‘Capitol Fourth’ filling its roster


Winner Phillip Phillips performs onstage at the American Idol Finale in May. (John Shearer/AP)
June 18, 2012

Phillip Phillips, the least-surprising winner in the history of “American Idol,” has been added to the list of network pluggers appearing on PBS’s “A Capitol Fourth” broadcast from the Mall.

Phil2 will be making his first live post-“Idol” appearance on the annual July 4 PBS special, performing “Home” — the least awful “American Idol” Winner Treacle Tune ever.

Phil2 hasn’t performed since the show’s finale last month. He has been recovering from kidney surgery since shortly after he beat Jessica Sanchez to become the latest Scruffy White Guy with Guitar to take the Fox show’s top prize.

NBC also will be well represented on the broadcast, with appearances from “Smash” actress Megan Hilty and “The Voice” Season 1 winner, Javier Colon. ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” host Tom Bergeron is hosting this year’s “Capitol Fourth.”

Even Turner Classic Movies is getting a plug: This year’s show will feature a musical tribute to Gene Kelly, including a medley of songs from “Singin’ in the Rain” and “An American in Paris” — eight days before TCM throws its “TCM Presents ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ 60th Anniversary Event,” in which the remastered classic will be screened at nearly 500 theaters across the country, and about two weeks before TCM-parent Warner Bros. releases a “Singin’ in the Rain” 60th anniversary three-disc limited and numbered gift set.


Comedian/actor Arsenio Hall speaks during the 'The Ed Sullivan Comedy Special' panel during the PBS portion of the 2011 Summer TCA Tour in July 2011. (Frederick M. Brown/GETTY IMAGES)
Arsenio’s return

CBS TV Distribution (a.k.a. CTD, and formerly Paramount Domestic TV) made it official Monday — after two decades, Arsenio Hall is returning to late-night talk TV.

CTD was the producer of Hall’s old syndicated talk show. It was on that program, which ran from 1989 to 1994, that then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton famously played “Heartbreak Hotel” on the sax — making it safe, even hip, for serious presidential contenders to make non-serious, image-honing appearances on talk shows in daytime, afternoon and late-night.

Here’s how much times have changed: When asked Monday who would be his dream guest to end all dream guests, Hall told the celebrity suck-up show “Entertainment Tonight”: “You can’t go wrong if you get Jay-Z, Beyonce and the baby.”

Hall’s original talk show also made “Woof! Woof! Woof” an entry in the Top 10 Most Annoying Ever Pop Culture Shouts of Approval.

On the new show, CTD is partnered with Tribune Broadcasting — one of CBS’s partners in the CW network. The show is set to launch on 17 Tribune stations, including Washington’s WDCW (Channel 50).

Hall’s show is sold in all Top 10 markets — Washington being No. 8. Word that Hall and CTD were going to partner again for a late-night talk show surfaced about the time that Hall became a finalist on NBC’s latest edition of “Celebrity Apprentice.”

CTD President John Nogawski noted in Monday’s announcement that Hall’s old show had a strong following among 18- to 34-year-olds, now the late-night core audience of 35- to 54-years-olds.

“Years ago, he transcended time periods and attracted a crossover audience while bringing a fresh perspective to late night,” Nogawski said. “That same need in the market exists today as when we originally launched.”

Romneys on ‘Conan’

Conan O’Brien has lined up all five of Mitt Romney’s sons — Tagg, Matt, Josh, Ben and Craig — for what’s being billed as their first joint interview of the campaign. The “Conan” interview will be Wednesday night at 11 on TBS.

Not coincidentally, Romney’s five sons star in a video that the presumptive GOP presidential nominee released on Father’s Day.

Fox’s new lineup

Fox is moving up the second-season debut of Simon Cowell’s singing competition “The X Factor” so as to launch it Wednesday, Sept. 12 — two days after NBC launches its first fall season of “The Voice” and at the exact time that NBC is airing the penultimate episode of Howard Stern’s first season on “America’s Got Talent.”

The next night, Fox will air the second half of its “X Factor” season debut, and the season debut of the overhauled “Glee” — on the night of the “AGT” finale.

This season, “X Factor” will feature new chick judges Britney Spears and Demi Lovato.

Last year, Fox waited until Sept. 21, during the crush of Premiere Week, to unveil Cowell’s new show, which at that time featured chick judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger. That premiere attracted about 13 million viewers — well below the 20 million that Cowell had said was the threshold for not being a flat-out “disappointment” (hence Abdul and Scherzinger’s replacement).

Fox will launch most of its Tuesday, Friday and Sunday slates during Premiere Week, the week of Sept.­ 24. That Tuesday, the network will unveil its new Monday doc drama, “The Mob Doctor,” after the season debut of “Bones.”

Friday, Sept. 28, marks the return of “Fringe” (“Touch” returns, at 8 p.m., on Friday, Oct. 26.) And on that Sunday, Fox launches the season debuts of “The Simpsons,” “Bob’s Burgers,” “Family Guy” and “American Dad.”

The next week, the network will unveil most of its Tuesday live-action comedy block, including a new “Ben and Kate” at 8:30 p.m.; the season debut of “New Girl” at 9; and Mindy Kaling’s “The Mindy Project” at 9:30. (The season debut of “Raising Hope,” at 8 p.m., is set for the following Tuesday).

“Ben and Kate” stars Dakota Johnson — daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith — and Nat Faxon, Oscar-winning co-screenwriter of “The Descendants,” as siblings.

Corden is ‘unknown’

The Weinstein Co. has found its “unknown” to play the pudgy, gap-toothed British cellphone salesman and wannabe opera singer who wowed Cowell and Piers Morgan on “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2007 — and who has gone on to become a big opera star and platinum album-seller.

It’s James Corden — B’way’s “One Man, Two Guvnors” star who saved this year’s Tony Awards broadcast on CBS from total tedium when, accepting the best-actor award, he thanked his girlfriend by noting she’d given birth to their son five days before he started rehearsals. Added Corden: “She’s my baby mama, and I can’t wait to marry her,” which got a laugh.

Corden has been signed to play Paul Potts in the flick, reported the Web site Deadline.com.

To read previous columns by Lisa de Moraes, go to washingtonpost.com/tvblog.

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