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TV Notes: 8/9/03

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Ullman reappears

Tracey Ullman, that cheeky British actress/chameleon, returns to HBO tonight, playing one of the many strange yet entirely believable characters from her repertoire.

In "Trailer Tales," a one-hour special, Ullman revives Ruby Romaine, the makeup artist who outlived Hollywood's golden age. Romaine works on the faces of Debbie Reynolds and Rose Marie while she recounts how she retired only to discover that the stock market had eaten her retirement fund. Then she claws her way back into Hair and Makeup Guild, Local 706.

Ullman starred as Ruby and a boatload of other characters in the 47-episode HBO series "Tracey Takes On...," which ceased production in 1999.

(Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor)

Talk shows renewed

MTV has ordered an additional 65 episodes of "The New Tom Green Show." ... Seven new episodes of "The Michael Essany Show" on E! will begin airing 10:30 p.m. Aug. 17, a Sunday, and then the show will move to 10 p.m. Friday.


'On Q' plans

WQED's "On Q" will return at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 15 with new live episodes. KDKA's Harold Hayes will join the roster of correspondents who contribute reports to the nightly news magazine program.

Supervising producer David Solomon said it will be a more streamlined "On Q" this fall with Stacy Smith taking on more hosting responsibilities. Solomon said Carol Lee Espy will report more stories and then interact with Smith afterward the same way Michael Bartley and Tonia Caruso do.

Chris Moore will maintain his role as interviewer, but a new segment, called "Chrisfire," will be added Monday and Friday. Solomon said the topical segment will look at the "hot controversies" of the week with Moore moderating a conversation among the primary players.

In addition, "On Q" plans 13 weekly reports on youth crime.


WQED pre-empts

Due to a pledge drive, WQED will pre-empt PBS's "Mystery!" for the next three Sundays. "Hetty Wain-thropp Investigates, Series V" will instead air at 10 p.m. Sept. 4, 11 and 18.

An edition of "Great Performances" -- "Berlin Philharmonic EuropaKonzert: From Palermo" -- will be pre-empted on Aug. 17 and will air at 4 p.m. Sept. 7.

The 2003 "Drum Corps International World Championship" will air at 4 p.m. Sept. 28.


Charles Manson's evil ways subject of CBS miniseries

CBS will dip into the well of Evil Men and How They Get That Way again, this time with a remake of its 1976 flick about Charles Manson.

The network has given the go-ahead to a three-hour miniseries based on former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi's book "Helter Skelter," about the capture and murder trial of Charles Manson and three members of the "Manson Family."

But unlike the first version, which focused on how Bugliosi got Manson convicted, the new version will focus on how a guy like Charles Manson becomes a guy like Charles Manson, or "how does a guy ... get people to kill for him?" executive producer Mark Wolper said.

Which sounds suspiciously like CBS's original description of its Hitler miniseries, "Origins of Evil" -- that is, until various groups started hollering that nobody should humanize Hitler, and CBS started scurrying around making changes to the project, which turned into just another program about Hitler's rise to power, called "Hitler: The Rise of Evil."

Wolper pitched his project to several networks after seeing a TV news report on the Manson Family.

"I wanted to get inside the man, to get on the other side of the fence from how the cops found him and how Vincent convicted him, to how [Manson] got these people to follow him."

(Lisa de Moraes, The Washington Post)

Jaws alert

Seven world premiere programs highlight Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" tomorrow through Friday with performances at 9 p.m. each night. This popular feature of Discovery's programming, which premiered in 1988, drew more than 23 million last year.

The features are "Anatomy of a Shark Bite" tomorrow, "Monster Garage: Shark Boat" on Monday, "Diary of a Shark Man" on Tuesday, "Robo Shark" on Wednesday, "Jaws of the Pacific" and "Sharks Under Glass" (10 p.m.) on Thursday and a two-hour "Shark Roulette" on Friday.

(Martie Zad, The Washington Post)

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