Everybody Loves Phil and Les, Too
While sources assure us that no talks are taking place about the ninth-season renewal of Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS Chairman/CEO Leslie Moonves (above) and Raymond creator/executive producer Phil Rosenthal lunched together last week at Warner Bros.' commissary. That would be a perfect opportunity for Moonves to work his persuasive magic on Rosenthal, who, with series star Ray Romano, is considering calling it quits after this season. What they talked about remains between them, but it might have been hard to get a word in: Several folks stopped by, including John Wells, executive producer of NBC's The West Wing, ER
and Third Watch, and Dick Robertson, president of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. —P.J.
It might be easy to live in the lap of luxury, but it's not so easy to put together a TV show about it. After producer (and King World's former president of programming) Andy Friendly sold his show Life of Luxury
to ABC, he and his production staff thought they were set with exclusive arrangements to peek into the lives of New York real estate mogul Donald Trump, Virgin Airlines founder Richard Branson, and talk-show host and reality-show maven Sharon Osbourne. But one Monday, in the course of a single hour, Trump, Branson and Osbourne all backed out, citing scheduling conflicts. After a significant amount of begging and flower-sending, Friendly got all three back into the show, and, on Monday, Dec. 29, viewers can tune in to see Branson's private island, tour Trump's 52-room New York penthouse, and hear Osbourne and her surgeon talk about her $350,000 worth of plastic surgery. Life of Luxury
features Robin Leach, famous for hosting Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, and is a production of Andy Friendly Productions. —P.A.
Put a Fox in That Manger
We know which electronic news outlet the Defense Department would have first notified of the Saddam Hussein capture, at least according to a Night Before Christmas parody making the rounds at the Pentagon. The last line in the following excerpt, politically speaking, "reads right to left," said one wag at the five-sider.
"The searchlight on the dictator now caught in our snare,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to his nasty wild hair.
When, what to our soldiers' wide eyes should appear,
But a bedraggled old dictator cowering in fear!
"Beneath the dirty old beard and the lice in his mane,
They were amazed to discover that it was Saddam Hussein.
More rapid than eagles they called up old Rummy,
And he whistled, and shouted, and said, 'This is yummy!'
"Now, Condi! now, Sanchez! now, Cheney and Bush!
On, TV! on Radio! and Free Republic! Let's Rush!
To the top of the news! Get this video on!
Call FNC first! Then Dan Rather and Tom!"
Can't Stay Away From TV
Dick Kurlander, the former VP of programming for Petry Television, has returned to the business after a three-year hiatus. He left Petry's New York office in 2000 for Charlotte, N.C., where he has been teaching and doing consulting work. Now he has joined AARP, the Washington-based lobbying group for the 50-and-over crowd, as head of its programming department. His goal is to ramp up the AARP's TV-programming presence. The group has produced vignettes, inserts and some shows for PBS. Kurlander, who will telecommute from Charlotte to Washington, will try to broaden the client base and will be talking to a number of cable networks, station groups and syndicators in the coming months about baby-boomer–targeted program ideas. For those who want to catch up in person, he'll be at the NATPE show in Las Vegas. —S.M.
Politics Is Filthy, Too
Reps. Doug Ose (R-Calif.) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) are literally cussin' up a storm over the FCC's decision not to fine NBC stations for airing rock star Bono's "f-word"–laced acceptance speech during the Golden Globes last January. Last week, the duo introduced legislation making eight words and phrases indecent no matter how they're used: "s__t", "p___", "f__k", "c___", "a__hole", "c___sucker" and "motherf___er". They also stipulated that combining them with other words and all their grammatical derivations would be no-nos too.—B.M.