First, Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth became the “Apprentice” contestant that America loved to hate (or just hated to hate). Then she was fired by The Donald. Then she came back and messed things up for poor Kwame, helping prompt his dismissal. Those moves were humiliating, but now Omarosa has suffered an even greater indignity: She’s been cut out of an Herbal Essences commercial.

Buffy (sort of) in ‘Angel’ finale

As “Angel” nears its May 19 finale, it’s looking like Joss Whedon will stick to his vow not to clutter up the last few episodes with characters from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

That’s not to say, however, that Buffy is not a presence on the show. In fact, one of the final episodes will revolve around Angel and Spike trying to rescue her from an old foe.

“The Girl in Question,” the episode scheduled for May 5, will find the two soul-cursed vampires (David Boreanaz and James Marsters) heading for Rome at the behest of Buffy cohort Andrew (Tom Lenk).

They’re on a mission to rescue the slayer from The Immortal, a nemesis from their past.

Darla (Julie Benz) and Drusilla (Juliet Landau) appear in flashback scenes, but Buffy herself (Sarah Michelle Gellar) doesn’t show up in the episode. Whedon has said that he doesn’t want to overshadow “Angel’s” core characters by having Gellar or other “Buffy” stars around for the finale.

The WB is somewhat more cryptic about the final two episodes, saying only that Angel and Co. will battle Wolfram & Hart’s mysterious Senior Partners and someone will die. The network also says that Connor (Vincent Kartheiser) will appear in the series finale on May 19, but the character’s role is left undefined.


TBS has greenlit an unscripted update of “Gilligan’s Island” for later this year, although presumably the show won’t keep its castaways stranded on an island for 98 episodes.

The 21st-century take on the 1960s sitcom comes from “Bachelor” creator Mike Fleiss, who professes to be a fan of the Sherwood Schwartz series and says it’s “like a dream come true” to produce the reality-show version.

The show, along with several other unscripted series and its syndicated sitcoms, is part of an effort to re-brand TBS as a comedy network, with the gramatically suspect “tbs very funny” as its tagline.

The change to an all-yuks, all-the-time channel will coincide with the network’s launch of “Sex and the City” in June. TBS will also become the yang to sister network TNT’s drama-filled yin.

“The TBS brand will further differentiate the network while targeting desired young adult demographics coveted by advertisers, where the network is already among the most successful in the industry,” says Steve Koonin, COO of TBS and TNT.

“Gilligan’s Island” is scheduled to premiere in the fall. In line with the original series, the show will cast an actual boat captain, first mate, actress, professor, millionaire couple and farm girl and strand them on a remote island. They then must work together to get back to civilization.

Some of their tasks will be modeled on episodes of the original show, with the blessing of Schwartz and his son, Lloyd, who also have executive producer credits.

Also on tap for TBS’ new brand is “Outback Jack,” a dating show with overtones of “Crocodile Dundee,” set for a June 22 debut. The show from Nash Entertainment (“Meet My Folks”) takes 12 high-maintenance city women and drops them in the inhospitable Australian Outback, where they give up creature comforts and try to win the affection of Aussie adventurer Vadim Dale.

Unscripted projects from Jamie Foxx and “Sex and the City” author Candace Bushnell are also in the works. TBS also has “Everybody Loves Raymond” joining its slate this summer.


One of the original stars of “The Practice” will be part of its swan song as well.

Dylan McDermott, the show’s lead until last spring’s budget-driven cast shakeup, will make a guest appearance on the penultimate episode of the series, scheduled for May 2. The series finale is May 16 (ABC is pre-empting its regular Sunday lineup on May 9 to air “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”)

ABC isn’t saying much about McDermott’s role in the episode, co-written by series creator David E. Kelley and Frank Renzulli, other than his character, Bobby Donnell, is returning. The network does, however, imply that Bobby may play a role in breaking what remains of his old firm.

McDermott, who won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Emmy in 1999 for playing Donnell, left the show at the end of last season along with several other regulars. ABC’s renewal of “The Practice” came with a substantially lower license fee, based on a ratings decline caused in part by the network’s move of the series from Sunday to Monday nights in early 2003.

Kelley said last summer that McDermott would likely appear in a handful of episodes this season. As it turned out, his character didn’t come back until the next-to-last episode.

McDermott co-starred in the feature films “Party Monster” and “Wonderland” last year. He next appears in TNT’s limited series “The Grid,” set for this summer.


If you’d willingly seek advice from long-haired, crazy-eyed rocker Andrew W.K., then MTV2 has the perfect new show for you. Although the network continues to describe itself as a “24-hour music network,” a new talk show titled “Your Friend, Andrew W.K.” will premiere May 22 at 9 p.m. EDT.

Andrew W.K., who released his last album, “The Wolf,” in September 2003, will answer e-mails from fans giving what most of them will think constitutes good advice. He’ll also periodically play some of his favorite videos.

“Whenever I need advice or I need to get out of a jam I have a hotline in my office that connects me directly with Andrew W.K.,” says Tom Calderone, executive vice president of music and talent programming, MTV & MTV2. “Not only is Andrew an incredibly talented musician and spirited live performer, but he has formed amazingly strong connections with his fans and MTV2 viewers, that’s why we are so happy to present “Your Friend Andrew W.K.”‘

In addition to his busy touring schedule, Andrew W.K. hosted MTV2’s “Most Controversial Videos” countdown and assisted in the network’s promotions for “Jackass: The Movie.” He agrees with Calderone’s lofty assessment of his value.

“It’s amazing to actually have a television show! YES!!!,” the excitable Andrew W.K. explodes. “MTV2 asked me what I wanted it to be about and I said, “The show shouldn’t be about ME it should be about US,’ and that’s the way it works – people can write to me and I get to go and visit them at their houses and hang out and try to answer their questions! I don’t know if I’m really qualified to be giving someone advice, but since people are asking for it, I’m going to do the best I can to help them out!”


It’s an interviewer’s job to make his or her subject feel comfortable. If that means reducing yourself to two dimensions to visit a cartoon world, so be it.

Such will be the lot of the VJs on “Total Request Live” on Friday, when they interview the stars of several animated series – among Cartoon Network’s “Family Guy” and “Powerpuff Girls” and Nickelodeon’s “Fairly OddParents.”

Rather than have the characters visit the “TRL” studios, though, the VJs will become animated characters themselves, then head off to Townsville, Quahog and elsewhere. The show will feature three interview segments with the animated stars.

“Some of our viewers’ favorite celebrities are animated characters,” MTV’s Tony DiSanto says. “We’ve always wanted to have them as guests on “TRL’ – and now, finally, we can.”

Friday’s show will also feature an animated video from the band New Found Glory, for its song “It’s All Downhill from Here.”

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Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

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