Jerry Seinfeld bringing reality series to NBC
New York — Jerry Seinfeld is returning to NBC as producer of a comic reality series where celebrities and a referee try to help squabbling couples make peace.
That’s the good news for Seinfeld’s fans.
The bad news? Seinfeld said he has no plans to step in front of the cameras for “The Marriage Ref” or, for that matter, to ever star in a television series again.
“It’s a young man’s game,” said Seinfeld, 54. “Nothing could surpass the experience I had.”
That would be “Seinfeld,” of course, the sitcom that ended its nine-year run in 1998, a big part of NBC’s golden era. The fourth-place network has since fallen on hard times, and jumped at the chance to welcome back one of its top names.
The idea came from personal experience.
Seinfeld and his wife, Jessica, were arguing one day — he doesn’t remember the topic — while a friend was visiting. The friend became uncomfortable and wondered whether she should leave.
“I said, ‘You know what, I need some help to settle this right here. I need a marriage ref,”’ he said, and the friend obliged.
Seinfeld helped develop the idea with a friend, Ellen Rakieten, who had just left Oprah Winfrey’s production company after working there for 23 years.
Jewel says injury won’t keep her from ‘Dancing’
New York — Pop singer Jewel says she injured her knees while rehearsing for “Dancing With the Stars” but plans to return to the dance floor as soon as she heals.
Jewel blogged on her Web site Wednesday that she’s been sidelined for the ABC series’ upcoming season because of tendinitis in both knees, and that her physical therapist said she’d be “good to go by next week” if she takes time to recover.
In a statement issued by ABC on Thursday, the singer says she’s “dedicated to getting better and showing the judges and America that I can cha cha cha with the best of them. Don’t count me out as I am in this for the long run.”
Jewel, whose hits include “You Were Meant For Me,” is slated to compete against her husband, rodeo star Ty Murray, on the new season that begins March 9.
Robin Williams heads to Broadway
New York — First Will Ferrell. Now Robin Williams is coming to Broadway this season.
The comedian says he will perform his one-man show, “Weapons of Self-Destruction,” for five performances at the Neil Simon Theatre, April 28 through May 3.
Williams has been on an 80-city tour of the show.
The comedian says: “The current state of the country’s political and economic climate, while so hard on so many people, has been like gold for a comedian. There’s just so much that’s ripe for the picking.”
Film union says Kilmer’s great; endorses Denish
Santa Fe, N.M. — Val Kilmer is a “great guy,” but Lt. Gov. Diane Denish should be New Mexico’s next governor, says a leader of the union representing the state’s film and television industry.
The 49-year-old actor, who lives on a ranch southeast of Santa Fe, has said he’s thinking about running for governor in 2010, when second-term Gov. Bill Richardson is precluded from running again.
Local 480 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees announced its weekend endorsement of Denish at the state Capitol.
Jon Hendry, business agent for IATSE Local 480, started off his speech at a rally in the rotunda Wednesday with a reference to Kilmer.
“He’s a great guy, and if you ever want a really good friend in this business, then Val Kilmer’s going to be your friend,” he said.
But, he added, “we already have a champion here. ... She’s been on your side now for six years.”
Denish, a Democrat, told a crowd of film workers that if she were elected, she would continue to work to make New Mexico a top destination for movie and TV production.
MC Hammer to focus on family in TV show
Wisconsin Dells, Wis. — Viewers of MC Hammer’s new reality TV show shouldn’t expect to see him lounging around the house in baggy pants.
The 1990s rap music sensation says “Hammertime” will give viewers a glimpse of his 16-hour days as a businessman, computer geek, proud father and husband. The show will air on cable’s A&E, starting as early as May.
The show will follow Hammer, his wife of 23 years, five children and two nephews — aged 3 to 21 — who live in their Oakland, Calif., area home.
“You’re going to see an American family in the current environment of America,” Hammer told The Associated Press on Thursday before giving a private concert at a resort. “College. High school. Junior high school. All the things that come along with family in day-to-day life, with the caveat that their dad is also a world-renowned recording artist.”
He said the show would have many funny moments but wouldn’t be scripted, “which actually makes it a better show.”