LOS ANGELES – Martha Stewart wants to do for pets what she did for home decorating and food preparation.

By which we do not mean dressing Fido up in a hand-knitted pet sweater or making potpourri-based cat litter. Instead, Stewart’s media company is producing a pet-centered TV series set to roll out in the fall.

“Petkeeping with Marc Morrone” is scheduled to launch in September in about 130 markets, Reuters reports. Morrone, a frequent guest on “Martha Stewart Living,” has owned a shop called Parrots of the World on New York’s Long Island for a number of years and hosts the syndicated show “The Pet Shop with Marc Morrone.”

Several of Morrone’s animals, including a scarlet macaw, a dachshund and a prairie dog, will make regular appearances on the new show.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is producing the program; Hearst Entertainment will distribute it. Hearst also distributes “The Pet Shop.”



TV shows

LOS ANGELES – At the 14th Annual Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation Media Awards, the big television prizes went to HBO’s “Six Feet Under” and NBC’s “Will & Grace,” while that show’s star, Eric McCormack received a special award.

“Will & Grace” won the award for outstand comedy series, beating only HBO’s “Sex and the City” for the honor. In a tougher category, “Six Feet Under” topped “Once and Again,” “Queer as Folk,” “The Shield” and “The Wire” for outstanding drama series. “Six Feet” creator Alan Ball was on hand to accept his award, while supervising producer Gary Janetti accepted for “Will & Grace.”

HBO’s “The Laramie Project” won for outstanding television movie.

McCormack received GLAAD’s Vanguard Award, honoring a member of the entertainment community who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. It was presented to him by his co-star Sean Hayes.

“It was GLAAD that during the shooting of the pilot sent a telegram saying, “We’re behind you all the way,”‘ McCormack said.

The GLAAD Media Awards were held at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.

– Zap2it


LOS ANGELES – The British company that owns worldwide rights to “Survivor” has dropped a lawsuit against the producers of another reality show, “I’m a Celebrity – Get Me Out of Here!”

Castaway Productions, which owns rights to various versions of “Survivor” around the world, filed suit against “I’m a Celebrity” producer Granada last year, claiming the latter show’s format was a copy of “Survivor,” which essentially launched the reality TV boom in the United States.

Like “Survivor,” “I’m a Celebrity” drops a group of people in inhospitable surroundings and has them complete challenges for rewards. The key difference is that in “I’m a Celebrity,” viewers determine who is voted off the show, not fellow contestants.

The suit was dropped last week, London’s Guardian newspaper reports. CBS, which airs “Survivor” in the United States, filed a similar suit against ABC, which broadcast its own version of “I’m a Celebrity” in February and March. A judge threw out the suit in January.

Granada executive Paul Jackson is happy with the outcome, saying that his company’s show “is an original format devised by Granada, and we are extremely pleased this has now been established in the U.K. and the U.S.”

British network ITV is set to begin a second “I’m a Celebrity” this week. The show was a hit in the United Kingdom last summer, but the U.S. version was a flop.


LOS ANGELES – Spike Lee’s 40 Acres and A Mule will produce the drama pilot “The Game” for Showtime, with shooting scheduled to begin in June.

The series will be executive produced by Lee and Sam Kitt (“Love & Basketball,” “The Best Man”). The duo recently executive produced “Good Fences,” starring Danny Glover and Whoopi Goldberg, for Showtime. Lee will also direct the pilot for “The Game.”

Scripted by Alex Tse, “The Game” focuses on a diverse group of characters involved in gang life in San Francisco. Among the central characters a Nick, a 19-year-old white kid who viewers his drug deals and credit card fraud as a chance to break into corporate America, Leon, second-in-command of the “V-Dub” gang and Lincoln a Chinese gang member who’s double crossing crime boss Mr. Tsing.

Lee’s other past television work includes “A Huey P. Newton Story,” which premiered on Black Starz and Jim Brown: All American,” which aired on HBO.


LOS ANGELES – While the future of Tom Cavanagh’s “Ed” is still up in the air, if NBC executives want the actor back, they’ll know where to find him. Cavanagh will be residing in the not-too-distant-future in a land of drought, poverty and heavily restricted urination. Starting on May 20, the actor will join the cast of Tony-winning musical “Urinetown.”

According to Playbill, Cavanagh will step into the role of rebellious Bobby Strong when the current Bobby, Charlie Pollock, joins the touring company in the same part. “Urinetown” won three Tonys in 2002, taking home awards for book, score and direction.

The Canadian-born Cavanagh got his start on the stage appearing in productions of “Grease,” “A Chorus Line,” “Cabaret” and “Brighton Beach Memoirs.” He appeared on Broadway in the 1989 revival of “Shenandoah” with “Urinetown” villain John Cullum.

His small screen break came on NBC’s “Providence” and he has been starring as the titular bowling alley lawyer in “Ed” for three seasons, even receiving a Golden Globe nomination. The show’s April 11 finale drew 11.2 million viewers, but the show is far from a sure thing to be renewed.

(c) 2003, Zap2it.

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Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-04-28-03 1605EDT

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