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TV Notes: 4/11/03

Friday, April 11, 2003

LYNCH MOVIE IN WORKS

NBC is the front runner in the race to make a TV movie about the capture and rescue of former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch of Palestine, W.Va.

The network is attempting to secure official rights to Lynch's story, but is prepared to go forward using news reports and public information as the basis for the film's script. A writer and producer will be named in the near future.

NBC plans to fast-track a two-hour movie about Lynch's ordeal, aiming to get it on the air during the early part of the 2003-04 television season, which could mean as early as November sweeps.

(Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor)

JACKSON UP A 'CREEK'

"Dawson's Creek" co-star Joshua Jackson was accepted into an alcohol education program after his arrest at a hockey game.

Jackson was placed in the program Wednesday after admitting he was drunk and disruptive at a Nov. 9 Carolina Hurricanes game. The 24-year-old plays Pacey on the WB television drama, which has been filmed mostly in Wilmington during its six-year run. The series' two-hour finale airs May 14.

Jackson originally was charged with being drunk and disruptive by fighting and simple assault for allegedly grabbing a security guard around the neck and striking him. After he was arrested, he was tested at the jail and his blood alcohol content showed 0.14.

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss the simple assault charge and amend the drunk and disruptive charge by omitting the fighting allegation.

As part of the program, Jackson must attend 15 hours of alcohol and substance abuse education, which costs $150, and complete 24 hours of community service. He also must remain employed and not be convicted of any misdemeanor or felony charges while in the program.

If Jackson completes all the requirements by Oct. 9, prosecutors will dismiss the drunk and disruptive charge. He then can seek to have the charge dropped from his record.

"We thought it was the most appropriate outcome under the circumstances," said Jackson's lawyer, Brad Bannon of Raleigh.

(Associated Press)

NETWORK NAME CHANGE

The television network MuchMusic USA, seeking to distinguish itself in a market dominated by MTV and its related networks, will take the name Fuse.

It also has built a $12 million studio with windows open to the street across from Madison Square Garden, about a dozen blocks south of MTV's Times Square studios.

"There was really only one company's voice in popular music and culture, and we thought there should be another," said Josh Sapan, president of Fuse's parent company, Rainbow Media.

Fuse's executives noted that many music fans don't realize one company -- Viacom -- owns MTV, MTV2, VH1, VH1 Classic, BET and Country Music Television.

The changeover to Fuse, announced Tuesday, will take effect on May 19.

The name is a reference to the plugged-in world that the network's target audience of 12- to 34-year-old viewers inhabits, with beepers, cell phones and computers, said Marc Juris, Fuse president.

Among other programs, the new studio will host the show "IMX: Interactive Music Exchange," a music game where fans pick hits in a format that melds fantasy football and Wall Street.

Fuse will pride itself on interactivity, taking its cues from viewers on what music to play and even airing short videos made by audience members, Juris said. And one of the shows will be a parody of the VH1 series "Behind the Music."

David Cohn, general manager of MTV2, said Fuse is more of a direct competitor with his network than MTV. The music-centric MTV2 is in 48 million homes; the new Fuse will start with about 30 million.

He's not surprised that Fuse is opening a streetside studio nearby.

"They take their shots," Cohn said, "then they try to imitate."

(AP)

MADONNA ON MTV

Madonna will perform songs from her new album, "American Life," in an MTV special where she is also expected to talk about the anti-war video she created for the title song.

"Madonna on Stage and on the Record" is scheduled for 10 p.m. April 22, the same day her album hits stores.

Carson Daly will be the host of the show, which will include an interview with John Norris from MTV News and questions from the audience.

(AP)

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