Sunday, July 25, 2004

Alley to star in 'Fat Actress'

Television notes

Enquirer news services

Kirstie Alley will take on tabloids, Hollywood and herself in Showtime's Fat Actress, a reality-comedy series about the life of an overweight celebrity.

Alley proposed the series to the cable channel as a "send-up of her own image as well as Hollywood's obsession with weight and beauty," said Robert Greenblatt, entertainment president for Showtime Networks Inc.

The 53-year-old actress, heavier than when she starred in Cheers and Veronica's Closet and films including Look Who's Talking, has been the subject of unflattering photos in supermarket tabloids.

The series is co-created by Alley and Brenda Hampton (7th Heaven, Mad About You); they and Sandy Chanley (Curb Your Enthusiasm) are the executive producers. Episodes will be based on a story line but largely improvised.

The half-hour Showtime series, set to begin production this fall, will air sometime next year. Six episodes are planned.

Gavel-to-gavel ABC News

ABC News will run a 24-hour news service available on digital cable, the Internet and some cell phones through Election Day in what may be a precursor to a service offered full time in the future.

The venture, ABC News Now, begins operating at noon Monday, presenting gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Democratic National Convention, anchored by Peter Jennings.

The service will offer national and local news highlights and rerun material - Nightline the next day, for instance.

Jorja Fox back with 'CSI'

Jorja Fox, the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation star who was fired for skipping work in a salary dispute, is returning to the hit CBS drama.

Fox reached an agreement with the network and will be back on the set this week, a source close to the production said late last week, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Co-star George Eads also lost his job when he failed to report for the start of production on the fifth season.

A public apology - in which Ead said he merely overslept and wasn't angling for more money - may have opened the door to talks, the source said.

"It's a big misunderstanding, straight up," Eads told the Television Critics Association. "I want all this to work out. CSI is a part of who I am."

Fox and Eads were being paid a reported $100,000 each per episode.

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