O’Donnell would return to television with a one-hour talk show to air on OWN. The network said at the time that the show would be based in New York.

“I can’t wait to do my show from Chicago,” Miss O’Donnell said in a statement. “It’s a dream come true … beyond the beyond.”

Miss O’Donnell previously hosted “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” from 1996 to 2002, earning six daytime Emmy awards. She also spent time on “The View.”

The final original episode of Miss Winfrey’s show is scheduled to air May 25.

Ken Burns to film Vietnam War documentary

Having already done the Civil War and World War II, Ken Burns is working on a documentary about the Vietnam War, Associated Press reports.

PBS says the 10- to 12-hour film by Mr. Burns and longtime partner Lynn Novick will be broadcast in 2016.

Mr. Burns says his film will tell the human stories of Americans and Vietnamese affected by the war, along with those of Americans who protested against it. He says that four decades after the war’s end, most people have opinions about it, but few truly know its history.

PBS is rebroadcasting Mr. Burns’ “The Civil War” next week to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the beginning of that conflict.

Dueling lawsuits over wedding dropped

Wedding reality TV show host David Tutera and a couple have made up after trading lawsuits in New York over the newlyweds’ lavish nuptials in Singapore.

Representatives for Mr. Tutera and the couple, Melissa Chin and Steve Choi, say they’ve resolved the case but won’t discuss details. Court records show their lawsuits were dropped earlier this month.

The Boston-based couple says the host of “My Fair Wedding” on the WE TV network didn’t show up for their 2009 event. They said they paid Mr. Tutera at least $265,000 and had a breed of orchid designed in his honor. She’s a genetics scientist. He’s a technology executive.

Mr. Tutera said the couple owed him at least $9,300. His camp said he was told not to come to the event because the wedding fund was exhausted.

Compiled from Web and wire reports.

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